Tuesday, October 3, 2017

10 Things You Didn't Know About Australia

Throughout the course of the mission, I picked out a whole bunch of things in Australia that were different than they would be in America.  Eventually, I started working on a list of things that the everyday American wouldn't know about Australia, but it turned out longer than I thought, so there's some honorable mentions for you as well.  There's no particular order with the honorable mentions, but I tried to put the top ten in the order I would find most interesting.  Enjoy!

Honorable Mentions
  • Men wear Uggs. Yeah it's weird, but it's a thing. Not all guys do though, fortunately.
  • The oven heat comes from that top. At least in every oven I used in those two years. Needless to say, I frustratingly burnt my fair share of cookies and brownies.
  • There aren't a ton of sidewalks, which they call footpaths. Most of the sidewalks are in school zones. So a lot of the time, you'll just be walking on a front lawn.
  • It's probably a thing in the US too, but a lot of people would be "house sitting". Apparently it's pretty fun to get paid to live in someone's house for a week.  
  • Soda is either called fizzy or soft drink. And they drink a lot of it. In the middle of summer, we got offered it nearly as much as water.
  • Every school, public or private, has a uniform. The most common color schemes would be charcoal gray with a green or blue and maroon with white or gold. I always enjoyed seeing the green blazer bc it'd look like they just won the Master's.
  • Most gas (petrol) stations you gotta go inside to pay. There's a few new stations that have pay at the pump and I think it's a pretty big deal.
  • Australians have a low key really intense rivalry with New Zealanders (Kiwi's). They have each "claimed" things like better meat pies or fish and chips, but one thing that isn't debatable... The All Blacks demolish the Wallabies in rugby every single year. Sorry mates.

Top Ten

TEN: Size compared to the US. Australia is relatively close in size compared to the mainland USA, but population wise, Australia has only about 4 million more people that the entire state of Florida. Also something I didn't know before I got there, Australia has six states!

NINE: Two different sizes of bread. You have two options when buying the cheap generic bread, sandwich or toast. Toast is almost double the size of sandwich.

EIGHT: Sydney public transport is pretty solid. Missionaries ride the buses and trains all the time, so we got pretty used to the schedules and what not. Here's a train map:

SEVEN: Rugby and beer. There are a lot more things that make up Australian culture (like horse racing, cricket, and little farms) but these two have gotta be on top.

SIX: The rubbish bins are tiny. Okay they aren't this small all the time, but most of the residential bins were. I should've stood next to them, but the red bin was shorter than my hip.

FIVE: Do not knock signs. This is your "no soliciting" sign, but they are literally everywhere. On any given street, roughly 80% of the doors have these signs. They range in color and size, but the only time we wouldn't knock is if their sign included religion, like this one:

FOUR: Australi-er. Every once in a while, you'll meet someone who has a really thick Australian accent. You can always tell bc some of their words, especially when they end in a's and o's, will roll into r's. Hence this poor child thinking ballerina is spelt like so:

THREE: Utes. Alright, so ute stands for utility vehicle. They come in two main types, but "trucks" don't really exist in Australia bc they call them all utes anyway. So the first type is the front cab of a "truck" attached to what they call a tray, or bed. The second type is when the front of a car (usually a sporty looking one) has the "tray" and the entire thing is the same color. Long explanations but depictions below:

TWO: L and P plates. Another car thing again. So it takes around five years to get your full license in Oz. You start off on your learners (L plates) for a year and that's pretty much your permit here. You drive with red and green p's for a certain amount of time and that's like your provisional, and then you can upgrade to your "black license". Each plate allows you to drive ten kilometers faster than the one before, working your way up to the full 110 km/h speed.  

And the moment you've all been waiting for...

