Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Week 47: RUN FOR IT!!!

I can't even remember what I shared in last weeks email because the days just RUN together so, to avoid repetition, I'll just talk about today!


WE WENT TO THAT ONE STATUE!!

YOU KNOW THE ONE FROM THAT ONE CONFERENCE TALK ABOUT SAPPORO JAPAN?

YEAH, THE "BOYS BE AMBITIOUS" ONE!

Yeah, I went to that statue. For a district activity!


But before that my companion finally went to the really expensive brand name outdoor wear store that she has been dying to go to to buy a coat for rainy season and then it took so long to decide because this was a HUGE PURCHASE, MMMKAY, yeah we talkin' priceyyyyyy and so we were RUNning late and everyone in our district was having lunch without us so we literally RAN through the underground tunnels (stopped to buy fancy shmancy bread at a French-ish bakery for a bit) and then jumped on the subway where we met our district in a cafeteria, eating some good ole Mickey D's.

Then we all spent way too much money on Baskin Robins but it was on sale!!!!! If you doubled the scoop size you got a better price! We all just got our money for the month so let's hope we don't RUN out any time soon!

Then we rode in style together on the bus to the statue man.


PICTURES
Just look at how adorable and awkward my district leader's face is. He is so tiny.
LOOK AT HER. My companion is so cute. And even tinier than my district leader...


and here she is collecting acorns.



Well looks like I've all but RUN out of email time!





BYE FOLKS!!!!!


Monday, April 24, 2017

Week 46: They Tell Me It's Easter

WELCOME ONE AND ALL TO MY LIFE IN HOKKAIDO, JAPAN !!

Hey yo there was transfers! Thought I would stay in Moiwa BUT NO, shocker! Got transferred right outta there. Good thing I was too lazy to fill out my "Get to Know Your Missionary!" paper for the ward because looks like I won't be needing it!

Also I got to transfer alone. Meaning sans companion. And for those of you who don't know Latin that means without a companion. WOO! I got really lost and almost left the train station but eh, it's whatever!  Was fun being alone for like 10 minutes. Haha, missionary life.

Transferred to a place called Shinoro and it feels like America! The roads are huge and there are FIELDS!!! It literally feels so nice.

Good place!
video
(A video of my new area taken from the train)

UM, what else to say but transfers are the worst because I HATE PACKING. But whatever! I'm with my like best buddy in the mission! We've been in the same zone or district the whole time, and I've been on splits with her loads. She's like the tiniest and most fabulous little Japanese 24-year-old you could ever meet and we're besties. Only bad part is I'm dead tired all the time because we end up staying up for hours talking about Disneyland and CSI....... ;)

My first day in the area we DECORATED LIKE CRAZY. 

Made a billion of these thing, which Japan was doing way before Pinterest was BTW

Made the Elders blow up the balloons #Classic ... also look how they're not even doing that...
We did a good job, guys.
THEN WE HID A BUNCH OF CANDY.  
Here's kids finding it.  
video
(Low-key seizure warning)

And then we decorated eggs and ate them.



AND THEN THE NEXT DAY IT WAS EASTER!!

Or at least that's what they tell me...

Totally forgot it was Easter until I looked at my planner that night. That's what happens when you can't understand the talks at church, people. It could have been Christmas and I wouldn't have had a clue! But, hey, at least I'm a tiny bit literate now. I read the word "texture" on a bag of chips the other day. Well, I couldn't read it out loud. So no, I couldn't actually read it, but I knew it meant "eating feeling" so if that's not reading I don't know what is.

Also this week we taught the Law of Chastity to this cool couple that are our investigators. My comp was in a literal panic of awkward, it was hilarious. But like hey, when we were like "So one of you can either move out or just get married or something," and they were like "hmm, yeah we kinda wanna get married anyway!" Well shucks, okay. We're already planning their baptism-wedding reception extravaganza. Well, only in our heads... they don't have a baptismal date... yet!


That about wraps it up folks! Oh, PS, sleeping on the floor for over half a year is really starting to take its toll on my back. Yay.


Pictures!


It's still snowing.



My companion found a bug in her pistachio and we almost cried. (Not included in photo)





This was from Moiwa. We always said this elder was like Simba from Lion King... was never really sure why...


My companion is going to open a cafe and she wants me to paint Jesus on the wall and yes that is a fat stack of BOMs on the shelf back there because she's that cute. We've got plans, people. Plans.


