Merry 3 days after Christmas!
FYI my preparation day has been moved to Monday permanently so take that into account for emailing me. It was so good to talk to you all!
The cold is settling back in, it was nearly hot for a few days, and today it is grey and windy and chilly rain. It is good weather to cuddle up with a book, so when we head home after this I will have a good cuddle with the Book of Mormon haha.
I'm sorry I didn't get to talk to anyone for as long as we would have liked! We are told to keep our calls to about 40 minutes and no more than an hour and I was definitely on the side of an hour.
On the 24th, we knew that we were having a mission activity, but it was a big secret. We just knew that we had to meet at the trainstation at 4:15 AM, which meant waking up at 3 since the station isn't in our area. Then a bus pulled up and we got on, and found out we were going north to Sun Moon Lake. Sun Moon Lake really was gorgeous, surrounded by green mountains. That day was special because there were a bunch of Chinese government officials on recess from negotiations there. There were Falun Dafa* protestors meditating all over the place in protest. The best thing about the mission activity was that the whole mission was together! That means that I got to see all of my old companions, including my MTC companions I hadn't see in months. At Sun Moon lake, we saw a couple different temples and took lots of pictures. Then we went to Taichung for a big dinner and short Christmas devotional. We didn't get back until after 11, and had woken up at 3. This would make anyone tired, but when you are a missionary you still wake up at 6:30 and go about your day and you can't take naps.
Christmas was the BUSIEST day of my whole mission. We were still sleep deprived from the two nights before, and for our exercise we just ran to 7 to buy phone cards and ran home. Then it was a super quick shower, talking to you (I missed half of personal study and Sister Busath didn't think it was allowed but I thought it was fine). Then we planned our lessons and skipped the rest of companion study because Sister Busath told some nonmember we would come to the church at 2 when we usually need to plan until 2:30. So we planned, opened presents at lunch, finished planning and raced to go meet Rita, head back to back lessons for a couple hours, then rode an hour to Shaogong where we had a baptism. We didn't have time for dinner, and the baptism ended up taking two hours instead of 45 minutes, then we had to hurry and ride the hour back to the chapel to put an investigator in a baptismal interview at 9:30 PM. Christmas dinner was two minutes long, eating a fast food chicken burgers we picked up on the way to the church. We didn't get home until 10:15 (usually we go to bed at 10:30). It was insane. It was probably a blessing to be so busy, and especially to have a baptism - a white Christmas! But I'm glad our days aren't usually like that.
Thank you all for the presents! I liked everything! The face wash was the one I wanted, thank you for your efforts Daddy :) And the tights and gloves will be much appreciated and used. Shelly, the ring fits, thank you! Now I just need to learn German (is that the other language on it?) Sister Busath says thank you for the stocking. I was also very grateful for the toothbrush - it wouldn't be Christmas without a pound of Reeses chocolate and a new toothbrush :) We loved all the Christmas decorations and missionaries for years to come to enjoy them too I'm sure.
My companion does a "Tastes of Taiwan" section in her emails every week home and I think I will start. This weeks feature: sugar cane. If you are ever in Asia and you see people taking the skin off long poles of what looks like thin bamboo, it is probably sugarcane. They cut off the outside and inside its white and they give you a piece about a foot long. You bite off pieces, chew the fibers and spit them out. It's pretty much pure sugar water. It's interesting to try but not something I will not bother eating on my own. An investigators father cut it for us.
Alright, time is up.
I love you all so much!