Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Sun 9/27/09

(4 separate short messages)


Re: Elko week update‏

It sounds like Boston was a lot of fun. I've always wanted to go there; it seems like everyone loves it who has been. It was weird to not have an email from daddy telling about some adventure he has had kayaking or motorcycling or in boston... :) I love you!


Move Call!‏

Well, guess what family! My first move call is over. Move call is every six weeks, and it is a fresh start. You move or get a new companion and at very least make new goals for the next 6 week move call. I got a new companion! I am actually very sad that Sister Killpack left, she was great. She just knew everything and everyone in Douliu, and we really lost a lot of knowledge when she left. Hopefully my new senior companion and I will manage. This means that I have to introduce my senior companion to all the members and investigators, know how to get everywhere, know who everyone is and their situation...It's kind of a lot.

My new companion's name is Sister Pickering. She seems very friendly and has good Chinese. Hopefully my Chinese will improve a lot this movecall.

The last few days I've been having conversations with people and then started realizing, hey I am speaking Chinese. It is pretty awesome. I know I've been really blessed in my language. I am hoping I will get native companions in the future so I can really progress.

So the other day my companion and I rode about 50 km; we had appointments all over the countryside. In the morning we rode to Gukung to a ward activity. They have their own version of Barbeque here called Kaurou only they do it in the morning and just cook and eat for about 5 hours... Sister Killpack and I were only allowed to stay 1 hour so we rode our bikes. The park was about 20 minutes farther than we thought it was going to be, and uphill. Then when we were almost there, Sister Killpack told me it is the park where the Elders go Spider hunting. I saw a photo of a previous elder's catch; the spider was probably 2 feet long with it's legs; it was as big as the Elder's chest, no exaggeration. It was so big that when they laminated it, guts came out it's legs. Creepy. I am glad our apartment hasn't had any bug problems. The Elders left it dirty but they made a special effort to kill all the bugs before we moved in. I haven't seen any cockroachs so they must have done pretty well.

Sister Killpack and I were really excited because one day we noticed the trees were yellow and orange. "It's fall!" We exclaimed. Then we looked closer... "Are the yellow ones flowers?" Yes, the trees aren't dieing, they are flowering. But it is autumn colors and reminds us of home, so we loved it.

The weather is cooling off a tiny bit though. It is nice.

Well, today is Preparation day because it's move call so I won't be emailing until the Wednesday after next. Don't worry.

I love you big bunches. I sent off the Christmas box today, it should be there in a month or two. The box has passenger pigeons on it. No one open it until Christmas!

FML



Re: Your BA card‏

Thanks Mother, you are the best. I can't wait to have my new bank card. It is such a relief to know it's on it's way!

-----Original Message-----
From: Donna Johnson risingirl@hotmail.com
To: Cami camilla@myldsmail.net
Date: Thu, 24 Sep 2009 21:43:06 -0700
Subject: Your BA card

I think I know why your ba card got eatten- I found a new ba card for you that you never activated (good through 02/13) and I bet your old one had expired so when you used it it was taken from you. I just went through some of your papers in your room to sort out your banking stuff.

FML :-) Mom



A Message to the Missionaries from the Mission Office:

Elders and Sisters

The previous mission record for baptisms in a move-call was 178 people. This move-call you all shattered that record by baptizing 219 souls. You are amazing missionaries. Keep up the good work.

The Assistants

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

9/23/2009 (a series of little email blurbs)

Wed 9/23/09 12:02 AM

I'm going to have an ulcer because of my bank card.

Sorry no letter because I spent my hour trying to access my bank account.

I can't because it wants me to reset my passcode, to do which I need my card number and the whole reason I am trying to get online is to get a new card. I hate the world.

Please send me the international pennytalk access numberand a new bank card would begreat.

Wed 9/23/09 1:16 AM

Finally got my bank card worked out, should be here in 5-7 business days. You guys have access to that account right? Because I can't ever check my bank accounts, make sure my account isn't overdrawn, etc. Also, be sure you keep checking my US bank credit card statements, I try not to use it because they have to like, call down to the immigration office or something and verify who I am. I did need to use it last week because I needed personal money. Not being able to check my bank accounts online is a real bother. Anyway, bank card should be on the way, thank goodness.

much love
cam

Wed 9/23/09 1:21 AM

Sorry no email this week, I almost had an ulcer trying to get my bank card worked out.

It's been a good week, guess what, my first move call is over! A move call is every 6 weeks, and missionaries can change companions or move areas, called to be trainers or senior companions, etc. I don't know yet if I will stay in Douliu or move; probably stay. My trainer Sister Killpack may leave because she has been here for 6 months. I kind of hope she doesn't because I still don't know my way around that well, and I don't know the members like she does. She knows EVERYONE.

