Dear friends and family,
Well, I bet you have all been sitting on the edge of your chairs just waiting for news if I have been transferred or not. Surprise! I have been transferred! Everyone was surprised except for me because most people don't get transferred after their first transfer, but I told my companion that she should not doubt what revelation I had received, no matter what revelation she received about whether or not I would move. :) I guess I was right and I moved early this morning. I am now in Tucheng, which is close to Xindian and is in the same area but not the same zone. My new companion's name is Sister Bernardo and this is her last transfer, so that will make 3 companions in 3 transfers for me. Wow.
A few thoughts about moving: I am both excited and sad. I am sad, of course, to leave the wonderful investigators and members in Xindian--I feel like I put my whole heart and soul into them and a part of my heart has been left there. I didn't realize I could love people so much after only 6 weeks! I am excited, however, to have a new companion and learn new things from her and to meet new people. Plus, in Xindian we had two wards that met at the same time so Sister McGhie and I had to split up each week so we could go to both wards. This freaked me out, especially if we had new investigators attending, because I definitely can't take care of them in Chinese! Plus, how was I supposed to communicate with the members that one of them was supposed to be my temporary companion when I couldn't remember the word for Sunday School? Really, Sundays were just so stressful. :)
I am getting used to having a companion with me all the time and today when I moved I had to ride the subway alone. It was weird to be without a companion especially since I had to switch trains 3 times! What if I got lost and I didn't have a companion with me? But don't worry, I made it just fine and I didn't even get mugged. :)
Ok, and now for some news of Taiwan. Last week I talked about a "spiritual awakening" or realization that I had, so this week it will be some funny stories about food. When people heard I was coming to Taiwan they told me that I would eat all sorts of weird food, which is true. I remember my first meal that I ate in Taiwan after leaving the mission office--it was at a member's house, and they gave me a small bowl and chopsticks and then set everyone loose on a table full of bowls and plates of strange looking bright colored things that squished when I poked my chopsticks into them. I survived, though, and most of the food was even good. I quickly learned not to stick my chopsticks into my rice and leave them there (I think it is some sort of death rite--the first time I did it my companion freaked out!) and I can now use chopsticks like a pro. I even eat cereal with chopsticks. (Just kidding.)
But, there are some foods that I just haven't quite gotten used to yet. For example: the other night we were at a ward FHE with one of our less active members and someone brought chicken feet. To eat. Of course, since I was new and had never eaten them before everyone encouraged me to eat them. Who could say no with that kind of pressure, so I took one and pretended it was the best thing I had ever eaten. Really, it wasn't--it was a real chicken foot, with toenails attached still, and all that is edible (I think it is edible) is the skin--so you just gnaw it off the bones. It was an experience that I don't really want to repeat. But I did eat it with my chopsticks :).
And finally, Saturday we went to visit a less active member. She lives at the top of this mountain and it is so steep we have to walk our bikes up. Going down is fun though. :) The weather has actually been quite warm so I was breathing hard and sweating when we got to her house. Of course she had steaming hot chocolate for us (because the Taiwanese still think it is cold) and she offered us these things that I can only describe as tortilla strips covered with this hot powder. She said they were a little hot but I tried one and it burned my throat all the way down. My throat on fire, I grabbed the nearest liquid, which was the steaming hot chocolate, and started guzzling--which of course burned my throat even worse. Trying to pretend like it was nothing, I grabbed several cookies and stuffed them in my mouth to try and stop the burning. It was really funny.
And now for a list of things I found in the grocery store in the "meats" department. I took pictures but sorry, none this week.
Hamstrings (nope, not really sure how you eat these)
whole fish (you know how you buy hamburger in those shrink wrapped things at the store? That is how these fish were packaged)
kelp, or something similar
There were other things too, but I forgot what they were. I always like to grab the squid and tell my companion that we should eat it for dinner. The other day I was in Carrefour and I was looking at some crabs in a crate when all of a sudden they started moving. I guess they taste better if you buy them fresh, right? :)
I hope all is well. Happy Chinese New Year!