Speaking of plans...



BYE BYE!! 


OH, SO THAT WAS LAST WEEK

This is all I have for this week.

Taught them how to check out.

Look how awkward my ward mission leader is. 
video



THAT'S ALL, BYE!!!





Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Week 45: Since We Last Spoke....


IN SHORT, NOTHING HAS HAPPENED.


I was making soup for a sick person and I was stirring the pot and the tips of my hair got burned by the stove top.

That's how long my hair is now, people.

And then my companion got sick too so I made her jello.

And now it's today!

We had district activity today and we went to the giant area of malls in this city and just had fun.


We ate stuff.
Ramen, but I didn't eat ramen.
This ice cream was made with Hokkaido milk.
This is my current district leader, everyone. We say he's the Cheshire Cat.
My companion and my planner this week.


Boring email this week because I want to take a nap!

BYE!!

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Week 44: There's Been Some... Changes

ALOHA MY OHANA !!!

Welcome to another week in Wonderlaaannddddd!!

And welcome to Sister Stewart's second Temple P-Day in a row... On the transfers when the elders didn't get to go at all... Haha, lucky me!

Why, you may ask, does our little Sister Stew get to go to the temple twice in one transfer?

Well let me tell you in the form of an anecdote....


It was Friday. My companion and I were underground, fixin' to board a subway when we get a call. My companion didn't tell me who it was, but the excitement and concern on her face told me it was someone worthwhile. She hands me the phone. Still don't know who it is (lol,
can't read your mind, companion!) All I hear is the following phrase in a grave tone of voice "Is English OK?" "Uhhh. Yeah. Sure." I soon figure out it's my mission president when he says the following... "THERE WILL BE EMERGENCY TRANSFER."

"YOU PACK TONIGHT, LEAVE TOMORROW MORNING TO MOIWA. OK?"

After whirlwind of packing, not wanting to pack, shoving stuff really tight, sitting on my suitcase so it will close, and watching the Addiction Recovery Program videos while I pack, I find myself Saturday afternoon in the Moiwa apartment discussing a whole new list of names I have to memorize.

And because I'm in a different zone now too, I'm going to their temple pday too! And that's the long winded explanation of why I am going to the temple twice in two weeks. :)


So yeah! Two weeks before the end of the transfer and I transferred! Will transfer again in two weeks, no clue where I'm going! Moiwa is THE LEGIT CITY, like the center of Sapporo! So we getting all fancy up in here.

OH YEAH AND THERE'S A TROLLEY. We ride it to church and stuff.


***************************************************



IN OTHER NEWS.

This week I taught English to a bunch of grandpas.

Had my best door approach by far to a Bulgarian lady I found. She totally turned us down, but man, my English door approaches are hot fire #youmissinoutonthissismish @USofA Was really fun, but then I went back to speaking Japanese to people and feeling really self conscious! #thedailygrind #refinersfireprobs

Had the best ramen of my life in this ramen wonderland which was described by me as "Disneyland, but for ramen."

Also, I will have you know--and mom will be real proud of me here--that I am STOKED for General Conference! And by stoked I mean yeah I haven't seen it yet. We watch it this weekend because Japan is slow.


THERE IS NO OTHER NEWS.

NOW PICTURES.
 Making posters to advertise our free English... People, it's free, just come.
 Nothing makes this baby smile. #cutestpokerfaceever
 Apparently, I'm an amputee. 
Just kidding, I just do that when I feel uncomfortable in pictures. :-)


NOW WE ARE GOING TO MCDONALDS

BYE!!!!


Thursday, March 30, 2017

Week 43: FOREIGN RELATIONS

Heyyoooooo! How we all doing today? It's Sistah Stew again, writing from the undergrounds of Sapporo Japan (on the subway choochoo) and I have a belly-full of really yummy bread. Everyone, Japan has good bread. I don't know how it compares to Europe, but it is GOOD. They get so creative! I just ate a deep fried egg salad sandwich! And I only feel a little bit guilty....

I DON'T THINK I HAVE TOLD YOU about one of the funniest things about being a foreigner in Japan. I call it... THE WHITE PERSON AFFECT. So you usually only see 1-2 foreigners a day, if you're lucky, and usually they are from some sort of Asian country. But mostly, everyone here is Japanese. Everyone. And white people REALLY stand out. So no matter how many people are in the train station, you will spot the only other white person in the room.

