Yuanlin is beautiful. I am serving in the country again (by country I mean a town of 130,000 which yes, is country here). There are green hills and rice fields and orchards. I had forgotten what it is like to just ride my bike for a half an hour and not talk to anyone. No one else at the lights, and then no lights to stop at once you get farther out. In Gaoxiong you couldn't ride for three minutes without talking to SOMEONE. Sometimes it would get exhausting when you just want to get where you want to go. This is restful but talking to less people can mean less potential investigators. My legs also have to get used to the long rides without stopping at lights :)
Sister Liu and I cover two wards here with a set of elders in each ward. Once again I have to learn who is named Lin, who is named Chen, etc. :) On Sunday we went to half of Relief Society and then two both Sacrament meetings, where I had to introduce myself. This was the first time I have been asked to introduce myself so I was unprepared. I only had my character scriptures, and I was proud I was able to read aloud a couple verses. My reading really progressed a lot the last couple months. This whole gift of tongues thing is actually pretty amazing. I've been studying Chinese for about 9 months now, and for the last six only spend about an hour a day in focused study, and I can read aloud. That is a miracle.
One of the things that I prayed for when I became senior companion is that I wouldn't hate my district leader. Every night the senior companion talks to the district leader and reports on our progressing investigators. Some district leaders are very well meaning but give a lot of pressure or too much well-intended advice. My district leader has been very good; he sometimes gives an ideas but mostly just says that only we can receive revelation for our investigators. I like that. He also is American so we can follow up in English which makes things go quicker. His companion, Elder Vaterlaus, and I served together in the MTC and in Douliu so it was nice to see a familiar face when I got here.
Sister Liu and I are having a blast. She is a very happy missionary. We have little communication issues here and there but we mostly just laugh through it. She thinks that I am halarious. When I asked her if I could say "Good evening" in Chinese (the construction was very logical), she laughed and laughed and said it was so cute she was going to write it in her journal. We laugh a lot, which I enjoy. If gospel means good news, then we should be happy! During meals we speak English so she can practice; the rest of the time we use Chinese or Chinglish.
My companion is diabetic but is apparently healthy enough to serve a mission. Then on Wednesday night, we were teaching the kids English class and playing duck duck goose. Sister Liu was very animated, pretending to be a dinosaur or something and chasing the kids when she was "goose." Then she started yawning and stopped talking and went quiet and strange so I tried to give her sugar but she didn't want it. After a few minutes when she kept closing her eyes I called the Mission President's wife because I was afraid she was going into a diabetic coma. She refused to talk to Sister Hoer or take sugar or check her bloodsugar which gave me gray hair. After about five minutes of panic with me on the phone with Sister Hoer she ate some sugar packets and didn't die, which relieved me very much. Oh, it stresses me out. That was probably the most stressful thing to happen this week. So far, I haven't killed my companion or anything so I guess I am doing okay as a senior! :)
Okay, times up,
lots of love
PS this Sunday is Chinese New Years, Happy Year of the Tiger!!!! I guess everything will be closed and we will eat with members a lot.