Hi. I leave for Taiwan 2 weeks from tomorrow. Then I won't hear English for 21 months straight.
Speaking of not hearing English, I've quit speaking it. Our teacher challenged us to not use it at all these last couple weeks so it won't be an adjustment when we get to Taiwan. We'll have a lot of adjustments to make and that's one less thing we'll have to get used to.
The greatest thing is happening this week. Through Dear Elder I am getting letters to a "Brett White." I just get them out of mine and put them in the "lost mail box" but they bring me and my district a lot of joy in reading them before we return them. They are from his girl friend. She calls him "Burly Bear" and she ends the letter "from your kinky bear." Have you ever heard something so cute? The letters are all about her drama at home and how much she loves him and how much she wants to hug and kiss him and how they're going to get married. Make for really good reads.
Overall this week was great. I've really tried to just put aside all differences with my companion (so basically everything) and just focus on the work. As a result we're teaching really well together. At our TRC lesson, the lesson at the end of the week that we study and work toward all week our teacher pulled us aside when we were done and told us that we taught perfectly, our Chinese was really good, and he had no feedback for us. He then especially complimented me on my Chinese. Not speaking English helps a ton because it forces you to think in the Chinese grammar pattern, which is really strange.
This week I had a vending machine lit conversation with a Spanish Elder down in the basement of our building. How's that for imagery? Anyways he was asking me about Chinese. I told him I've been here 9 weeks and have 2 more left. He asked me "Is Chinese hard?" I replied "A lot of people say that it's one of, if not the hardest language to learn." He then replied "I heard mandarin was the hardest language in the world." I said "Zhendeme Zhanglao" + "really elder?"
I've heard from a number of sources that speaking Chinese makes you a better singer, because you learn to control your voice really well in order to speak all the tones. I'm finding this to be true. Watch out American Idol 2013.... Here I come. J-Lo won't know what hit her. She's a judge right? Michael Jackson's fat brother was the only one that stayed right?
This week the crimson crusader has been really having his way with the purple prince "Elder VandenBerghe." The crimson crusader has become a collective movement comprised with about half the elders in our zone. Actually an Elder Bentley in our zone put on red shirt, shorts, cape(blanket) and a Santa hat that flashes "Merry Christmas" in red lights. He also had a red light saber toy. It met Purple prince clad in all his purple glory in the hallway and they had a duel. I didn't know what to think.
Elder Cannon Clark is here and I talk to him in the cafeteria a lot. He pulled me aside one day and asked me in the most sincere and honest voice "is your companion all there?" I laughed so hard.
Overall, I'm just really excited to get to ASIA. Start doing this work for real. Really wish I could know my first area or see my first companion. I hope he's a good trainer who works hard. Can't wait. We'll get our travel plans this Thursday. We'll likely go from SLC to LAX, and then a direct from LAX to Taibei. I'm stoked. It's not even that bad with the direct from LAX to Taibei. 15 hour flight is all. In LA if we have a layover we're allowed to call home during that layover time. I hope we have a bit of a layover, I'll give you the details next week when I find out, so that if I do have time to call, you can plan on being home so I can talk to everyone.
Oh our devotional speaker was Bishop Edgley this week, so that was really cool because of the connection. I was right in the middle like 6th row and NY Times came and took a picture for an article they are doing about the MTC. Look for me, also Deseret News came a few weeks ago and took pictures of our class in particular. If it made it in the paper it would've probably been already printed, but you might want to go check that out.
Everyone hit up dearelder.com these last 2 weeks while you still can. Then I head to Taiwan, and communication will go way down.
Love you all, Love the MTC, It's weird, I feel like I love the people of Taiwan even though I haven't even met them yet.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAD. I sent you a card today. You'll love it.