This French keyboard is really going to hold me back!! So many swarming thoughts! Updates! Emotions!
I am in Tahiti!!
I could really get ahead of myself now, so I will pull back and try to start from the beginning.
We left the MTC in the wee hours of the morning and were on a plane shortly thereafter. Three miracles.... 1) Both of my suitcases were 50.0 lbs exactly 2) Our bikes arrived in Tahiti on the same plane that we did even though they said we wouldn't see them for months 3) Two of the Elders got bumped from our flight to LA, but arrived 10 minutes before we took off for Tahiti. The flight was very luxe! Pillows, plush blankets, music, eye masques, etc. The plane was full of honeymooners :) and us... That night we were greeted by couple missionaries with leis at the airport. We went to a sister's house and fell straight to sleep after chatting and dousing ourselves in bug spray. The next day was orientation at the mission home. President and Sister Sinjoux are lovely. When I asked what I could do for him, he said three things: 1) Lose yourself in the work 2) Remember who you represent, show charity for all and 3) Make sure to prepare yourself well in the mornings during personal study. I met many other missionaries there and also my companion, Soeur Outzekovsky. She is from Tahiti, but her name is Russian!! hahaha no way :) She is a blessing in so many ways. She loves fruit and veggies and fish and being active! She is 21 and has studied law for the past 3 years at a university. Our area is Tiperui, in the stake of Faa'a, just outside of Papeete. Faa'a is the city where the airport is located. From our balcony we can see the landing strip - built on a coral reef - and the ocean. We live with 4 other sisters -- S. Green (who I know from Alpine - I KNOW, RIGHT? SO BLESSED!!!) S. Mann, S. DAnillo and S. Atuasomething something; 4 Americans and two Tahitians. These girls are such a blessing. S. Green and I wake up at 6am and go running together. The morning air smells like bread. It is cool right now, not too hot at all, though still very sunny. I haven't gotten sunburned, though I have acquired literally 20+ bruises all over my legs from life on a bike. Up the stairs, down the stairs, in the city, on the dirt roads, in the hills and zooming around cars.... Our area is 20 minutes from our house in the city, and we spend all day long out and about. I am exhausted for sure. Our area extends from the ocean all the way up into the mountains. Hills. Lots of them. Some so steep we do not even dare take the time to push our bikes up to the top. Pedaling in a skirt would be terrible if it weren't such a comedy for others to watch. I am slowly getting the hang of it. And ohhhhh boy am I going to be a STRONG bicycler when I get back. No worries about not getting enough exercise here haha.... quite the opposite!
Our ward is so lovely. There are many foreigners who live en ville, so we have quite the melting pot/mixed salad. The members are God sent. Really. Their clean homes and smiling faces during faatamaraas (dinner appointments) are so rejuvenating after spending all day out working with amis (friends) and getting sweaty and dirty. We have a handful of amis who are progressing well. I am getting the know them bit by bit. As soon as I figure out how to type faster, I will share more :) I am learning to love them. The food has been fine ;) I have been blessed so far with delicious fish, salad, fruits and veggies though there is always rice and fries and soda too. S. Outz and I graciously avoid it together. Group effort. haha
The people here are very, very, very generous and live humbly. I am coming to understand what people mean when they say missions are hard. I am taking it one day at a time! I love this gospel and want to share it. But more than that, I want people to accept it and let it change their lives as it has mine.
I love your emails, pictures and packages! They do so much to comfort me and give me an extra kick of energy! I wish that I had more time to respond and am confident that I will soon learn to type more quickly on this French keyboard!!
Until next week, mes amis!
Love love love
Tahiti Papeete Mission
Soeur Bradshaw, Rebecca
Papeete, Tahiti, 98713