Monday, November 24, 2014

Tons Of Motorbikes, Great Food, Fish Eyes, And Squatty Potties...

 Ni Hao Everyone,

Well, I finally made it to Taiwan and it's amazing! I feel so privileged to be serving in this beautiful place! I didn't get to take a bunch of pictures of the city or country because we've been a little busy. I'll be sure to send some that I have though, because it is awesome over here. Right now I'm serving in Tainan, which actually means, south Taiwan, so as the name implies, I'm in the bottom part of Taiwan. We're in the city. It's a little smaller than Taichung, but it's still a fairly big city. It's crazy to ride around on your bike through the streets. There are tons of little motorbikes all over the place! Literally thousands of them! They always weave their way through the traffic and I've almost been hit many times already haha. (maybe I shouldn't say that...I don't want to scare you. I'm actually fine, don't worry) Taiwan is so different from the US, and I couldn't write down all the cool things in one email.

We got to Taiwan at like 12 am and we were all exhausted. We had a 2 hour bus ride to the mission home, and then we spend the night at some apartments nearby. We had a lot of training! It was so awesome to see all my friends from the MTC. It was like no time had passed at all since we left the MTC. We ate at a lot of cool restaurants. Actually every place we go here is pretty good. I really love the tea! (Don't worry, it's legal haha) There's tea called dong gua cha and it's amazing. They  have tons of different flavors and I'm going to have to try them all. The food is really cheap here too so we just go to any random place and get a pretty big meal for like 2 maybe 3 bucks. I'm getting pretty good at chopsticks already! The restaurants are actually more like eating inside someone's garage with some tables and chairs. We went to a nice place for our last dinner with the mission president though. They had a lot of interesting foods like some shrimp with sweet sauce and sprinkles on it. I also tried some duck brain and fish eyes....they aren't my favorite so far. All of the other food is good though.

My companion is great. His name is Elder Smith and he's been here for a little more than a year. His Chinese is really good and he can speak really well with all of the natives here. I hope I can learn a lot from him. You can tell that he really cares about the people he teaches, and even about me for that matter. He's a good trainer!  The missionaries in the Taichung Mission are really smart, musically talented, and dedicated to their missions.
My Chinese is alright. It's really hard for me to understand what everyone says, cuz they speak really, really fast. They also have an accent and pronounce words differently than what I learned in the MTC. I think it'll take a while for me to understand people. Apparently a lot of the missionaries are saying that my Chinese speaking ability is really good for how short I've studied. They might just be being nice, but I'm really working hard to improve!
Our apartment is huge! It's just Elder Smith and me in the apartment, and it's twice as big as the one back in Utah that I shared with 4 other Elders. I love it. The only problem is that we only have squatty potties....not a big fan. I really hate using them.  It reminds me of Africa, and I look for every opportunity to use the restroom outside of the apartment haha. At least you get done really quick! Well, there's just so much to be said, but I'll wait and say more next time. I just want to say how happy I was to talk with everyone! I really enjoyed that, and it was especially nice that I could talk to everyone one on one. It was great to hear everyone's voice again. Alexa and Ian both sound older already! And when Eric answered the phone, he was speaking in Japanese and I thought he was a random old Japanese guy that I called on accident haha. I almost hung up, but luckily he said my name and I realized it was him. It cost me 20 bucks to talk for just 20 minutes!!! But it was worth it. I love you all very much. I hope you enjoy the winter in Ohio ;)

 The Great Mission Of Taichung, Taiwan
President and Sister Blickenstaff, Center
Last Leg Of The Trip.  Total Travel Time 24 Hours
Boarding Bus At The Airport

Bus Ride From Taipei To Taichung

New Missionaries And Their Trainers


Exercising After Big Delicious Meals!

Looking Out The Door Of The Mission Home In Taichung, Taiwan

Missionary Friends From The MTC

My Apartment In Tainan

A Little Gift From My Trainer, Elder Smith

Elder Stevens With Trainer, Elder Smith

Family Home Evening At The Local Chapel

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