Monday, November 25, 2013

"It's all good in the hood"

It always takes me about 5 minutes to start these emails because I never know where to begin! This week was a little slow in terms of teaching and big events and stuff but i still have a bunch of things to tell you. 
First of all, I'm just going to go into a little rant about how much I love my companion (which is what I know EVERYONE was worried about for me going into a she going to hate all of her companions?) NO. I absolutely adore Sister Homer. It's funny how much we have in common. We have such similar opinions on things and perspectives. There are aspects of our personalities that are different, but those are the things about her that are making me a better missionary. She's a SUPER hard worker and I totally need someone like that to kick me in the butt. In the sweetest way possible. But the other day I told her how lazy i am and she was like, "Really? I haven't seen that at all! I never would have known you're lazy" that's ridiculous. The mission is changing me guys. Apparently im not lazy anymore. to be honest, I don't really have the choice to be. Anyway, she's also super smiley and really nice, and I think we all know I could use an extra dose of that every now and again. But we laugh so much. We get along so well and because of that we just crack each other up all the time. We were doing language study the other day and Sister Homer is reading in her dictionary. Now, we love this dictionary because it was probably made in Cmabodia by a cambodian and therefore has cambodian definitions that are......less than normal. So she just starts laughing and shows me this verb that i can''t even remember, but here is what the definition was: "To throw out one's buttock to someone to convey a mild insult." WHAT?! First of all, in what culture is that a thing? I guess in Cambodia. Second of all, we spent about 20 minutes discussing the fact that it was a singular BUTTOCK. I don't even understand. Anyway, it's little things like that with Sister Homer that make a rough day easier. I am so lucky to have her as my trainer. 

The only thing that's hard about being a new missionary is that I'm still learning the area and the people. Everyone looks the same to me here and I swear to you, Cambodia has like 10 names in total. Everyone has the same name. Plus in cambodia you call people either "sister" or "brother" or "├╝ncle" or "grandma" based on their age. So for example the word for sister is "srei". so youve got one girl named Miah and another named Mei so their names are "Srei Miah"and "Srei Mei" and theyre both the same age and look exactly the same and........that drives me nuts. I can't keep anyone straight. The language is hard but i knew it would be. I'm honestly not stressed about the language because I know it will come. I'm working hard during language study and picking things up here and there, so I'm not too frustrated by that. I'm learning by immersion. It's exactly what you would expect. The language is the least of my worries. 

On that note, I spoke yesterday in church! It was absolutely terrifying, but afterwards everyone told me that "Sistaa nyiay cbaah!" which means that I speak very clearly. A lot of people have a problem with cambodians telling them that they can't understand what they're saying, or because we have an american accent and look american they'll just say "I don't speak English" even when you're speaking Khmer to them! Super yap. But I haven't had that problem and everyone here tells me I speak really well, so I'm happy about that. 
So I had a moment of brilliance the other day, wanna hear it???? Okay so Sister Homer and I are teaching in Vial Ksaac and she says something referring to the name of our church, which is obviously on our nametags. So she goes to point to my nametag and that's when we both realized i totally forgot to put on my nametag that morning!!! That has NEVER happened to me before. Your nametag is basically your most important and most prized possession. I was in shock. But without missing a beat, Sister Homer reaches into her purse and pulls out a spare nametag she keeps in her bag. When she first handed it to me, I was a little confused because I was like, this says "Sister Homer" not "Sister Davis". But that's when I had my moment of brilliance, ready? IT DOESN'T MATTER. It doesn't matter in the slightest that my name wasn't right because who the heck cares what my name is? The reason we wear our nametag is not because it has our name on it. We wear it because the second we put it on, we become official representatives of Jesus Christ. After our own names, the biggest word on the nametag is "Jesus Christ". THAT is why we wear the nametag. So it doesn't matter that for a whole day, my nametag said "Sister Homer". What matters is that it says Jesus Christ, and it tells people that I'm here for him, not for myself. (To be honest, this was Sister Homer's MTC nametag, which has the church's name in Khmer but our name is in English. So in reality, nobody would have been able to read her name anyway and tell that it was wrong. BUT THAT'S NOT THE POINT. The point is I had an epiphany so just roll with it.)
Here's another story that tells you why nametags are so important. A couple days after that happened, Sister Homer and I are riding our bikes through the city of Kampong Cham and this random guy starts calling out "Miss! MISS!" from behind us. At first we both tried to ignore him because people here yell things at the two white girls all the time, but he straight up just rode his bike in between us and goes "You are missionaries, yes?" (In english, might I add. heavy cambodian accent, but he totally knows english.) he must have seen our nametags and recognized that we are missionaries. We were dumbfounded. We pulled over at a gas station to talk to this guy who's basically dying to learn more. He goes OFF about how he's studied tons of other denominations, like 7th day adventists and jehovah's witnesses and he just wants to learn more. he knew a little about mormons, so we gave him our number and have been waiting for him to call us. Anyway, things like that do NOT happen in cambodia. pretty much no one has even heard of Heavenly Father or Jesus Christ. So it was super crazy that this guy knew so much about Christianity and wanted to learn so badly. Anyway, that was a really cool thing that I honestly thought i would never encounter in a country like cambodia. 

I'm honestly doing just fine. It's really hard to be away from home but I know that I'm in the right place and doing the right stuff, and it's changing me and my perspective so much. Sister Homer also had a hard time at first and she's totally willing to let me go off on a rant about how I want to go home and then she'll just wait for me to finish and be like, "No, you're not going home. I will tackle you to the ground. It gets better, just wait." And after I've calmed down I'm like, yeah. Being here is kind of awesome and I know it's only going to get better. Obviously its hard, but seriously, I'm cool.  I love Cambodia. I love the members here. I love riding my bike down Vial Ksaac even though my butt is more sore than you can imagine. I don't love the smells yet, but I don't think that's ever going to change. I love my companion and the other missionaries here. I just love what I'm doing. So stop freaking out and being worried about me! It's all good in the hood.

I feel like this email wasn't as interesting. Obviously interesting things happen to me, but I think I'm getting used to it so I forget about the things that are normal to me and probably not normal to you. But you also keep sending me emails saying you're worried about me, so I'm mostly using this email opportunity to set your minds at ease. I'm fine. So next week we can get back to the interesting stuff okay? Okay.
I love you all super a lot. (can you tell im losing my grasp of english?)
LOOOOVE, Sister Davis

These kids literally just followed me around everywhere. I don't know them at all but they see the American Sisters and just go crazy. 

This is me drinking from a gigantic coconut. there's guy on the side of the road across from our house who sells them. He just hacks them open with his machete and sticks a straw in there. 50 cents. that thing got me through two lunches. 

This is the road I live on. I took this picture this morning when we were walking to the phsaa at 6am. 
This is the school that's on our road. It's literally derelict. It looks like it's rotting from the inside out, even though you probably can't tell from the picture

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