Hey everyone!! It's been kindof a long week since I last emailed, not gonna lie. But I'm doing very well :) Still getting used to things a little, but haven't had any problems adjusting. I'm so glad I get to email all of you once a week, I always look forward to telling you about my adventures here!
I guess I'll start things off with a funny story. I had one of those Elder Calhoun moments (from The Best Two Years). It was my turn to share a spiritual thought at a member's house, so I was trying to say, "Would it be alright if we had a spiritual thought?" And the word for spiritual thought is vatsam-pinaina, except I used "fakam-pinaina which means temptation. Haha yep, I asked if we could share a temptation with them. Everyone was laughing way hard and I was a little embarrassed... Haha but at least I will never forget which one to use! Sometimes when people laugh at my malagasy I'm tempted to tell them, "How about you learn English? Then we'll see who's laughing!" Haha but I bite my tongue. The language is still hard, but with the little that I can say I'm getting a lot smoother. Elder Moulton says he's seen a lot of improvement in the last week, so that's good! I even get compliments from time to time from the people we teach. They'll say something like, "Efa mahay amin'ny teny gasy ianao!" (You're already good at malagasy), and then I'll be like, uhhhhhhh... What?? Haha. It'll come around, I know it will eventually.
There were a few questions coming about the food. I haven't had anything that interesting, but give it time. Lots and lots of rice! Just different loakas, or toppings. It's usually beans and some kind of meat. I'm starting to love the rice now! At first it was hard for me to polish off half a bowl, but now I'm able to eat 2 hefty bowls of rice easy. Elder Moulton says I've adjusted to that wayyy faster than anyone else. So that's something to be proud of I guess!
Church is pretty good. Pretty much the same as back home, just not as fancy of a building. And that big ol' language barrier. But it's good. The chapel is on the main floor and there's primary, priesthood meeting, and relief society on the upper floors. This past sunday I got called up to bear my testimony. Just a wee bit intimidating, standing in front of 150 malagasies. But I did it! Didn't say much, just introduced myself a little, said a few things in my testimony, and got back to my seat. I'm glad it's done!
Today we went to this place called Full Point. It was a beach area that was way pretty! Hot as all get out, but very nice. It would've been a lot funner if we could go in the water! Haha, but oh well. We played a little bit of soccer. I'm not really a fan of soccer, but it was fun just running around. While we were there we got swarmed with people trying to sell stuff, like necklaces. It happens a lot out here, people see a bunch of white vazahas and think we're just a bunch of french moneybags. I did give in and spent 5000 ariary ($2.50) from my personal fund. It's crazy cause I don't even really convert the money into dollars in my head anymore. It's probably good, cause if I thought about things in dollars, I'd probably spend a LOT of it. Things are pretty cheap here. An average day of money on food is probably around 5000. Not too shabby! You can get about everything here that you could back home, it's just a matter of how much you're willing to spend for it.
Let's see.. Not much else I can think of at the moment. Here's some random stuff. It's very hot here, and it's only gonna get hotter and wetter until December! That's a fun thought. I'm already dripping sweat here. But oh well, guess I better get used to it! We do ride bikes everywhere. It's fun! Hard work, but fun. We're either riding on a paved road that's busy, or on sand paths. Nobody can pronounce my name. It's kinda funny! At least for their first try they can never get it. Everyone pronounces it Moomfoard. On the streets everyone says, "Bonjour!" and I'll just always say, "Manoakory!" (Betsy Mitsaraka for manaohoana) and they're always surprised. For music, we listen to one of the Elder's cds a lot. I think me and Josh Groban are gonna become very tight in this adventure! Haha. Oh and in my last email I spelled Tamatave wrong. At least "Tamatave" is the way it's spelled everywhere here. I'm glad I got to come here as my birthplace. It's a way nice place! I really do like it here.
Well, I'll get some pictures up soon and say anything else I can think of. I love you all!!
Who is this tree hugger??
The beach at Full Point. The view is okay I guess... ;)
Coconut on the beach! Looks better than it actually is. Still pretty good though :)
My room. Yeah, should probably clean it up a little today! Don't judge us ;)
People swarming around us, selling stuff.
A few hours at church, and this is what the back of my planner looks like.