Monday, March 26, 2012

Only in the Philippines...

Okayyyy. maybe the longest week of my life.
p-days are my favorite cause I get to email the greatest people ever!! YAY! 

So the Philippines is seriously insane. that's all i can say. Everyday i say, only in the philippines. cause its true. this happens no where else i am pretty sure!! especially on sundays. church people come in jeans, sweats and no one cares. no one wears ties here. they all just wear white button up shirts. haha My companion is still the greatest. Okay so everyday I have cried. It's hard because our morning we wake up at 6:30, then get ready and personal study, companion study and language study and then lunch. We dont go out til 1 so the mornings are hard cause all i think about is how homesick i am, and how bad i miss that cute elder brevard. I like it here, but its just so different. I know i can adjust. Food is fine, very different and everything just tastes "off" but its all good. I will be fine. The less I eat, the skinner I will be right?? haha
So there was this one day, i think tuesday where i kind of just had a freak out. all morning i just bawled. so homesick k! then we left at 1 and we had like a million appointments and we were sitting in this one ladies house, ok not a house, a shack and we were teaching her and it was going great, then i see mice on her KITCHEN countertops. Don't worry she has babies. So i see them and tears just fill my eyes..because i HATEEEEEE mice. so after keeping my cool kind of, i walked out of the shack and just bawled to my comp. she was like you are so humble (thats all she ever says to me haha) and sweet sister. but i wasn't crying cause i was humble i was crying cause i was grossed out and hate mice! haha  so then i just decided to laugh about it. Now seeing mice in lessons is common and it still freaks me out don't worry. oh lizards too. they are everywhere and in people's houses.

so we teach like 6-10 lessons a day. which is so awesome cause the days fly and it really helps my tagalog. my comp is seriously so good! she goes home in 5 weeks I AM SO SCARED for my next trainer. PLUSSSSS i have to LEAD this area!! aHHHH i want to freak out. i don't know this place there are so many back ways, streets. houses i have to memorize. oh well i can do it!
this cute old lady nanay rems does our laundry every wednesday YAY i dont have to do it! we pay her, and she is a less active so its sweet! our clothes take forever to dry here though.

okay so one night i was talking to my housemates and companions about things we have in america. they loooovee hearing about america! So i asked them if they knew what a dishwasher was and my companion goes "ya ME!" oh she was dead serious..i laughed so hard. i said i explained to them what a dishwasher was and they were SO excited! hahaha and i told them we have washer and dryers, theater rooms, and everyone drives cars here. my comp goes,"ya your life is so easy there" haha i was like "ya i guess it is, americans just are lazy"

so we had a baptism saturday 4 people so amazing! we have baptisms everyday satuday in april. its pretty amazing! people are so great here. i just loved seeing those little kids in white. one of our baptismal kids is 17 jayson i just love that kid. he is so strong. he bore his testimony after he was baptized and cried when he talked about me and my comp and how we have helped him so much! he wants to serve a mission to utah so i told him i would help him with his english first! so amazing!! 

so let me tell you this, every house we go to people invite us in. they love the missionaries here. its so amazing. we sit on the floor of these houses (with ants crawling up our legs) and teach these wonderful people. we are in these horrible shacks and yet are singing hymns bearing testimony and telling their kids how much their heavenly father loves them. its kind of cool that you can feel Heavenly Father's love in this tiny little shack in the philippines, and these wonderful people can feel it too. i love it! 
so i havent been cold the whole time i have been here, except in the shower. i am frozen! then the minute i turn the water off i am sticky again. no joke! but i sleep good! except for this stupid dog next door that seriosuly doesnt shut up. its always worse when i go to bed like 30 minutes early. dang it for obedience. haha but you go to sleep sticky, wake up in the middle of the night sticky and hot, and wake up early in the morning hot and sticky. loveee it. not. i shower twice a day.
so Heavenly Father works in crazy ways. i now know why i am here: there is an actress in the philippines who is white and her name is..ann curtis. everyone thinks she is my sister so they just love me!! haha every time i meet someone they say "are you related to ann curtis" (i think they say that-who knows all i hear is ann curtis) and i say..ohh ya i am! she is my cousin and they are so happy then i tell them no and they just laugh at me.

one lesson i was bearing my testimony in tagalog (trying to) and i was like k i am done so i started speaking in english and i know no one could understand me. then i look around and everyone has tears in their eyes. they said they had goosebumps. it was a great feeling knowing their felt the spirit and even though they couldnt understand me they felt the spirit and thats the universal language. 
one lesson this week we taught some kids and every time we teach kids i teach them...marriage and THEN babies. cause everyone is freaking pregnant here and they are so young. and no one is married! so i am teaching the kids while they are young. i make them repeat it like 5 times to me. after we taught those kids, we taught their mother. she just bawled to us and said she was so happy we were there helping her and her kids. for the first time in my mission i realized i was at the right place at the right time. she was so grateful for us.

