Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Tons of info & pictures

where to start. oh ya it was awesome to hear that bro Gordhammer heard about me! ya i guess i forgot to mention that i gave a talk my first Sunday haha. oops... ya i actually wasnt that nervous, i just knew that it wasnt going to be very long. i think it probly ended up being about 7 mins tops haha. but ya i definitely can speak better than i understand. but everyday elder Trotter tells me how impressed he is with my language. So now its mostly a matter of time really. it simply takes time to have a lot of experience talking to people. the problem is that most people dont speak very loudly, and Tawau in general is kinda of noisy. I really never thought about how cushioned the MTC is as far as hearing the language i was learning. no noise or distractions there, plus i was hearing it from another english speaker (teacher) who was helping me learn. but everyone seems pretty impressed by my language. at least everyone that kinda knows my situation. basically everyone we talk to on the street or wherever is really suprised that we are "sudah pandai malayu" which means we already know how to speak malay. but usually i can only understand about half of what they say haha. its funny because the word "pandai" is used like for literally everything. it is roughly translated into "to know how" but they'll use it like "pandai speak malay" or "pandai ride a bike" or "pandai to sin" used for EVERYthing haha. but it's cool because that makes the language and explaining things easier to learn.

so a little bit more about Tawau. to Carson- yes it will definitely be cool to say "when i was living on the east coast of Borneo" hahah. i really am in the eastern most "big" city in the Malaysian part of Borneo man.    it's pretty crazy over here, just in Malaysia in general. people basically do whatever they want haha. except its okay because theres just kind of naturally a low amount of crime. probly cuz very few people have something of great value haha. but nobody outside of law enforcement is allowed to own a gun. and there is absolutley no tolerance for recreational drugs of any kind. if you get caught with marijuana. death penalty. so thats really nice in a way. i dont know if its a Tawau thing or probly in many parts of malaysia, but a lot of people ride motos around. like halfway between scooters and motorcycles. they seem to think they are really bad-A when they ride around in groups hahaha. it's pretty hilarious. the car situation isnt that crazy here. except all cars are basically compact. i think the biggest like non-commercial vehicle that i've seen people drive is a toyota land cruiser. but its mostly little compact cars that look likea  taller version of the volkswagen golf car. and then also a lot of people have a compact truck from toyota called the Hilux. but the funny thing about cars is they're really small and weak n stuff, but people of course try to pimp em out with ridiculous decals and spoilers haha. and for some reason people will like have a decal that's like some weird english word on the sides of the car, but on one side it'll be normal, and the other side will be the same word but spelled a mirror effect haha... pretty funny. i'll try to take a picture of it this week.

as far as the poeple are concerned, there are a lot of people from the Philippines. there kind of like the malaysian versiion of illegal mexicans in america. they come illegally to malaysia looking for work. but theyre better than mexicans because they dont bring the same kinds of problems that mexicans tend to bring. so we end up teaching ALOT of filipinos. usually they can speak malay, but also sometimes they speak no malay and they think they can speak english haha. the baptism we had when i got here was for a filipina women (filipino for men, filipina for women) who could not speak english or malay, so i guess the teaching went pretty slow. luckily elder trotter had recently baptised a filipino family about a month ago, who are super strong btw, and they like helping us teach people that only speak tagalog. but right now we're teaching a filipina omen who can actually speak and understand english pretty well but we still need translators. shes totally ready to be baptized and her date is for the 28th i believe. obviously i could tell you banyak banyak banyak (lots lots lots) about Tawau right now, but theres other stuff i wanna right about right now haha!

so i dont really have a time limit for emailing, so dont worry about sending "too much" or anything. also videos are perfectly fine so i'll try to send some that i have today.

so i have a crazy story and a funny story. which one would you like first? okay the crazy one. so elder trotter has been teaching a couple, Phillip and Lavigne, for about two months before i came. they have two babies and seemed okay to me. but phillip has a problem. about 30 years ago he killed a man... and wasnt caught. i dont know the whole story and neither does trotter. so basically what president clark had told Trotter was that for phillip to be baptised, he had to turn himself in, and then pay whatever consequences that entailed, and then basically has to be active for close to a year before he can be baptized. so last week we were going to basically tell him that, and of course we didnt expect that lessoin to go well, because of course phillip isnt going to turn himself in cuz hes got a family to take care of and hes got a life. so we were basically going to give him the scoop and expect to not really continue teaching him after thatt. anyways we go over there and we go and sit down (i'll tell you about a typical house later) and as we come in lavigne kind of just leaves. i thought she was going to the bathroom or something so we didnt think about it. we wait for probly about five minutes and phillip goes out to get lavigne. so we hear raised voices and it eventually leads up to a distinct smacking noise! like as loud as a hand clap. we kind of freeze and then we hear TWO MORE smacks! both us have no idea what to do, and the member that was with us also has no idea what to do, the member was a girl. so after a little bit phillip kind of casually pokes his head in the door and tells us we'll have to teach them next time, next time. so we awkwardly and scaredly walk past phillip and lavigne, who is sitting down. she didnt look like she had just gotten smacked, but i guess she had been hit kind of on the neck/jaw. so as we are leaving, we kind of get out of the house complex, and dont really know if we should leave or not. then we hear phillip hit her AGAIN! so the member that was with us kind of peaks around the corner to see what's going on, and we just kind of sit there for a few minutes... we ended up just leaving because we had no idea what we were to do. CRAZY and SCARY. we havent been back since

