Archive for the ‘From the MTC’ Category

Buh bye America!

August 23, 2007

First up, our flight plans got pushed back a day, so we’re leaving Tuesday. Got a slip to get permission to call you, but you haven’t been home. I figure I might as well use it, bear my testimony to you in Mongolian or something.

Something about the last week is odd, they warned us about it, too. The anticipation is giving us all an itch to act irrationally and stupid (or more than usual 😀 ). My ability to spell in English has gone down the tubes since we started speaking Mongolian. Bah to angithaar anyway, its tenig. We get a 15 hour lay over in Korea. At least it’s not LAX. Should be interesting. The Malagasy elders shipped out, so now we’ve killed off everyone that remembered us from the last 2 1/2 months. It’s kind of funny since the zone leaders are in our rooms. All the zone knows is that we’ve been here forever, we’re partially insane, and we speak a language that makes sounds that for some of them are physically impossible to duplicate. I giggled ix inedtei xumoos.

Speaking of Malagasy and what not, the floor where our classroom resides is odd-ball row. The whole building is Spanish and French, and then one side of the basement is Malagasy, Bahasa, Indonesia, Mongolian, Tongan, Samoan, Fijian, and Haitian Creole. Everyone’s got the attitudes to match. My favorite so far is Elder Salt, a 6 foot 6 350 pound Tongan that can sing and beat box (simultaneously) to just about any hymn. I’ve started hanging around with the Tongans and singing random stuff on Sunday (Figure, why not?).

The boots did get here, and they’re freaking monsters, too. I had my feet in them for about 5 seconds before they started burning up. But if -40 degree weather is a mild winter (Cannon ax said the coldest it got while he was there was -65, one of my companions refuses to believe it, but he refuses to believe a lot of things), I’ll take it. Oh yeah, I don’t have neck gators or gloves. Cannon ax said a big scarf worked as well as anything. Random thing, too. Do you think you could send my Fox racing shirt? I keep ending up needing one more t-shirt than I have.

Oh yeah, I can call from the airport. You and dad can work it out. Just email what to do.

I’ll write a letter that’s more in depth today and send it with some pictures. Buh bye America!

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11 Days and Counting

August 16, 2007

This week’s been pretty straight forward. Lots of Mongolian. One of the other elders and I have been translating random dumb quotes into Mongolian for practice. My boots haven’t arrived yet either, but one of my teachers is going to go bug the shoe store. Finally hit me that I’m leaving for freaking Mongolia in 11 days. Good thing the language is coming faster. We got 103 new words dumped on us yesterday in 1 hour and 13 minutes, aside from the normal stuff we go through. We went over what we learned yesterday, and our functional vocab is around 700 words. Blah, kick me in the face. Started hanging around with the Tongan elders some, sang with them for a few hours on Sunday. Elder Salt (one of the Tongan elders) is in the other Mongolian room in the residence hall. The guy is massive. Also, can beat box and sing hymns at the same time (I can’t remember how to spell simultaneously anymore).

Hmm. The gel warps sound nice. So does the way you say work is going. I’m guessing the letter reached Murph. I got a response back from Lorraine. Even when we were playing counter strike together, it took forever to get a response out of Murphy. I passed English certification. It wasn’t a very fluffy experience: Lots of training, teaching (taught level 1 English to two Tahitian elders and one Italian), and lesson plan evaluation. But, now I have a signed document from BYU that is kosher with the Mongolian government. English is a stupid language. Found out Demmy More means “Worthless cat” in Mongolian. Other random fact, one of the Mongol staple foods is meat mixed with peppers, wrapped in dough, and the deep fried. Yum. Then again, anything may be better than cafeteria food.

Oh yeah! For culture day before we leave, Sister Infanger wants me to give a mini lesson on Buddhism. I’ve got a lot of it committed to memory. But could you dear elder me some refresher info. I don’t want to ingrain any misconceptions.

The Week Goes As It Goes

August 11, 2007

The Indonesian district we grew up with left Monday, they were about the only other people we got close to here; everyone else leaves too fast. That works though, since we start speaking Mongolian only this coming Monday.

