Just so you know, today was my P-day and next week Tuesday will also be my p-day because it's transfer day. I highly doubt i'll be transferred, but I'll let you know sometime next week when I find out. Just dont want you wondering why p-day is normally Monday, but for this week, last week and next, it's been Tuesday haha!
So Mom, Mark Gardner told me some pretty great stories about you! :) Maybe a couple you could tell to the fam because you sure never told me these ones! :) I'm sure you could tell them better than I, so I will just give you a couple key words to remind you so you can retell it. He told me about the sweet little lady you and your companion approached thinking she'd be the nicest little old lady but then she stood up and said "Oh, will you just cut it out!" surprised huh? :) He also told me about how you got the nickname Elder Rust.... something about an Ed Murray haircut?? :) enjoy family! :) It was really good to finally meet them though. They are wonderful people and Marc Gardner showed us a lot of stuff from his mission book. Gave me some pretty good ideas of how I should keep little souviniers and experiences marked by just taping or gluing some stuff to a notebook.
This week has been pretty scorching, but you know.... just makes the phrase "blood, sweat, and tears" more realistic! :) Especially because I got some nice blood when I slipped when it was raining and kicked the curb while in flip flops.... Just a little bloody toe and it's healing up nice and well. Sure looked pretty narly walking into a Korean BBQ restaurant for Christmas with a bleeding toe in my flip flops haha! For Christmas, we decided we'd go out for something special... so my Asian companions picked Korean because most Korean people don't celebrate Christmas, and thus it was a really packed place. Gave me a little different meaning to Christmas, but it was an interesting experience :)
I've loved being able to just dive into the culture here and take it all in. I've especially loved the people that I mistake from being out of the country because they are of Asian ethnicity but then tell me they're Australian because they've lived here all their life. Cat got my tongue the first time I heard that one for sure! :) Normally it's been good to ask people where they are from and then say hello in their own language, but I've learned rather than asking "where are you from?" I need to first ask, "how long have you lived here in Sydney?"
There's also heaps of backpackers around here. Is that a big thing in SF Michelle? People from all over- mostly europe- just pack up their belongings in a backpack and go travel around for 3-6 months and see the world. It's gotten pretty big because I see a lot of people walking around with hiking backpacks here in the parks and on the streets and with a map in hand like they are going camping, but realistically they are just looking for the next tourist site. Pretty interesting in my opinion, but a lot of people really like it. For example, a couple on the train today just have been here for about a month and are just planning on just touring up and down the coast for the next month or so, then jump over to New Zealand, then maybe another island or two, then go back home to Germany..... Not sure I could have a vacation like that, but to each their own! :) They just have the money/time to travel for a long time because all of them still have homes back in their home coutries. For example, Edward, is a backpacker we met from France. He is planning on being here for a couple more weeks then going back to France where He will be able to get a job again. Just came backpacking for the summer holiday here.
Lets see... what else happened this week?? It's so hard to remember the specifics of each day because I feel like so much has been jammed into each day. I had a really cool experience while talking to someone in Belmore Park here. She is going out of town for the next week, but afterwards was really interested to see the church because she just couldn't believe that I, as a missionary, left school for 2 years, am not getting paid, and actually paid money from my own pocket to come here for two years. She was really funny to talk to because each new thing I said- Leaving school, learning Cantonese, not being paid etc- made her eyes go wider and wider haha! So we will see what happens, but in the least, I was able to leave a good impression for our desire for this work. There are a lot more people here than I would have thought who are negative to the Church. Tons of people I think have been introduced to a lot of false things about our church because whenever I introduce myself and say I'm a missionary they say something that's completely not true about our faith, but then when I try to explain they tell me to leave and literally, RUN away a lot of the time. It's very sad but very interesting to see how many false things have been spread about our church. I guess there always has to be opposites, but it does make me sad when I see people that believe things that are completely not true and don't allow me to explain. However, I also have had many experiences where I was able to clear up some things people have heard that were wrong. This makes me happy because even though they are not interested in improving their relationship with Christ, they at least now have a better view of our beliefs and what we stand for. Only have 3 minutes left, so I will share one cool experience. Her name was Emma. One day while contacting, I saw a woman crossing the street who I was planning to talk to, but before her, I saw a Chinese family, and so I walked up and said hello to them and introduced myself. They shooed me away, but when I turned around, there was Emma! She told me that she wasn't interested in attending my church, but wanted to talk to me to know more about our beliefs. She also told me "If you had walked up and talked to me first, I would have cussed you out and told you to leave, but I'm trying to be better, so since you didn't talk to me first, I thought I'd talk to you." As you can imagine I was blown away hahaha :) But we had a nice chat, she's got a very rough life, and although she made it clear she didn't want to learn more or see the church, I think she left being uplifted just a bit. Time is up, Sorry if I didn't answer all your questions or satisfy your desires for this week :) Love you all!!