Here's some questions we've asked Collin in emails over the last couple of weeks, and his answers. I decided to just copy and paste this into a post, because it tells some interesting info. about what life is like in Nouvelle Caledonie. i hope this will tide you over until we get some fresh pictures. Here you go:
What is the cost of living like there? Pretty expensive.. From what I hear the Dollar is pretty close to 100 francs, and most stuff is really expensive.. We eat a lot of rice and chicken. My companion is a good cook. We actually have had steak quite a few times, because it's really cheap here compared to a lot of stuff. Fish, interstingly enough, is expensive. No one wants to fish here, it makes them feel poor.
how are you and your comp getting along? Great! We're good friends and we can talk for a long time and make each other laugh. Sometimes just talking about whatever gets in the way of the work, but we work hard too.
how is the language? Kind of hard.. The accent is weird. First few days I didn't understand ANYTHING. but I'm starting to get it. All the little quirks of New Caledonian french are interesting.
Are you teaching anyone? Yes, quite a few people actually! We have 2 really progressing investigators and a few others that aren't really progressing. On the 18th we engaged a guy named Soane to be baptized and he said yes! August 18th.( Yes, he did get baptized - I will post more about that in another blog)
what is the food like? Great. We get fed a lot by members. They're all really poor so we get like rice and whatever meat and vegetables usually, but it's very normal food. Tahitian food is really weird, but pretty good. I hav en't run into anything too gross to eat yet.
do you have or need a bike? nope. We are in a car. There is only one area in NC that have bikes. Mostly cars, a few walking.
do you ever wear your lava lava? Nope, people don't really wear them here. I'm using it to decorate my desk.
Are you healthy? Yeah, I feel really good actually. No specific complaints.
Are you getting sunburned? No, interestingly enough. i haven't even been wearing sunscreen.. :P
how is the weather? Kind of cold actually.. It gets really cold at night. During the day it's pretty hot though.. But I hear int he actual summer time it can get up to 100 degrees though.. :(
do you see any cool animals? Nah, lots of stray dogs. WELL, actually there are tonnnnz of lizards everywhere. They're really nice, they run around people's houses like mice, except for they dont' do anything bad. They eat all the bugs too. TYhey're really fast. I'll have to get some pictures of them.
is the culture real different? YEah, nothing too weird. They keep their doors open all the time. They are mostly really nice. The french is weird and hard to understand. Very Frenchlike in the city, but very 3rdworldish outside the city in some places. But weirdly enough, everyone has a TV. There are 2 channels over the air, but a lot of people have satellites.
If you wanted to do so, would you be allowed to fish? Not sure. A member gave us a bunch of fish and we fried it up yesterday though. Another member gave us a bunch of other food at the same time.. Great way to break our fast.. I was stuffed!
What are your church meetings like? Wierd. The members here are.. interesting. And it's all in french. :P
How big is the branch you are in? Pretty small. I'm not sure how many members. But the chapel meeting room is the size of our elder's quorum room back home. Well.. Maybe two of them.
Are there any wards on New Caledonia? Nope.
How many missionaries are in New Caledonia?. bout 30
What is the average number of Baptisms in New Caledonia per month or year? 30ish. last year 36. to date this year, 18.
Has there been any weird food you had to eat?. Nope, everything is normal so far!
Have you seen any weird bugs or animals? Just the centipede i just told you about!! (a picture will be coming soon)
Do you do much tracting? We tract for about an hour or so on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Wednesday is half day at the kids schools, so the parents have to be home. Other than that, nobody will listen, or it's just moms alone at home, or they're taking a nap, or watching mexican soap operas (serious) and won't do anything else. :) During wednesday and saturday it's fairly effective though.
Do the members help much? ... No. We're really trying to change that though.
How big is your area? Not huge, but big enough that we need a car. Just the city of Paita.
How much time does your comp have left on his mission? 3 months
Are the members as good singers as indicated in the book "other side of heaven?" Nope. French singers suck. Try watching a church movie in french. it's painful.
What kind of building do you meet in for church? it's... like a normal church, except for no halls.. it's not enclosed. all the rooms have outside doors. Kind of hard to explain.. I'll try and get a picture.
Are you still experiencing "america loving" from everyone? yeah, for the most part. :) it's not from everyone, just from a few people. most people just like us though.
BTW with mail, it's not as scary as it sounds.. Usually everything goes through fine, but just sometimes they get stupid and feel like sending stuff back that wasn't perfect. You most likely won't have a problem, but still try to do everyhting right if possible. :)