Hello from Elder Thurber--who serves in the Philippines Manila Mission

Hello from Elder Thurber--who serves in the Philippines Manila Mission

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

"Every day I feel more and more comfortable with the language."

9/2/2013 Aborlan, Palawan


I have felt especially lucky that when I was at the MTC, I got to know some absolutely fantastic and inspiring people, who really have strengthened my testimony and determination here in Palawan. For this reason, I was so excited to see them at zone conference! It was the closest I have felt, lately, to being close to home. But, the only issue is that they all looked super stressed. There isn't any easy way to get around the adjustment of speaking in a new language.

After zone conference, I got to go to the mall, which is a special opportunity for me because there isn't any mall close by me at all. I splurged and spent 1250 pesos (about 30 bucks) on "Beginning Tagalog: For Non-Tagalogs and Foreigners." It has been a great help! It showed me so much stuff that I wasn't able to learn at the MTC, and that my tatay (companion) can't confidently explain to me.  Every day I feel more and more comfortable with the language. That's been my motto here.

But it doesn't mean that life is getting any easier. You would think that because I've been out here for almost two months now, I would kind of get used to the program, but that is not the case. There's so much I always need to do. But at the same time, I have experienced greater rewards as time has gone on here.

 It's always fun to go proselyting next to schools, because everybody just stops and stares at me, and when I try to go up and talk to them, they just continue to stare shamelessly. I suppose I'm the first young American they have ever seen. (There are a few ex-pats here, but they usually seem a bit odd).

Additionally, when I go proselyting, people are sometimes quite amazed to hear an American speaking Tagalog (in the middle of nowhere). But it often leads into a great conversation that allows me to practice my conversational (i.e. non- teaching) skills, which is nice. That's definitely one of the more rewarding parts of my mission.

I'm not only getting used to the language here, but also to how people say things. Like, if I ask somebody to repeat a specific word in the sentence, they will repeat the entire sentence, regardless of how long the sentence is. They never give a “yes” or “no” answer, but try to explain things more clearly. They're always nervous at first to meet me, but physical touch seems to really help them connect with me. But sometimes, they're very upfront about things. Like, on Saturday, this member-lady told me I was getting fat. I wasn't talking to her before. She just came up to me, and just said it!

And yes, it is sligggghtly true. Frankly, it's cuz of the bread. It's ridiculously cheap, and has a TON of yeast and usually stuffed with something like cream or cheese. And it's delicious. And when I say cheap, I mean realllly cheap. Most pieces of the bread are from like 1 to 5 pesos. 

My companion rarely speaks to me in English, and a lot of times I don't know where we're going, or what we're teaching, or who we're teaching. GAAHH I wish I could just learn this darn language! But, I know it's coming, and I can start putting more focus on other things, like the people.

Hey, I changed my mind. Would you please continue to send DearElder stuff? I really do like it after all.

Elder Thurber

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