Hey hey there Dad!
So its actually around 10:00 here right now, in the morning. Weird, huh? So I bet you'll be receiving an email from me somewhere around late at night, or maybe not. So where to start?
After I called you guys from Dallas, it was good! We boarded the plane to Hong Kong finally around 11;45 Dallas Time. Didn't realize that we would be flying over Alaska and Russia and the sort! I suppose that is one way to go around the world. Hard to imagine that we did though! So crazy.
The flight itself was good. I appreciated the space that we had! International Flights were as big as I supposed that they would be! Two Aisles and the whole bit, but my carry-on was too big to fit directly over me, so it went toward the front, so I didn't have any snacks on the plane... just the ones they provided. I did study for a solid 6 hours total though! Not all at once, just for a little bit! We were there for a whole 16 hours there on that plane. Too long! They fed us meals though, but I felt as though they were a bit small... Oh well! I survived. I got up and walked around for a little bit, often. Most of the time was devoted to translating the Book of Mormon. Perhaps I'll do that a lot more! I want to try to start reading faster here. I slept a little bit, but only around the same time people should be sleeping around here.
Got to Hong Kong. The airport there is huge! It looks like it anyways. Hong Kong Dollars confused me a little bit. Everything was worth around $10,000 or so! In Hong Kong dollars. It was fun! Didn't buy anything though. The bathrooms were also kind of weird as well! The flight was short, but I really tried not to sleep, and then sleep when we got there! No studying then though.
Arrived at the airport! Was really weird. Got my bags and everything, all safe and sound. But going through all the immigration lines was complicated and long. But we did, and we exited to where they were to pick us up. They were holding up an Angel Moroni, so it was hard to miss them! The AP's and Prathaan Johnson plus Sister Johnson came to pick us up! It was fun, but we arrived in Bangkok at around 12:30 at night, so it was dark, and there was no one in the streets really! So it was good for traffic. Went to a weird little hotel.
Oh! I forgot to mention that our district got split, but I think I already said that! I was in a room w/ Elder Hamilton and Elder McClellan. Went to sleep at 2 in the morning our time.
Woke up, did the whole formal entrance into the Mission Office (the videos you always see!) That was fun, and there were a whole bunch of Elders gathered around because it was transfers too! The day kind of went by in a blur after that! Got blood work done, signed some papers, and went to some meetings with Prathaan Johnson. 'Twas fun! Then we met our trainers.
My Trainer is Elder Bjornson! He's from Utah, and he's been out here for about 4 transfers. He pretty much understands most things that people are saying here! I, on the other hand, am not understanding a whole ton... but that will come with time! I am learning a lot, but some people speak weird, or differently! Back to the timeline, so we immediately took a taxi to the bus station we were going to go to. There I found out I would be serving in the same area as one of my Phii Thais! Her name is Sister Gibbons, and she was one of our Sister Training Leaders in the MTC. So It was fun meeting her again! She's in our district, and we only have 6 people in it, so our district is pretty tight. We ended up taking a bus to my area which I'm in: Sakon Nakhon, which is waaaaaaay far out to the Northeast of Thailand. Here they speak Thai and Issan, the Northeastern dialect of Thai, somewhat of a mix between Laos and Thai, since we're so close to the border here!
Its pretty great here! It's not hot at all! Probably around 70ish or so degrees all the time! Its a great area for NoongKhiaws my trainer said (young green). Seems like it! The members are all super friendly! But my trainer said I'm already doing pretty well in the language! I'm good with the gospel words, but all the conversational stuff gets a little complicated sometimes!
Good story here: We were on the Bus for 14 hours. Its way out here! We almost missed our stop, so we stopped the bus right after we missed it, and got my bags out. After that, we ran across to a Song Tao Station, and waited there, where we were taken back to Sakon Nakhon (a Song Tao is a truck with a weird passenger thing attached to the back of it!
We have a baptism coming up next Sunday! I just barely got here, but I'm excited for her! Her name is Sister Eef. She's doing pretty well about the Gospel! She seems pretty willing to learn! Things are going great, I just need to keep progressing! Onward and upward, as always! Just keep learning and progressing, practicing talking, reading, and listening!
Alright, Hope to talk to you soon! I love you guys a lot! (By the way we can email back and forth apparently, and there's no time limit on my emails!) I'm safe out here, don't worry! Love you!
- Elder Collin Decker