We got another surprise email from Tiegue early this morning at 3 am our time (the Philippines is 18 hours ahead). My thought is he is at the Baguio MTC (Mission Training Center). I spoke with a previous Philippine mission president in July and was told new missionaries will stay there for 5 days before heading off to their first assignment where they will live and serve and teach.
WWWOOWOWOW so today has been crazy to say the least. Flying from LA to Hong Kong was soo long, but I was able to talk to the flight attendant and got another referral to give to my mission president. I probably slept 9 out of the 14 hour flight; our body-clocks are so off right now from all the flying and time change. Hong Kong airport was cool, very empty since we got there around 6am I think. It is always so amazing to me the different landscapes there are when you go flying. Unfortunately it was still dark when we landed, but taking off from HK was so cool! There are mountains right next to the airport, and beaches like you wouldn’t believe. I only get 30 minutes right now to email so no pics yet (also I forgot the cord in my room), but I will definitely send a ton of pictures next time I get to email, which will be in the field, not again here at the MTC.
Flying from HK to Philippines was ok, 1.5 hours, not bad. When we landed though it sunk in that I really am on the other side of the world. And HOLY MOLY the HUMIDITY HERE!!! Everyone said “Oh yeah, you're going to sweat a lot." But I had no idea, every time I step outside it feels like I'm walking into a sauna, no lie. Oh and when I got to the Airport and we're all looking for our bags on the baggage carousel, mine just weren’t showing up... Finally I got my bag with all my clothes in it, but my second one was still awol. Everyone is ready to leave, and I'm still bagless, then something comes out on the belt. It’s my bag! But all wrapped in a big plastic bag.... the zipper had split and half the contents spilled. Luckily I haven’t noticed that I'm missing anything, but I have to write a report and get back to them to replace my bag. (Could you look up what a bag like that one would have cost? A hard plastic shell kind that is the max size to be a carry on? I just need a ballpark, I just need a bag tbh (to be honest). I'm sure it’ll work out though. :) )
Finally we get out of the airport and woooow, Manila is incredible! The city is soooo big, huge skyscrapers and condo buildings, massive roads and highways, and it goes on forever. We drove probably 20 minutes and still in the distance you can see more skyscrapers going up. Lots and lots of construction, on anything and everything. So as soon as we step outside (I have a picture, but you'll have to wait sorry), the view is grand. But there are guards/police with shotguns, assault rifles and everything, very different from America.
We got on the bus, taking hecka pictures, and laughing and just excited to see everything that is completely new. The bus was nice, AC'd but that hardly put a dent in the muggy heat. I laughed at the chandelier in the bus and that there were ants crawling on the windowsill and floor, not many (and a different kind than Portland), but still ants living on the bus nonetheless. We drove out and everything was awesome!
The traffic is just as crazy as they say, seemingly no laws, there are lines, but no one follows them. It's a car cut-off car world out here. And the relaxed safety is insane! Just in my first ten minutes, I saw people walking right through traffic, scooters/motorbikes going in between cars and every way imaginable, people sitting on top of box trucks moving down the road, people selling food just standing in between lanes (granted the traffic never gets too quick), and a guy in the back of a flatbed with the tailgate down, sitting in a rolling computer chair. So wild!
Anyways, I'm here and safe and gonna get some good sleep tonight. I'll have a ton of pictures next week and so many teaching/procelyting stories since I'll be going out for 5 hours a day starting tomorrow.
Love you all! mahal ko kayo! :) You're still sleeping but whatever, sweet dreams! Love ya all.