Monday, July 29, 2013

Thailand: A Country for Men

Me, Gaew, and Sister Weed at the Lu'au last week.

Seriously, this is a country for real men. Sister Weed and I have noted that every day since arriving in Saphaan Suung, we have seen men free-welding. Wherever. Whenever. No big deal. I don’t ask questions.

But my favorite manly act of the week was walking out of the Peridot House and seeing my neighbor: shirtless, decked out in Buddha bling, pruning his tree with nothing less than a meat cleaver. Because, come on, what is more manly than that? I really can’t get over it.

Ok, so the day-by-day format worked really well for me last week, so I’ll try it again this week :)


We taught Ploy on Monday evening with Sister Gaew (the Branch President’s wife, remember?). Oh, it turned into the funniest Thai and English lesson ever...we practiced our Thai pronunciations with them and then we somehow got onto the R and L English pronunciations—the hardest thing is to tell the difference between the R and L sounds. Turns out if they plugged their noses, they could say the R and when they didn’t, they could say the L. Fun fact for the day!

Sister Na had her baptismal interview! We taught English that night at the church, but it had rained so much during the afternoon that riding our bikes there was a bit treacherous. We had umbrellas in one hand to keep us dry(ish) and the water in the streets was up to our calves. Crazy. Shamuu also decided to break on me...the kickstand came loose so he fell over and the basket came off. So riding home was interesting because I rode home in the dark, through the flood, in the rain, with a basket in one hand and some groceries on the handlebars. I would just like everyone to know that I am now a boss at riding my bike in the dark, through floods, in the rain, with a basket in one hand and groceries on the handlebars. I feel pretty good about it.

We met with an American family in our ward, they are so AWESOME. Sister Becky, the mom, has been having the sisters come teach her Thai once a week. They just got back from summer in Utah so it was our first time meeting with her. Her daughters, Giada and Lizzy, are five and three. Little Lizzy stole my heart, just so everyone knows. And Sister Becky is so fun. Anyway, after that we went contacting at this park, but then there was kind of a that didn’t work out too well. The wind was blowing so hard that at one point I thought we might fall over haha. We were soaked completely. It was CRAZY. About half way through the ride, Sister Weed goes, “Hey Sister Hughes! I have your umbrella in my basket! Do you want it?” to which I said “Um. No thanks, I think I’m ok.” We were both drenched at that point. It was pretty funny, but maybe you had to be there. Haha. That night when we tried to go contacting again, we ended up accidentally taking the wrong SongTaw...and we got we took a taxi home. Haha. It was quite the adventure :)

We found out PLOY COULD GET BAPTIZED on Saturday. So we met with her at the church to explain this all to her. She was excited. So were we. We also saw my favorite little old man, Pa Kiam, at the church. There is an institute class on Thursday evenings. He is the best...he is so old, with the craziest white eyebrows you have ever seen. And he is nearly blind and literally reads his Book of Mormon with a monocle. He holds his book about an inch away from his face. He told me I was prettier than my bike, which isn’t much of a compliment considering shamuu’s slightly broken, but I took it as the highest compliment a mostly blind man could give.   :)

Every Friday we teach English at this courthouse in Minburi, one of the districts of Bangkok. It is always great. And they feed us lunch :) We also spent a good chunk of the afternoon planning the baptism for Sister Na and Sister Ploy! During planning, Sister Weed and I let ourselves get Magnum bars from 7/11.

(Side note: Sevens are the most popular chain in Thailand; we have four within a five- minute walk from our house, and we frequent them because they are actually fantastic. Also if you don’t know what a magnum bar is, they are these amazing ice cream bars similar to Hagen Daas or however you spell it.)

During our studies, Sister Bay in the ward called us in a panic because she and her husband were speaking on Sunday but her husband had lost his copy of the conference talk he was supposed to use to speak on. We made a copy of it for them and ran it over to their house, where they had cold water and fruit waiting for us. They are the cutest couple ever and have this little baby named Japan. Bay joined the church about ten months ago and their family is planning on going to the Hong Kong temple together this November. :)

The baptism was such a great experience. I actually was one of the speakers, believe it or not...which was kind of scary...but I think it went pretty well. Sister Na and Sister Ploy were both so happy. They were all smiles all evening. It was so good. My favorite part of the whole thing was just after both had been baptized and Sister Weed and I met them after they had changed and we got to hug them and squeeze them and listen to them as they told us how happy they were.

There is seriously SO MUCH LOVE in Thailand. Sometimes I can’t even handle it. People just love you and as a missionary you love them back, even though you can’t understand each other perfectly. It's a bit of a miracle; I don’t know how it works—but it does—and it’s so great. This was the first Sunday at church that I felt really comfortable walking up to people and talking to them on my own. I knew everyone’s names and I knew how to actually say things to them. I’m finally feeling like maybe I am actually saying things that make sense :) I am feeling so at home now, and it makes me so happy to be serving in a country where there is so much love. It’s the best.

And to answer your question, I love everything I am studying :) Personal study isn’t really personal—it’s always for your investigators, so I’m studying lots of things. This morning I studied baptism because we are teaching a 13-year-old girl who came to the baptism :)

Well, that’s about it for this week! Today Sister Weed and I have plans to go to Swensen’s. It’s an American ice cream shop that is now in Thailand...every P-Day, baby. It’s our thang.


Sister Hungry

Me: “Hey, nice houndstooth!” (referring to the pattern on Elder Creer’s tie)
Elder Creer: (blank look...) "What is that supposed to mean?"

Brother Dominic: “I’m deathly allergic to cats.” (Sister Becky’s husband, by the way)
Me: “I wish I had that excuse.”

Me: “Sometimes during a lesson I just sit there and try to shoot love beams out of my eyeballs.” 
(I was referring to when I can’t understand what’s going on in a lesson but I want the people to know that I love them. Sometimes I can’t control the things that come out of my mouth.)

Riding Shamuu in the dark, through the flood, in the rain,
with a basket in one hand and some groceries on the handlebars. Boom.
Somtam. It’s delicious.
Our taxi driver from last week. Note how his hands are nowhere near the wheel of the car.

Pa Kiam :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :)

Jom and his drink—MAN SOME.

At the Baptism. Sister Weed, Sister Na, Sister Ploy, Sister Gaew and me.

The whole group.

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