Sunday, June 28, 2015

Gas Station

Most people speak both Tagalog and English, some mix the two together and that is called Taglish.  So for the most part i have done very well at feeling comfortable in speaking, being understood and being able to communicate with others.

We are trying to study and learn Tagalog.  We spend an hour each week with our Language Learning Coach and another hour with our Tagalog tutor over Skype.  They are at the Missionary Training Center in Provo  and they are awesome.

Last week our language learning coach ask to think of a scenario where we struggle and we will work on it this Wednesday.  So that was a pretty easy decision… it is the gas station.  I don’t know if this is everywhere in the Philippines but seems like they always pump your gas here.  So they come to your window and ask a bunch of questions in Tagalog.  I then try to tell them in English what I want.  It does not work very well.  I have figured out that they know what “full tank” means and that I can tell them the number on the fuel 92 for regular or 95 for premium.  Now here is an interesting fact, in the US it costs about 10 to 15 cents to move from regular gas to the midgrade and then that amount again to go to premium.  Enough of a price jump to cause some people to buy regular even though their owners manual may recommend a higher octane.  Well that is not a problem here.  At the Shell station we usually go to regular 92 octane cost 44.5 per liter and Premium 95 octain is 44.95.  these prices are in pesos so we are talking about less than ½ of one peso or about 1 us penny. 

I keep noticing that they have signs up for free this or that and I have tried to ask where mine was but of course I cannot get that question across.  Then I noticed that they were all tied to premium gas so this week I decided to buy premium.  After all I can afford 1 extra penny per gallon.  So Saturday when we filled up I said, “full tank premium”  he did not understand that and started for the regular pump.  I said “no, 95” he understood that and filled my tank.  We then gave him 2000 pesos and waited for our change.  I did not notice a premium “free” on Saturday so was not expecting anything.  A few minutes later he returned with a clipboard and asked me to fill out my name address and phone number (no he didn’t ask in English but the paper was written in English so I managed just fine).  I tried to ask why I was doing this but that conversation was not happening.  By the way, I recorded all this so we can use it for our language training this week. 

When I handed the clipboard back to him he handed me my change and a can of corned beef.  I love corned beef hash for breakfast so I was pretty happy with the deal.

Do you remember the ‘good ol’ days’ in America when you went to the gas station, they pumped your gas and it only cost 29.9 cents per gallon?  Well I do!  And then when you paid they would ask you if you wanted Green or Gold.  That was S&H Green Stamps or Gold Stamps.  That was a bonus or premium we would get.  Then you would lick all the stamps (yes lick them, there was not peel and stick), and put them in books.  Then came the fun part.  Looking in the catalog and dreaming of what could be bought, “if we collect 10 more books we can get…”  it was so fun and exciting to save and wait and dream.  My Mom, shortly after we got married noticed we were diligently saving our stamps and so she donated a bunch of hers to our quest.  We were able to buy quite a few things for our new home with stamps.  Then one day the premium stamps went away, gas went to $3.00 or more per gallon and we were thankful when it dropped to $2.75 for a few weeks.

Then we came to the Philippines and we can get a free can of corned beef with a tank of gas.  Life is good.  I am thankful to be here.  I am thankful for the opportunity of serving a mission and serving these wonderful, kind and loving people.  We are truly blessed.

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