ONE: There is no such thing as "putting a shrimp on the barby". Yup, sorry Outback lovers, you heard that right. Shrimp doesn't even exist, they actually only eat prawns. Australians do love their BBQ's though. They have what they call a sausage sizzle, which is mainly sausages (but not the kine you're thinking, it's pretty close to what you could get at the Costco food court) and onions inside of a slice of that cheap bread I talked about earlier, topped with barbecue or "tomaddo" sauce. And that's it. They even have these things at the local Bunnings, which is like their Home Depot:

Thursday, September 21, 2017

And Then It Was Over

Wow it's definitely taken me a lot longer to get to these final posts up than I thought it would.  I'm gonna try to do three different ones, this one being your typical weekly summary (I guess it'll be a fortnight one by now haha), the next being things I learned, and the last one will be a funny one, but we'll keep that a surprise for now.  Just a forewarning, I have a feeling these three could be a bit long.  Sorry if you get bored and fall asleep between reading.

So.  We last left off Monday night after the RSL dinner with the Gollan's.  Did some last minute laundry before finalizing my bags.  And if you're wondering why I waited until Monday night to finish packing, the answer is OCD.  Honestly at this point it still hadn't hit me.  

Tuesday morning of Week 1 is always transfer day, and that's pretty much how it felt.  It was real, but still not all the way there.  The boys (Penrith flat members, see picture below) dropped me off at the station and the Sisters came to say goodbye too.  Sister Fuller made me one last round of crepes.  See those below as well.  And that was it.  Caught public transport to the temple and P-Day part two had begun.  

I had the opportunity to attend the temple three times before that (so all in all four times in two years, not a bad stat at all) so it really just felt like Temple P-Day had started.  When we hopped on the ferry in Sydney, it started becoming more real.  I had seen the pictures of these farewell trips for the longest time, and now I was the one in them.  The Habour was beautiful and the views were incredible.  

Final interviews were pretty quick, President Checketts also dropped the "m-word".  That was probably the first time in two years that we had an interviews not super focused on missionary work.  Dinner and testimony meeting were great and then we hit up temple accommodations, the place where it all began.  At that point, we were all so stoked, I don't think any of us got more than five hours of sleep haha.  The stoked feeling became bittersweet really quickly as we drove into the airport and saw planes on planes on planes.  Realest moment ever was hugging Sister Checketts.  Didn't think we'd get to hug her until some day after we got released, but we did and that's when it hit.  I guess that's us.  This is really it.  

And so my twenty four hour journey began.  Arrived in LA roughly three hours before we had "left" Sydney (playing that Back to the Future game again, you know).  Going through customs, the dude said "welcome back sir" and that was pretty dope.  Proud to be an American.  At that point, said goodbyes to the three other American Elders that I was traveling with and went lone ranger without a cell phone trying to find where Grandma Muh was.  We actually spent two hours looking for each other in opposite terminals.  Thank goodness for the four hour layover.  After those two hours, I eventually decided to just start making my way through TSA check and that's when they came running up hahaha so I did get to meet with them after all.  That was way cool too.  

Another six hours of flying and I was back in the GREAT 808 STATE.  Side note: the lady I sat next to was from Arkansas and it was her first time flying in over 60 years.  We had some funny convos and man does the Southern accent crack me up.  Okay now here's where I formally apologize for walking down the wrong flight of stairs and ruining that perfect missionary homecoming video hahaha my bad fam that one's on me.  But let me just say how freaking awesome it was to see them in real life again. It's really hard to describe the joy I felt that afternoon.  Especially you Jaren, that FaceTime call was dank.  Also shoutout to the squad who turned up too, thanks for the support!  And putting up with my first meal request of Taco Bell.  