everywhere i go people stare at me. it kind of gets annoying, then other times i just say hello! and they laugh. haha they think i am SO beautiful its crazy to me!!! when i am with other american missionaries they do the same thing! they are so shocked when they see us!! little girls touch my skin and hold my hands haha and alwayssss take my hair our and play with it. its fun! except when they use their own combs i get scared i will get some disease haha

well i have gotten SO many emails and i promise in time i will email back all them! just be patient with me. tell everyone i love all the emails and keep them coming!! 
i miss america really bad ha ha i miss the little things that everyone and i have taken for granted! so enjoy everything you have here. people ask me all the time if i can adopt them and take them back to america. isnt that so sad?? i tell them all yes. so i may come home next year with like 100 philippino kids! hahah i love you family!!

Sister Curtis 

Monday, March 19, 2012

Shelby's Last Few Days at the MTC

Your journey is more important than your destination

How grateful I am for America! this place is insane haha!! So my
flight from san fran to hong kong went great. the moment i sat in my
seat i fell asleep. i slept for 8 hours and then took half of an
ambien and slept like 4 more. so it was GREAT! I didnt see much of
hong kong. then two hours later we went to manilla. let me just tell
you about this flight. Worst flight of my life. Maybe cause i was
flying to the philippines to live there for 16 months. well i was sick
the whole time. horrible anxiety. sweating. cried the whole time. ya
just in my seat for everyone to see. when we got there some lds man
came up to us and picked us up. we got into this taxi van and he took
us to the beautiful mission home. dont worry we were stunned the whole
ride. PEOPLE DRIVE CRAZY HERE!!!  like noooo traffic laws, people
everywhere, jeepneys, motorcycles. thank goodness for america. once we
got to the mission home i felt so sick..i walked in and sister
delamare went to give me a hug and i had my hand over my mouth and
said, "oh hi i am about to throw up where is your bathroom" so i
rushed in and threw up. then looked at myself and laughed. i could
hear her say "sis curtis is scared to dealth" YA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! but i
think i just got sick from the flight cause then i felt a ton better!
we met everyone the aps were there and some missionaries going home
later that day. depressing. but we ate dinner and had our interview
and i got a blessing. i really like my mission president. we got to
meet all the cute senior missionaries and we had orientation just
where they tell us about our areas and tell us who are companions are.
it was fun! then the aps took us to our area. an hour from quezon
city. in the mountains. they told us we have the nicest apartment!
everyone was jealous when they said we were going to cogeo. once we
got to our apartment i went straight to bed. i slept from 630 pm to
630 am and then didnt have any jet lag! so nice! our aparmtnet..
so ya know as shelby i am thinking..VERY nice! well it actually is nice.

but let me tell you. its 3 stories. newly renovated. we live with
another companionship whom i just LOVE! they call me sister barbie. i
am the only american. they are all philippino. i ran to the bathroom
first to see if there was any toilet paper and a shower. there was a
toilet paper holder but no toilet paper. so i just use kleenex hahaha
i will NOT use anything else. the shower doesnt get warm.

me and my companion are opening an area. that means she is new to the
area and so am i. so we have to have the cute ward mission leaders
help us everyday. its alot more cool in cogeo than the city. we are in
the mountains so constantly we are hiking. people live in the worst
living conditions i have seen. i have cried every day to my companion
wondering why i got so lucky and why these poor people have to live
like this. very humbling. these people seriously have nothing but are
so nice. i want to take ALL of them and fly them to utah with me and
just have them live in america. its everyone's dream to go to utah
here and see temple square. so when i tell them i am from utah they
all freak out. makes me realize i have taken advantage of utah!
the first day of work was friday and we taught like 5 lessons. i
couldnt understand anything. i just bore my testimony at the end. and
said the prayers.

i rode in my first jeepney friday and my first tricycle on saturday.
ok. SO CRAZY!! but for some reason i dont feel like i could die..even
though i could! haha i feel pretty safe. but its the farthest thing
from safe.

sunday was good. the church is in tagalog. i had to introduce myself
and bare my testimony. the church is pretty ghetto. no air
conditioning. just fans. so you sweat the whole time. no one wears
ties. even the bishop. all just white button up shirts. i love how
casual it is. people wear jeans. it reminds me of hawaii! the members
are so great. we met the bishop he is the best. we had a meeting with
him and he told me "sister curtis please do not do your hair like
that, and dont look pretty" my hair was curled and down. he told me
that its not safe for me to be so pretty. are these people crazy???? i
am sweating, no make up, what the heck am i wearing, and 7 feet tall
compared to these people and they think i am like the prettiest person
they have ever seen!!! everywhere we go people STARE at me. and they
say..hey joe whats your name? or hey americano whats your name? so
funny. they get surprised when i speak tagalog back to them.