Elder L. Tom Perry spoke Tuesday. I sang in the choir, so I got 2nd row, eye level seats. Sang happy birthday, that was cool. I think this brings my count to an even 8 of the number of apostles I’ve been within spitting distance of.

Met Sister Tum Ocher, her name means “steel thunder” in Mongolian. One of our teachers was the one that baptized her mom, or knew the Elder that did. She’s going to the Ukraine.

We started teaching English to level one beginners this week. We did well; the teacher is going to start using some of our ideas. Tonight, I am going to pass certification to teach English as a Second Language in Mongolia.

Sent a post card to Murphy and Lorraine, but haven’t heard anything from Murphy. Could you see if it actually made it through the mail? I need to mail thank you cards to people in the ward, but I don’t know if the cards will even make it.

I think that rounds the week out, I’m probably going to start writing up descriptions of my district to send back with some more pictures today.

Translation: Where are my pants?

August 3, 2007

We were practicing language be translating stupid jokes and movie lines into Mongolian. At one point in the MTC, our zone leader burst into the room while I was changing, so I just shouted “DONDE ESTA MI PANTALONES?!” where are my pants in Spanish. The send line last week is that in Mongolian.

The wraps, music, and pictures got here. Mash ik bayarthaa. Particular pictures would be of you, some of James biking, my grandparents, more martial arts stuff, and my friends (most of the people in my district still call people “non member friends”, they’re amazed at the diversity of people I hung out with, odd), and some vacations stuff, too.

It’s been a good week. I have discovered my unique ability to precision slide tackle in soccer. I am also beginning to realize how odd my brain functions, in a good way. Every time I open my mouth it seems to spur debate. For example, I was relating the usual conversation you and I have about faith and agency, and my entire district and teacher looked at me funny and asked me to explain further. Sister Infanger is also really happy I have a close acquaintance with both Buddhism and Islam. Bore my testimony at Zone Conference, which then spurred on a conversation with 3 districts and part of the branch presidency. I dunno, it’s just interesting to see how there are bits of knowledge that I take for granted that other people have never even heard or thought about. There was even a giant debate about if people in spirit prison lose their memory… It’s even in the silly pass-along pamphlet that they don’t lose it. I actually have people asking me to study my notes from personal study and devotional talks. I’ll copy some and send them back home.

Also seeing how uniq…uniqly..uniqlaulaualllyyy (can’t think in English anymore) fitted I am for Mongolia, but more next week (only have 2 minutes left). A few semi-random thoughts in closing.

I’m now the proud owner of the official MTC haircut. I actually like it, the jar head look is easy to primp.

I left my recommend in my room last week. I sprinted from the Provo temple, to the MTC, up to my 4th floor room, and back up the hill in 15 minutes (just under a mile round trip). I sat down in the chapel with 15 seconds to spare.

Tell Cody I’m not blowing him off, my companion just put all of my letters somewhere and can’t remember where.

Minnie umd khaana baihn ve?!‎

July 26, 2007

This week’s rather boring. Not much going on, learned about something awesome though. Mongolian kids play what can only be dubbed as “The Mongolian kicking game”. The rules are as follows, you can’t kick someone who’s ducking down, and you can only kick while in the air. I played a few rounds with one of the ex-football players in my district on the sand volleyball court 😀. Also, my companion taught me a love of slide tackling in soccer, as well.

Actually, the district is a rather motley crew.

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We have the most random assortment of people and backgrounds, and we’re constantly getting banged up.

For 9 elders, we’ve had

• 2 visits to the BYU health center
• 1 trip to the hospital
• 9 stitches (a face plant in four square and an unfortunate incident with a shampoo bottle)
• 6 bloody noses
• 3 prescriptions of antibiotics
• 4 volleyball spike blocks by means of the face
• 1 hacky sack to the eye

and everyone is usually bleeding from somewhere by the end of the day. Our teachers admire us for it though. They say that nothing’s worse in Mongolia than an elder that gets slowed down by injury. The people are just tough, and so is the environment. So the fact that we are never running at 100% and still keep chugging along is a good thing.

