Thanks for all of the emails this week! I asked Sister Crane to email Annie this morning (well, morning for me) to let her know I wouldn't be online at the usual time. We were supposed to have combined P day in Laura (meaning the west and east zones would meet there for basketball, football, volleyball, etc) but it was raining so they canceled it. We decided to get our shopping out of the way before doing email, and then we heard combined P day was canceled once we were already on our way to town. But it was kind of nice to go into town earlier in the day because we ran into people at the grocery store and hung out for a while.
Transfer calls! I am staying in Laura with Sister Samuel AND we're getting one of the new sisters! I think it's going to be a lot of fun to be in a trio. She's from Samoa, but that's all I know about her. They arrive on the 14th, so we still have a week and half. Sister Seegmiller is training the other new sister (a ripelle from Australia) in Delap. So that means we're going to be getting another bike soon. I think it's going to be good. It'll be nice to have more people to clean and cook and help out, because sometimes we get really tired. Transfer calls were also pretty fantastic because I found out that a certain elder that I don't get along with is getting shipped off to an outer island soon. Best news ever.
I'm also excited for other changes in our district...I think the van ride to town is going to be a lot better (a change of music is going to help a lot there) and getting some elders that know how to communicate is also going to help.
We got some waini (brown coconuts) from members this week. I learned how to scrape out coconuts, which is actually really easy. I'll send a picture of me using the "raanke" which is the scraper. We made a german chocolate cake, but then ants ate the coconut pecan stuff before we put it on the cake, which was sad.
Scraping out waini using the raanke.
Yes, I got your package, mom and dad. Thank you so much! The spices are wonderful. I've also really been enjoying the dried cherries and prunes. I really like the skirt too. I've worn it a few times now. It smelled like spices the first time I wore it...and now...yeah, I think I need to wash it. Thank you! The calendar is also very helpful.
We had a district Halloween potluck dinner in Arrak at the elder's place on Thursday evening for Halloween. I made a big pot of chili beans with my new chili powder! It was really tasty. We also took the chocolate cake and a bowl of fruit. It was nice to hang out with everyone from the district. Sister Crane was on an exchange that day in Ajeltake, so she was also there, which was great to see her.
District photo in the Ajeltake Sisters' house. Their house is so nice.
I learned to make namu namu this week, which are basically crepes/pancakes that have very little egg and lots of water in them. They're good with nutella, but I don't really like them since crepes are so good because of all the eggs in them. But finally I know how to make a Marshallese food other than rice and chicken and fish.
We ate some unicorn fish sashimi this week. Or was that last week? It had a really pretty blue and silver skin that was kind of like shark skin (you know, you pet a shark one way and it's smooth, and the other way feels like sandpaper).
It's rained every single day this week. Holy cow. And it just comes down in buckets and buckets. I learned from an elder today that when it rains like that in the outer islands, the elders don't go out because it's bad manners to go visit people when it's raining.
Our jilubukwi of bananas is already gone. Actually we have a few left that we put in the freezer because we couldn't eat them fast enough. So tasty.
The most disgusting thing I saw this week was a cat eating a dead rat inside of a house. Another cat came up on the first cat, and the cat snarled and got pretty angry. There was rat blood all over the cat's face.
Saturday morning Sister Samuel and I went to an investigator's house to help do service. We weeded a big portion of her garden (or jikin kallib) with machetes. It's pretty fun weeding with machetes. She gave us a pumpkin for helping her (same woman that gave us the pumpkin before). This one is pretty small, but I'm excited to eat pumpkin again. I learned that pumpkin is "paanke" in marshallese and it sounds kind of like "pancake," and they don't have a different word for pancakes in marshallese, so sometimes I don't know if they're talking about the vegetable or hotcakes. But both are good, so I always say I like them.
I've been missing the world series, but I did get to play in a baseball game on Tuesday. We went to the Jolet's house to visit for a few, and all of the kids and Carolynn (she's 35...daughter of Bubu Jolet) were in their "backyard" playing baseball. So, we played baseball for a while and it was so picturesque. Home base was about 10 feet from the lagoon and the breeze was coming off the lagoon and it was so nice and cool. We played baseball in the sand and the bat was a tree branch, and there was a chunk of plywood for the smaller kids to use as a bat (more surface area always helps them out).
Working has been going well. Investigators still won't come to church. We're really only able to get the teenagers to come. We've been teaching Elijah (12 yrs) and John (14 yrs) and they both came to church yesterday. Their mom, Tomiko, is a member and she's a big help in the lessons. She told us a couple of days ago that the three of them are moving to Arkansas in February to go live with her mom. The boys are going to miss majuro so much, since it's paradise for little, crazy kids, but school in the US will be so much better. Elijah isn't going to school right now, and we heard him say to someone that he doesn't have a uniform...so we're going to talk to Tomiko this week and see what's up. He has a really hard time paying attention, so maybe there are more problems. But John's really quiet and calm and Tomiko told us he got honors on his last report card. We had a baptismal interview fall through for one of our other teenage investigators, but aindean (that's life).
The grocery stores have not had Milo for about 3 weeks now. What is going on? So sad. I got some Nesquik today though, so that should be good. I also got some wasabi peas. I got real food too, don't worry.
Sis. Samuel and I got matching guams (the house dresses) from a member yesterday. They're both tiger and cheetah print, and I kind of love it.
I think that's all for this week. Things just get better and better. Some days are rough, but I'm really glad I'm going to be with Sister Samuel for a while longer.
Combined P day has been rescheduled for next week, so I again won't be on email at the usual time. Actually, maybe I will because we'll have a new district leader and he might let us go email early...we'll see.
Love and miss you all,
Sister Ellen Butler