so some crazy things: everyone is pregnant here. no wonder there are
millions of people here. we started teaching a less active family and
dont you worry she just starts breast feeding right in front of us and
her 15 year old son with out any cover!!! EWWWWWW
i have about 20 mosquito bites on my legs. thats way fun. especially
when you are sweating, teaching a lesson, and itching your legs. way
so my companion figured out when i go home and its july 18 2013. thats
when parker goes home!! HOW AWESOME! oh my comp and the other sisters
LOVE PARKER!! they just stare at my calendar and picture of him!!!
hahah so funny. they say..hes so handsome! love it.

today is p day and we had district meeting. i love being with the
other missonaries! and the zone leaders were there and they are
awesome. some of them go home in july of 2013 so we will go home
together so thats nice!
i absolutely love my companion. everyone tells me she is the best and
she is. she is sooo sweet so smart so good at teaching and so
outgoing! we love eachother. i couldnt do this without her. she makes
all my meals, makes my bed, cleans up after me and everytime she does
i get mad at her and tell her i can do things and she just says noooo
i do it for you!! she holds my hand when we walk or my waist. they are
very touchy here! i love it. the sisters call me sister barbie! my
companion is exactly obedient and so it really helps. i really wanted
my trainer to be obedient! she tells me i am very easy to train and
that i am eager to learn and be obedient so i am happy she likes me!!
i am trying to think of other things.

oh food. the food here is ok..i eat bread with jam on it for
breakfast, hot rice and some meat and juice stuff for lunch and then
we dont eat dinner cause we are teaching. i have taken some pics and i
will send my card in like a week so expect pictures in like a month!
i dont feel too far away from home. i know its only like 30 hours of
traveling to go home and that makes me feel better. i never want to do
that flight again, i am glad i wont have to for 16 more months!

i love you family soooo much!! i love reading my emails they help a
ton! i hope everyone is doing great. love you so much
Sister C

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Last email ever in USA

Hey everybody,
This is my last letter. Can you believe it? I have mixed emotions about leaving. They are: scared out of my mind, nervous, excited, sad, tired and happy. Mostly tired though. Except I got a whole 8 hours of sleep last night. I took the pm pills and slept in Kaitlyn Brunsdale's room because they don't snore and I feel a lot better.  This morning we went to the temple and did a session, and I fell asleep!! I have never fallen asleep in the temple! Anyway, it was good. I kept thinking next time I am in a temple I will be surrounded my awesome philippino's! yay baby.
We had in field orientation yesterday. K so funny. They have these District videos that we watch like everyday. They are on the computers in our rooms so for like Personal study, we'll watch the episodes. They are filmed in San Diego and its of a District of missionaries and real investigators and REAL senarios. hah so for in field our instructors were the cast of the District. They are like celebrity's here! haha so funny. I was kind of freaking out. It's so funny cause on the clips it will say, ""next time on the district or "previously on the district". We get so into them! hahah so does every missionary here. That's our reality tv for the mtc. We even discuss/laugh about it at lunch and dinner. These things are funny to me now. OMG!
But in field was pretty boring. I was around fun people so that was fun! it was all day so it got a little boring. They just talked about things we'll need to know out in the field.
Okay so the last 2 weeks we have done NOTHING in class but talk all about the philippines with our teachers. SO fun!! While we were looking at pictures, i had tears in my eyes. Tears cause I was excited? Tears cause I just couldn't wait to get out there? no. not at all. Tears of "why the heck am I going somewhere where they don't have showers and toilet paper". My teacher had horrible pics. Like of a dog's head that they were cooking and eating...WHAT THE!! poor dog. Or a frog head getting cut off. So after, my teacher looked at me and asked me what was wrong. I just started bawling. haha poor brother itri. I was like whyyyyyyyy am i going there? He was so nice and just gave me a pep talk. I feel like i will be crying a lot in the next 16 months. Hah oh well it's an adventure!
we had to do an assessment language test before we go, and its where they give you a senario and you just speak into a microphone in tagalog. it was so scary but after i felt find and then my teacher pulled me a side the other day and told me how much i have improved and how well i am doing. he is so sweet!
I am packing all day today and then tomorrow is the last Sunday in the mtc. My district is singing in sacrament. good luck to us. our elders are tone deaf.
I woke up cold the other night, and thought to myself  "i will never wake up cold for the next 16 months" 
I have heard that the philippines is just crazy. People go there and think "thank good ness for america" i am so excited to experience for myself!  
Dad we hear the food is sooo good in the philippines! everyone says the rice is so good!  So stop telling me I will have nasty food out there. haha
I couldn't be more excited to call you guys Tuesday!! I am sorry I dont want you at the airport. I will just get too homesick and just want to go home if I see my family! but you are welcome to go to the temple and see me. last temple walk i wanted to see one of our cars so bad! but if you go dont let me see you!!
Anyways, I will tell you more on Tuesday! I am going to enjoy my last couple of days with air conditioning, showers, toilet paper, cute clothes and gross cafeteria food!
I love being on a mission so far! its great and I always feel so happy and beautiful! thanks for all the prayers people! they are working :)
love you all!
mahal kita
Sister Shelby Curtis

