Cumriabsua's all around!!!!
The first full week after the new transfer was full of ups and downs. Let me just start with church yesterday, where a couple awesome things happened. First of all, Om Sokha came to church (she's the old less-active member who we work with a lot and she came back to church! I love that woman to death). And on that note, she sat in the row behind me, so at one point I was looking over my shoulder trying to see out the door and she saw me looking in her direction and I KID YOU NOT this 70-something year old woman gave me the head nod. Like the quick, "sup" head nod with the eyebrow raise. And I did it back. And then I died of laughter right in the middle of church. I wish you guys could meet her, she is so awesome.
SECOND cool thing to happen - I am actually teaching Luna Lovegood now so thats cool. Seriously. She's this Russian girl named Sveta (why is a Russian living in Cambodia you ask? I still havent figured that one out.) She's just a wisp of a thing and she has translucently white skin with hair thats long and wavy/frizzy that is so blond it just about glows, and she wears long, purple and pink and blue peasant like flowery dresses and skirt and she just sort of floats in and out of places. She's really quiet but seems nice. She speaks english with a heavy Russian accent and we're teaching her for the first time today! SO yeah. I'm teaching Luna Lovegood. Tell your friends.
I have another investigator named Ming Sophea and she's been super awesome the whole time and loves learning with us, but her work wouldn't let her come to church on Sundays. But this past week she told us that starting next week she should be able to come to church! I was SOOO happy when she said that I was literally speechless. I had no words other than "khnom sabay cet khlang meenteen" --> "I have a very happy heart." Ming Sophea's house is just like a cement box, probably 5 feet by 5 feet, and only maybe 4 feet tall. She sleeps with her son, cooks and lives in this tiny little shelter that's in the basement of an actual house. It kills me, but it also makes me love her more. She's awesome. So that's what's going on with some of my investigators right now.
But back to Om Sokha for a bit, because I wanna say something about less-active members that I realized. I know I say that I really like working with less-active members. So true. Maybe it's just the ones in Tuolkork, but I love working with them and teaching them. They are some of my favorite people to go visit. But anyway I realized something when Om Sokha came to church. Obviously, its way exciting when an investigator progresses well and gets baptized. Hooray, super happy, exciting, all that jazz. But I realized that I am EQUALLY as sabay when a less-active comes back to church. If not, more excited. When I saw Om Sokha come up the stairs and walk towards me in the church building I almost dropped everything I was holding so that I could wave my arms and jump up and down and be like, "OM!!! OM!!!!!!" I had the biggest smile, I was almost laughing and I was just sooo happy to see her. When a less-active member becomes active in the church again, missionaries call it a "rescue." And especially in Cambodia that's a huge thing. (I think I mentioned once before that the church here has over 10,000 members but less than 3,000 are active and that statistic makes me want to vomit.) One of our mission goals for the year of 2014 is to have 800 rescues. It's hard work, but I think it was President Hinckley that said a while ago that a rescue is just as good as a new convert baptism. Just as good! Just as important! And when that happens, I am just as happy! So anyway, a cool realization.
Another realization I had this week. I know that in my emails I frequently call myself a fool. That's because it's true. HOWEVER, it baffles me to think about the person I was before my mission by comparison: what....a....FOOL. Sister Kohler and I were talking about efficiency and using your time well, especially on a mission. When we're only here for such a short time, its important that we work work work every single second and not waste any time. And my first thought after we finished that conversation was this: "Hey Chloe, remember that time when you were in your dorm room and McKenna was gone for the night and you spent 9 STRAIGHT HOURS watching the first seven episodes The Walking Dead?" (shoutout to Mommy and Daddy for paying for my college education). I was the QUEEN of wasting time before my mission! Wasting time was my favorite activity! And now I'm just on-the-go all the time and I can't imagine going home and acting the way I used to. Every single night, I go to bed totally, completely exhausted because you just never stop moving. You get time to eat lunch in the middle of the day, and then you just go and go and go for 7 hours and then you go home and study some more. I'm always tired and I LOVE it! Because I know that it means I gave my all and did something worthwhile. Now, I would hate going to bed without having done something significant during the day. There were days before my mission where I would wake up, watch TV, put on pants just to go and buy myself some food, and then come home and watch TV some more. And then i went to bed. What the freak man! I spent 20 years being (in Daddy's words) a little sod when I could have been actually doing stuff. Here's another great anecdote from those days I spent in Helaman Halls: One evening,I was sitting at my desk with no one to play with because McKenna was at her musical practice, and I actually spent probably a solid 2+ hours cutting the split ends of my hair. That's all. (Notice how most of these things happen when McKenna is gone.......?) I was such a fool you guys. I still am, but now I'm a fool that studies and cleans dishes and stuff. You probably won't recognize me by the time I come home.
