OH my goodness. I could write a novel with what has happened my first week.
The flight was the worst! I would be fine with not riding an airplane for another 16 months. We were on the plane from san Fran to Tokyo was about 13 hours. We timed it and it took us 30 hours from the time we left the MTC to the time we arrived in Manila. and that isn't including the flight from Manila to Iloilo which we made on the next day. So the flight was awful because it was so long and they kept playing movies on the screens so we tried not to watch. good thing they didn't show Hunger Games because I probably would have gave in and watched it. But they tried to help everyone sleep and shutter windows but I'm guaranteed I didn't get more then an hour of sleep total. We arrived in Tokyo with a bumpy landing and Sis Schocker was a mess haha it was pretty funny sitting next to her. The first thing I noticed when we walked in to the airport was the wet air. it was so humid and thick but not hot because it was at night. We then eventually flew to Manila and it was hot but not unbearable. I was expecting the worst heat imaginable. But then we finally all managed to get our luggage and walk out of the airport and OH BOY was it madness. I can't believe how many people were running around and it was close to 1 am in the morning. We were supposed to land in Manila at 10:30 and didn't land till about 12 and when we found the Elders it was 1am. The Elders had been waiting since 10pm so that was crazy. It totally felt like the Other Side of Heaven when we arrived and finding those white shirt and ties. These Elders came and took Sis. Aoina to Quezon and we had to wait for a van to take us the the Manila Hotel. So we get there and they don't give us a room till about 2 am. Then they tell us that we have to be up at 5 and leave here at 6 to catch our next flight. SO we basically have been running on no sleep and only get to sleep for 2 hours. REALLY Awesome night of exhaustion.
We wake and have breakfast and the rice they had was amazing. of course, its their delicacy. And that is when I encountered my first monkey! it bounced out of no where hanging from it's leash.
We fly again to Iloilo and my feet were so swollen and i was so dizzy because I haven't been on solid ground for over 30 hours. We arrived to iloilo and we walk out of another airport and we see... drum roll please.. President Pagaduan and Sis. Pagaduan with sets of missionaries. I actually have seen them in person now. 3D not just on paper. They are sooooo nice. They drove us to the mission home. My first thoughts of Iloilo was I felt as if I had stepped into Jurassic Park! Just a very different environment. OH and the Filipinos are CRAZY DRIVERS. Mom, I think you would be cured of your jumping syndrome if you came and visited the Philippines for a day. I mean the lines on the road... they are just for show. People just but-in when they want, pass when ever they please, cut infront of you when they are going 2 miles an hour. But these aren't cars, they are Jeepnies and tricycles (which are the motorcycles that have side cars to transport people.) Even pedestrians cut in front of traffic. It is MADNESS. Haha I was shocked and laughing the whole time.
So President fed us and theyre cooking is amazing and we had this amazing dessert called Mango Float which is Mangos, graham crackers, and cream. Namit gid (very yummy)
So the first day they sent me and schocker with Sis. Puig and Sis. Swarna. Puig is from the Philippines and Swarna is from India. They were so nice but could tell we were so tired. The first day we went on splits and I was with sis. Swarna. We rode a trici-cad which is a side car connected to a MANUAL bike. so different than a tricycle. These poor bikers, they have to manually bike these side cars full of people. I mean they were just sweating from head to toe. They must have legs of steal.
I've never seen anything like this place. We walked to this families bamboo hut and all the kids start running out to me and touching my arms saying "puti" which means white. They touched my arms, petted my hair. they pulled me to their house and I had to walk across this bamboo bridge thing which i thought would break under my weight. Their home was nothing like i've ever seen. I just kept thinking of the new house youre building Dad and compared to what these people have.. it is astonishing. They have dirt floors, tin roofs, I mean these homes are literally made out of scraps. The funny thing was they had furniture and a nice entertainment furniture piece that held a tv and their books etc. There were these two cute girls named Scarlet and Penrose who kept saying Tagalog words at me like.. Mata.. (I would then repeat..Mata) .... EYE. ilong.. Nose. ...Bula... Flower. They were like my personal teachers, teaching me the language. I loved it. I want to keep one in my pocket everywhere I go so they can teach me. we taught a short lesson about Prophets and we also visited another family.
When we were home I laughed so hard seeing sis schocker sprawled on the bed. she looked so haggard and overwhelmed. It was hilarious sharing about our first nights in iloilo and the things we saw.
OH man the next morning. Movies lie to you. YOu know when they have the rooster crowing once in the morning, well they don't just crow once they never stop and there are like thousands of roosters here. I woke up and it sounded like a women screaming in the distance and the sound got closer and closer as the sun rose. and soon it was a choir of roosters ka-ka-doodling all day long. Sometimes I want to patay (kill) them but realized that it would be a never ending task. Seriously it is so noisy in the morning with dogs and roosters, I feel like there are more animals here then people.
So we had orientation and MacDs (MacDonalds) the one familiarity here. and we had our delicious meals and the Presidents home. I had a feeling they were treating us so nice before they send us away to survive on our own. They next day we finally met our Trainers!!! My Nanay (mother) is Sis Salway. She is from Las Vegas. and we are in a tri-some companionship with Sis. Patricio who is from Manila. They say I have the best of both worlds having both a Filipino and American companion. I am assigned in the Kalibo Zone which is the farthest away from Iloilo. it is in the North West Corner of Panay Island and is about a 4 hour Bus ride from Iloilo. So again, I hopped on a bus to travel to Kalibo.
We have a very small apartment and there are lots of bugs. I have tonz of mesquito bites and sister Salway said that you could mail me 1000mg Odorless Garlic pills that would help the mesquitos not like my blood. SO you should send me those if you can and Granola bars!
SO this has been my experience so far. It's been really hard adjusting. I miss everyone a lot, especially since I was separated from my District which was my family in the MTC. So now I really don't have Family.
They say that the pouch mail is only for Missionary use. So make sure you inform everyone that they can only send things to me through the mission office address. PS my Pday is on Mondays now and President Pagaduan will be sending you a letter with my picture in it saying that I have arrived here safely. That is why you haven't heard anything yet.
I love you all so much. Pray that i can learn this different language because now I have to learn Illongo and Tagalog and another one that I don't know the name of.
Kita Kits (see you soon)
LOVE Sis Fowles