The president’s assistants planned to eat dinner with us and all the district leaders in our zone. By the time we finally arrived at the predetermined train station, it was already almost 7:00, and we had to be finished by 7:30. To make matters worse, nobody had planned on a restaurant, and we didn’t know what establishments were in the vicinity. We ended up making a dash for a distant mall, running across a vast Christmas-decorated plaza and up nine flights of escalators to scarf down some overpriced pizza. The necessary information was conveyed, though, so our brief meal accomplished its intended purpose.
Standing on the street in Tucheng.
I packed some basic living necessities into a large plastic grocery bag and left with Elder Johnson for a companion exchange in Taibei. The next morning, we rode the MRT to Songshan to get Elder Johnson his driver’s license. After riding the train for half an hour, searching for the remote office on foot, taking a taxi, and waiting in several lines, we realized that Elder Johnson didn’t have the correct paperwork. We left in a hurry, and were halfway across Taibei before I realized I had left my bag with all my personal belongings back in the DMV office.
There was no going back because of time constraints. I returned home to Tucheng empty-handed, having lost my electric razor, hygiene supplies, towel, exercise clothes, retainer, medication, and (worst of all) the brand-new exercise shoes my family sent me for my birthday.
The next day, I tried to be positive, but I was so upset it was hard for me to focus on the work. We didn’t have the DMV’s number, and I wouldn’t have been allowed to call them anyway, so I just left a message for the mission financial secretary, relating the sorry plight of my plastic bag.
On Wednesday, the secretary finally called me back. "Do you want the good news or bad?" she asked.
"Bad," I said.
"There isn’t any bad news. The good news is that the DMV is holding your bag at the first floor. Get over there quick!"
Elder Roe and I rode the MRT all the way back to Songshan and strode along the busy streets to the DMV. I walked in, asked for the package, and described its contents. A woman pulled the familiar crinkled, smelly Carrefour bag from under the counter.
"We thought it was explosive," she told me.
Elder Roe and I with Sister Lai, a member we call our "Taiwanese mom."
All inconveniences aside, it was a great week. Brother Liao and Sister He are progressing marvelously; they both attended church and a baptismal service afterwards. Brother Liao even brought his grandson to English class.
Because of concern over the aforementioned oral blood blisters, I went to the hospital to have my blood tested. Thankfully, all of the results were normal. No blood blisters have appeared in the past two weeks, and the past ones have already healed.
This might be my last email from Tucheng, for real this time! Transfers are this Thursday.