April 13, 2016
Well it’s Wednesday, which means it’s time for another weekly update from the MTC! The weeks really are flying by here. It’s really strange! It feels like we’ve been here forever, but at the same time it feels like we just got here last week. When people said that the days at the MTC feel like weeks and the weeks feel like days, they aren’t lying! The weeks have kind of all started to blend together… We do the same thing pretty much every single day here, and once you get into the routine, the time starts to fly! We are studying scriptures, and doctrine, and Chinese basically all day long and we really don’t have time to do anything else.
So when I came into the MTC to learn Chinese, I never thought I would hit a language barrier in English, but I was wrong! Two days ago we were learning the grammar phrase “zai” in class and basically it’s a word you use to describe where things are in relation to other things. So if you were to say “My pen is underneath your book” the Chinese translation would be:
“Wǒ de bǐ zài nǐ de shū xiàmian”
Basically Wo means I, de makes the pronoun before it possessive, making it my, bi means pen, zai basically means to be at, ni is you, and the de makes it your, shu is book, and xiamian is underneath. So directly translated to English, the sentence reads ” My pen is at your book underneath”. It’s hard because the sentence order is obviously different from English, so you have to stop and think before you say things in order to say them right. But when we were learning these words one of the new ones I had never used before was xieduimian, or “kitty-corner”. So when we were practicing the new word aloud as a class, and our teacher told the class it meant kitty-corner, I just started busting out laughing and soon realized that none of the class was laughing with me… awkward. I thought to myself 1. Why are we using the word “kitty-corner” to relate direction to objects, and 2. Why is no one else laughing that our teacher just said that “That car is kitty-corner from the house”. So as I had asked the teacher why the heck we just said that, he told me that kitty-corner means to be diagonally across from something. I had literally never hear that word before in my life… Our teacher asked the class if they had heard of it before, and every person raised their hand except me and one of the sisters who is from Sweden and will be going to Singapore. She speaks like 7 languages fluently, but that’s another story. So apparently they use “kitty-corner” to describe location to things in Utah, and not in Florida. Utahns are weird.
Second story of the week- So at the MTC, the most coveted object is a mini fridge that goes in your closet. The only way to obtain one of these fridges for your room is to be diagnosed with diabetes. Once you leave the MTC, they are supposed to take the fridge from your room, so the next missionaries who live there don’t have it. Well sometimes the fridges don’t get picked back up, and they end up being passed down to the next generation of missionaries. Well this week, some of the Tongan missionaries came up to our room to get some ramen, and because we have a massive surplus, and because they are massive dudes, we gladly obliged! They asked if we wanted anything in return, and I jokingly answered “If you have a fridge you could give us that” and to my utter shock they responded “We actually do have one, and were leaving next week, so yall can have it” I’m pretty sure my jaw touched the floor. I had literally just traded two packs of ramen for a freaking fridge. That’s basically like trading a knee scooter for a Ferrari. So yeah we’re pumped.
Third story of the week- So yesterday we were lucky enough to be selected as pilot testers for a new English language teaching program. Once were in Taiwan, we do service for the people there by teaching English classes at the church about once a week. It’s a great way to meet new investigators and to serve others. Well yesterday they pulled Elder Horton and I out of class and asked us to teach a class of ESL missionaries English. It was quite the experience as none of them knew Chinese, so we couldn’t teach them that way, and we had to do our best with the very minimal Spanish we knew. One of the words we taught them was “frustrated” and listening to them try to pronounce it made me realize that we probably sound exactly the same trying to say things in Chinese, so it was pretty humbling. Over all a cool experience, and I can’t wait to teach more once we get to Taiwan!
Sorry this email was so long!! If you didn’t read it all I don’t blame you! My life really isn’t that interesting right now haha. But it will be once I get to Taiwan, I promise! But know I love you all, and that your Heavenly Father loves you too!
As always thank you for the letters and packages! They make my days here!
Lots of Love,