I decorated our apartment
(complete with a bamboo christmas tree
and philippines style snowflakes)
So, it's pretty much almost Christmas!  Whaaaaat. happened to the time?  So ya, I'm skyping you guys sometime this month!  Not completely sure on the details yet, but be ready.  I'm ready.  As in I'm so ready that this week in weekly planning I had to make one of my personal goals "don't focus on Christmas until it's really Christmas."  I CAN"T WAIT TO HAVE CHRISTMAS IN THE PHILIPPINES!  And I got your packages today!  I haven't opened them because today has been a little crazy but I might be the absolute happiest person here in Pilar:) <--- my smile is much bigger than that.

So.  This week.  I got lice. Welcome to the life of a missionary that's around kids all the time.  I think I've actually gotten it a couple times, but I've been too lazy to really do anything about it BUT last week I was brushing my hair and a couple of big mommy lice fell on my shirt and that was it.  So I've got some handy dandy lice shampoo and a giant ole comb.  In the States, I would have died.  Here, I took a couple pictures and went to bed because it was late.

A Member Family and Two of Our Investigators
The closer it gets to the end of the year, the happier I realize I am.  When you asked me mom if I had thought about where I would be if I wasn't on a mission, I ended up thinking about that for a long time.  Woah.  Not on a mission?  How does that feel?  Have I forgotten what real life is like?  Do I really want to come home and go back to everything in America after this is all over?  Okay that's a joke.  Kind of.  It's so great to see how much I have changed.  It makes me realize why all the RM's come home and the only thing they can talk about it their mission.  This thing I'm doing has changed my life.  Even 6 months into it, I don't know if I'm the same person at all.  But the person I am now is definitely a much better version.  I am so happy.  I'm happy every time I cross the river to go to our less active families, happy every day we leave our house to work (and usually happy when we come home at night).  It makes me smile every time I hear this foreign language coming out of my mouth that people actually understand.  I'm even happy when I have lice:).  Missions are a hard and happy thing to do.
I Love this Picture!

Well, THIS WEEK IS ALICE"S BIRTHDAY!  I am so so so sad I'm missing that AND your baptism.  We'll be celebrating for you here and eating some good food.  And for the annual dinner table tradition, THIS IS WHY I LOVE ALICE.  I love Alice because she is my sister.  I love you because I always get a hug from you when I come home.  I love you because of all the notes you send me and the pictures you draw, especially the ones while I was in college.  I love when you let me pick out your clothes and do your hair and then come shopping with me.  I love Alice because she is a peacemaker and always wants other people to be happy too.  HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MY FAVORITE ALICE EVERRRRRR!!!!!!!
Funny story:  Okay, so more so embarrassing funny than anything.  And that would be the video of me from President Querido that you all got to see.  So the background for that video.  We were at follow-up training for leaders and their trainee's and after our meeting, President came up to me, stuck his iphone thisclose to my face and told me starting now, I had 15 seconds to talk to my mom.  ahhhhhhhh.  Rushed time combined with the awkward missionary status I have achieved make for a great, embarrassing video that you all got to enjoy on facebook.  Also, I couldn't remember how to say anything in English.  So I half apologize for all the um's, awkward smiling, and sad little message to you.  So, enjoy that video, laugh all you want, and hopefully it's better on Christmas!




Our weekly lunch at the Dejesus family, we had a Filipino style Thanksgiving!!!!!
So, apparently this week was Thanksgiving?  I couldn't remember if it was in December or November (that sounds so pathetic writing that right now) but getting all the pictures of amaaaazing American food and my cute little cousins and family made me realize... ya, it was probably this week... ha.  Funny what a mission does to you.  My Thanksgiving meal was probably rice (who are we kidding) and hotdogs:).  

And in other news, it still seems like June here.  December, whaaaat? And it feels like the sun just collapsed onto the Philippines!  We have officially made it into dry season (there is no cold and hot season, just rainy and

not rainy season) and gooooodness, you do not know hot until you live here.  I feel like I live in a fish bowl now, it's is always sooo hot and sooo humid, you just always feel wet.  Sometimes I feel like I should be swimming as I walk:).  Because of the sun, my hair has turned a light brown/red color (who knew my hair had red in it?) so that's pretty cool, and I HAVE GOTTEN THE BEST TAN LINE.  As in it's night and day, black and white, American and FIlipino.  

Exploring a new area (no houses.....) this is the area that will be split.
I got to travel this week a little ways for exchanges, traveling is fun.  Call me a world class jeepney traveler.  I learned lots from the other areas, especially that I like where I'm at better:)  I love Pilar!  

And splitting Alauli is doing just great too.  I like to call this the baby of my mission, my main goal, my posterity after I leave (wait, am I still a new missionary?  Is it allowed to have a baby here?:) ha).  A little more explanation, Alauli is super out of the way, in the middle of nowhere, but the most beautiful place on the planet.  We are the first missionaries to venture out there (and I get the title of the first white person they've seen) and eeeeveryone loves to touch the American hehe.  We spend our days hiking around in the mountains, trucking through the rice fields, and tying our hardest to avoid stepping on the frogs (although sometimes it just happens).  We've been going up there for about a month now, our district president told us that we need 5 priesthood holders before it can become a branch.  Hopefully sooner than that though, we'll get some new missionaries to be assigned specifically up there (that's where I'm hoping to go this transfer...) because goodness that work is going faster than my two American feet can walk.  Even at a missionary pace (oh the pathetic missionary jokes).  We have already found a couple apartments for the missionaries and last month when the district president worked with us, we took a little time to look for land for a chapel (okay, so maybe we are all a little overeager, but just soo excited).  This work is just sooooo fast!
One of our Recent Converrts

As far as my personal movie soundtrack goes.  I have one now.  So I'm sure I've explained how much Filipinos loooooove their music.  And because their love of music, they play it Loud.  The whole city can hear when music is playing.  We usually walk past a couple boomboxes, speakers as tall as my companion, and the homemade sound systems all blasting the same thing.  And it's a great benefit for me.  I've stayed up to date on the best music, all the popular stuff (at least I think so) and what all the cool not-missionaries are listening to at home.  And I realized this week that probably in every hour, every day, in everything we do, we have music to follow us around.  Last Sunday we were starting our work, the sun turned on to full heat, walking down the more quiet, American looking street and they had the classic Beetles playing.  I miss my Beetles.  During our weekly planning, there was some hard core, soul searching Christina Aguliera, we got home later that night to "you had a bad dayyyyy" (coincidentally, not one of our favorite days), and sometimes during my language study in the morning I hear Korean rap that I don't understand as all the cool kids are walking to school with their cell phones playing.  My whole life I just wanted music playing to my mood like it is in all the cute Disney movies, it makes their life so much more intense, so much more relateable.  And I realized this week, that has so happened, thanks to the wonderful citizens of the Philippines.  

Funny story: A couple days ago, I bought something from a street tindahan (I don't know what that is in English) that I thought was a hamburger.  I was so. Excited.  A real hamburger in the Philippines.  I saw a nice brown bun, lettuce, and brown meat in the middle.  Ya, that was a joke.  I took a nice big bite and realized it was a cooked rice patty with palm tree leaves.  

Love You!  Keep it real!