“You’re allowed to look at the menu, you just can’t order.” –a funny quote I found on the internet once.
I was kind of frustrated when I noticed that my dad put the wrong email on my blog this week. I thought he just hadn’t wanted to put my funny, big long one up for some reason. But today I found out from Sister Rhynard that her family hadn’t gotten her big email either so there must have been some issue. Sorry to any of my missionary friends who didn’t get to read last week’s email either, I’ll send my blog posts to y’all through email for convenience. SORRY THIS IS GONNA BE SO LONG but I encourage you all to at least scan through it really quickly.
(For anyone who doesn’t know, I’m in a tripanionship with sisters Patchell and Rhynard.)
Anyways, all this kerfluffle just goes along with my theme for the week, which is “You’re allowed to look at the menu, you just can’t order.” I chose this because you can always guess how your MTC/Mission experience might be: you can look at blogs, you can hear stories from others, you can read the missionary handbook, whatever. But you gotta keep in mind that there’s always a daily special, and it’s always going to be a complete surprise! Crazy things happen here in the MTC every day.
We ended up having time for me to audition to play a piano solo at one of the MTC devotionals on Thursday morning. I also signed up to be an accompanist for other people who want to do musical numbers. It was cool, I got to audition for the wives of the MTC presidency. They checked me off as a “yes” and told me it was good that I auditioned early when I still have tons of time here at the MTC. I’ll update you guys more when I get opportunities to play!
On Saturday we started TRC, where you teach Chinese-speaking members and, sometimes, REAL investigators lessons! And apparently your teacher watches you through some cameras (the not-so-cool part.) We taught an old man who could only remember like half his Chinese and he kind of coached us on teaching lessons haha. And then we taught this really quiet girl who is a BYU student. This second lesson was really, really cool because even though she was really quiet and unresponsive you could really tell she was feeling the spirit when we were talking about the atonement and being forgiven in our broken, grammatically train-wrecked Chinese. THAT’S why I’m a missionary, guys! Isn’t it cool how God can speak through us even when we don’t really know a language?
On Saturday nights we have “black hole time” where you have 4 hours to study/do whatever, so me and my companions decided to go to a chapel in the main building 1M where we planned a lesson and used the piano in there. It was great to relax and have this room all to ourselves!
And we found out yesterday that our first teacher, ou yang lao shi, has to change his schedule so we will be getting a new teacher starting next week. It’s a little sad, but I’m really excited because our other teacher told us that our new teacher is from mainland China. I bet she’ll help us to develop in the language really, really well.
The mandarin missionaries who were the oldest when we got here LEFT on Tuesday morning! I didn’t anticipate before I came here to the MTC that it would be hard to say good bye to people even though I will probably see lots of them again, since most of them are going to Taipei. What’s cool though is that later today we will be getting MORE MANDARIN MISSIONARIES IN OUR ZONE!!! Yay! I like to call us the “mandarinssionaries.”
Oh and another thing from yesterday morning. Me and one of my sister training leaders were sitting outside our classroom building having an interview when this lady walked up to us and asked where some missionaries were so they could teach her. They never showed up but we got to teach her instead. It was crazy, she was a real investigator! It was difficult even to teach in English and I would say that this experience really built up my testimony of knowing that you HAVE to have the spirit present in your lessons or else it won’t work. We committed her to read the Book of Mormon.
The Funny/The Weird/The Stupid
- The craziness started last Wednesday after P-Day, when our district was just messing around in class. The teacher had already left, we had just finished our daily planning sessions as companionships and we were about to head to the residence. To the left of me, I heard Sister Patchell hit her elbow on the bookshelf right next to her desk. After a little bit, she started telling me how it really, really hurt and she laid her head down on her desk. I said something comforting like “aw, hitting your elbow always sucks” and I started rubbing her shoulder haha. The next thing I know, Sister Patchell starts FLAILING. One of the elders yelled, “SHE’S HAVING A SEIZURE” as she fell out of her chair onto the ground. I thought she was having a seizure at first but she became really still very quickly, looking super pale and her eyes mostly closed.
