Hi family! I arrived in Hawaii safe and sound, but the flight was VERY LONG! Especially since I wasn't allowed to watch the 3 movies that they showed and I was sitting all alone :( Still, it wasn't too bad.

The weather here is great! It's nice and warm, but it gets a little chilly at night. Most of the homes here don't have real windows, they are basically clear, plastic blinds--so they never completely close, there are always little cracks. It's interesting, I've never seen anything like that before. The visitor's center is beautiful and we have an exhibit up right now called "Reflections of Christ". It's a traveling exhibit that has photographs of recreated events in Christ's life and ministry. The temple doesn't look so great right now. It is being renovated pretty extensively, and the outside looks like a typical construction site. The building is actually made of crushed lava rock mixed with concrete, so it's a murky gray color. It is normally painted white, but they removed all the paint. It should be re-opened before I leave though!

My body is super confused right now. It is still stuck on Utah time and does not like waiting to go to bed until 10pm (2am Utah time). I keep waking up at 4:30 am cuz I'm so used to waking up at 6:30 in Utah, so my body thinks I'm sleeping in 2 hours. Ugh. Hopefully I'll adjust quickly because I've been constantly tired lately.

The mission president picked us up from the airport when we arrived, and we stayed the night at his house. We also got a chance to see the baptism of a new convert that night. The next day we had our transfer meeting and I got to meet my new companion--Sister Mulipola. She is from Samoa and really sweet. President Peterson had all the new missionaries do some street contact. We were each given a Book of Mormon and had to give it out. Most people didn't want to talk to us, but it didn't bother me too much. After a while, Sister Mulipola and I were both able to give out our Book of Mormons.

That same day, I found out that I am the designated driver... meaning I had to drive from Honolulu to Laie (about an hour drive) right after the transfer meeting. Obviously, this freaked me out since I have NEVER been to Hawaii before and had no idea where I was going. I was given good directions though, and we made it here without getting lost. Phew!

My p-days will be on Wednesdays from now on, so expect emails every Wed. Also, we were told to have all our letters and packages sent to the mission home, and they will forward them to us. However, everything MUST be sent through the US Postal Service so it can be forwarded without additional charges. If we receive a package through UPS, Fedex, DHL,etc., we won't receive it until someone from the mission home is traveling to our area. We were also told that we can receive emails from everyone, but we are only allowed to respond to family members through email. So if you know anyone who would like to send me a note or something, they are allowed to email me.

I got my muumuus yesterday and they're actually kind of cute. I'll take some pictures and attach them to my email next week. I also met Elder and Sister Eubank (aka channel 5 weatherman) and they're great, along with all the other senior couples. The other visitor's center sisters are also really sweet and easy to get along with. I'm looking forward to serving in the visitor's center, it'll be pretty fun. We will also be proselyting--Sister mulipola and I are covering 3 different wards (2 of which are Samoan...aaah!) We met with the Ward mission leader, RS pres, EQ pres, etc last night for the Hauula 4th ward, then we met with an inactive sister afterwards. It'll be cool to get a little bit of both worlds during my whole mission. The mission president also said that about halfway through my mission, I will go to a different area and be a full proselyting missionary for as long as he wants to keep me there.

Oh yeah, I completely forgot to tell you last week that I cut my hair again! President Peterson said he'd send an email to mom and dad with a picture of me, so you can see it there. it's really nice to have it this short again, I don't have to do anything to style it. I wake up and it's pretty much ready to go! I got it cut at the MTC salon/barbershop for FREE! woohoo!

Sorry if this email is kind of jumping around all over with the subject matter. I keep thinking of new things to tell you! Dad will probably like this--yesterday I went to foodland to grab something to eat for lunch and my companion recommended something quite interesting to me. It was a "musubi" (I think that's what it's called) with SPAM. Haha it was kind of weird - not delicious- but not bad. It was a big rectangular block of white rice with sesame seeds and some sort of sushi sauce on top, and a slice of fried spam on top of that. there was a strip of seaweed wrapped around the middle holding it together. It was probably one of the most random things I've heard of haha. Welcome to Hawaii I guess.

A few people had told me that it would be kind of like a foreign country here, but I never really realized what that meant until I got here. It is pretty diverse, which I knew it would be, but the buildings (inside and out), scenery, etc. is VERY different from anywhere else I've been. It almost reminds me of Mexico, just a little more upper class. Everything is super green too. When I was driving to Laie yesterday, it was so weird driving around the island and past the different mountains. I've never been on an island before, and I totally felt like I was in a movie that takes place on a deserted island in the middle of nowhere--like swiss family robinson or pirates of the carribean or Lost or something. It's still surreal.

It's nice to not have to wear pantyhose anymore! I found out that we only wear them on sundays to Sacrament meeting or to baptisms and that's IT! Yes!! The "dress code" here is super laid back compared to the MTC. It's nice. I get to wear all sorts of sandals too (even my chacos! w00t!). We always take off our shoes before we enter someone's home. The only thing I'm worried about is food. We have members feed us for dinner almost every night. Sometimes they'll drop food off for us, but other times we go to their homes. It is very offensive if you don't eat a LOT. I'm among the smaller girls here (there's one other girl from the US that's small and a few asians) and I can't eat very much compared to everyone else. Some sisters told me that a couple times they've eaten until they throw up. gross! I really don't want to do that, so other sisters have taught me techniques to fake like I'm eating a lot (spread your food across your whole plate so it looks like more, talk a LOT during dinner, eat a tiny bit at a time and eat slowly). Hopefully i'll be able to pull this off because I don't want to get sick and can't really afford new clothes if I gain a lot of weight. Haha one of the Elders that I flew here with has expandable slacks so that he can gain a lot of weight and not need new clothes. I found that pretty funny.

Anyway, I better go, but I love you and miss you all. Please write back soon!

Love,
Bridget

P.S. Here's the mailing address if you don't have it
Sister Bridget Smith (always put my first and last name)
Hawaii Honolulu Mission
1500 S Beretania St. STE 416
Honolulu, HI 96826-1937