Sunday, May 5, 2013

First Month in the Philippines!

Just in case you were wondering... Brittni is, in fact, alive and well. I'm just slow getting the update here on the blog. I thought about condensing all of this and just picking out the gems. But it's all good stuff (:  Read up and then write on! If it gets too long for you, just look at the pictures ha 

Please email or write Brittni: 

Sister Brittni Burt 
Philippines Olongapo Mission
Km. 140 National Highway
Mangan-Vaca, Subic
2209 Zambales
WEEK ONEMagandan Umaga Po!
 What a week!! It has been insane. I have never been so exhausted, so sweaty, or used so much sunblock in my life. My freckles are multiplying and replenishing my body like the puppies here. They are EVERYWHERE.  It is crazy but fun. It is insanely hot all the time.
 We traveled for about thirty five hours to get here. We came to the Philippines during Holy Week. They celebrate Easter all week long. In a very weird way. A lot of the men feel as though if they go through what Christ went through, they will be forgiven of their sins. Therefore, they feel the need to walk down the streets carrying huge crosses with crowns of thorns. Or whipping their bare backs with a whip that has hard spikes on the end. Its insane. Some even feel the need to be nailed to crosses. Holy culture shock. Then after they do all this and are ''forgiven of all their sins'' they go and get drunk to numb the pain. Pretty crazy. Luckily that all ended yesterday. I had heard about it before but I guess I wasn't totally ready to really experience it. Crazy stuff yo.
            The food here is probably my least favorite food ever. Lots of little fish things. Weird meats. And tons of rice. So unless we are at a member’s house, its all rice for me! Its gonna take awhile to get used to this food. It is really pretty here. Super gorgeous. But also really dirty. Tons of coconut trees and rice fields. I am literally the ONLY white person anywhere near here. My companion is from Hawaii. And we have two other sisters in our apartment. One is from Samoa and one from the Philippines. Mega outcast. At first it was weird cause EVERYONE stares. But now its weird if someone doesn't stare. I was called ‘Joe’ for the first time on Friday. That is what they call foreigners, mostly white people. It was kinda funny. Most of the kids just stare a lot but I walked by a little boy who is probably 6 and he saw me and walked a few more steps and did a double take and then a loud “Ay!” haha. Its funny. Babies love me just how white babies love Riley and Kess. Ha. Its funny to be on this side of it. So I now know how you feel Ri and Kess. Everyone makes comments about my skin. About how I will eventually get dark here, or how, most of the woman, just want my skin. Its funny how it is total opposite from America. Kinda cool.
             We ride tricycles here just about everywhere. I will send pictures hopefully next week. I should have a camera then. The driving is INSANE. But there are very rarely any wrecks. No speed limit, people crossing everywhere, children crossing, and puppies crossing. Its so crazy. I will try to video it a bit. Speaking of puppies, they are killing me here. There are TONS of them. Pets, strays, and luckily not food. They really don't eat dog. Which is so good. But we aren't supposed to touch them because of diseases and such. Which sucks cause they are so little and SO cute! Ha. Sister Baravilala, my companion, thinks my minor obsession is funny. I just cant help it though. I miss my puppy ha.  I cant wait to send some pictures so you will be able to understand where I am coming from with all that I am saying. I just took Sister Lio’s camera card so I will send some of Holy Week [: cray cray. I love you all and am so excited and grateful for this opportunity to serve these people. I cannot express how hard it already is. But it is so very rewarding it doesn't even begin to compare. Its amazing.  I will write a better email next week and hopefully have more pictures of my own [:! Salamat po for all of your support and love!

The guys whipping their backs. This would stop traffic there would be so many of them. It is like a parade. Expect there were probably a total of 30 parades throughout the week. They would also dress like the guards and Jesus.  One of the MANY guys that would carry crosses. he is the one in the white kneeling with it on his shoulder taking a minor break. 
Week 2
Hello hello!
         It has been a pretty good week! Today we went to Mount Samat. Good history behind it, look it up! I will attach some pictures [: Not a whole lot has really happened. I’m still just trying to get the language down and get some confidence in my language skills so I can actually speak during lessons. I’m also still trying to get used to all the fish and meat. If we are at our house, I just eat rice.  But when we are at a member’s house I just have to not think about it. Those two things are the hardest for me, so nothing bad! The mangos here are the best things ever. As are the bananas. But sadly they are slightly a bit more expensive so we don’t have them very often. We had McDonalds today after we went to Mt Samat. Yum. It was nice to have something familiar. Although they do serve rice and spaghetti there. Kinda funny.
          I still get comments about my skin ALL the time. With my status of getting a bit darker and thinner I would be more attractive in America, and less attractive here. They love pale skin. Its funny to see that culture change. Most of their lotions and face soaps are “Skin Whitening”. So opposite from home.  On Friday Sister Baravilala and I were walking through Landing and a lalaki (boy) was walking by us and dramatically fixed his hair and then had a cheesy smile. I kind of laughed in my head but didn’t think anything of it. Then when we were leaving there we passed a group of boys and a couple of them were fixing their hair prior to our passing, one even was checking his hair in the mirror of his motor bike. Its hilarious. I didn’t notice it, but Sister B told me after we had passed them and we laughed about it. So many stares, honking, and comments. Its an interesting change to have people be attracted to this pasty-ness.
          I realized that this Saturday I will have been on my mission for two months, that crazy! That is a ninth of my mission already! Crazy to think about how fast it is really already going by. I love these people so much. They are so hospitable. They will do anything for anyone. Super humble. Super family oriented. They are great. I cant wait till I can more fully communicate the gospel to them and to share how much joy the gospel has brought into my life.
          We get to watch General Conference this weekend and it will be in English. I am SO STOKED! YAY! Truly cant wait.
          I love you all! Thank you for all of your love and support!

