Monday, March 31, 2014

March 25, 2014 Did I Tell You About the Dog That Follows Us Around All the Time?


It's been a fun week.  It started out last Tuesday with the second part of the Relief Society birthday celebration.  The beat (or "biit"...I'm not sure how it's spelled) was lots of fun.  The evening started out as a "get to know you night" which was great for me because everyone wore nametags.  I got to learn some people's names I hadn't caught before.  Then each of the branches performed their dance and people talked and then finally we got to eat cake.  I think it was a 3.5 hour long RS activity.  Holy cow.  I was trying to translate for Sister Becker most of the time.  I'm so bad at translating.  I can understand what is being said, but then while I switch it into English word order in my head I miss what is being said.  Every Sunday I make the elders translate for the Beckers.  It's so hard!  I'll try to attach some photos from the activity.

We tied for first place for our apartment inspections, so we got a pizza from kwaj last week.  Pizza is so good after not having it for months.

Did I tell you about the dog that follows us around all the time?  At first it was kind of nice because she's a friendly dog, but she's starting to get annoying.  She attracts the other dogs and they come over, bark, and start playing in the streets.  Or sometimes she thinks if we go into a house that she can come in too.  People ask us if it's our dog and we tell them no, but then they wonder why there's a dog in their house.  All of the kids call her "angel" and she supposedly also follows the elders around.

The other night we were home and we thought we heard someone trying to get into our apartment.  We always lock the door right when we come in, so we knew we were okay.  We checked the peep hole but no one was there.  We heard something again so Sis. Tafili called a pair of the elders that were nearby to come check.  They called back a few minutes later:  "Hey, do you know that dog that follows you all the time...?"  Dumb dog.  She was waiting outside our door for us.

Happy birthday to Kate and Annie this week!  I hope you two had a fun time.  Sister Tafili has the same birthday as Kate.  I wanted to plan something fun for her since we just work all day, so I got a bunch of the youth in Branch 3 to meet at a member's house that evening.  Wherever we went throughout the day I invited them to come, and somehow Tafili didn't catch on.  I thought it was pretty obvious.  I told her we were going over to Thelma's house to set up things for a split the next day and she believed me.  We went up to the house and they started singing.  Someone played ukulele and another guy was on a keyboard.  Marshallese birthdays consist of lots of singing-- there are a lot of Marshallese birthday songs-- and then there's a mini iakwe-iakwe where everyone goes around and shakes the person's hands and gives them money or amimono earrings or flowers for their hair.  Then people give speeches and it's over.  I made a cake so we ate that at the end.  I somehow trapped a gecko between the plate and bowl (that had been over the cake) once the cake was finished, and I didn't find it until the next morning when I was doing dishes and found a little lizard fellow in the sink.  I don't mind them because they're everywhere, but it took me by surprise.  The poor fellow was afraid he was going to drown in the sink.

It was also Sister Becker's birthday this week so we got a group of youth to go over and sing birthday songs for her.

Everyone plays volleyball in the Marshall Islands.  People string up nets between houses and they play all day, everyday.  All of the little kids play with marbles.  It's a game called "ping" or something like that, and they draw a square in the dirt and place all of the marbles inside the box and then toss a marble to see how many the can get out of the box.  I don't see how they don't get tired of it.  They'll play it for hours and hours.  It looks pretty boring.  There's also a game similar to Sorry that they draw on a piece of-- yep, you guessed it-- plywood.  they use rocks or pennies as the pieces.  Sometimes I feel like this isn't the 21st century...more like always.

Oh, and you know those small, curved combs that women used to use in the 90s or 80s?  The ones that you can comb your hair with and then leave it in your hair?  All of the women use them.  They also have big, fancy carved combs that they stick in their hair for Sundays.

We had some good lessons this week.  We seem to walk around a lot but a lot of people are gone.  The early afternoon hours are so hard because it's hot and everyone's sleeping.  The streets are dead in the afternoons and then come alive at night.  People stay up all hours of the night because it's nice and cool, and then sleep during the day when it's hot.

The ocean here is full of fish.  That sounds stupid, because of course it's full of fish, but you can just look into the water and see a whole lot of fish.  I've seen some pretty yellow ones and there are also schools of fish all over the place.  It's really neat to watch them.  They sometimes jump out of the water at the same time too.  I want to know how they communicate.  During a baptism a couple of weeks ago we saw a big foot and a half long fish jump out of the water.  I have yet to see another shark though.  

I'm trying to think what else happened this week.  One of our RM friends fought a drunk guy for us.  He got a nice swollen eye.  We're starting to teach the Beckers a little Marshallese because they want to learn and they're going to be here for a while.  We're going to go play Ticket to Ride with them this afternoon for P day!  Dr. Skinner, an LDS doctor on Kwaj, came over yesterday to talk to us missionaries about staying healthy and he also brought Subway over for us, which was really nice. 

Tootles.  Love you,

Sister Ellen Butler

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