Day 36 – June 18

Today was unfortunately not a very productive day at work. I took some papers home over the weekend so I could work on some things and I left them at the house, which meant everything I really needed for the project, I didn’t have.

I finally got the journal stuff sent to everyone. I have been so sick for so long and feel behind on everything. I sent the unedited version to Jason. I was still a bit nervous to do that, but I suppose he is the one person in my life where I can and should share every concern, thought, and detail. I just think I should make him do the same haha Then I wouldn’t feel so exposed. I edited the one I sent to everyone else a bit, but I’m concerned maybe I should have edited it more. Oh what perfect timing, mom just texted and said she loved it! I guess it was fine the way it was 🙂

I forgot to mention something that happened at church yesterday. I was able to talk to one of the Bishopric members about the issue of traditional marriages in the Church. I don’t know if I mentioned it before, but here couples have a traditional marriage, then a civil marriage, and then a temple sealing if possible. Since traditional marriages cost so much, even members of the church are often only married in this manner and never get a civil or temple marriage. I was curious how this issue was handled since the Church only recognizes legal marriages. I found out that on church documents, they couples are recognized as not being married. Individuals who have only had a traditional marriage can also not serve in higher callings – Bishopric, Stake level, or above. They can serve in a Branch Presidency though. Also, neither party can enter the temple. However, these couples are recognized as married as far as morality is concerned and are able to engage in marital activities without repercussions.

The other three things I was going to mention about church probably don’t need mentioning here, but since it is different from what is typically seen in the United States, I figured it may as well be mentioned. First, there are no parking lots since no one can generally afford a car. The buildings are located in the middle of neighborhoods and behind metal fences. Second, there are no programs/ward bulletins because there are no printers, copiers, etc. The Branch President or Bishop makes his own program to direct the congregation by writing down whatever he needs on a piece of paper including the talks, announcements, and hymn numbers. Lastly, there is no one to play the very small keyboard, if a branch or ward is lucky enough to own one of these small keyboards, so the person conducting the music will sing the first 8 measures aloud to everyone else, so that the congregation will have an idea of what it is supposed to sound like.

On the way home tonight, the bus driver and another bus driver literally traded places in the middle of the road! They both pulled over to the sides and then ran across the busy road. I would expect this on a normal bus, but this is a WHO bus! I was surprised! When the new driver got into the bus, the whole bus said “Bon soir.” Everyone is so friendly here – it sometimes just catches me off guard.

Charles was at the house when I got home so we visited for a few minutes. Then, I got my first work out in today since the beginning of my trip since I’ve been sick. I only made it about half way through what I had planned, but I suppose I should start of slow since I’m still not feeling 100%… oh well, it’s a start.

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