Sunday, 12 July 2015

I had some good help unpacking when I got home - thanks Tavo!

I'm home!

I came home on the last official day of the West Indies mission - June 30th, 2015. On July 1st while we celebrated Canada Day at home, the mission ceased to exist and split into two new missions: Trinidad Port of Spain Mission and Barbados Bridgetown Mission. It's what the mission office people worked so hard for, for so long! and was (and still is) not without its significant it's good it's (almost)  all accomplished.
While I was in Trinidad, I wondered why I was learning so much I felt I didn't need to know, about Church administration. No answers yet - I'm still wondering.
But it was sure a learning experience.

I discovered that each island - even Tobago - is a separate entity with a separate, even if related, culture; so that can make life difficult for those trying to deal with 7 different islands (ie, different countries), like in the new mission...even if it's less than in the old mission - but I feel the Trinidadian people will be glad to have a mission named after, and headquartered on, their island.

Already the homecoming adjustment has made my head swim - I've been cold when everyone else was saying it was hot out; my sleep schedule is all out of whack; I can't remember what season it is (rainy or dry?); and sometimes I wonder why the language here sounds so un-musical! I re-read Elder Pearson's General Conference talk from April 2015 - my favorite - just to re-visit that musical repetition I love: "every day, every day, every day" which sounds so much like the regular "hi hi!" or "morning morning" greetings I'd sometimes get in Trinidad.

And I still instinctively carry my purse on my right shoulder to properly show off my missionary tag on the left side....oh whoops, it's not there anymore, I forgot for a minute....
One young sister missionary I knew well, said she cried after coming home, up until the first transfer point (6 weeks after her return) - by then she'd adjusted. An older fellow I talked to reminisced about how hard it was to take off his missionary tag; he left it on for 2 weeks, til his mom finally made him take it off!
It truly is a unique and special experience (even if my mission assignment was more "short-long" as my nephew says) and it's a little hard to let go of...

It was short but intense.

My ward in Cardston welcomed me home today with many hugs; so wonderful. But during Relief Society as someone read the words to a lesser-known hymn, I realized I could teach it to my Trine friends using only 3 chords, and away my mind raced....
My homecoming plan is to teach piano/keyboard online from here, to Trinidad, from Aug-Dec this year (on Google Hangouts) and see how it goes. We started to set it up before I left. The 4 months or so I taught, was just too short to do much after a brief pause, I'll be back at it again!

I'll just be a little colder ;-)

Sunday, 28 June 2015

Talent Show - in honor of the West Indies MIssion President and his wife leaving July 1st

What a great time we had.
What a fun night. Great variety in the program, great music, great food, great company.
Many people worked to make this a success! and it truly was rewarding.

We sang Hymn #152 today in Relief Society - "God Be With You Til We Meet Again"

I can never sing that hymn (actually, this time I just listened to the beautiful "choir" sing it to me in the Trine dialect) without remembering a relative's double funeral years ago, and their grown children's impression, shared later with me, that the deceased parents were singing the words TO the children.

It's dawned on me a few times, how this experience I'm having is a bit like life in general - I left at a different time, to a different place, than many of my friends and family....(like when we were all in the spirit world together in our pre-mortal life).

When I got here, I didn't know my way around! It was all new to me. I had to learn bit by bit,  grow and s-t-r-e-t-c-h to deal with the parts I wasn't wild about. I admit I cried about it a few times. (Like coming into this world, and learning how to navigate - first babyhood, then toddler, then taking off on your own, etc)

Now I am leaving (early Tuesday morning) and again I'll cry...I'm leaving dear friends...although I know I'm going back to old and dear ones.
It reminds me of all the goodbyes I've said over the years - to grandparents, dear aunts and uncles, then our baby daughter Angela, then a nephew, a niece, then my dad, my husband, and my mother-in-law.
They left and I cried.
But I know they were then reunited with dear friends and family...and that is a comfort.

As someone said about a ship sailing  - some watch it leave, wave, and say "There she goes" - with sadness - while on a distant shore, others wait eagerly for the same passengers, saying "Here she comes!"
It seems life is made up of hello's and good-bye's....

I have loved the people I've served and served with, here.

I will cherish the memories.

Sunday, 21 June 2015

My ward had a great Father's Day!

I wanted to get a picture of what is a commonplace happening here - but still extraordinary in my experience - the ward's returned/serving missionaries were called up to the front to sing to a departing missionary, Daniel. (I was called up to play for them so I missed taking the picture, too bad). Members of that group are often asked publicly to bear testimony, give advice, etc. It now includes two young women! one of them my companion....with another young woman returning from her mission soon. What a strong, wonderful young group they are.

The Curepe Ward loves to celebrate with food, I've found - they really do it up right! Today was no exception: after church the Relief Society served "brunch" (delicious finger foods and cake) to the 15 fathers in the ward; but of course couldn't leave out the rest of us really it the spot.

Since I didn't get any good pictures this week I'm adding two I took earlier. One thing I love about Trinidad is the brightly colored houses. Our apartment building is bright blue (we call it "Blue Heaven"). Our landlord's house next door is bright gold. There's a house with lime green accents just down the street. My favorite color is the purple and blue house around the corner.

Sunday, 7 June 2015

Showing off my sunburn at the office on Friday

Yup, didn't use any sunscreen - that's me!

Beach Day holiday....

Thursday was a holiday here, the Catholic holiday "Corpus Christi Day". There are also various Indian and African holidays celebrated in Trinidad.
We celebrated by going to Maracas Beach, where it was a little shady, thank goodness! but a while after this picture was taken, I still acquired some I'm just getting rid of the sunburn at the top of my arms, with the help of a fresh aloe vera plant...

Here we were drinking coconut water straight from the fruit, with straws. Then you scrape the thin layer of white jelly out and eat it - delicious! I also tasted the inside of a cocoa bean plant; and tiny baby bananas, very tasty.