-Sister Burt :]

Week 3
It has been insanely hot this last week. But still a great week. There are some things about the Philippines that I LOVE. Like... TANG. Ya, I thought I loved Tang from America. Yummy orange Tang. Who know that there were zillions of flavors! Grape, apple, mango, pineapple, strawberry and a ton more. It like heaven. The next thing, bread. When it comes to baked goods, these people know what’s up! Sobrang masarap! These things are sent straight from the heavens. I am going to go and get some right after this actually. Excited ako!! Next thing, trikes. These things are fun to ride around in. I quite enjoy them! Hopefully I will get some pictures of it for the next email, cause I forgot to this week.. Whoops! And last but not least, the rain! Today was the first day it has rained while I have been here, and I love it! So refreshing and smells awesome :] I have now gotten the comment that I look like the main girl from the movie Hunger Games a couple times. I don’t think I do, but I will take the compliment!
            So last Monday we had FHE with Brother David and his family. It was pretty fun! We played some silly games and then he sang us a song :] Tuesday I had my first fresh buko (coconut) juice! So delicious! Love that stuff :] also that day, we were walking with Brother Sandy from one appointment to another and there were a bunch of guys on the back of a work truck on the side of the road. As we were walking towards it there was the usual reaction to a white girl of laughs, smiles, staring, and whispers. Then as we were walking past one of them asked Brother Sandy, in Tagalog, ‘Does she speak Tagalog?’ and before Brother Sandy answered I replied, “Magandan Hapon” which is just good afternoon, but all the others just laughed at him, and “oooh!”, like he had just gotten burned haha it was way funny. Then on Thursday we had FHE again, this time with the Tuazon family. I LOVE them! They are awesome. I will attach some pictures of that night. They are recent converts and one of the happiest families I know. On Saturday it was my two month mark! Crazy stuff there! We also got to watch conference on Saturday and Sunday and that was super awesome! I love general conference so much. 
            Already love my mission so much. This is a crazy adventure. Abraham LeBlanc, you were right about the cockroaches. But why in the world did you not tell me that cockroaches can fly?! They got a hundred times scarier when I found that out last night. I hope all is well with everyone! I would love to hear what is going on in your crazy lives!

FHE with the Tuazon Family teaching the lesson with their cute girls, Left to right, Justine, Jamaica, and Joyce. LOVE THEM

Sister Vanessa and Lil' Arvin, he loves me, haha and i love him! such a stud 

Our zone at the chapel for general conference :] 

 Our bathroom is flooded, so ya gotta wear rain boots to go! haha.

Mahal Kita!!
Sister Burt

Week 4! 
It has been ridiculously hot here in the Philippines this last week. Wow. Sobrang mainit! But still a good week!  There have been many times that we will be walking down a street and little kids will start singing the ‘Call me maybe’ song. I don’t know why, but I guess they do that to a lot of Americana’s haha. Its pretty funny. I don’t think I have said this yet, but we do all of our laundry by hand, which I quite expected, and I really enjoy it, which I didn’t expect haha. We take Filipino showers, with a bucket and a scoop and they usually end up being with a frog or two. Sometimes with some cockroaches. Its pretty fun. They scare me :]

Last P-Day after we emailed we went to the market to get food. The market is a constant reminder to me of why I don’t eat meat :] it is so nasty haha. So much meat. A good majority of it with some blood still on it, yum :] my favorite. Then we went back to our apartment and deep cleaned our room. Some lovely pictures of that! We had the bandanas because of all the dust. It was pretty nasty, but its clean now! A nice environment for the spirit to dwell :]. We then had FHE with Brother Sande and Nanay Nora (which means mom, but that is what you call most elderly people, Nanay for a lady and Tatay for a man.) it was fun :] they are awesome people, I need to get some pictures of them to send.
We have been teaching a boy named JM. He is 11 years old and sobrang magaling! Super smart! He is staying with his Lola, Grandma, right now and is supposed to be baptized next month. He might be moving back to Manila before he is supposed to be baptized so I guess we will see how it works out. His older sister, Ella, is the coolest ever. I want to be her best friend. She wants to serve a mission in a few years when she is 19, she is going to be an awesome missionary!  
                Our branch mission leader is Tatay Lero. What an awesome guy! He is so very nice and hospitable. His birthday was on Friday, and on Saturday we had our coordinating meeting with him, after the meeting his daughter brought in pizza, coke, and ice cream for us! It was the best. Definitely not the same as pizza from the Murph Shack, but it was pizza so no complaints here! He is extremely thoughtful, all the time. Whenever he works with us he ends up buying a soft drink for us. Later that day we were heading to an appointment but she wasn’t home, on our way back we met up with some sisters from our branch and they invited us over. It was the first time I met them and I LOVE them! They remind me of my Aunt Paula. They were so welcoming and SO funny! They are just super down to earth an REAL. They aren’t afraid to say it how it is. It was a blast to get to know them.
                Sister Baravilala and I made a goal to have some good stories for next week, so be ready! Hopefully it will happen :] I love you all and miss everyone of you! Have a super week!  
Pday Cleaning: 

THERE IT IS LADIES AND GENTS! Go write this gem of a missionary!

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