Monday, November 9, 2009

First Week in Singapore

Halo Keluarga Saya,

So, here I am my first week in Singapore. It's probably one of the craziest cities I've ever been in. Very different from what I was expecting. So, first off, what does it look like. It's definitely a big city, but the rumors about it being very clean are definitely true. The only place I've ever seen trash on the ground is right next to a trash can, where someone must have missed trying to put them in the can. It's also really green here. Not at all like cities in America that are just packed with concrete. There's tons of trees and grasses and bushes and all of those kinds of things all over the place. Sometimes it's almost like being in a Jungle.

There's an unbelievably large number of Chinese here. I had no idea how many there actually were going to be. Tons. Almost everybody. There's also a lot of Indians, Bangladeshi, Malay, Sri Lankans, and lots of Filipinos. All kinds of people. And basically no white people at all. I wasn't expecting that. I'd always gotten the impression that there would be lots here on business or working (it turns out 1/4 of Singapore's population [1000000 people] are non-Singaporeans just here working). Not true though. In fact, this morning I counted while we were on the MRT (their subway system) coming to the mission office. I saw six. Six out of hundreds of people. I think I go every day seeing less than a dozen. Definitely makes you start to feel out of place.

The food is pretty good. Ethnic foods from all over Asia mostly. Our first day here we had Indian food on banana leaves and they taught us how to eat with our hands (you'd be shocked how much technique goes into it). We've also had lots of Chinese food and whatever the members will make us. There are still American places around here though. In fact, today our zone is going to Chili's! You wouldn't believe how many 7-11s there are around. Tons!

People speak very different English here. At our first appointment multiple times I thought my companion and the investigators were going off in Tamil. So afterwards I asked him about it, and he looked at me kind of funny and just told me they hadn't spoken a word. I couldn't believe it! It's a miracle anyone here can speak english to each other since everyone has a totally different accent (Australian, Chinese, Indian, Mongolian). It's actually made me feel pretty proud of my own native-level English. Probably not good, but true! They also sometimes use words here that don't really exist in English. For example, people are constantly saying the sound 'lah' after words. 'lah' is kind of an emphasizer in malay, so I think that's where it comes from, but often you'll hear people say things like "all the timelah" or "they just tell me all that garbagelah."

I've been totally blown away by what kind of workers people are here in Singapore. It's actually hard to get appointments with anybody since they all work so hard. The other day we were talking to a girl about our age on the bus, and she told us she worked 60 hours a week. That's 5 twelve hour shifts in a row. And all that for something like 1000 Sing a month (1.3 Sing is worth $1).

One more funny story. The first day I went to my new apartment (which is the nicest in the mission by the way. Very nice apartment), I went almost straight to the bathroom. I was just about to sit down, when I noticed there wasn't any toilet paper, so I found Elder Bukhchuluun and asked him where I could get some, to which he replied "Oh, we don't use any." "What? What do you mean we don't use any?" "Yeah, we just take a shower. Everyone in the mission does it." Uh... Surprise surprise! So, I've been on a big search for toilet paper these last few days. I already finished off the paper towels in our house, and I've taken to hoarding extra toilet paper every time I use one of the bathrooms at the church. Crazy place.

Anyway, I'm doing ok. Trying to learn a lot all at once is hard, and sometimes I think maybe I push myself too hard, but I'll figure it all out. Growing pains, right

Love you so much! -Elder Blissett (Kevin)

1 comment:

  1. Never would have expected so much greenery. And glad the food is good- that's something to be happy about! =) So I looked up on a wikepedia-like sight and it's called "Singlish" where they end the words in funny ways like "lah," "leh," and "mah." So crazy. Never thought t.p. would be the thing to hoard. Wow, what an experience!