Sunday, November 4, 2012

Hello from Indonesia!

I have finally arrived in Indonesia! I'll tell you a little about the traveling... So we left the MTC and got on a bus to the airport at around 5:00pm. It was really strange to see the outside world for a little bit. The MTC was a great experience, but you are pretty shut out to the outside world. So I felt like a little kid looking out the window with wide eyes. At Salt Lake, we ate at Cafe Rio, which was amazing! We then got on a plane to LAX, which was a quick flight. We had about two hours in LA, and by our terminal there were a lot of other missionaries. Many were going to the Pacific, through Hong Kong. We got on the plane, and it looked pretty nice. The flight attendants were super nice, and they did a lot more for us then normal American flights. The plane ride was VERY long, but I was able to sleep for a lot of it. The food on the plane was also very good, so I had a good time.

When we arrived to Hong Kong, it was real early in the morning, so there were not very many people there. We waited by a food area, and once some restaurants opened, we ate. I ate some really weird noodles that had a bunch of things inside the broth. We were not able to see the city, but the airport was really big, and quite modern. We went to our terminal, and there were a lot of Indonesian people there. We started talking to a few of them, and they were really nice! Many asked for our numbers so that they could feed us in Indonesia. Finally, we boarded the plane to Indonesia. The flight went by pretty quick, and the sky was really clear, so I could see many islands and the ocean.

We then landed in Indonesia. Right when I got off the plane, my breath was taken away by the heat and humidity. The airport felt like it was outside, even though there was a lot of AC. We went through customs, which was fine, and then met the Mission President and his Wife! They were super nice. They helped us with our luggage, and we took a few cars to the Mission Home.

The drive was amazing. The traffic in Jakarta is insane! There are tons and tons of scooters that whiz by the cars and pile up everywhere. There are lines on the road, but not a single person follows them. Jakarta is really strange because there are really big, wealthy looking buildings, and right next to them is a whole village of super poor people. When we arrived at the Mission home, it did not look like much, but once we went inside, it was pretty big, and really nice. Sister Groberg took some pictures of us, and then we met the APs. They took us out in Jakarta by bus, and then we walked around. It was a crazy city! I wish I could describe it by words, but I really can't. There were so many people, smells, cars, scooters, and just crazy things you see. When we returned, we ate, and we were all so tired, we slept right away.

When we woke up, we got ready, and met with the Mission President. He gave each of us our official assigned areas. I was assigned to Semarang! He told me it is very hot, but one of the most beautiful, clean cities in Indonesia! It is also a biking area, so he said I would lose a ton of weight. The rest of our group was assigned to different areas in Indonesia. I leave by plane to my area, so I will travel there today.

In transition, I was sent to Bogor, which is close to Jakarta. I was paired with two elders there, and I followed them around on their assignments. So for the past four days, I have been with them, and boy has it been an adventure. Bogor is a rainy city, but it did not rain too much while I was there. It is also considered to be the coolest area, temperature wise, but I sure did not think so. It was super humid and hot, and our home only had AC in the room we slept in, so it was pretty killer.

We traveled by these little vans called Ankots, which are basically small vans with benches in the back. They drive insane, but it is a cheap, easy way to travel. We also walked around A LOT. We visited non-active members, and the few investigators they had, and it really made me love the people. They look at you funny at first, thinking you are just an arrogant American, but once you say hello to them, they just brighten up! They are super kind. The kids are also really funny. Everywhere you go they will yell out "Mister!" and follow you around. It is really fun. They learn a little bit of English in school, so they practice it with you. But it was a really cool city.

Right now I am in the Mission Home, and we are preparing to leave. We have a little bit of training to do, and then we are all off to the races! I am super excited to see my official area, and I can't wait to tell you all about it! Sampai nanti!

-Elder James

{New pictures are included in the previous few posts.}

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