IT'S FREAKIN HOT, MAN.
As missionaries we are told to refrain from using casual phrases and keep our language dignified in emails to friends and family so I figured that intro would be appropriate.
Yep, so the city is way hotter than the provinces. Which I already knew. BUT we are also coming to the end of cold season (which I later found out means just cold at night and in the mornings - noon day is still like 90 plus degrees). So I'm preparing myself for the blistering, cruel heat for which the hot season is infamous. I am told that last year, Siem Reap ( the far-away province with Angkor Wat) reached like 113 degrees or something crazy like that. So at least I'm not in Siem Reap. Guys, THIS is my personal refiners' fire. Pun 100% intended.
SO anyway the big news of the weeks, across my whole zone, is that I look like Satan. I GOT A BLEED IN MY EYE HOORAYYY. Don't worry I've got great pictures of that, but you can choose whether or not you want to put them on the blog because i look like a frog. It started out as a little bleed spot and is now covering half of my eye. I just woke up and it was there. But as per usual, I just ignore all my injuries, and it didn't hurt at all so i was like ëhh" and just let it be. Until Sister Homer and Sister Von were like uhhhhh no you have to go see Sister Moon. So we sent some pictures to a guy in Hong Kong who sort of watches over the health issues of all the missionaries in Asia, and he said, "This is a classical subconjunctival hemorrhage. It will turn green and yellow before finished but no concerns." So I literally look like the devil. All of the Elders saw it and were like "WOAH THAT'S SO SICK"and all of the sisters were like "please dont look at me from that direction." It's been about a week now and I'm starting to grow quite fond of it. Ive been told it will last for probably a couple weeks but who knows. Anyway, Sister Von think I'm scaring all of our investigators. Which is totally plausible. But, as Khmers do, they have no shame in pointing out the fact that I look weird.
Which brings me to my "Fat Quote of the Week"!!! I had been in the city for like 5 days and not a soul had called me fat, so I was thinking that maybe the city is a little more refined and that they might not comment on fat-ness quite as much. Not so. The other day we were with a recent convert and Sister Von and her were on the topic of cooking and Sister Von told this lady that I don''t eat anything. In my defense i had the flu last week so i really wasnt eating much at all (my health has just gone to the birds since ive been in Tuolkok). So this member goes "If you dont eat anything then why are you so fat?" Strike one.
My answer to her would probably be ceek chap. ceek chap is one of my favorite snacks. its little crunchy banana chips. when i first got here i loved eating it thinking ÿay, ive found a healthy snack, just little baked slices of banana with some sugar sprinkled on top!" I cant tell you the level of disappointment i felt when Sister Kong told me that ceek chap is not baked. its FRIED in butter and sweetened condensed milk. So there goes that. Ive been alive long enough to know that nothing that tastes good is good for you. thats just a fact. ive been duped again. Although I have found that I enjoy one snack they eat here all the time. They eat sour mangoes. Like SUPER sour. not ripe at all. bright green mangoes. and they dip them in a really spicy chile pepper salt. I guess the salt counteracts the sour, but the flavor combination is WEIRD. the first time i tried it i almost gagged, you can ask sister homer. and its taken me months but now i actually really like it. so family and friends: start the look out now. let me know if sour mangoes are available to buy in america because you gotta try this weird combo that they do.
PS this keyboard is AWFUL - all of the keys are sticking and i gave up on the grammar and mechanics a while ago.