Random request list

Photos. They’re more for icebreakers than anything. Just some family and friends, maybe some of the places we’ve been.
Music. Classical is a given, but if you could get a hold of some Mongolian like we were watching on YouTube, that would be awesome.
My hand wraps. I’ve been alternating in gym between balling out at the field or training in the room. The compression would be nice.
Stewed Monkey Heads.

A Few More Details

July 19, 2007

This week was relatively boring, about the only point of any interest was that the whole district wore our bed sheets like robes down to the linen exchange. And I did a side jump kick on the serve in volley ball from 60 feet behind the line, aced the kill (i.e. no one hit it) 😀. Thought about sending some more Mongolian in the email, but typing in the phonetics takes forever, but I may just write some with translation.

The language is going well. I think my vocabulary is hovering around 300 words or so. I can hold a half-way descent conversation, and about the same with lessons one and two from Preach My Gospel. Mongolian is far more straight forward than English. It’s possible to phrase some of the ridiculously long sentences that we like to do in English, but it sometimes means tripling the length of words with suffixes and object markers. I like it a lot, but adjusting my speech sometimes takes a second. Also know how to talk trash.

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Been senior companion for the last few weeks. It’s interesting with three people. One is used to being the oldest of a 7 kid Utah family, so sometimes he gets a little frictiony about having a 20 year old Bama boy be in charge. He was also senior companion first, and may have thought it was going to stay that way the whole three months. It’s odd, there isn’t even any power that comes with being senior comp, it’s all about service anyways. Oh well, he’s a good guy, and we’ve been grinding it out 🙂.

Off to go wash my clothes. Bayartai

Oh, paax can translate like yuck, gross, or disgusting. And Ashgyui dee literally means way better than expected, but it’s used kind of like awesome, sweet, etc.

Breath In & Breath Out

July 12, 2007

Got sick this last week. They ended up sending my down to the BYU health center for X-rays and blood work (they put me one of those cough guard masks, too. I think it scared the people in the lobby more than me). The doctor never told me what was wrong, but I ninja-ed a look at my write up, and I had a fever of 102, some kind of bacterial infection, and my diaphragm had spasmed. So they gave me one of those broad spectrum antibiotic treatments, claratin, and then they stuck me on a artificial steroid/adrenalin (they didn’t really say, I’m just guessing from a glance off the vial) for 20 minutes. Yeah…. that sucked. My pulse went from 80 to 140-50, and my bp went from around 110/70 to 130/90. I could hear it in my ears. So, that freaked the doctor out, and they kept me under observation until all the readings stopped going up about 15 minutes later. Was about ready to freak out on someone. It was liked being forced past all those levels of calm I keep up. Spent most of the rest of the day in class twitching with my head covered trying not to get agitated. One of my teachers, Sister Infanger, said that sometimes the Lord lets these things happen in the MTC so you’re aware of them in the field. I’ll keep that in mind. But, I’m all better now. The nuclear option antibiotic did it’s work, and the only lasting side affect of the inhaler was that I had cold sweats and shakes the next day, so I slept a lot. One more check on the “why I’ll never do drugs” list. Bore my testimony in Mongolian at the health center, too (We’re trying to get to 10,000 total).
 
Everything’s peachy other than that. Being sick finally made me relent and get a priesthood blessing from my district, and I sealed the blessing on one of my companions a few days earlier. The language is coming along, I can teach any part of the first lesson on the spot without needing to prepare sentences beforehand. My conversational Mongolian is a little shaky, but it’s mostly needing to learn vocab. Well, times almost out.  Bug people I know to use DearElder.com

Small World

July 5, 2007

Yeah, thursday is P-day .  .  . I have letters and photos I’ve been meaning to send back, but I havent bought any stamps yet. As far as a shopping list: Camera with cards, floride rinse, a box to send the palm charger back, a bathrobe, contact solution/saline, and a cat named Fifi. And could you send me the email addies for murphy and lorraine?
 . . . 
Oh yeah, I found Elder Ficklin. He’s going to Mexico, we snagged a couple pictures. He looks so much like his dad.

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