Letter to her sister Rachel, dated 11 January 2016
I just got your letter two days ago, so I guess it takes about a month for mail to get here. So you’ll probably get this in February! I’m doing well and adjusting to the lifestyle here—not just the mission life, but island life. It’s cool because here in New Cal there are so many different kinds of people all living together. There’s Caldoches, Kanaks, the people native to the Loyalty Islands—Lifou, Maré, Ouvea, Isle of Pines—some native French people, lots of Tahitians, and Wallisians and Futunians. There’s so many different kinds of people living in the same place. Oh yeah, there’s a lot of Asians too! Vietnamese, Korean, Chinese—it’s kinda weird to hear Asians speak French, haha.
The people don’t really mix together a lot, though. The members of the church mix, but most other people stick to themselves. There is some ethnic prejudice between the Kanaks and Wallisians, Futunians and Tahitians. If they’re drunk, they’ll all just fight… But don’t worry, we are home by six and avoid all the sketchy-looking people. But honestly, most people here are nice. Some people are mean—lots of people’s cars get stolen by Kanaks and they’re found burned later. An Elder was punched in the back of the head once, but he’s up north in a sketchy area. One missionary and companion had someone threaten them with a gun while they were contacting, but they got away. I know people here have guns, but I haven’t seen anyone with one yet. But I’m also in the city, so… On verra! Most people here believe in God. There are a lot of Catholics and Jehovah’s Witnesses. People keep thinking we’re JWs, haha.
Also, people here love to drink. And almost everyone smokes. So when people decide to join the church, they make big lifestyle changes. It’s cool. Some cultural things we do are to always take off your shoes when you enter a house. And we “bisou” or kiss the cheeks of the women (we can shake the men’s hands only, but men and women can bisou if they’re not missionaries). ...I think people don’t shake hands a lot, outside of the Church. If you are casual with someone, you can slap hands and fist bump—we do that with the Elders!
Right now we are under a cyclone alert, so we’re not supposed to go far from our apartments, so we can’t email today… So I’m writing letters! We don’t think it will hit us… it’s closer to Vanuatu right now, but we’ll see!
BTW, love the pictures! Keep ‘em coming.
I love you! Stay awesome! DON’T WORRY ABOUT ME!