Okay now for the speed version.  I'm back.  It feels like I've been back ages already, but when I started writing this, it was about the two week mark of me being released.  Yes, some things are a bit weird still but we adjusting.  Yes, my first college football Saturday was great.  Yes, balling up has been legit as well.  Spoken three times in two Sundays and I'll probably add a few more to that tally in the coming months.  The whole "RM attention" thing is still interesting for me.  I feel like a celebrity sometimes.  Or it could just be that they all want to hear my supposed "accent".  Which btw you should probably hear soon before it hops back down under haha.  As for the plans, I'm currently taking a couple of online classes from BYU-Hawai'i before I attend there full-time in January.  My goal is to eventually transfer to Provo, and as for the major, I'm thinking of some kind of communications, specifically a sports media or marketing type of thing.  If that even exists.  And no, marriage isn't necessarily number one on the priority list as of yet.  Lol.  

Love y'all heaps!
(Man I wish I could sign this off as Elder Muh...)

P.S. After attaching all these pictures, I realized that I put up HEAPS.  Sorry not sorry haha.  

Miss these dudes (Elder Tusa, Elder Afa, & Elder Metcalf)

Sister Fuller should be in the Hall of Fame 

Up close and personal 

Got all three in the same shot #dope

Mandatory selfie with the Opera House just making it above my ear 

Sister Ellison, my OCD best friend from the mission office 

Elder Taufa.  The two "sons" of Elder Laimpeti (our trainer/"dad") 

Best mission mum ever, Sister Checketts

The man, the miracle.  President Checketts.  

Goodbye Sydney 

Visited with Grandma Muh, Grandpa Mike, & Uncle Victor during my four hour layover in LA

Not sure if I grew or if the legroom on Delta planes got smaller 

Got the West side treatment ft. Wet n' Wild instead of your OG fly through Waikiki 

Wheels down in a place that I know very well #HNL


See you soon uce.  Alofa atu! 

Uncle Darrell with that selfie game strong 

And then he was called Cameron again #badgeless

Shoutout to Mrs. Chun, my first grade teacher for coming to my homecoming talk!

Back to back LDS ASMHS Recording Secretaries (me '14-'15, Kiley '15-'16) and Mrs. Ward, our advisor.  She was also my Freshman English teacher.  Thanks for coming!


Damien (member in the Gosford Ward) was here visiting his uncle, so we got to hook up for a feed last Sunday! 

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

The Final Week

The last one was a fun one.  Gotta be quick, so I'll drop as many highlights in and then hit the pictures.  

  • Nachos dinner with the Foster's, a young Tongan family in our Ward who just gave birth to their second son.  Fun playing with their older, three year old son, talking sports, and hearing his mission stories.  
  • While finding on the trains, we were asked if we're from "Denmark or Norway or something".  LOL.  
  • Claremont Elders hooked it up and invited us to dinner with Bishop Karaka's family.  Always a pleasure.  
  • Last DTM ever in barbecue fashion at an Emu Plains park 
  • Elder Usua was asked by Joy (Emu Plains baptism) to baptize her, so got to see the bro this weekend
  • Went to Sam's baptism in Leura and she was so excited.  Awesome conversion.  
  • Last supper weekend with the Aperaamo's, Halvaka's, and Gollan's tonight.  Meeeaaan. 
So we got the temple sesh and a city tour tomorrow, followed by pretty much a full day of traveling.  Going from big city to big city to kinda big city and boy am I stoked.  See y'all Wednesday cheeehooo! 

For potentially the second-to-last time...

Love you heaps!
Elder Muh

We out here on the tracks 

Last Tim Tam slam 

The braddaaah- Elder Usua

Hey, Aunty Amy? 

 Brother Neil, the legendary Elders Quorum President 

Elder Metcalf and I tried to fit behind this tiny waterfall 

The Bluuue Mountz

Book-ending the mish at rugby league stadiums on the last P-Day before transfers

RSL (Australia's buffet) dinner tonight with the Gollan's (she's Samoan and he's Aussie, but they have major Hawaii ties)  

Final fast-breaker with the extended Halavaka family 

Thursday, August 31, 2017

The Week Before the Week

A very frequently asked question this week was how I feel.  To be completely honest with you, it does not feel like I've been out here for two years.  I had the same thought in MLC at the beginning of this transfer realizing that I was one of the "oldest" missionaries in there.  All the math adds up.  I was set apart September 6th, entered the MTC on the 9th, and September 2017 begins this week.  Needless to say, it feels pretty crazy thinking about it all.  

