Monday, July 28, 2014

We received an email and photos from Sam on Sunday evening, July 27, 2014.  We had asked him a series of questions in an email we had sent him earlier in the day.  Sam answers our questions in his email.  So that his letter makes more sense, I will preface Sam's email with the questions we asked:

Hey Sam,  

What does your Cambodian missionary cook for you?  When it rains, do you guys just get wet and then figure you will dry out later or try to take cover?  Do you have a regular mattress?   Do you have a shower?  Hot water?  Did you meet at the mission home today for any get together?   Do your shoes dry out between days? How many branches or wards are in your companionship area.  

Just wondering a few things.  I think it is good to figure out how to make sure your chip is safe from viruses before sending pics.  Maybe the mission home would let you transfer pictures from chip to flash drive or something.  I don't know. 
love , Mom and Dad

Okay--here's Sam's email back to us:

Subject: Look Good, Feel Good, Speak Good

Hi all,

First off, any questions that you want answered, send them to me specifically and I can probably answer them. They help me to remember other stuff to say too, so yeah

He just cooks stuff to put on rice. But apparently he just learned on his mission. I thought he was a native cook, so needless to say i was disappointed. Also, I messed up last week. 1 dollar is 4000 riel, not 400. Yeah, when it rains if we don't pull over and find shelter we just get soaked. I got absolutely drenched once last week and I'll send a picture. We just let it dry on us. It's kind of like a cheap version of a regular mattress, and a little bit nicer version of those foam camping things we have. But I sleep pretty well every night.

We have a shower. Our place actually has a bunch of showers, so I have my own. Mine doesn't have heat, but another one does. But it's not that bad. People here are really wise in the toilet-section of life. They don't use TP here. Just sprayers. They have them built in. I'm like this is great! No adjustment period needed for this method. Every time I flush my toilet, water comes out of the foundation of it. And it's like toilet water. As in whatever was in the toilet bowl when the toilet was flushed. So that's fun.

Yeah, we go to the mission home every Monday to get reimbursed, see people, etc. It's about a 30 minute bike ride. We bike everywhere and my bike is bad. I'm pretty much positive it's a woman's bicycle. You remember how emily said she wrapped duct tape around her bike so it wouldn't look too nice and no one would steal it? Yeah, that isn't really a problem with our bikes here. But I have an adorable little basket on the front, so that's nice.

My shoes dry out. They get pretty dirty. I need to find time to polish them. There's not very much time in here. Like basically no down time. It's absolutely exhausting. It's go, go, go, all the time. And it's a hard adjustment. I sweat like an animal.

There's an American grocery store here, and I bought bread, PB, and raspberry jam there last week. It was delicious. When I ran out of bread, I just started eating the peanut butter and the jam together because I'm in a 3rd world country. I think when I come back in two years, I'll have forgotten all about proper manners and etiquette for stuff, because that's not too highly valued here.

My area was just split in half when I got here because they were doing well, but it's still in the same ward. So we have 2 pairs of male missionaries in my ward and 1 sister missionary companionship. So 6 missionaries in every sacrament meeting. We had 136 people come out to church yesterday which was a ton for them. But we'll see if that number was artificially inflated or not. 

I want to take more pictures of the people and their houses and stuff, but I also don't want to be rude and just start snapping pictures of these people's lives. I'll have to find a better way because this stuff is too good not to see. Still anarchy on the roads.

In order to maintain sanity and keep morale high, I'm going to try and do one thing that is fun each day. Whether that's buy a fruit or something, that's what I'll do. I bought a little pineapple today. I had fried banana a couple of days ago and it's good. I don't think our kitchen would pass any cleaning inspections or anything like that.

When we talk to new people, I think it's really important for them to know that we're volunteers that aren't getting paid, and that we're only 19 and 20. Both of those things surprise a lot of people and I think they take us more seriously when they know that we're not doing it for money.

I'm starting to rock the sweet missionary tan which is tan on arms where the white shirt ends, high collar, and watch mark. Looks great. I made the executive decision that i'm going to try to put sunscreen on my face and ears more often than I have been on account of I thought about getting skin cancer and that didn't really appeal to me.

Flying into Cambodia over the brown waters of the Mekong River.

Sam said to look closely at this truck.  There is a man sitting on top of the truck's cab!

Sam's new missionary shoes... :)

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