Monday, August 18, 2014

Milk Explosion, Temple Ground Walks, and More Studying!

Well my stay at the mtc just gets better and better each week. And they also go by faster and faster. I've learned so much in this short time it's almost unbelievable. I'm still not that great but I understood all of the mandarin talks last Sunday and during all of our lessons I'm able to keep up with my companion. I actually enjoy learning the language now. Every time i'm able to I study new vocabulary and the change in my attitude towards learning has really helped my progress. I just love that each time I go to teach a lesson, i'm able to understand a little more and to say a little more. We've started teaching 6 or 7 lessons a week so we do a lot of planning for the lessons now.
Being district leader wasn't too bad. The meetings were actually very useful and we had a lot of good leadership training sessions. The only challenging part was having to encourage my district to actually study. My district gets along great, but they like to talk during our language study time. And unfortunately it's my job to make sure they stay on task. I just got released as district leader this Sunday. They change the district leader every three to four weeks so more people have a chance to serve. The new district leader is a great guy so he should make sure that everyone continues working hard.
I have three other elders in my room. A lot of times they have six and given the small size of the rooms, I'm so glad there are only four of us. We get along pretty well. Sometimes a few of the elders in my district can get a little carried away, especially when they sing really loudly at all times during the day. lol  We go on walks to the temple every Sunday and Monday so these are always really relaxing times. We've had really nice weather here so whenever we go on walks it's always really pretty. I actually miss all the rain back home. It hardly ever rains here and is always just the same weather basically. At least it's not nearly as humid as Ohio. One of the elders that already left for Taiwan said that it is sooo humid there. He had to go biking in his suit coat and by the end of the day, the entire suit was drenched as if he jumped into a pool! That will make things interesting. The only time that you don't sweat over there is when you're taking a shower or laying down in your room! I'm still excited to leave though.
I'm glad to hear that Ian is going to choir. Keep it up Ian. You may not appreciate it now, but it's always nice to be able to sing well. Unfortunately I haven't been going to all of the choir practices but I've gone to a few. Usually there isn't anymore room by the time we get there. It's ok though, the last few songs they've sung have been kind of weird. I haven't been taking too many pictures of us here but that's cuz we haven't been doing anything interesting. Just studying all day haha. Funny story though, after breakfast a few days ago, my companion brought a bottle of milk to our dorm room. We forgot about it for a few days and then two nights ago it exploded. It was in the middle of the night and it freak us all out. The cap blew off and shot milk up to the ceiling and then all over the wall, floor and on my stuff on the desk! I had to wipe down everything quick so it didn't ruin anything. Luckily it didn't make the room smell really bad. That was probably the most exciting thing that happened to me all week lol.
Well since you're already sending me a package, could you send those two patterned socks I got and also four more pairs of long athletic socks. The few that I brought will get holes in them pretty quickly and you might as well send some now as opposed to when I'm in Taiwan. Also, some water flavor packets would be cool. I haven't had those in a long time. Maybe just like the Propel kind. That's probably everything I need. If you or grandma want to send me any other goodies, I wouldn't mind. It's always nice to get a little surprise.  Well that's pretty much everything thats going on. Hopefully I'll have more interesting things to write about when I get to Taiwan. Well I love you all. Have a great week.
p.s. i'll try to take more pictures this next week cuz i don't have any this time. Sorry

Learning Mandarin
Andrew is slowing learning the Chinese language of Mandarin.  To learn Mandarin, missionaries first learn to speak and read by using the phonetic system of Pinyin.  Pinyin uses letters to sound out words.  For example,  "Ni hao ma?"  sounds like, "Knee how ma?"  This means "How are you?" Once missionaries learn to speak Mandarin using Pinyin, they start to memorize kanji.  Kanji are characters that represent words that cannot be sounded out.  The meaning and sound of the different kanji have to be memorized.  Also, Mandarin is a tonal language, meaning that there are four different tones that are used to say different words.  For example, "ma" in Mandarin means four different words depending on what word you are trying to say. Ma can mean horse, ant, mother, or scold, depending on what tone you use to say the word.  The picture illustrates this concept. 



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