Okay sorry I'm interrupting but these 12 year old girls were staring at me in the subway so I waved at them and they giggled and they are so cute.

BUT ANYWAY!!! When you do see them you... can't help but stare. White people look so different! Their noses are so big... And they just stand out so much you have to stare! And then... The dreaded moment.  You inevitably make eye contact. And then something happens... A moment, between foreigner and foreigner where you both accept each other presence. You usually tilt your head a little in acknowledgement and then try and get away from them as fast as possible because AWKWARDDDD!!! Haha I love it. Just had one of those moments in the bread shop we were at. We both just kind of nodded at each other.
Yeah, you white too?
Yeah.
Coo.
Coo.

ASIA BE CRAZY, KIDS!!!

Highlights from this week.

We went with the elders to visit one of their female investigators who they then passed to us. When we went, unbeknownst to us (the elders knew they just don't tell us anything #classic #everytime #reallyboys?) there was a glorious feast being prepared on our behalf!
IT WAS SOME OF THE BEST FOOD I HAVE EVER HAD !! This lady who is the local leader of one of those worldwide television churches went all out. There were multiple courses, people!!  She gave us full avocados with shrimp and yummy stuff mixed in. There were little minny kiesches and really yummy seasonal Japanese foods. She bought us 31 Flavours
and then put it in HAND MADE WAFFLE BOWLS which she had made out of HAND MADE Mille fille dough. Also, SHE MADE US REAL MEAT. Legit marinated, pan-fried spare ribs. Needless to say, the elders were very happy.

It's still snowing. Thought it was done so I put my sandals out on the balcony. Nah man, still winter.
 
I look way better in blur.



DA ZONE. Some or my favorites stacked up in this building, gotta be happy about that.


Apparently I'm a really slow walker... Can you see my companion in the shadow of the building booking it to church? We weren't late or anything. I just think she really likes to read... (That's a pun on booking it, I don't know, I'm trying people)


Oh and by the way! We found a totally GOLDEN investigator who is a super chill dude with a beard, longboard, SnapBack, and a shoelace for a belt. Gotta love it. Passed him to the elders though... Hoping they find us a cute young mom in return.



THATS ALL FOR NOW.
BYE BYE!






Monday, March 20, 2017

Week 41: BACK FROM THE DEAD

HEY EVERYONE;;

IT'S BEEN A WHILE!!

This has to be so fast, so let's just give you the highlights!


I TRANSFERRED ;

I am now in the city! My area is called 東 (Higashi) (He Gaw Shee)

NEW COMPANION ;

Announcing.......


SISTER OLD VALLEY 

FACT SHEET :

She's adorable
She's Japanese
Her English is actually pretty good, so it's all lax over here
She looks like the Asian version of Kiera Knightly
She plays the ukulele, and she's totally pressuring me into buying one too

And that's all you need to know!

NOW LET'S GET YOU CAUGHT UP ON THE PAST FEW WEEKS

We play ping pong here!
 
One time we moved a billion boxes of cans of health drink from one grandma's house to another grandma's house. Don't tell anyone, but they were coffee flavored... Contraband!
I played sports for the first time in my life. District activity. Yeah, as expected, I'm really bad.
MY MISSION PRESIDENT (Native Japanese, speaks English) used the word "DICHOTOMY" in our interview. I was so impressed.

We ate Hokkaido's (the island I'm on) most famous meal, Ghengis Khan, which is just what they call lamb. The meat gives off such a delicious odor when you cook it, that you literally put your outer ware clothes in plastic bags before you cook it. So you don't smell like delicious meats. Well, if you want dogs to follow you home, you don't have to, but... Pets aren't allowed for missionaries...


Ate sushi twice in one day. Went out for pday lunch to a place where the fish on top was easily two or three times bigger than the rice. My companion from Honshu was very happy about "Hokkaido Size" (Hokkaido is like the Texas-Alaska of Japan.) Then we get home and our investigator calls us and is like "Let's go out for sushi tonight!" Fine with me!

Made brownies with our mission president's wife at the mission home. Passed them out to our investigators and less active members. They also fed us lunch. Our mission president makes a mean pulled pork sandwich.