So now we'll go to the highlights.  

  • Normally we go grocery shopping in pros. clothes, but last Monday we went in our non-pros. after Zone P-Day.  From my perspective, it's a lot harder to tell that we're missionaries when we ain't in the get-up.  But, this lady kept staring at our badges and eventually asked us what we do.  And so for the next ten minutes or so, we're (the four of us Elders) standing in the middle of an aisle telling this lady what we do as missionaries ad low key teaching her the Restoration.  Really cool experience.  
  • So far I've only knocked doors on trade-offs this transfer.  We might change that this week, but I got to do so in Minchinbury with Elder Tasker.  Not too many peeps were home, but it was fun to switch it up and very simply invite people to learn about our unique message.  
  • Held DTM up in Leura this week, so 4 companionships trained up instead of the Leura Sisters driving down the mountain.  I love traveling in groups of missionaries, the looks we get are always priceless.  
  • Training through the Central Coast was also awesome.  Great memories up there and cool to see Elder Metcalf baptize Rodney, who has a super solid testimony.  
  • Speaking of testimonies, I went up to Leura for a second time this week to conduct a baptismal interview for the Leura Sisters investigator.  She's a 16 year old girl, but her understanding of repentance really impressed me.  She's so excited to be baptized this coming Saturday for that very reason.  

Well, I got one more week to rock the get-up and my Elder Muh badge.  It's such a privilege to represent the Savior Jesus Christ, and I'm beginning to realize how grateful I am to have had this opportunity.  One more week to shine light, plant seeds, and testify!  

Love you heaps!
Elder Muh

We got Angel Moroni in our District (DTM in Leura)

You know what it is 


The Zone at foot golf (minus E.Metcalf and S. Fuller who were taking the pics)

Pretending to have hops in Leura 

Monday, August 21, 2017

Sixteen, Sixteen, Sixteen Days Left, Gotta Get it Done

Yep, I had no idea what to title this one, but hope you enjoyed that HSM.  This week played out a bit different than what we expected, the Claremont Elders were both sick on our scheduled trade-off day, so we took them to a doctor's appointment and then back to the flat.  We worked with them for a short time later in the week, but for some reason it feels like they were sick last month.  Had some mean dinner appointments this week though, one was homemade pizza.  The rest of the week in highlights and pictures below.  

  • Yellow Lambo this week #wut
  • Trade-off with the AP's in Mac Uni.  Elder Anderson's "target age" is so inspired.  The amount of people that you meet there that are purely just curious about why we do what we do is unreal.  Sometimes I wish I served in the city, but street contacting is the struggle for me, so it's also pretty inspired I was never sent there.  
  • So Elder Metcalf served in Mac for 9 months and we got to meet a whole bunch of his recent converts and stuff.  Way cool.  
  • As part of service for Grandma Townsend, we walked her dog.  There's a first for everything haha.  
And that's about it.  Zone P-Day after this and then a really good week planned.  Three trade-offs, two with our flat-mates, the Penrith Elders, plus we get to hit up the Central Coast bc one of Elder Metcalf's investigators called President to get permission for him (Metcalf) to baptize him and we are stoookeeed.  Love the Coast.  

Also realizing that I have two weeks left is pretty hectic.  Half the MTC homies flew out this week for school and we up next.  #dayonefam

Love you heaps!
Elder Muh

Tahitian Sisters are the best.  Breakfast and lunch crepes.  She taught us how to make 'em this morning.  

Must be the temple parking lot #CougarNationDownUndah

One of his go-to restaurants, Mad Fo' Chicks

Some of his recent converts with the Assistants out in Eastwood

You know we on dat health buzzz

Sister Carroll showed me this fireside flyer yesterday.  We made it!