The subject line, "Grabe," by the way, is the same each time because I keep just replying to your email... Ayos lang. ...And as a matter of translation, "Grabe" translates loosely to "OH MY GOODNESS!!"
Things are still going quite well. There are still challenges, of course (when are there not?), but things are definitely improving.
Saturday's baptism was maganda. I managed not to screw up the baptismal prayer or the baptism at all, and it all turned out really well. And during the testimonies afterward (which stretched out a bit longer than we'd intended...), I felt a true fullness of joy that I haven't felt in as long as I can remember. An experience I hope to repeat many, many times in the next two years. "How great shall be your joy!"
On another note, last Wednesday, not long after I finished writing home, I was finishing up making preparations and getting changed and everything for the rest of the day (P-day only lasts until about 6:00), when I had my first close-encounter with a cockroach (or ipis, as they're called here). As I said, I was finished getting changed, and reached over to grab my nametag, and-- "GRABE!!!! MAYROONG IPIS!!!" There was an ipis, lying on its back on top my nametag, staring up at me, like, "HI!!!!! :D " Needless to say, I freaked out a bit, knocked it onto the floor, and then stomped on it until I was pretty sure it was dead. ...At least, I'm pretty certain it was dead. You can never really tell with cockroaches. Brother May was right. They're not your friends. Especially when they fly. D: They're a living terror when they fly.
Up until now, my feeling has been that traffic, while hideous here, doesn't have the same kind of "I-feel-like-I'm-going-to-die-every-moment-I'm-in-the-car-with-these-people" factor that I felt in Poland. Again, it gets pretty bad sometimes, especially without sidewalks, but it just doesn't have the same effect...
...Until I got into the taxi yesterday. It was a nice, familiar feeling, like, "Ahhh, feels just like Poland!" :D ...As I was gripping the seat trying not to die. It was great. :D
Also, later that day, I jumped onto a moving jeepney. :D It was fun. My companion got on, and then it started pulling away, and I was like, "Hey, wait!" and ran and jumped in. It was cool. ...And then it stopped for me (a bit late for that...), and I almost fell over. :P Jeepneys also have the tendency to drive away while I'm still trying to get off, too... like, "Ack! Bilis, bilis!!" Also, earlier today, on some of the jeepneys, there's a guy who goes through and collects everyone's bayad for the jeepney ride, but while the jeepney's moving, since all the seats are taken for passengers, he stands in the doorway in the back and hangs on for his life. Braver than I am, I think.. :/
It occurred to me a few minutes ago that while I'm writing this, well into Monday now, it's still Sunday back at home. Weird... O.o
By the way, I'm still waiting for those sidewalks to come in the mail. Haven't you sent those yet? And the heated water? And washing machines? ;P
I think I can probably find earplugs somewhere around here, so don't worry about those. Also, don't worry about the music for "River Flows"... My companion's going home next transfer, and by the time the music gets here, he'll probably be gone.. :/ But I'd still like the music to "Waterfall." :D Since it's so amazing. Listen to it!! It's amazing!!
I got called on yesterday during a stake priesthood meeting thing to accompany the hymns. It was... Okay. ;P I'm not great at sight reading, so I didn't play exactly what was written, but rather played the melody and sort of improvised the accompaniment. It was alright. What killed me was that one of the hymns they picked was "Called To Serve" (of course). That one's hard! D: And of course, everyone knows it. And they even had everyone stand to sing it. I was like, "Aw, crap." D: But it turned out okay. ^^'
I was glad to hear that the band schooled at Large Group. :D Good to know that they're still doing well. I wish I could've been there. Ah! And you're going to Spokane again? That was so much fun. :D I'm jealous.
Anyway, I'm attaching some pictures. The first is my companion and I nagbabasketball-ing. The second is an overview of our area. This is the place. o.o The third, another of my comp and I in front of said overview. The hand sign means "Guwapo," by the way, or "handsome." The fourth was taken right before Suset's baptism. From the left, me, Suset's mom, Suset, her husband Leslie Lopez, Jared Lopez, Suset's sister, and Elder Curammeng. I never realized until I looked at that picture just how much I tower over everyone. o.o I mean, really... Also, I look kind of funny in that picture... And then in the fifth, we went and had pizza with Suset's family, the bishop, and some of the ward missionaries. It was fun. And. PIZZA!! :D I hadn't had that in like. Three weeks! Which seems like an eternity...
Anyway, I'm about out of time, so I'd better go. Ingat!
Elder David Jones