Our trip went very well. Nothing was delayed and no one lost anything. Most of the elders wished me a happy birthday while we were in LA, and then on the flight to Hong Kong, Chi Dao ate raw fish in honor of my birthday (she was being adventurous for my sake because she knows I like to try stuff out and I think she should too...because it's FUN!). Let me preface this story by saying missionaries are not supposed to eat raw fish. It's just I didn't know what it was when I put it in my mouth, and then it was too late and I didn't even think about it not being allowed until afterwards. They gave us dinner on the flight to Hong Kong, and dinner included some potato salad and a cherry tomato and righ tnext to it in the same dish was some pink stuff that looked kind of like pickled ginger, and I like pickled ginger, so I picked up about half of it and put it in my mouth all at once. And then I realized it wasn't pickled ginger. And then a few seconds later I decided it was raw fish. I was a little surprised initially, but it was really good. It was salmon, and I love salmon. Apparently I even love raw salmon. It was sweet and didn't really taste fishy at all, and I liked it so much I picked up the other half and ate it to. I think it was actually Chi Dao's idea for her to eat it in honor of my birthday; I did NOT dare her to do it (that would also be against missionary rules), but I did document it using her camera. So we both ate raw fish... and later we remembered we weren't supposed to, so the moral of the story is raw salmon is yummy but I won't eat it again until after my mission because I like to be obedient. All of you people who are not missionaries should try raw salmon though.
On the flight from Hong Kong to Phnom Penh, I wasn't sitting in a row with any of the other eleven missionaries in our travel group, but I was sitting next to a Cambodian man who lives in Australia and was on his way to visit family. We started talking and he told me about how much his wife likes the Catholic church, so I taught him the first lesson and we talked about his family and he told me about how he tries to be a really good father. He was really nice and I really liked talking to him. I gave him my Restoration pamphlet (the English one) and a pass along card that seemed relevant after our conversation, and he seemed really happy to take them home to his wife and two sons. So I don't have the Restoration pamphlet in English anymore, but that's okay because I really only need it in Vietnamese. I also talked to another man who was on a mission trip for another Christian church, and has asking questions about the missionaries. We were getting off the plane, so could only answer a few questions and give him a Mormon.org card, but he seemed really nice too.
The airport in Phnom Penh is quite small, and we got through security and customs without any problems. Then we walked outside and looked for someone who looked like they were expecting a dozen LDS missionaries. There wasn't anyone. So then we stood in front of the airport looking a little lost but very happy. I have a picture to prove it. We figured a bunch of elders in suits would be hard to miss, and whoever would be looking for us could spot us pretty easily if we all just stood there in a horde, so that's what we did. We didn't have to wait long. Three young elders (the assistants), a senior couple, and the Moons found us there after only several short minutes or waiting. We took some pictures and then the elders went contacting in a market while the sisters went with the Moons to the mission home to make lunch. (The elders all speak Cambodian, so it's easy for them to find people to talk too, but the sisters had to wait).
We had a bunch of orientation stuff in the afternoon and evening, and then we spent the night in the mission home. We were so jet lagged! The next day we had Cambodian food (rice, pork, pickled vegetables, and eggs) for breakfast, more orientation stuff, and then we found out who are trainers are. I guessed all the sisters trainers correctly. Chi Pham is training Chi Dao in Branch 6; Chi Huong is training Chi Hien in Branch 10; and Chi Ly is training me in Branch 3. It's perfect! Branch 3 is My Hoa's home branch. Thay Kiet told us about My Hoa. He taught her seminary class when he was on a mission here, and now she is on a mission here too! I got to meet her the day we got here, and the next morning when she found out I was serving in branch 3 she was so excited. She told me that the night before she had been telling the other Vietnamese sisters that she really liked me for some reason, and so she was thrilled when I was put in Branch 3 because her brother is one of Chi Ly's progressing investigators and now I get to teach him too! I'm really excited! Chi Truong (My Hoa) is serving in Hanoi now, so I only got to see her for a couple days, but I am so thrilled that she was one of the very first people I met in Cambodia.
The Viet sisters who serve in branches 6 and 10 live in the same house, but branch 3 is rather removed from them, so Chi Ly and I live in a big house all on our own in another part of the city. There are Viet elders in branch 3 too, and we've see Elder Price and Elder Taylor (Cambodian-speaking) three times now because they serve in the ward that shares a building with branch 3. Only one of those sighting was in the church though. Chi Ly says that our area has a lot of water, so I should plan on having wet shoes. In about a month or so, according to her predictions, the wooden plank walkways will go up where the flooding will be a couple feet deep around some of the investigators and members houses. Our first day together, we got to our house via tuk tuk because we had to take my suitcase (I only have one because I pack really well, but it was more than we wanted to take on a bike). That was really fun! I have pictures, so I will try to send some. My first evenign on the job, we taught two investigators (one was My Hoa's brother!) and I taught an English class. It was so much fun! I love it here! The people are awesome!
I have tons more to say, but my companion is ready to go, so one more story!
Sunday is the best! I love Sundays! This Sunday was really special though. We were greeting people as they came into Sacrament meeting and I looked up and realized I recognized someone, but he looked funny with a beard. It was Thay Tuan! I ran out to shake his hand and then I saw Thay Kiet too! I was so happy that I was shaking all through Sacrament meeting. I was hoping to see Thay Kiet, but having both of them in branch 3 on my first Sunday was really way more than I could hope for. They heard me introduce myself in Sacrament meeting, which was nerve wracking but fun. How many missionaries get to have their MTC teachers there on their first Sunday in the mission field?
I have so many stories, but the other sisters are waiting on me.
I love Cambodia!