Anyway, we went to see the enormous gold budda on the mountain today. Very cool.

I will try to send pictures another time.

Times up
FML
Sister Johnson

Amy
my address is on the website if you delete this emailbut here it is again
Sister Camilla JOhnson
Taiwan Taichung Mission
498-11 Wu Chuan Road
Taichung 404-46
Taiwan R.O.C.
What is your address at school?

LOVE you all

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

lactic acid‏- Wed 9/16/09

Hello Family

Well, great news! We had another baptism last Saturday! The ward was very excited because she is the wife of a pretty active member. Then, on Sunday we were disappointed because we only had one investigator come to church. However, she was quality, her name is Jia lin. We explained the Sacrament really well to her. Then she saw Zhang jie mei get confirmed and heard her bear testimony. After the meeting was over, she leaned over and said, "I want to get baptised! When can I get baptised?" Music to a missionaries ears! She is really great.

Guess what else, I bought the family's Christmas Presents today! Woo! I usually like to buy The Perfect Present as I find them over the space of 3 months, but as a missionary today I had about 4 hours. We want to send our boxes early so we can send them by boat. I am kind of excited though. They probably won't be keepsakes but hopefully at least will be a source of family amusement. I am really bad at suprises, so I better stop talking about it or I will tell you (Amy can attest to this).

So, in Taiwan we eat on the street for lunch and dinner every day but Sunday. The food and vendors are clean here; I got more sick from the MTC food haha. You can eat the fruits and vegetables. People do drink filtered or bottled water but it's no big deal. We have a filter on our apartment sink and I fill up my water for the day there. We sweat a lot riding around in the sun so it's not usual that we will stop and buy a sports drink. The sports drinks taste good (much milder than gatorate) but they have gross names like Pocari Sweat or Lactic Acid Drink. Ewww. At first I flat out refused but I've gotten over the name issue. Most missionaries are supposed to limit how often they eat out. Not in my mission- we are supposed to! It is cheaper than groceries and saves time. It's less than 3 dollars for most meals. There is one grill place that my companion and have been considering, but it is so expensive we are waiting for a special occassion. It is *6* dollars and you can't just go around spending so much :) It is a nice change from Europe where you can't buy a bottle of water for $6.

Hmm sorry this email wasn't the most interesting.

Much much love though.

Message to Donna:

It was good to hear from you, there had been far too few momma dances in the past few weeks.

I hope you liked Boston, it seems like most people do.

Don't worry about there being returned missionaries in the class. You have the calling so you are authorized to receive any revelation you need. Just ask the right questions. In your personal study and preparation, start asking questions. If you don't ask, you can't receive. I'm sure you will do great. 2 minutes left.

I haven't gotten the bank problem straightened out but am calling right after this. Will use Penny talk.

Sounds like you have been having fun

Write me
FML
CAMI

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Sept 9, 2009

Family!

Time for exciting facts about Taiwan!

The Taiwanese are afraid of the sun - they actually like to be white! It is really funny, my whole life I've been trying to be tan and now I am seeing bottles that say "Instant whitening!" facial products. They want to avoid being tan so much they literally cover about every inch of their skin when they are out on their scooters. (Everyone rides a scooter). They wear face masks, crazy brimmed hats, detachable sleeves, even hand covers. Some old lady rode up beside me the other day and said to me "Why are you outside without a jacket?!" with great concern, like it was snowing outside. In my head I was like, are you CRAZY lady? It's a million degrees out and I'm sweating, riding a bike on hot blacktop - no way am I going to wear a jacket!

In other exciting news, about every week I get asked to play the piano for some church meeting. If you are thinking, "But Cam, I didn't even know you still knew how to play! You haven't played since you were 17!" Well, I can't really. There are about 2 people in the branch that are good pianists and when they don't show up guess who is the default sub? Yes, me. My first Sunday I was asked to play the Special Musical Moment in Relief Society as they were announcing it. Yes, it was a special musical moment indeed. I also had to play at a Baptism when the pianist was late. I wouldn't mind doing playing but I'm a missionary-it's not like I have time (or am allowed) to just sit down and practice. So hopefully my sight playing will just improve.