Friday, March 2, 2012


kumusta po kayo pamilya,
Ahhhh I got my travel plans! So exciting. Salt lake, to San Fransico, to HONG KONG, and then to Manilla. Awesome huh? There were like a million missionaries in the post office yesterday all screaming and jumping. I was one of them Thank you. then i showed the whole cafeteria! haha
OOKKKAYYYY so on Tuesday night..we had ELDER HOLLAND!! ahhhhhhhh. it was amazing. he was amazing. He is the best speaker. Did he have any notes? No. Only his scriptures and the spirit! i feel really cool that i have seen an apostle speak 3 times. yay baby. The perks of being here for 9 weeks. Crazy that its been 8 right? I never thought March would come..and its here!! So awesome.
Really scared to leave though, i am leaving USA for 16 months of my life! Haha
Excited to meet my mission president! and SO EXCITED to call my family!!!! 7 hour layover in san fran so the whole family better be there so i can talk to them! Including liv and Owey!
This week we have in field orientation..I am way excited. We got a schedule the first day that had our 9 weeks and i remember looking at the ninth week and being like in field will NEVER come. and it is. So awesome. its all dayyyyyy. I have no idea what it is though!
So remember Elder Tonga that wanted my email last week? Haha he came up to me on Monday and was like, "sister cur dis sisder cur dis, I have been looking everywhere for you" he told me he had a present for me. So he pulls out this Tonga shirt thats 3 sizes my size and told me i can have it! Isn't that so sweet?? Haha a girl from Tonga said those shirts are $72 she doesnt have one cause they are too expensive! So its pretty awesome. My teacher told me it was bawal which means forbidden! haha thats all my teachers ever say "bawal bawal."
My cute companion got delayed 3 weeks because of her knee. When she told me in the drs office last week, I cried. Like kind of public when all these random people kept saying hi to us cause we are the cutest sister missionaries they have ever seen.  She hurt it playing foursquare so she hasn't played in a while, but then last night i told her to play (cause all she talks about it foursquare) cause she was getting surgery anyway today haha and she did and she jammed her pointer finger. Poor girl can't catch a break.
so while we were waiting for Sis A to be taken into surgery (she looked hilarious in the bed with that hat thing on i totally took so many pictures of her & i pretty much climbed on her to take one of both of us) we were talking about wedding rings..when we are in the real world we talk about worldly things haha anyway so sis a goes, "I don't care if my husband gets me a ring when he proposes, it could be an onion ring for all i care, you know like from Burger King..I love burger king's onion rings" then we had a long convo about onion rings hahahahah i was crying i was laughing so hard. sooo funny. She is hilarious. I still eat salad every meal and so the Elder's make fun of me and Sis A always has my back and says stuff like, "have you seen this girl eat...don't worry this girl can eat" haha thank you.
I am starting to pack this week how cool huh!! & I am the travel leader for my If we end up in Italy or something it's my fault.
I had to, I mean I GOT to host this week. I welcomed a new sister and took her everywhere just like my host did my first day. Fresh meat. Hosting is hard work, i had to like carry all her 100 lbs bags and ALL her books by the end i was sweating! sheesh. and I GET to do it next week too. ugh.
stop complaining shelby.
K so ONE MORE WEEEEEEEEKKKKK!!!! AHHHHHH. hindi kami mamamatai sa philippinas-that means i will not die in the philippines. i say that to myself about 50 times a day.
Last night at trc i spoke a lot in english woops and then after i said something like, ughhhh i suck at tagalog!
don't worry, my companion started crying to me and told me how she hates that i don't have any faith in myself. how cute huh? i just hugged her and said, sister aoina i usually don't suck at things! then i said, don't worry i'm usually never this humble either. haha but its hard and i guess i am hard on myself but its hard cause she is sooooo good! oh well. i'll get there!  
i should go! gotta go get my comps prescription! thank you for everything mom, dad and family! i love you all! can't wait to talk to you in a little :)
Alam ko po na totoo po ang simbahan ni Jesucrito at buhay po ang Diyos!
mahal kita
Sister Shelby Curtis