Sunday, November 24, 2013

November 11, 2013 Life is Better with Spices

Greetings from Lomar, Laura, Majuro, RMI, 

I'm not going to have much time to write today because we had combined P day in Laura and we decided to email after playing sports...and we're supposed to be out working at 6 pm.  I'll try to write a little about this week though.

We had a really good week.  Mercyla finally had her baptismal interview (after she missed her last few ones because she's been in Rita for the weekends) and so she'll get baptized this Saturday.  We're really excited for that. She's 14 and her aunt is a member.  

This week we got really smart and made a cardboard seat for the back of my bicycle.  My bike has one of those metal frames on the back and so we got a cardboard box and some rope to make it a little more comfortable. Sister Samuel and I ride to a member's house and then the member uses Sis. Samuel's bike, while she sits on the back of my bike as we go to a lesson.  We've been trying to work on getting more members to come to lessons. They help with the language and the lesson.  We've done a lot better with that now that we have the seat. It's pretty funny riding around all over Laura with Sis. Samuel on the bike. Everyone laughs at us when we ride past. Sammy gets a break and I get to pedal around another 120 lbs, so it's fun.

Kia and Kid Kattil.
(His real name is Sylvester.  I don't know why he doesn't go by it.  It's a pretty cool name)
We had a FHE with them last Monday.  This is their entire house. 
I love it though, because there's a place for everything.
There are nails in the walls for spatulas and the kids' backpacks and everything else.

I was telling Sara Jane about the "red tag" expired food area in the grocery store, and then I realized that the whole store is basically an expired food section but with higher prices.  Most of the stuff is really fine, but I always hate buying cheese that's just about to go moldy.  

On Thursday we did an exchange and Sister Huni (from Tonga) came to Laura for the day and Sister Samuel worked in Long Island with Sister Crane. It was a good day for the most part, but I also just felt like it was a test to see how good my Marshallese and teaching skills of course I was more nervous and didn't speak as much. Different missionaries teach things in different ways too, and lots of the time I wasn't sure where she was going with the lesson, so I think she thinks I don't know how to teach. Kind of a frustrating day.

Something happened with the electricity on the island this week...something broke, so the last 3 or 4 days we've only have power half the day.  They let town have power half the day, and then we'd get it for half the day. Everyone else knew what time it was going off and back on again because they announced it over the radio, but we didn't know.  Luckily our neighbors told us the second day.  One early morning our neighbor came over and said "Elon ke jerum?" which means "Is there electricity?" but Sis. Samuel thought she said "Elon ke jeram?" which means "Do you have a good friend?" so she said, "Aaet, e kiki kiio" meaning "Yes, she's sleeping right now."  It was pretty funny.  Once we knew when it would be off we hurried and filled up containers with water for the day and showered and turned the AC as low as possible to cool the house off.  We have a lot of food we need to throw out, which is sad.  We also stocked up on candles this week.  One of our really good flashlights died so we need to get another one for riding bikes.  I want to see if the office will get us one of those little propane stoves since Laura seems to lose electricity fairly often.  We'll see.  

We had stake conference in Long Island on Sunday.  The talks were all really good and I understood a lot of them.  I can't usually understand church, so this was exciting.  A lot of women spoke, and I think that's maybe why I was able to understand them better. I have such a hard time understanding Marshallese men speaking. I was also surprised how relatively quiet it was. Usually the kids go crazy in church.  I think it helps to have a chapel.
Ellen with some girls after stake conference. Mercyla is to her left.

We have zone conference tomorrow, meaning everyone on island gets together in long island and the weirs talk to us and probably the APs too.  That should be good.  It's kind of weird we have one right before the new kids come.  We should get our new sister on Friday, but now I'm not so sure if I'll be in Laura.  One of the sisters got hurt during rugby today during combined P day and they're worried it's something with her knee or if she has to fly to Hawaii or Fiji I'll probably go to Ajeltake and work with Sis. Moeai. We'll see what happens.  

Can I get the oatmeal raisin cookie and green lentils recipe?  Thanks.

One thing I haven't mentioned about Marshallese before.  There's no verb conjugation, but you conjugate some nouns. One example is if you're talking about food, you have to specify who's food it is.  "Kijuu" means "it's my food" and "Ej jab kijum" means "it's not your food," which is often what moms will say to little kids after they've given us a meal and the little kids try to eat it.  It's hard to eat a huge plate of food when the little kids just want some, but if you try to give it the parents say "no, they're already eaten" but they're still clearly hungry.  I have no idea how to spell these words in marshallese, but it really doesn't matter since there's no actual correct spelling!  

Time has been going really quickly, which means my companion and I get along well.  We try to have a lot of fun and work hard too.  I force her to drink lots of water because she always gets headaches.  She doesn't really like the food I make, and I'm getting sick of chicken and rice everyday, so I guess it goes both ways.  I made a really good dish last night.  I fried oil, mustard seeds, cumin seeds, thinly sliced onions, carrots, and cabbage, and some ground cardamom and garam masala together.  It was pretty tasty.  We ate it with baked french fries with italian spices, since that's the only other edible food we had in the house.  Life is better with spices.  

The condo looks really nice, mom and dad.  I like the big open space.  It sounds like you all have been working hard.

I love and miss you all.  Stay warm!

Sister Ellen Butler

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