Monday, September 27, 2010


Dear Family

Today I am a bit under the weather, I think I have some kind of sore throat/achy cold or something. I am taking my Zicam religiously (like the rest of my life haha) and am going to take a nap this afternoon and hopefully will be up and going in time to proselyte tonight.

This week it was Zhongqiujie - the Autumn Moon Festival. I don't know if anyone in America noticed the harvest moon, but they really noticed it here in Taiwan, with plenty of firecrackers, night barbeques and trips to visit family. It is weird that I am beginning to experience holidays a second time around. It was pretty fun but I remember it being a bigger deal last year in Douliu with Sister Pickering. I guess everyone leaves the city and goes home to the country (like Douliu) so that's why it didn't seem so big here. The day had a nice relaxed feel to it, people weren't so stressed or rushed. On the Autumn Moon Festival, everyone eats this green citrus fruit shaped like a pear and mooncakes. Mooncakes aren't very good. Sometimes they have a cooked egg yolk in the middle - unpleasant suprise. I didn't have to eat any this year but still remember last year.

The weather has been nice, it has begun to feel a little like fall. The heat isn't so oppressive and the air just feels lighter, fresher. I like fall. There won't be any spectacular changing of the leaves here, but it is still my favorite season.

Last night I was waiting for my companion to get through a stoplight that had turned red for her so I turned to talk to a girl on a scooter parked by the side of the road. She had tears in her eyes (I thought maybe she had gotten into a car accident) and I asked her if she wanted to come to the chapel with me and I would teach her how to pray. She did, and we had a really nice first lesson. She had been crying because she just recently started college and she was worried about her family at home that doesn't have much money. It was a sweet little tender mercy for her that she could come. I hope she gets baptised.

Funny moment of culture shock: there is an English branch that meets in our chapel just a half hour before our meeting starts. I have to tell you, my first Sunday here it was culture shock to see...American women. I don't think that I saw a white female that wasn't a missionary EVER in Yuanlin (7 1/2 months). It's not just that the women at church were white, but they were like me! They were my same age. They wore clothes and makeup like me*. They wore dresses I would wear and read their scriptures like me. They went to BYU and totally understood English... They were like me but they ...weren't missionaries! They could do anything they wanted. They have a life that wasn't in Preach my Gospel. It was honestly the strangest thing. I hadn't seen a non-missionary female church member (that was not a general authority's wife) since I left America. Anyway. Strange bit of culture shock.

Sister Brownell and I talked to a young married couple that reminded me of Shelly and Benjamin so much! They are from Minnesota and so cute and sweet. They had some cute Midwestern last name and accent and the wife gave me a bottle of lavender oil to help me sleep. I actually sleep fine but that is just what sort of generous people they are (I must have looked tired). The husband told us about his mission in England, Chinese speaking and how hard it was. They were the first group of Chinese speaking Elders in England - an experiment. He developed a tic and an ulcer, only brought about ten people into the church, and apparently it was just so hard. It at least helped me put my own mission into perspective - a mission in Taiwan has it's share of adjustments and hardships but it was nowhere near as stressful as that brother's mission. I imagine his mission was more like Benjamin's in Texas. I so admire people that go to places where missions are so much more difficult than mine.

Alright. Times up. Love you all
Sister Johnson

* Well at least before my mission when I spent more than 3 minutes on my makeup and hair combined.

Cami's email to Donna

I left everything for classes to sign up for in my room. If it got moved I haven't the faintest idea where it will be. Try to figure out what week I can sign up for classes and I will ask my mission president for permission to sign up myself - I think that happens sometimes.

Did Amy tell you about her bedbugs? Man, I hope that that doesn't spread far and wide. I hate the bugs they just have here in Taiwan. They have these tiny black bigs that you can't see too much, they fly and itch like the devil when you get bit. It's terrible. My companion has scratched her bites into scabs many a time.

It sounds like a nice day at the spa! I'd love to go hanggliding or parasailing or whatever it is. What is a groupon? How can I get some? If no one else uses them I'd be happy to oblige, it sounds like fun. Can we go together? And don't worry, I have big plans for the temple. I may just camp there for a couple days haha.

Love you, I'll pray for your houses.

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