Also, when I come home, I fear I will probably have the worst manners EVER. In history. Surprise, surprise, Cambodians don't value politeness and manners in the same way we do. The way they eat, the things they talk about, it's just not there. One example from this week that Sister Kohler and I were laughing about for a long time: There's this one woman in our ward, she's the one who had an FHE at her house a couple weeks ago that I sent pictures of. I think I described her as the "classic Cambodian mom." Her name is Ming Phaa. I took Sister Kohler to her house to meet her this past week and we sat down next to her and she randomly starts pushing my arm, like trying to push me away and she goes, "I just farted, go stand over there." So we did. Then we came back and sat down again. But here;s the kicker: It happened AGAIN. A second time, she was like "I farted again, get up and stand over there." And that's just totally normal here. I don't exactly go into detail about those kinds of things, but I will say that my eating has become probably quite horrific. SO watch out for that.
Speaking of eating, I found a "Thai Market" not even two minutes from our house and it's literally a grocery store. So guess what Sister Kohler and I have been eating this week? MILK. AND BREAD (like a real portuguese loaf) AND CHOCOLATE. I swear you guys, I ate rice like maybe only two or three times this week. WHo needs rice when you've got bread?!?! But its okay, remember because SIster Kohler has me running every morning now. And when you run, you can eat whatever you want. Thats the rule. Right mommy? I also bought (drumrolllllll) CHEESE. I actually haven't eaten cheese AT ALL in about 5 months. When I took the first bite, I'm not even joking my tongue started to tingle. It was so weird, but I was like dang, dairy products are awesome.
But here's the best part. You guys will NEVER in a million years guess what I found at this store:
HOB NOBS. I FOUND HOB NOBS. Yes, the British chocolate cookie that was always present during tea time at Grandad's house. (Daddy, confirm or deny: McVitie's is the brand right? I want to make sure I didn't get some stupid knock-off Hob Nobs). It has a little union jack flag on the wrapper so I'm pretty sure its legit. That's really all the assurance I need.
Also, one other thing I want to tell you guys. BEcause SIster Kohler finishes her mission after this transfer, she's going crazy on the souvenirs. She wants to go to the bug phsaas pretty much every week and i'm LOVING IT. So last week, I went CRAZY. When you see the numbers in my bank account and how different it is from when I was in KC, thats because I've got access to all the awesome phsaas in Cambodia and the things I have bought for you guys are just.....awesome. You're gonna love it. I'm seriously just going to be throwing things at you when I come home. Bags, shirts, scarves, wallets, skirts, pants (all of which have elephants on them, don't you worry). I have no self control. I just tell myself that I have to spend a lot of money because I just love my family so much. That's a reasonable excuse right?
Okay so I'm pretty much done for this week. Sorry if I repeat myself a lot in my emails? SOmetimes I feel like there's only so much to talk about and then I'm like...oh yeah. You're in Cambodia. You can find something to talk about. Sister Kohler is awesome. Super chill, but also a super obedient, super hard worker and I'm LOVING IT. We're doing well. This is a tough area but I really love the members and I'm still loving being in the city. I miss you all a TON! And I love you all so very much!
PS Here's a quote that Alex Lysenko sent me last week that I super duper loved and I want to sen it to you guys too. CS Lewis rocks my socks. Always has. Sister Homer and I decided we wanted to take a CS Lewis class together when we go home. He's the best:
“Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right, and stopping the leaks in the roof, and so on: you knew that those jobs needed doing and you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably, and does not seem to make sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of– throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were going to be made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.” - CS Lewis
I joked to sister homer that she should buy a parenting book (i dont know if this is the case in other missions, but in our mission we use a lot of weird lingo e.g. Your trainer is called your "mom" or dad if youre an elder) and she actually went and bought one before english class. She cracks me up.
Sister Kohler had to get a root canal redone and I got to sit cit 2 ft away from her the whole time while they were drilling into her mouth and ripping her tooth out. You know how much I love the dentist.
Also at this dentist, they make you take off your shoesd before you walk in (thats just a normal custom in asia) but they also give you white crocs to wear around the dentists office. I thought it was the funniest thing in the world. PS this dentists office is the cleanest place ive been to since being in cambodia. I was just wanna go hang out there its SO NICE AND CLEAN.
This is really yummy baeng houy that Ming Srei made for us.
Sorry I didnt take lots of good pics this week. these are kinda boring I know.