Yesterday something weird/miraculous happened. We were riding our bikes on a really busy, narrow road full of vendors and people and cars and madness and all of a sudden I was on the ground and a car was where I just was. It didn't hit me but I would have gotten hit. I don't know how I ended up on the ground. I don't remember what happened between riding and picking up my bike that was lying on it's side and a car passing. Someone helped me pick up my stuff and about 8 people came out and watched - they thought I got hit. My bike seemed broken - one then the other of the wheels wouldn't spin and the gears were messed up, a piece was bent. Then I turned it towards the bike store to start walking it there and the wheels started to at least turn so I could wheel it instead of carry it. Something was still wrong though- it wouldn't ride. So we took it to the bike store and when I got there the guy said, what's wrong and I said, I fell off and it's not working. And he literally couldn't find anything wrong though I had just tried it and it hadn't been working. This experience was honestly one of the most mystifying 20 minutes I'd ever had, but I feel like I was blessed by being protected and then blessed again that my bike wasn't broken so we could make our next appointments without a problem. I've never felt so much like my life has been so out of my hands and in the hands of something higher (whilst I ignorantly am wondering what is going on). I don't know how to explain it. I just know I was really blessed.

Alright, times up.

FML

Cami

PS tell Benjamin I saw a shirt today that had a picture of a cow on the front with a heart that said I can't stop loving you. I laughed and thought of him. I couldn't decided if it was a good shirt for a meat eater or a vegetarian. Dou keyi.

Also, I'm not allowed to email him or Grandma J. - Immediate immediate family only I guess.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Happy Birthday!‏ Wed 9/02/09

Happy Birthday!

I'm sorry,

I have had rad/weird Chinese cards all ready to send but I have literally had NO time to go to the post office (I bought them 3 weeks ago!). So, you will hopefully get them HAHA

I'm at a internet cafe and there is Taiwanese rap on. Okay that is not allowed.

Hopefully you will get them in the next 10 days or so.

Amy, I still don't have your college address...But I love you!

Sorry I don't have Birthday presents for you but I'm already have my eyes pealed for a Christmas box. :) I always start my Christmas shopping months early when I'm living abroad. Get excited.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Jag ma hallevah jag ma hallevah jag ma halleva uti hundradi ar! Javisst ska du leva javisst ska du leva, javisst ska du leva uti hundredi ar! hurra hurra hurra hurra!

I love you big bunches -

BGBSBK!!!
FML
Cami

nihao Wed 9/02/09

Nihao!

So, it's Preparation Day so Sister Killpack and I decided to go hiking. It was all stairs but it was really beautiful - there are mountains just one trainstop from us. It was so green and lush. We stopped and had personal study and a lookout point. I was kind of jumpy though because the jungle scares me (haha). I don't think the jungle in Taiwan is very dangerous but I am not used to it. My companion had been showing me pictures of enormous spides the day before and I was a bit paranoid. I am such a desert girl. I did not see any big spiders or snakes but I did see a poisonous lizard (it had en electric blue tail - very cool). PS did you know geckos make noise? Yeah, they do!

Tomorrow is Zone Conference so I am going down to Gaoxung for the day. It should be a really good way to keep pumped and motivated. I'm excited to see our mission president.

Okay, can I just tell you this story about him? A guy walked into the mission office and was yelling and had a knife and so the President in Chinese asked him what he wanted. The man said he didn't speak Chinese in Japanese so the President switched to Japanese. Then the man said he only spoke Vietnamese, and the President switched again. The man tried 3 other languages that I don't remember and the President answered him in them all. Haha, the stories about President Hoer are legendary, and that one is true.

Being in Taiwan is wild. Everyday I see weird and amazing things that I want to take pictures of but we are only allowed to use cameras on P-day.

I will describe for you what a bike ride in Taiwain is like. Jump on bike, look down, make sure your skirt isn't caught. Look both ways, wait, cross the intersection. Through a narrow street with the market. Hot pink spiky fruit, fish smell and juice on the blacktop, umbrellas everywhere, hot hot, Guavas and food vendors and knock off shoes. It's narrow and a little slow going because of congestion. Wait at the intersection on the other side. The light is long, the blacktop is radiating heat, wipe sweat that is already forming around bike helmet. Green light, move forward, a half dozen scooters buzz past. Through the city. Infront of houses are folding tables laden with food, burning incense sticks sticking out of the meal, a tribute to ancestors. Wait at light, talk to girl on the scooter next to you. She is wearing a face mask and visor because she is afraid of the sun. Invite her to church and she says she may or may not come. Smile. She turns the corner. Look at the lady in the shop on the corner looking at you. She is sitting a large room filled to the brim with guavas as big as a footballs. Chest high piles everywhere. Green light go, go, go, houses thin into country. Rice fields, orchards with still green oranges on the trees, palm trees. In the distance you can see green mountains. On the top of one there is an enormous golden Buddha statue shining in the sun. Smile, it is cooler when you can ride faster and make your own wind.

Okay, I have to go.
Much love.
FML
Cami

The Countdown