ok time to lighten the mood with a funny story. so elder trotter's shoes are starting to get a bit old, and the sole of his right shoe is gettin pretty thin. now keep in mind that the shoe probly still has a good month AT LEAST. so he had kind of tried to figure out a way top get nwew shoes, cuz he got them from i think mr mac nad they have a warranty program but there werent gonna give him the shoes he wanted. so he remembers that there are a good number of street cobblers here in Tawau, so yesterday after a teaching appointment we go to one so trotter can ak how much it would be to fix it, and kind of get an idea of what the guy would do to fix it. so we go to this guy and trotter hands his shoe over and asks him to kind of look at it and like give us an estimate. so this guy is like kinda weird of course and like looking up and down the street, not really examining the show that much. kind of like just a distracted guy. so we keep asking him how much, how much, and this guy doesnt really tell him anyhting, and then all the sudden this guy rips a fat chunk of trotter's insole out hahahhahah! it was priceless. the guy was just kind of looking around and whatever, and then out of nowhere he just rips the insole out hahaha. after that he's like, "ya this shoe needs to be fixed..." hahahaha at this point trotter is just fuming cuzs his shoe is now ruined. so trotter doesnt really have a choice now but to have the guy fix it. i actually started taking video at this point so hopefully i'll be able to send it later haha. so what the guy ended up doing was cutting the rest of the insole out and replacing it with this stiff, flat piece of rubber/foam. haha so it takes a while to do it and of course trotter just hates the guy. the guy also wanted 25RM (ringat malaysia) for the job, which is way too much haha. so trotter was luckily able to talk the guy down to 13RM. but ya, it was hilarious. i was jsut like laughing the whole time, and trotter was just basically awe-struck haha. so i've learned my lesson. if i ever need new shoes, im just gonna buy some hah. oh ya speaking of shoes i LOVE my shoes. and as much as i hate to admit it, the black slip-ons are wayyy comfy. so thank you dad haha

so my house/appartment is wayyyyy nice. basically we live in a complex thats like half a hotel and half an appartment complex. but ya a normal house in malaysia doesnt even compare to our place. i'll take pictures for next week. so there are basically two kinds of housing in Tawau. you have what are called "kampongs" (pronounced com-pong; pong with a long o) which are like really big groups of sketchy wood houses that are built like all together. it's hard to explain but i have pictures and videos. and then there are like concrete or like non-wood housing complexes. which look kind of like smaller suburban houses, except like flat roofed and smaller. i might have pictruers but imagine like the first floor of a normal house, and then put anywhere form six to ten families in it. like the first floor of our house, but split into 10x10 ft squares. usually this is all a family has, but also usually families arent over 5 people. but ya it's crazy. hopefully i have some good pictures and i can send my videos. so when people see the picture you sent of our house, they are like amazed of course. i think i'm gonna take it out of my photo book because i feel like guilty when i say that's my house... i just never realized how much we have and how blessed we are. you really cant know what true poverty is until youve seen it first hand. you can see pictures and hear about it, but you'll truly never know until you see it. it sounds sad but the people here arent really affected by because they just dont know what they dont have, so a tiny little wood house is just normal for them.

so as far as the whole money situation goes. it's all figured out. i guess there was like a block on my account because it was international, which is understandable since i didnt tell wells fargo haha. so no worries there. i wont really need to take any personal money out unless i decide to buy an external harddrive. but i dont think that'll be soon. and when i do it'll probly be around 100USD. but ya $300 in my account will be PLENTY haha. considering that's almost a 1000 ringat haha. I always love hearing about anything and everything! and from ANYONE hahaha. oh ya also that earthquake was not felt by me at all. the senior couple here mentioned it to us but i guess nobody even died where it happened. ya as far as natural disasters go, malaysia and singapore have virtually zero. indonesia basically takes ALL the brunt of any storm that might go towards us haha. no worries at all there mommy :)

I love you all so much and cant wait till next week!

so after seeing my pictures, i have forgotten about other stuff i wanted to write about haha

so in malaysia, Mcdonalds is a HUGE deal. like im not k\joking at all all when i say it's one of the nicest, if not the best, restaurants in town. poepl go there like for dates. the building itself is quite nice. they bust your table at mcdonalds here. it is a thing a beauty. anyways, i forgot to tell you that i went to the city of Sandakan thurs fri and sat this week because trotter had leadership training in Sibu. Ya so i bussed 7 hours to Sandakan on thurs and did exchanges i guess with an elder there, because his companion also had leadership training. so sandakan already has a mcdonalds, so of course thats where i wanted to go for lunch. thats where these pictures were taken. Tawau is opening a McDonalds THIS FRIDAY!!! nobody has ever been this excited for a mcdonalds in the whole world haha! ya so thats the scoop about mcdonalds. we also have a KFC and a Pizza Hut but they're not the same as american ones. thats why mcdonalds is so great, its the same as in america.

a view from our place in the morning. pretty sweet view!

 so there is a picture of jon paul, who is the son of that family i was telling you about. they are Myla and Tony, and this is their son. he's pretty funny. likes to run around naked hahaha. he's five. they're filipino and they are awesome. Tony is one of the few members who owns a car and he is always willing to bring people to chruch. 

 also pics of some jungle on my way to Sandakan. 

 also a pic of some investigators that are pretty solid (that's elder Trotter) (haha i guess i'll tell you more about him next week :D)

 a "megamac" which is like a double big mac haha. i did not get that but i probly eventually will haha. 

 a couple pics of the water kampong here in Tawau. its crazy, it goes out over the ocean, and the whole thing is supported by skinny little stilts. I took a long video of it but i dont think the videos want to work right now. i may end up putting them on one of my flash drives and sending them to you. cuz there are some pretty awesome videos i took.

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