Sunday, November 1, 2015

Masarap talaga!

October 8, 2015
Dear Family,
Well, another week has past! It was a really busy week! But a good one. Our trips to Quezon, Rial, Brooke’s Point, Cabar and Aborlan were good. It was a little frustrating at Aborlan though. Since we had planned to go out with the Narra C elders Wednesday evening we decided to go to Aborlan abound 5:30pm because they are only about half an hour away and then we would pick up the elders on our way back, at about 6:30, because their apartment is about half way between our house and Aborlan. But when we got to Aborlan we found that they had broken their back door knob. It didn’t even latch, let alone lock. They had some barbells pushed up against the door – like that is going to keep anyone out! They hadn’t let us know about it so we didn’t have a new lock or tools or anything. But we found that there were locking doors on the the bedrooms so we were able to take one off and replace it. Dad had to go around to the neighbors to borrow a screw driver. They are suppose to have one in the apartment but we could only find a little one that would not work. The knobs were an old style and were very difficult to get off. So we ended up having to cancel going with Narra C. We felt bad about that but we felt that having a locking back door was more important.
Something that I forgot to mention in my last email. I  had an interesting experience while I was fixing the missionary luncheon on Monday. I was using my mixer and I noticed some black flecks falling into what I was mixing so I looked at the bottom of the mixer and there was some chocolate stuff on it. So I took the beaters out and started to  clean the bottom of the mixer and noticed there was something up inside where the beaters go in. I thought it was just some of the chocolate so I got a toothpick and started digging and it was this huge bug of some kind. It was so disgusting. It was pretty mashed but I could still tell it was big! I wonder now if that was the black flecks that were falling into whatever it was I was mixing. Oh well, I guess it didn’t hurt anyone.
Some have asked if we have eaten any interesting things lately. Well, not really. We try to avoid the “interesting” foods here. We do eat a lot of fresh, raw coconut. The church property has a lot of coconut trees. Actually there are a lot of coconut trees all around here and a lot of the coconut just goes to waste. But we have gathered some of them up at the property. They are so good! People here don’t really like the mature coconut, called niyog. They like buko, or young coconut. Dad thinks it is alright but I do not like it at all. It is soft and mushy and not much flavor. We also eat a lot of singkamas. In the tagalog dictionary singkamas means turnip, and I guess it is, but in America a singkamas is called Jicama. They are really good. We grate them with some carrots, - mostly singkamas though, and put in a can of crushed pinapple. Then dad adds some brown sugar and I think that’s all. It is really good, and the singkamas stays really crisp or several days, even after grating. We had heard about singkamas fries so we tried those last night, but didn’t really like them. But it is good sliced and put into vinegar, like we do cucumbers. Masarap talaga! We tried a new fruit last week, called an atis. I will try to remember to send you a picture. It tastes like most of the other fruit here. Actually, there are so many seeds and really very, very little fruit. It is definitely NOT worth the trouble. But they have an interesting look so we had to try it. Right now is not a very good time for fruit, and I really miss it! No mango, no watermelon, no pineapple L. I am hoping something comes on before we go home. We will miss the mango and pineapple here. The watermelon is good, but I think it is better in the US. We are looking forward to having some fresh citrus – oranges and grapefruit. What citrus they have here is very old and very expensive.  Another thing we eat pretty regularly are roasted peanuts. I guess you would call them roasted. They grow a lot of peanuts here. The way we have seen them cooked here is they boil them in the shell and then eat them. We don’t like them that way. But we can buy bags of shelled peanuts that are fresh and raw. We cook them in our toaster oven without salt or oil and they are really good. We usually take them on our trips with us. Dad eats a lot of papaya, but I do not like it at all. Actually we have cut up green papaya in our soup and it really doesn’t have much flavor like that, so it is ok.
This week has been crazy! That’s why I was not able to write until now. Sunday evening President Ostler came to Narra. He had Elder and Sister Wolcott bring him out so we had them all for dinner. Sister Ostler was not able to cone with hin this time. On Monday we had interviews. We don’t actually interview with President, but they usually have us involved in some way, teaching a class or something. This time we met with each of the missionaries to see how their language training is going and to go over their 72 hour packs. There were not many who had a complete pack, which was too bad. Those whose pack was not complete had 200php deducted from their support. The area is just really pushing to make sure the packs are complete and up to date. We ended up throwing away a lot of outdated food. On Tuesday we took President to Puerto to catch his flight back to Manila. We had brunch with the Wolcotts and got to know them a little better. They are great! Yesterday we had plans for the whole day since we didn’t have a p-day and needed to get some things done, as well as go on our usual visits with the Gattuds and Narra C. But we got a text about mid-morning that it was district meeting. DM is usually on Tuesday but because they spent their pday in interviews they had pday on Tuesday and DM on Wednesday. So, it was a busy day, but a good one. Today we have been able to get caught up a little bit, which has been nice. 
Oh, and this morning we got our travel itinerary! This is the schedule:
Wednesday, December 23 – Departure: 8:45am – Manila; Arrival 10:55am – Hong Kong
                            Departure: 1:05pm – Hong Kong; Arrival: 9:40am(December 23) Los Angeles, CA
                            Departure 4:05pm – Los Angeles; Arrival: 7:20pmBoise, ID – YIPPEEEEE!!!!!
Hopefully weather and everything will be good and there will be no delays. Not sure what we are going to do because we have no cell phone to travel home with. I guess we will figure it out.
Anyway, these next 3 months are going to be very busy. We need to find a place for the new couple. President wants them to start in another branch, since we will still be here when they arrive. And we will need to get it set up. Then we will be training them and helping them get familiar with the area and their responsibilities. We will also continue to work with the members preparing to go to the temple. As well as taking care of TPA’s and travel arrangements for members from other branches. And Dad just got a call this morning from the District president. He would like us to attend the finalization meeting for the YSA conference at the end of this month. It will be on Sunday right after General Conference, and it is in Puerto. So we will travel to Puerto early Sunday morning so we can watch all of both sessions of conference and then go to the meeting afterward. We may or may not get an assignment to help with the conference. We did last year but this year they have a member of the 70 coming, at least for one day, maybe both, but who knows.
We are really looking forward to conference. We could watch it early on-line, but we never have time. And it is nice to gather with the members to watch it.
Well, better go. Oh, just FYI, our Sunday meetings in Nampa start at 11am, Sacrament meeting first. I have received some input on the menu for Christmas etc. Some have not responded. If you have something specific you would like to have let me know. Otherwise I will just come up with the menu.
We love and miss you SOOOO much, and can’t wait to see you all again!
Love,
Grandpa and Grandma,

Dad and Mom

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