These People Are Just So Giving! I Love Them to Pieces!

18 Jul

Welcome to Harlem, NY!


Well, another week has come and gone. This one was a little bit slow in terms of finding new people to teach or getting to teach a lot of people, but oh was it richly filled with the wacky and crazy people of New York, and more specifically, Harlem. I swear. Just wait for the highlights later on in my letter…

So English class continues to do well, although attendance is diminishing just a little, which is to be expected, or so they tell me. That’s why we’re focusing on handing out flyers every week so that we’re always getting an influx of new people. I am in charge of teaching Grammar/ reading/ writing. Big shocker, right? Haha. I know. It’s totally up my alley and I’m loving it. I got my hands on an English Grammar book from my Italian roommate and geeked out pouring over it for about half an hour or so.
This week, I have a culture lesson for you all concerning the lovely Latin people I am working with. And oh, how I love them. But I have learned a very important lesson about communication with them, which is this: You CANNOT compliment them on things. Like, you just can’t. It’s kicked me and Sister Taylor in the butt plenty of times. Let me give you a not-hypothetical-at-all example:
Sister Taylor: That’s a really nice ring you’re wearing!
Investigator: Thank you! Do you want it? You can have it.
Sister Taylor: Oh no, I just wanted to tell you I thought it was pretty.
Investigator: (Taking off the ring), No, please take it!
Insert bamboo, recipe book or a watch, and you will have at least three real situations that have happened to us in the past month. These people are just so giving! I love them to pieces, but I’ve had to tone down my compliments, because it makes for some uncomfortable moments. No, ma’am, I am NOT going to take your ring/recipe book/ bamboo stick/ watch! It’s yours! Haha. It’s definitely thrown me for a loop.
On the flip side of that, when they ask you if you want more food, the answer should always be yes. (This is something I still have to work on, because I just don’t have enough room in my stomach!) They view food as such a huge way of expressing love. It’s really important to them that they make all the food themselves (aka, they won’t accept your help if you try to offer it), and it makes them extremely happy when they see you enjoying their food. So it’s like you’ve got to find this balance. Don’t compliment possessions, do compliment food, and always ask for seconds. Ay yay yay! It’s a little complicated, but I think I’m getting the hang of it.
And now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for…. the highlights of this crazy person week. This time, I’ve got quotes that go along with them. So here are a few of our experiences (from this week alone, mind you):
– We met a man who I’m pretty sure has some serious psychological problems… Here’s his quote: “If I decide to blow up the world, and I ask God to help me, he will help me.” There’s faith for you… or just some seriously messed up beliefs. We tried to get out of talking to him as soon as we can, but he just kept going on about how he’s trained people to kill before and how he could get us a $1 a piece for the pamphlets we were handing out. We decided not to take him up on that offer at that particular time.
– Another man who we talked with informed us that the only way to win the lotto is by faith in Jesus Christ. This he told me right after he showed me the scar where he had been cut in half and operated on.
– Someone stopped us as we were walking to the church with the line, “Did you know Joseph Smith was a Jew? Smith is a Jewish name!” I bit my tongue to keep from telling him that it’s also one of the most common names in America, and thanked him for the new imformation.
– And last but not least… my lesson in American history! Here it is: “God created the world in 6 days and rested on the 7th. That’s why the first flag of the United States had 13 stripes, becasue  6 + 7 = 13.” See, you learn something new every day.
One last cool experience: we helped a homeless lady who looked a little bit like Gritch the Witch from that book I used to read when I was little, move some of her things up a big hill. While we were doing that, a man stopped me who was sitting on a bench and watching and asked what organization we were from. I told him, and we got to talking a bit. I ended up giving him a pamphlet and getting his information to pass along to the Engilsh elders! It was just a good reminder to me that people are watching all the time, and they notice little acts of service that happen.
Well, that’s about all I’ve got for this week! We just got done with going through the Manhattan temple (it’s absolutely GORGEOUS inside) and now we’re at the NY Public Library right by Juliard, so I think we might go explore a bit and then do some quick shopping at Target. I love and miss you all! Please pray for rain :) Haha no, I’m just kidding. Just for cloudy skies over here in New York… it’s been pretty good so far but it’s getting hotter. :) You Texans will understand and empathize. :)
Love you all!
Hermana Rogers



One Response to “These People Are Just So Giving! I Love Them to Pieces!”

  1. Helena Marko July 20, 2012 at 3:13 AM #

    Sounds like you are meeting people similar to Gramma Helena. I also push food and get upset if you don’t take seconds and I would give you the shirt off my back if you asked me for it. Are you sure they are not Italian????? Love you sweetheart.

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