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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

30 December 2013 Uturoa, Raiatea

We nearly went back to normal life after Christmas. The only problem is it’s considered Holiday until after the New Years. So no one still wants to do anything. [Cough cough] including a little bit my companion. He’s soooo Tahitian. I love it : ]

We hiked up a mountain today. I can’t remember the name, but it’s the mountain just next to Uturoa. You could see all the islands in Raromatai from the top, and the wind was super strong and nice.

Elder Twede (my MTC companion) got transferred to Faa’a (he’s not very happy with the move), and Elder Franco (he came out the same time as me) got transferred to Takaroa in the Tuamotus (he is super excited). I’m so jealous :]. I am happy to stay here. I love it here and there is still plenty for me to do before being transferred.

I’m pretty sunburned right now. After our hike up and down the mountain, we played volleyball for the rest of the day.

Some advice for new Tahitian missionaries:

1. Bring two sets of sheets so you can use one set while the other is drying.

2. Bring dark athletic socks (grey works) instead of dress socks. They absorb moisture and wick it away from your feet better than the dress socks.

3. Practice eating REALLY, REALLY slow.

4. Bringing a mini speaker is one of the best decisions I could have made.

5. Poplin pants are the best.

Sometimes on a mission you’re not a teacher, you’re a fisher. That’s where we are right now. The dangerous thing about fishing is you sit and eat too much! When you visit members’ houses to get references they always give you food! Not complaining. Just warning!

Alma 18, pay close attention to how Ammon teaches the king. It’s executed flawlessly. He also teaches all the missionary lessons in the same order we do. It’s interesting.

Well that’s about all I got for the blog.

Love you all

Elder Molinari

Note from the editor (the father):

We spoke with Elder Molinari on Christmas day. He looks good and sounds good. He converses quite fluidly with the natives in their version of French. We didn't hear much Tahitian other than a word or two now and then. He is quite proud of his “farmer’s tan”. Hi face was pretty red. He was easily distracted by a fresh mosquito bite on his arm and by anyone passing by who was speaking anything other than English.

He was able to “Skype” from a member’s home. It was great to hear and see him. He says he has to be okay, “How can you not be when you’re in paradise?”

There was a rooster cock-a-doodling in the background. More than once he excused himself from the screen to chase the rooster away. It would returned every time after he sat down again. He said there are a lot of roosters everywhere and they start sounding-off very early in the morning – like 3 AM! When he first got there they would wake him every morning, but now he sleeps right through it.

He seemed to be very relaxed and fully engaged in the “island way of life”. What is it about living on an island that allows one to be so laid-back and carefree? It seems to be the same in Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Jamaica and I am sure we can add many others. “No problem, mon.” “Don’t worry. Be happy.”

We seemed to spend a fair amount of time talking about the dogs on the island. Dogs are dogs there. They are tied up in the yard to keep an eye on things. They eat scraps from the table, don’t come in the house and are pretty dirty and mangy.

He continues to tell us that the fruit is AMAZING! Apparently, we don’t know what most fruit is supposed to taste like. Bananas are soft, moist and very sweet. Pineapples are sweeter than sugar and have no acid taste. Most people grow fruit trees in their yards and a lot grows “not in yards”. It grows everywhere. All you need is a good machete and it’s yours for the picking! He is amazed with pineapple plants and the way they grow. Mango season just ended. The fruit that we know the most about, apples are not readily available there and are highly sought after. People think they are so delicious, because they are different.

There are many French nationals on the islands. The nicest homes and properties all seem to belong to the French. They are vacation homes on the ocean. It is difficult to find many true islanders. There is a significant European and Chinese presence throughout the islands. It seems that the Chinese own most of the shops and store fronts, which seem to have funny, nonsensical English names.

He is currently on the island of Raiatea. There are three other missionary companionships on the island: a pair of sisters, another pair of elders and a couple. Uturoa is the most populated area on the island. Everyone lives around the shore line. The center of the island is mountainous and mostly uninhabitable. The southern part of the island is mostly rural. Elder Molinari is in the more "urban" portion, to the north. Everything being relative, the big city isn't very big at all. But it is the most densely populated part of the island.

The family where he spent Christmas has adopted him. They have a son on a mission now too. I said we were happy to loan Kristoffer out for a while. We are happy that someone is watching after him.