LITERAL Winds of Change

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Happy Halloween and Happy November! Can you believe I’ve been in Taiwan about a MONTH?

It’s been a lovely week in Taiwan. It’s starting to get colder–not as humid which is something I REALLY LOVE. It is such a blessing to go outside and NOT suddenly DIE. Haha. It’s weird because the air is even a little crisp, which is SO GREAT but definitely not what I was expecting from Taiwan. It’s EVEN WINDIER too. I didn’t think it could get any windier but it is. It’s pretty funny actually, we’re just riding along and the huge gusts make it so we can’t bike fast, can barely even breathe. It’s actually quite hilarious. I feel rather ridiculous all the time on the bike but it’s SO MUCH FUN too. When we stop people on the street we’ll be like, “have you seen the guys in white shirts riding bikes” and they’re always like, “oh yeah totally.” Bikes, people. Bikes. It’s a blast.

The other crazy change that’s happening right now is that they moved our entire schedule BACK a half hour. Yes, we are now waking up at 7:00 and going to bed at 11:00. Like, what the heck? Little changes like that are so weird on the mission.

Updates

Last week we emailed before our glorious temple day/P-day (like at 5:00 AM) So here is how our incredible P-day went! First of all, the temple was great, of course. Very beautiful. I kind of have a blast taking the train up to Taibei because there are a million gorgeous views of cities, rice fields, mountains, hills, forests, and tons of weird apartment buildings.

You know you’ve arrived in Taibei when….

  • The train is suddenly filled to capacity at Taibei main
  • There’s suddenly more white people around (it’s kind of weird. The only white people in Taiwan are either tourists/travelers, businessmen, or other missionaries.)
  • There’s suddenly more missionaries around (we stick out in the train station like sore thumbs)
  • The train station is super fancy, fancier than all the little ones you pass as you go through Taiwan
  • You walk down the street and finally arrive to the Taibei temple/mission home/jin hua chapel TRIFORCE (they’re all right next to each other. It’s my favorite spot in Taibei. It’s the capital of Mormonism in Taiwan. It’s brilliant.)
Angel Moroni atop the Taipei Temple

Angel Moroni atop the Taipei Temple

After the temple, we went up to President’s house in the mission home building and had waffles! I had so much fun catching up with missionaries from my MTC generation like Sister Bernhardt, Elder Hinckley, Elder Olsen, Elder Woodward, Elder Kleine, Sister Richards, etc. etc. Plus I also got to meet a ton of older missionaries! So much fun.

Then it was only like 1:00 and P-Day doesn’t end ’till 6. Our companionship, and Elders Anderson, Giordano, Van de Graaff and Holloway from our district organized to go to a meat restaurant with one of Taibei’s most hilarious, friendly young adult members, YO! (He speaks English too.) It’s a restaurant where they give you unlimited meat that you cook yourself and ice cream and drinks. It was really good, apparently there’s a better one in zhu bei that I need to go to. It was really good though. At the beginning Sister Apsley started CHOKING on a piece of  bacon and I was freaking out like “I DON’T KNOW HOW TO DO THE HEIMLICH MANEUVER” but then we passed her a bowl and she spit it out. (That awkward moment when the elders aren’t sure whether they’re allowed to save someone’s life by administering the Heimlich maneuver because it’s to a sister. All of them were just sitting there watching her choke as I was freaking out.) Eh, oh well. All’s well that ends well.

And then we all took the train home together and played games. The people of Taiwan who were getting on the train must have been kind of intimidated by a bunch of weird Americans playing fun games on the train. When we got back it was 6:00 PM. And so that was the extent of temple day. 🙂 I loved every second.

The best thing about P-day on Wednesday in Taiwan is that, right after it gets over, you have ENGLISH CLASS! Me and Sister Apsley teach the high-level class which is all adults/older people so we mostly have fun games that we play to encourage them to use their English a lot. So last week we had a fun Halloween activity where we taught them a ton of Halloween words and we had them create Halloween stories. They were super creative! I was impressed. We then had a great spiritual share where we had them close their eyes and follow this trail of string to a pile of chocolate and we talked about faith! English class is the best. Wednesday was the best.

Ghosts of Sisters Past

So after President OK-ed our new apartment this past week we found out that we’ll be moving into it in two days at 11:00 AM. So we’ve spent a lot of time cleaning out our huge apartment. There is SO much junk in there. Weird items included a gigantic pile of old clothes and dirty sheets, some old thank you notes with anime drawings and selfies from Taiwanese middle school students, lots of old church manuals, a really dirty Spanish Book of Mormon, Finding Dory ear phones, etc. It was a blast trying to throw it all away, I’ll tell ya that.

The Daily Grind

  • I LOVE teaching lessons. Those are my favorite moments. That’s why we’re here in Taibei learning Chinese, we’re teaching those who are prepared to listen. When we sit down with investigators in the chapel, or wherever else we meet, a power comes in when we share gospel truths and messages. It honestly feels so fulfilling, more than anything else we do here haha (of course.)
  • I also LOVE teaching English class! It’s such a great tool to share the gospel. Lots of our students aren’t members and every week we teach them a little bit more of the gospel, it’s great for them to just be in the chapel, saying prayers with us, listening to our spiritual shares. Plus we have so much fun! Me and Sister Apsley have a blast preparing for English class every week. There’s technically a manual full of lessons we can use but they’re not very fun so we just make up a game every week for them to play.

Some Last Funny Tidbits

  • BUGS. I have been super lucky and haven’t seen that many so far. Our apartment has been 100 percent free of cockroaches (except for a dead one on the balcony.) However, Sister Apsley loves scaring me with stories of their apartment in Taoyuan where they would have to kill a million cockroaches every night. Cockroaches are basically the bane of everyone’s existence here in Taiwan. Last night when we called Elder Anderson at the end of the night he was telling us, “hey, there’s this gigantic cockroach on my desk right now” and we could just hear Elder Giordano wailing in the background of the call haha.
  • And then the other day we were walking up the stairs of our chapel when on the wall was this GIGANTIC. BLACK. SPIDER. IT WAS SO BIG I WANTED TO DIE. Luckily it was way high up. When I first saw it I thought it was a Halloween decoration, it was so big. But nah, that monster was REAL. All of the members that were in the building were also kind of grossed out but didn’t do anything because everyone other than me thought it was pretty cool. It was probably as big as a football. Sister Apsley started THROWING STUFF AT IT to try to get it to move and I was dying. In the end nobody knows where it went…One of the counselors from one of the other wards said, “We’ll make him a member! He’ll eat all the cockroaches.”

I LOVE YOU ALL!

-Anne

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