The first person me and my new companion visited had the TINEST genkan (Genkan - the place where you take off your shoes before entering a home. As a missionary, you stare here a lot and talk when people won't actually let you in. Well, if you're lucky. Usually you don't even make it into the genkan!) ANYWAY, we were in a new member's TINY EENSY WEENSIE genkan for oh about an hour just chatting and all the sudden I felt WEIRD. Hot, then dizzy, then woo, when I started feeling nauseous mid-conversation I just grabbed my companion and was like "let's goooo nowwwww." Made it through the closing prayer and stumbled out of there. Made use of the word vomit in Japanese, glad I learned that vocab word. Stumbled around half-running through the city while my companion found me a place to sit, which ended up being a community gym. Laid on a table watching old ladies have teatime gossip time after tennis practice until the dizziness went away enough to walk home. Sleep until it was dark, then sleep again. No idea what happened, but I am so glad I didn't vomit in that man's genkan........

AND THAT'S ALL I GOT!


We missed our train and now we got to figure something else out...

Here's a picture of my planner with the train in my background!

LOVE YOU!!!

GOODNIGHT!



ALSO I WENT TO A POKEMON CENTER. MORE ON THAT LATER.





Monday, March 6, 2017

Week 39: Where, Oh Where Could Sister Stewart Be?

The title of my blog this week is the question you all should be asking yourselves Thursday morning (my time) because IT'S TRANSFERS PEOPLE, AND NOT EVEN I CAN ANSWER THAT QUESTION!

We get transfer calls tomorrow (or tonight, if you are training, and I will not be doing such) and it's really looking like I'm due for a transfer! If you haven't been keeping up, I am still in my first area.  Been 6 months in my darling little 旭川 and I am sad, sad, sad to leave it, but alas, we must press on!

And if I don't transfer, it will be quite awkward. I already said my goodbyes. I'll have to come to church next week with a disguise and pretend to be Sister Stewbard instead...


In other news, I went to the zoo (again.) Should have really shelled out for the year pass... I'll be counting my shekels from here on out...


There's lots of good stories to tell but I can't think of a clever way to string them together so I'm just going to jump in.


I WAS PRESENT AT 5 CONCERTS THIS WEEK!!

1 ) While housing, a grandma, who is a tutor for some fancy, ancient Japanese singing style that even 中澤姉妹, who I was on splits with, couldn't read, sang for us. Then told us to leave... But apparently you usually have to shell out the big bucks to hear that style of music so WOW!!

2 ) That same day, while visiting some investigators, we got the grandpa to sing some old folk song about Asahiwaka and I LOVED IT.

3 ) At the same investigators house, me and 中澤姉妹 performed a duet of Families Can Be Together Forever with ukulele accompaniment. Yes, we are that fancy.

4 ) I got one of my favourite members, who accidentally said that she was good at singing Japanese folk style, to sing for us. She was embarrassed, but MAN, JAPANESE FOLK MUSIC IS SO COOL.

5 ) At the zoo all of the wolves started howling together... A little different, but still a musical performance!

video

TWO PEOPLE MADE ME DO STRETCHES THIS WEEK!!

1 ) That same old man who performed for us.

2 ) My 63 year old best friend and investigator who was in a famous dance group.

I promised them I would stretch every day! Still have yet to make good on that promise...


THIS ONE DOESN'T HAVE A LIST, 

But when we were leaving that old couples house (singing and stretching) they made us take round three of our dessert course on the go and we were a little late so we were running through the snow with little pancake crepe waffle things in our hands and I thought it was super funny.

Just imagine two girls in skirts running through the night on ice-covered sidewalks holding little pancake crepes.


AND I AM NOT GOING TO LIST THEM,
But I have said so many goodbyes this week! 

Some of them have been really sad, But all of them have included me very seriously admonishing people to friend me on Facebook. 

I even got one to follow my Instagram! (63 year old bestie coming in clutch)

HERE IS ME SAYING GOODBYE TO MY EIKAIWA FLOCK 

MY CUTE LITTLE PUNKS (they respect me)


Well I have nothing else interesting to say except the other day someone literally calculated my bill on one of those Asian counter things man I can't think of the word but I have a picture.


And he had a calculator right next to him. 

