Is anyone getting tired of reading my emails yet? I don't have any stories about earthquakes or typhoons this week so I will tell about the heat. It is SO HOT here. I wake up every morning crying because it is so hot--and then I realize it is not tears, it is sweat. When I get to teaching appointments they always have to give me a lot of kleenexes to wipe up the sweat so I don't drip all over their floor, and I seriously think I am in danger of heat stroke. I really can't handle heat so lucky me, right?! :) I am sure that none of you are interested in this but I have developed a "heat rash"--similar to what I had in Jordan but I think this one is worse because it is so humid here. My legs are covered with a rash that burns when I sweat (so all the time) and my arms have recently started breaking out in a weird rash that is starting to spread. But I make it through--mostly because I know that after July is August, after August is September, and after September is October, when it will start cooling down! Of course the heat makes it much harder for me to be nice and happy all the time but don't worry, I haven't hit anyone yet. :) Too bad those fish oil pills don't help me cool down, right? I have decided that I never want to sweat again in my life!
I am not the only one who thinks it is hot, though. I thought I would share several humorous stories to let those of you in airconditioned buildings appreciate how hot it is here. Most Taiwanese people want as light of skin as possible and so don't like exposing their skin to the sun. Lots and lots of people here ride scooters here, though, which means lots of time for sun exposure. Many of them wear long sleeves (!!!!!) but some of them are just too hot for that but still want to cover their arms. So they wear "sleeves"--they go from the wrist to the upper arm and have elastic on both ends. You can take them on and off easily and store them in your scooter until you go outside again. I laugh every time I see them--especially since several people have tried to get me to wear them because my arms are always red and look sunburnt! Thank you, no, I would die of heat. :)
Another thing that is in low supply but high demand in Taiwan is shade. As mentioned before, lots and lots of people in Taiwan ride scooters and scooters get special privileges. For example, there is a space in front of the cars at every stoplight for scooters to wait so they get to be the first ones to go when the light turns green. We get to wait there too--we get even more priviliges than scooters on our bikes. :) Anyway, the other day we were riding out to somewhere and I saw all the traffic stopped about 200 feet behind the crosswalk--and all the scooters were stopped back there as well! I wondered if something was wrong (because the light was red but they were stopped so far back) but then realized that there was a building by the light and the cars and scooters were all stopped in the shade of the building! No one wanted to go up closer because they would be in the sun! It made me laugh a lot.
Let's see, what else can I write about. We had zone conference this week. This transfer we got a new president and one of the zones from the Taizhong mission was moved into our mission. I want to say that I love my new mission president. Zone conference is always so stressful for me at least because they set forth this impossible standard and somehow I feel that I am a failure because I never meet it. Well, before the mission president started speaking I felt that impossible standard once again--but then he spoke to us and it was filled with so much love and kindness that I couldn't help but feel like we are doing the Lord's work and He is directing it, no matter what our weaknesses are. He is kind of an interesting person (and his personality is seriously so much like Dr. Pike it scares me) because he was in the army and he taught 5th grade. He taught 5th grade most recently and so I think he is perfect to work with missionaries. :) I am being both sarcastic and serious when I say that. He is so awesome and I feel that the Lord has called him specifically for the last half of my mission.
In addition to all these distractions, missionary work is going well. I love the people we are teaching and I love the ward here--the ward members don't think I am a missionary anymore but part of the ward. Still a missionary, of course, but the barriers are gone. It is awesome.
Hope you all have fun in airconditioned places!