Tahiti is.... so many things! I wish you could all just see what I am seeing!! Email is insufficient, but I will try to start each email with a few "moments", okay?
Moment: Riding into our sector every morning
When we are ready to leave for the day we lock the house, grab our bikes and plop plop plop down the stairs onto the gravel driveway, walk our bikes down the driveway and out the portail (gate). We snap on our helmets, which lend a little shade, and push our bikes up up up a hill, passing a nursery and other houses in the neighborhood, fruit trees, rusty cars, and our lovely neighborhood dogs who greet us with an explosion of rage every morning. At the top of the hill we get onto our bikes, sometimes I use a laundry pin to pin my skirt together, and then ZOOM S Outz takes off down another hill, out of the neighborhood and onto another hill that leads down onto the freeway. Cars cars cars. My brakes will wear out fast in this area!! I ride them all the way down and silently pray that I won't get hit by a car merging onto the freeway. Sometimes I sing out loud, and the wind is always so strong I laugh knowing that no one can hear me. We buckle down and use our muscles at the bottom and follow the road for 15 minutes into our sector, following the airport landing strip and the ocean, passing a bus stop, kids playing soccer in the dirt, more dogs, some auto stores, some fruit stands, a soccer field, a gas station, and tons of Tahitian women and men who holler IAORANA or BONJOUR as we pass. Through the city, turn left at the gas station, furiously try to keep my skirt down! Pass the white fence that encloses the chapel, ignore hoots from men in trucks, smile at mamis and cute Tahitian kids shuffling around in the sun... onto our first appointment. Sometimes up another 5 hills, sometimes in the city, sometimes a shack out at the back of our sector. When we walk our bikes we smile at people passing, who greet us as "elder" or "missionary" (only soeur [sister] if they are members!)
The days were years, but this week flew by!! Let me try to gather my thoughts and see what happened... :)
One of the days every single one of our lessons called to cancel. Gulp. The scariest times as a missionary are the hours of tracting the same neighborhoods over and over. I am terrified of days like those! That night I got home and realized that I was sick and tired of being sick and tired, and that no matter what, I WAS going to have a great day the next day. Guess what? I did. Ever since that day I have been writing down the beautiful, wonderful things I see around me, why the day was great, and the blessings that abound. This mindset has absolutely changed my attitude and even my energy levels. The hills are still tall and the days still long...lessons still get cancelled, but do you know what? I can look back, and honestly conclude that last week was great!
I fixed the stove in our apartment :) and we have all enjoyed being able to cook nice hot veggies over the last few days because it has actually been chilly!! The rainstorms add nice diversity to the otherwise sunny climate. We woke up this morning to find the entire living room and porch drenched!!! We keep all of the windows and doors open when we sleep, because there isn't usually this much rain! Three hours later, the skies are blue :) Tender Mercy -- we didn't have to bike during the three days of rain...hooray! S Mann was sick, so S Danillo came on splits with us for a few days, which meant... Sister Bradshaw got to drive in French Polynesia!! Car!! Phew!! We spend the days running between our three areas, teaching lessons, contacting in the park in the rain (yes, which was as hopelessly hilarious as it sounds... we were soaked and talked to... lots of park workers! haha) making appointments, etc. It was nice to see other amis and another style of teaching. S Danillo is an amazing example of bold friendliness and contacting EVERYONE! I have much to learn from her :) We were delighted at our faatamaraa [dinner appointment] August 1 with Melanie and her family. What a treat! She is a doll, from Switzerland, married to a Tahitian who she met at BYU Hawaii and has 4 cute trilingual munchkins running around the house. We celebrated the Swiss holiday with raclette and a delicious salad. I told her your engagement tradition, Mom and Dad!! :)
I woke up the other morning to a pink and orange sunrise and had a mango for breakfast while I watched airplanes take off over the ocean.
I notice a flip flop tan claiming my feet and lean muscles appearing on my arms from, of course, the bike. I am with my bike so much, it's like my pet. Yes. Having a bike as a missionary is a lot like having a horse... useful, but sometimes a REAL hassle to care for!
We taught a lesson in the park next to the ocean. The air smelled like freshly baked quiche and seawater.
S Green and I decided to brave the rainstorm and went on a morning run. Halfway through we ditched the raincoats when we noted that it was much cooler just to get wet!
I realized that my days here are numbered, and that I must make the most of them!
I donned Mami as the best cook in the world when she made us Poisson cru for dinner... fresh fresh fresh raw tuna bits, cucumbers, carrots, spices, coconut milk, etc. Pure health and sooooo good!
We had lessons with THREE new amis that we love! This weekend we fixed two baptisms for next week -- Lorenzo and Branco. I am excited to see how they will go!
We came home to a locked house, no one had the key, so I climbed up a few chairs and in through the kitchen window!
We have an interesting week ahead of us -- splits with some "mini missionaries" (they just held a mini MTC for the youth the other night) as well as with the stake president!
I am well, alive, and carrying on!
I loved receiving the emails from everyone and the photos OH MY GOODNESS!!! I love you all so much!!! :) Nothing makes me so happy than seeing everyone I love TOGETHER! :) :) :)
Gros Bisous to all!!!
P.S. Debbie Sutton -- you were in my dream last night!! hahaha!! Send me an update sometime! :)
Tahiti Papeete Mission
Soeur Bradshaw, Rebecca
Papeete, Tahiti, 98713