First off, I want to just give a huge SORRY for being a little raincloud sometimes haha. I'll be honest, yes a mission is hard, but no one likes to hear about sad days, so I apologize for raining on your inbox haha! :)
PERO, (but), things are ok now! I was worried that Christmas would be hard, but it was great really. I got a cute little package from my family with funny little things like a hippo and a Lightning McQueen card, and during the day we didn't have any fancy meals or anything, but it really helped me realize that the most meaningful ways to show love isn't in traditions. Because anyone could buy and wrap a shiny gift for anyone, but to give from the heart, unheeded and compulsively out of true love is real love:) I also realized that even on His birthday, the Savior would be out working because the greatest expression of His love is working for the salvation and eternal happiness of our souls:) I also got to skype with my family... and guess what, I cried haha! But I'm over it:)
Now, I shall wax philosophical, which I don't like to do normally, but it's the only way I can really explain this and I know this will make my mom happy- she loves this kind of stuff haha :)
So, in the Philippines, one of the main forms of transportation are Jeepneys. I don't have alot of time to write, so look it up ;). During my first week here, like I mentioned, I was a more than a little down and sulking most of the time. I said these things a lot : "I miss my family", "I wish there were more American things here", "Why couldn't this be like Utah", "I don't like the food", "I want...I wish..." blah blah blah. I was quite the mope haha! In the Jeepneys I would sit there and just stare at the floor or at the wall or something, but not look outside, until I noticed that my companion, Sister Caoile, ALWAYS looked out the window- with interest! even if we had driven this same street a million times before. So I was curious and decided to look out too and lo and behold, what would you know! There's actually a LOT of awesome things! Families together, quirky and innovative street food carts, a bazillion bakeries with adorable cakes! Who knew- the Philippines is awesome hahaha! :) So slowly, konti konti, my attitude started to change.
Just like looking outside the jeepney, we need to look outside ourselves. I realized how selfish I had been, how ungrateful I was! I have a year and a half to serve the Lord and here I was complaining because they didn't have the brand of granola bars I eat at home!!! SNAP OUT OF IT!!! hahahaha :) I also realized that happiness is definitely a choice- it's not just something that will fall into our laps because we've reached our unhappiness limit :) here are a few tips I'd give to be happy- wherever you are!
1. Focus on what you're doing RIGHT NOW. We all have fears, weaknesses, things we worry about, but just focus on doing the thing you're doing now and do it well!! That's what I've been doing- even if it takes all the courage and mental strength I have just to smile and say hello, you did it!! :)
2. Be grateful. Simple. Be grateful! :)
3. Choose to be happy- I know it's a weird thought, but even if you think you're lying to yourself, tell yourself this is just the greatest thing you've ever done and you'll start to realize that maybe it actually is! :)
4. Remember that the Savior is with you always. Not matter if we think we don't deserve it or we don't even know Him, He's there, I promise that He is:) So don't fear, because you are NEVER alone :)
5. BE HAPPY!! (This is really important because I said it twice! :) Look at the sky! The clouds! All the people we can talk to and become friends with! Think about your family and the oppertunity that we have to live and love and eat wonderful food and sing and laugh and learn and improve!! So many things to be happy about! :)
I know it's hard- life is hard, but I think our attitudes are the ones that make it hard. It doesn't have to be like that- we are the ones to decide that our day will be a great one, so decide that it will be! :) I know this gospel is true, I know God wants us to be happy. I know everything is worth it, that there are no wasted efforts. Don't waste your days with things that are of no worth and don't make you happy- life is too great to waste!!!! :)
Love you all and thanks for everything!!! :) Have a wonderful week!!
Love you forever and ever,
PS Here is my mailing address:
F. Tañedo Street
Barangay San Nicolas
Tarlac City, Tarlac 2300