Saturday, November 5, 2011

New companion, new responsibilities, same great place.

Pictures of the Narnia path.

Our destination.
Hello Family,

So everyday we see various tourists drive by us in Tuk Tuks. And I'd say about 75% of them kinda poke fun at us as they drive by. We always just wave and smile. There was a particular Tuk Tuk full of younger adults and as they drove by us, they made some kind of joke and all started laughing. I know thats no big deal.  Then, as they were driving away I saw one of the women accidentally drop the lid of her water bottle.  I have personally learned from sad experience the inefficiency of a water bottle without a cap.  So, I decided to go get that cap and return it to her before they got too far away. I need to add, my bike is much too small for me and the only gear is low so I look like the Wicked Witch of the West when I try to ride fast.  So, I got the cap, and started racing after them. I was weaving in and out of traffic trying to catch up.  By the time I finally caught up I was super sweaty and red faced. As I pulled up, I did my legendary "skid stop" and held out my hand with the bottle cap and said, "Excuse me, but I believe you lost your bottle cap a ways back" She wasn't sure what to make of me, but slowly took the cap. Then, like a super hero, I turned around and sped away. In my job, no kindness is ever wasted.

Something new to report: I'm now a district leader with a new companion.

I've officially started a new chapter of my mission. It has been one of the most difficult weeks so far. But its all an adventure and that's just how the mission goes. There's been A LOT of good times that balance out the difficult parts. 

So for transfers, everyone goes down to Phnom Penh to pick up their new companion. I was excited but I didn't really know what to expect. Elder Hill and I had been companions for 4 1/2 months which is my whole mission so far. It was very difficult for me to say goodbye to him.

My new companion's name is Elder Phan  He is pure Cambodian and doesn't speak a lick of English.  My language skills are about to get better. Lets just say that the 8 hour bus ride back to Siem Reap was quiet. I gave him all I got for about 10 minutes and then, I just didn't have anything else. So we both just sat there and looked forward. I guess he loved the area he came from and was sad the first few days.

I'm starting to realize there's a lot of vocabulary words I don't know. The first day, Elder Phan said something that I didn't understand... then he explained it with another word I didn't know... and then used another word I didn't know but said it really slow.  I looked at him and thought, "It doesn't matter how slow you say it, if I don't know the word I can't understand it." He finally took his shirt and held it up and said, "c-c-lein."  I was like, OH! Washing machine! Its downstairs. I turned around and was like "oh boy, here we go…" 

Elder Phan bio: 
Phan's dance group.
-Very tall for a Cambodian
-Been part of a performing dance group (but they've only performed 2 times in 2 years) 
-I tried to speak English with him and asked something very simple like, how old he was and he had no idea what that meant. 
-He's 23 years old
-He has 2 girls waiting for him (but they don't know each other) He likes one because she is skinny and can dance. And likes the other one because she's "fierce" and tall. I didn't know the word for fierce. It took him forever to explain it. He ended up ,like a tiger" which solved it but I still don't know when I learned the word for Tiger?) 
-He's nervous around me and talks extremely fast which doesn't help the language barrier. 
-He is deathly afraid of people who sleep talk. Which apparently, I do, a lot?

The good news is, my understanding of the language is getting a lot better. I have no choice.  Before I could follow Elder Hill in everything, but now I set the appointments, make the plans and lead the area. It's been super crazy, but gets better every day.

Love you guys!

Elder Nelson.