All the elders were freaking out. We had shoved all the desks away from her in a moment of panic so the classroom looked like a cyclone had just blown through it. Then Sister Patchell woke up (this probably happened in the time space of about 20 seconds.) Elder Kleine, the West Point Academy guy, started telling her to calm down and was like “What’s your name? Where are you from? You just had a seizure, we just called the front desk/paramedics, you’re going to be ok” and poor Sister Patchell just looked really confused and dazed haha. Then two MTC security/paramedic people came in and ushered everyone except for me and Sister Rhynard out of the room. Outside in the hall there was a whole ton of commotion because the elders had ran out to tell everyone else in our zone about what had just happened. It was pretty funny, you could hear them all yelling at each other about what they’d done right/wrong in handling the situation…our cute little elders, caring so much ;). I know that adrenaline was rushing through me and I had so much going through my mind.
Anyways, the security people handled the situation really well. Sister Patchell was able to sit up and get on the phone to talk with one of the doctors. She described how her elbow had hurt really bad, how she had broken it a really long time ago and then suddenly she was on the ground looking up at Elder Kleine’s face. The doctor had me on the phone a couple times where I ran through the whole situation because I had seen all of it. I got to use a cell phone guys! Haha. Anyways, we ended up finding out that she had probably just passed out due to not getting enough blood to her brain/not drinking enough water. Our zone leaders, Elder Wilde and Elder Chang, gave her a priesthood blessing and then one of the security people walked Sister Patchell to our residence and we helped her get to sleep for the night.
The next morning, Thursday, we went to the MTC health center to make sure everything was OK and it ended up being fine! We also found out in class the next day that Elder Doyle had been the one to pick up the emergency phone in the hall to call security. He was great and kept his cool even as all the other elders were running around like chickens with their heads chopped off. He told us a funny story how he couldn’t describe to security which side of our classroom building we were on, so he had to go outside to usher them in. As he got out, there were a bunch of elders milling around the front of the building and it turned out they were about to have a rap battle! He tried to tell them to leave but he didn’t want to give them the reason why so they just went on with their rap battle haha.
- On Sunday this Mormon country band came to sing for devotional. I really hate country music but it was still music so it was pretty fun. There was one part where they had these two 14-year-old-looking girls sing their own song that was really cheesy. It kinda sounded like the candy man song from Willy Wonka. Anyways, the elders in my district picked up on how funny it sounded and have been singing it in mock cheesy tones. It reminds me so much of you, Dad, when you tease people. It’s great haha.
- On Monday morning my companions wanted to go to the gym so I kinda just went along with them. For anyone who doesn’t know, I’m not really a huge gym person because I would prefer to just exercise outside and I feel kinda stupid/self-conscious on the gym machines. The first time we went to the gym, there had been no one in there so it was great but this time when we went there were tons of elders, including everyone from our district. I was internally groaning as we all got on elliptical machines. I was not having fun during the entire 30-minute workout and at one point I felt like my fears were realized when I thought I heard one of my elders whisper “Sister Watson” from somewhere behind me. Was I doing something wrong? Did I look funny? Needless to say, I was really glad when exercise time was over and I thought that was that. Later during the day in class, though, Elder Balmforth started going off in his funny monotone voice about how our performance on the elliptical machines represented our tripanionship. There was Sister Rhynard, going at a pretty normal pace. There was Sister Patchell, going faster than he’d ever seen anyone go on an elliptical and looking vicious and athletic. And then there was me….GOING BACKWARDS. Haha, I kill myself guys. It was embarrassing but it was fun to laugh at myself.
- This segment will be called: WRATH OF THE SHI GE BENS…PART II. I know most of you didn’t read my email last week because it didn’t get out to anyone for some reason, but just to sum things up, hymn books in Chinese are called shi ge bens (pronounced sure guh buns.) There’s only a few that go throughout our zone so people are always knocking on each others’ doors to see if they have any shi ge buns. It’s gotten so bad that one of the districts that uses iPads slapped a funny sign on their door that goes “WE DON’T HAVE SHI GE BENS” (I will attach a picture.) The funny thing is that, right before the oldest group of mandarin missionaries were about to leave, they bequeathed to our district a huge stack of shi ge bens that they had been secretly hoarding for weeks. It was great, one day we had enough shi ge bens for everyone to get their own! Haha. We still have a good portion of our stack but our teacher made us give some of them away. Shhhh don’t tell anyone about our remaining stash.
CHINESE CHARACTER OF THE WEEK
This week the character is 恩 or en, one of the characters in the word en ci, or “gift.” There’s no super deep reason behind why I chose this character, it’s just that it looks like a starfish in a box and then the bottom radical is a heart. So fun to remember. (Note: this word only works for things like “gift of the Holy Ghost”, it’s not the same as a present you give someone on Christmas. Chinese gets really specific.)
I love each and every one of you SO MUCH!
Anne Watson 孫姐妹