Monday, August 5, 2013

July 15 - Shingle Crick

Heeeey. I love you. 

SO! Leaving Minnetonka was the equivalent of putting my heart in a dryer. (I don't know, guys, it just came to me. My fingers are FLYIN' on this keyboard) I loved that ward and those people so much! Crying ward children. :/ And K was pretty heartbroken that we were both leaving. Also, sending my best friend on up to Duluth was rough as well.  She'll do great things, though. The Lord knows where I need to be. I trust that, I love that, and I'm happy. 

Shingle Creek is deeeelightful. It's a major refugee area. I can't remember if I talked about that when I was on exchanges here. I thought when I got called to Minnesota I'd be teaching straight old ladies in cat sweaters for eighteen months. When in reality, I haven't talked to a single white person besides my companion and a family in the ward ALL week. Everyone is from Africa, South America, or Asia. And they're all so cool. Stinkin' Minnesota. Where did you even come from?!

A typical street here has stores like Boss Kuts, with a sign that includes African braiding, adjacent to a fried chicken joint, a gas station, and a Family Dollar. Everyone we teach wears bright colors, like African cloth with beautiful headdresses. I am so in love with it. 

Hhhalso, I had the first LEGIT Chinese food I've had since December this week. House of Huiiiiiii. (There aren't really that many I's... it's just how I say it.) The lady there reminds me of my second-mom in Changyi, in the sense that she discounted my food after I slaughtered all the tones on a Mandarin phrase at her insistence and loved on us the rest of the time. (Out of pity, probs. I DON'T SPEAK CHINESE.) She kept hovering and told me she'd make mine extra-legit since I had lived in Shandong. Also, she kept watching us eat, grabbing my shoulders and saying, "You skeeny. You good body. That good." She wants me to marry an Asian so he can help me with my Chinese. I'm down. I need a translator when I return to China. Hahahahaha. So. People. House of Hui. Hit it up. To quote the Kenyan man a table over, "They sauces is off the CHAIN!"

What else? I got the most creatively rejected this week that I ever have. We went up and the guy just closed his eyes and froze like a statue. For like ten minutes. That's commitment. I wasn't even MAD. So good. Get it, sir. 

My companion, Sister M, is incredible. She's Sister Training Leader, so I'll be on exchanges like... every week, if not multiple times. But it'll be cool to see more of the mission! She's so hard-working and has such a passion and urgency for the people in this area. We are CONSTANTLY moving or making phone calls, and we don't even sit down while we eat lunch. She's working me like a dog, but I'm way happy. I love this area. She is a great missionary. I have so much to learn from her.

...Also, she's super organized and controlled, so things were kind of formal between the two of us until the second day, when I mumbled, "Man, it either smells like really good Mexican food or really bad B.O." We were hustling up some stairs and I said it more to myself than anyone... but she laughed SO hard and loosened up. She's a cutie. Best laugh errrrr.

Hmmmm. What else? OH. An African family they've been teaching here for four months is getting baptized this week! We've met with them twice and they have the most beautiful children. They're SO cute. African babies just run wild here, with their little braids and diapers and bare feet. Sometimes they have beats bumping and just dance around on their chubby legs and laugh. Can't even do it. Melts my flipping heart. All of their family except the youngest are being baptized on Thursday. Keep them in your prayers. :) They are aMAZing. 

Honestly, seeing all the kids here makes me homesick... for China. I know. Weird. They're just all so good and have no idea how great they are. I really miss those kids. There's not a day that's gone by since I've been home that I haven't thought of them and what they taught me. 

(But who knows. I could be thinking of China because we had to sign a waiver when we moved in that we wouldn't sue if we got sick from the tap water. :///// Also, it's grossly humid. Whoops.)

Hm. OH! I am not eating sweets or desserts this transfer... Wait for it. I'm not dieting, cause let's be real. I'd never commit to that. Nope. Buuut. I want to understand what that's like, for our investies with Word of Wisdom problems or other addictions. Cause I've never really had that in my life, where I wanted to do something that was so in my face all the time, and knew I shouldn't. The first day I was like, "Hey, this is the easiest!" Then it hit nine o'clock and I was SO HUNGRY. That's when I realized that 99.9 percent of my daily intake is cooookies. Hi. Anyway. I just really want to better understand and help them. It seems silly, but it's important to me. I can't ask anyone anything I'm not willing to do.

(So. Am I counting down the days to August 21 so I can vacuum whole sleeves of Oreos in my mouth? Maybe. But I'm trying! :/ A Shelby without daily dessert just feels like an identity crisis. Gash. At least they don't sell Slurpees here, or I'd be DONE for.)

Things are really good. I am happy to be here. It weirds me out that we're already two months into this thing. There's SO much I don't know. But I do love these people. I know my Savior lives. I know He helps us and that God knows us wherever we are and however we feel. And I love every moment in this work.

I love you all! You're in my prayers. 

Have the best week!!

With all my heart,
Sister Ballif

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