Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Birthday Week

Mom, Dad, and now ERIC!!

It was a good week, again.

My birthday was nice.  My companion had next to no intention of me enjoying my birthday as something special, but somehow I managed to have a good time ^___^  Elder Bodhaine and Putnam woke up early and made me pancakes, fruit, eggs, and potatoes for breakfast which was soo tasty, especially because I have eaten oatmeal for the past month.  We also went to a 'nice' restaurant at night, which is open and air, owned by some chinese people, really good food, and they have rootbeer, so I got a mediocre rootbeer float.  Elder and Sister Hodder paid for my companion and I to eat at Hartz Chicken with the rest of the district.  In America, I would never have eaten that food.  It is deep fried chicken, all you can eat.  But it was unusually satisfying, and is considered a nice restaurant here.  Any chance there is to get meat or free food, we jump on that, so we pigged out.  Elder Bodhaine/Putnam also bought me a slice of cake from the store, again, very nice of them.  President and Sister Mains called me, and sang me happy birthday over the phone.  Nothing huge, but I really appreciated the little things.  

It is weird to think that I am 20 years old now.  I see it as 1/4 quarter of my useful life spent (I mentioned that in the car and the senior couple hassled me for it >.<)  I laid my bed thinking about the last "20 Years" and realized that there were so many things that seemed really important-- that weren't-- and so many things that seemed rather unimportant-- that were actually very important.  I heard the expression "The youth is wasted on the youth" a lot at school for some reason, and it is kind of true.  There are so many things I wish I had done differently.  I kind of made myself depressed as I thought about all the things I could have done differently to make me better, or to put me somewhere better.  But then I thought about all the fun, good times, lessons, experiences, relationships, that the last 20 years had to offer.  Although many of them were hard, trying, and not pleasant, they all had some way of strengthening/refining me into the person I am now.  It is like a big piece of stone before it is a sculpted masterpiece.  Every sharp chisel, every whack of the mallet, every piece of sand paper scraped, takes something ordinary and makes it rather extraordinary.  I don't think I'm even closed to being finished yet, but it is nice to have a road marker (20th birthday) to look back and see all the distance you have traveled, or how the work is that much closer to becoming the 'masterpiece' you have in mind.  I have also been thinking a lot about time in regards to our happiness on earth.  I can think of so many instance where I measured the distance between where I was, and the next "break" or "good time".  Whether it was waiting for a friday, waiting for class to end, waiting for summer break, waiting for Christmas, etc, that's a lot of waiting!  And then, guess what, it's over!  So you wait, to then wait again.  SOmething I've learned on my mission is that the people who wait are the people that miss out on everything in between.  There are missionaries here who wait for P-day.  I want to be different.  I have found that I am really happy when I find myself in the moment, to make the most of that moment that I possibly could.  You all know that I have never been one who likes to wait around for things :)  (although I could use some extra patience).  Whether it is language study, contacting, or thinking about others, when I try to improve/push myself in that very instant, I feel happy in that I can look back on that time and know that it was put to use.  That was kind of a long tangent, but thinking about how much of the past 20 years were spent waiting was kind of depressing.  I really like the scriptures that talk about agency, and that we can act or be acted upon.  Well I'm sick of being acted upon, and I'm beginning to realize that the only way to really be able to be happy, and to always be happy, is to act for the better.

What else....

OH.  So when an Iban dies, they have a 100 days remembrance thing, so saturday was the 100th day anniversary of someone dying, so we literally had a feast.  Most of the food was really good.  Beef curry, Roasted pork, boiled tapioca leaves, Sego and coconut milk, LOTS OF NASI (rice), unripe mango with ginger.... and then there were some not so good things they made us eat.... they caught a catfish, and scraped out the eggs and served it to me.... I think they found the 'fecal waste' and not the eggs.... I felt sick after that.  Oh, and they had chicken that one of the senior couples thinks was cat.. hahah.

I already bought a hard drive so you don't need to worry about that.

I miss seeing the trees change color and cold temperatures.  The rainy season has started, but it still feels sooo hot.  The other day, I woke up to the loudest thunder I had ever heard.  It literally shook the house.  and the rain was literally buckets coming down.  So far, I haven't been caught on my bike in the rain, but everyone is telling me my time will come..... remember how I hate being wet in my clothes???

And I'm going to Singapore THIS week, not last week.  We leave on Wednesday morning and come back on Friday.  Elder Crum might be there, and Elder Mayo will be.  I am excited.  I think we get some time to go explore the city on our own.

Oh, and this mission is notorious for people not following the rules....  I have heard so many stories of people here.  Supposedly 1/4 of the missionaries here bought their own cell phones!  And media players so they can watch movies.......

I'm not sure what kind of food I want in the package....
The hard thing is that we get the equivalent of $3.50 a day for food, so although you can buy american food here at expatriate stores, it is relatively very expensive...  Just send me some candy, maybe swedish fish, reeses, caramel something, anything really.  Elder Bodhaines mom got a package here in one week, so you should try putting cookies in ^__^ or something that would still be good after a week?

Nothing else that exciting has happened this week.  I can't believe I've lived in Malaysia for almost a month.  Oh, and tell grandma I want to go to Singapore too!  Malaysia is nice though, I love the fact that we eat out everyday... 

Kk I need to go write the mission president, BAi

Elder Robinson

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