(I don't know if I told you about this guy, but he is a grandpa who runs the art store and he has hiked Everest, is apart of a "Churchill Club," and apparently is the most respectable firefly of all of Hokkaido (yeah, I got no clue either, but he was so funny))



ANYWAY

My ride is here (our Ward Mission Leader is taking us up the the Blue Lake which is now the White Lake because it is almost certainly frozen over) so I best be on my way!


GOODBYE 

Talk to you next week from another church building in Hokkaido!!!



Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Week 38: I Am Eating BBQ Cheetos

Welcome again to my blog!

As the workers say in any store or restaurant you enter here in the Japan Land "いらっしゃいませ (irasshaimase)," which I'm pretty sure translates to "you are honorably existing."

Let's get right down to it, eh?

THIS WEEK WAS VALENTINES DAY!

Happy Valentine's Day!

In Japan, the girls give chocolates (almost always handmade) to boys they fancy (or their friends too,) and then there is another day, next month, where the boy's return the chocolates: White Day. We did our part in giving out plenty of chocolates to our beloved investigators, Ward members, and yes, even the elders, but it seems like I will likely transfer away from this area before White Day. Maybe they'll celebrate it early for me?
 ANYWAY WE MADE CHOCOLATES WITH THE PRIMARY KIDS!!!

Look how cute they are with their aprons and handkerchiefs/head things/what are those called anyways! Literally we sit down and then, seemingly simultaneously, they all pull out perfectly folded sets of smocks and they are ready to go in a matter of seconds! We didn't have anything to wear... We felt underdressed...

And then WE SET A BAPTISMAL DATE WITH OUR INVESTIGATOR! She loves pink, she loves English, she LOVES Madonna, and she loves the Gospel! She is literally my best friend and we chat on the phone for like an hour a night thank goodness our minutes are unlimited!!

And then--this ones a bit of a roller coaster--but one of the APs (assistants to the mission prez) was looking at my handwriting, and asked me if I was half Japanese because it was so good OH HOHOHO! (Okay it might have been because my name is Mae and that is also a Japanese name but uh... He also definitely complimented my handwriting okay???) BUT THEN literally the next day, when this hoodie-wearing college-student-looking gas company employee came into our home (in his socks, heehee! Japan is so funny) to change our gas alarm and had me sign some paperwork he CORRECTED MY HANDWRITING. It was so bad -- apparently -- that he couldn't read it! I saw apparently because what he wrote on the side as his correction looks exactly like what I wrote, whatever.
Look! The same, right?!?! (He's the one who scribbled on my original one, the left, and made it look all gross)

But the funny thing is the next day I realized I wrote the whole thing wrong anyway... I wrote MAH-EH, when it should have been MEH-EE... Didn't even get one part write.... Hehehe.... Yeah, I don't actually know Japanese, and this just proves it!

But the reason I actually told this story is because I thought it was really funny that the gas worker was just in his socks in our house. So Japan!

BY THE WAY, we saw a FOX crossing the street on the way home from English Conversation Class. A REAL LIVE FOX!!!

I was pretty stoked.

Oh yeah, you remember that investigator I just told you about? The one who loves Madonna and has a baptismal date, oh yeah that one. She legitimately ran to church on Sunday. She had texted us, telling us that she wouldn't be able to make it, and right when we are about to walk into the chapel (I say chapel but it's really just a room, but that's not important right now) she BURSTS through the double doors, panting and panting! And then she said "I remembered that it was important to take the sacrament so I ran here! Did I make it in time?"

Later that day when we were on the phone, my companion complimented her and said "You have great faith!" And she replied "ヘック え やる!" which, if translated correctly, translates pretty well to "Heck yeah I do!"

Again, she is literally my best friend.

NOW FOR PICTURES!!
While waiting for interviews with the president, this is how the most missionary or missionaries spend their time, singing hymns in a circle. Meanwhile, the other missionaries (me!) just take pictures of them. #MissionaryLyfe
Our Zone!
Everyone loves this picture because my hair is on point, apparently. Or rather, a-HAIR-antly.
I didn't know what to do with my hands and it was stressful, NEVER be in the middle of pictures!
Oh and by the way my MTC companion is in my zone and I love her. She's the redhead next to me!


I think that's about it! 

LOVE YOU BYE!!

PS : Everyone seems to get a kick out of my weekly planner so I thought I would start including pictures of it at the end of my emails! If I remember. Probably won't. 

Don't try to make sense of anything that's written here by the way! It's all gibberish!