Anyway, this week we spent a lot of time at the tracks. So remember me telling you last week, the tracks are the traintracks that people build their houses right next to and theyre houses are just built on garbage and mini oyster shells (another favorite khmer snack) and its super poor. Thats where half of our members live. But there some of my favorite members so its all good. we just try not to go there at night when things get sketch and its all good. Anyway, we sort of had a miracle happen with a less-active family this week. We were on the tracks trying to decide which way to go and SIster Von turns around to this totally random lady and just asks her äre you a member of our church?" like just completely out of nowhere. And the lady says YES! So we follow her behind a couple alleys and she leads us to this house where we met her sister and her sister's husband, and theyve got this huge family - ALL inactive members. But they dont hate us or anything! they were totally happy to see us. They're down on their luck and super pibaak cet (this is a khmer phrase that means "difficult heart"so you can interpret that how you please). But we talked to them for a little bit and the husband who hadnt spoken much the whole time (I think hes a little slow and shy but he has the sweetest spirit) just pipes up from the corner and says, "we try again". This family has probably been long forgotten since they stopped coming to church, but all they needed was for someone to go visit them and let them know that they still have a home in the church. God still loves them, all of that cheesy stuff. Anyway, we went home and I was looking through that huge binder of CBRs of less active people and I found their CBR: I had been looking at it that exact morning trying to study it and figure out who they were! So crazy! Even though a lot of people don't like working with less-actives, because bringing people back to the church is widely known as the hardest kind of missionary work, I am super grateful for the opportunity to work with people like this. They need our help too!
So another fun story from the tracks: I made a toddler cry. Just by being my regular self. i was just standing on the tracks and looking down an alley, not sure where we were going and this little girl was just standing a couple feet away from me staring at me and she just ERUPTS into tears. like screaming, crying the whole nine yards. And i was just dumbfounded, no idea what happened or why she was crying, and sister von just starts pushing me from bewhind saying "sister go, lets walk, move this way" pushing me down the alley, and im all confused not really moving and im like "wait,. whats going on whats the problem?" and she just starts pushing me on my back and says "its YOU sister, its YOU, just go" and we walk down the alley and im like äre you joking? shes crying because of me?" and sister von is laughing being like "yes. you white. you scary american." ...................nice. I will tell you, I never stop being weird here. Even in the city where there are a lot more white people, its not like there are any white people living on the tracks. So im just this RANDO white girl walking around one of the poorest areas in the city and people are just totally confused. I cause a scene wherever i go. But you know me, i just love attention. its my fave.
Just a random funny moment for you: the other day while we were studying, it was really quiet, we were just studying separately and out of nowhere sister von goes "Sister, you spell 'gangster' for me?" I dont know where the Khmer missionaries learn these words, but it cracks me up. Sister Von also likes to say "Come at me bro." She also marveled at the fact that I was eating cereal with milk. She was so confused that i was eating it that way and asked me "You like that sister?" and I hesitantly answered yes and asked her if she had ever seen cereal before and she said ÿes, but i eat it different." not entirely sure how many other ways you can eat cereal, but the box has a picture of a bowl with milk in it so im gonna stick with that.
In case you hadnt noticed, ive given up on organizing my thoughts in these emails. Im no longer giving you guys thesis statements and topic sentences, im just throwin it all out there at once, so youre gonna have to figure your way around it on you own. sorry.
I noticed something the other day. For a while ive been confused because I could have sworn that ive seen cars with steering wheels on the left side and on the right side too like in england. and ive been really confused thinking maybe im just crazy, but the other day i found my proof: in cambodia they just drive on BOTH sides. Welcome to the most backwards country in the world. I live here.
So i think thats all ive got this week. The city is wayyyy different from the proivinces but im loving it! The members and branches are great here. getting lots of work done! I miss you all and love you so much!
Daoy kdei srolan,
PS Spiritual thought: Since ive been on a mission, ive really started to enjoy singing hymns. If you know me at all then this is big news because I know how bad of a singer i am and I NEVER sang before. but hymns are awesome. I sing em all day errrry day. So my advice is, find a hymn you like, and then look at the bottom of the page. You will notice that they actually give you scripture references for every hymn. Today I was singing "Come, Come Ye Saints" and read the AWESOME scriptures that came with that one. I really like doing that and thought you guys might too. Mian tae ponong.
Mother and daughter reunited!!!! So glad to be in the same zone as this girl again. We got ice cream!!! they have ice cream in the city you guys!!!!! ALso take note of my devil eye, zoom in if you want. its a doozy.