Monday, June 22, 2015

Australiens, un psychologist, et des questions impossibles

I was told pretty soon after I got in here that if you were to evenly divide up a mission into thirds it would look like this: The first third is the first three days in the MTC, the second third is the rest of the MTC, and the last third is your entire time in the field. I'm pretty sure that's coming true, it felt like I had been here forever at first, but the time is starting to speed up at a rather alarming rate O.o We've been playing a lot of volleyball with these other guys that we don't even know, we only talk to them during gym time from opposite sides of the net. That's been fun, and holy cow I'm being timed and my mind is blank (for all you Charlie Brown Christmas fans: "Marcie I forgot my lines!")! But yeah, about the title: We found out last Tuesday or Wednesday that some Australian reporters were going to be doing a story about missionaries coming to Australia and learning a second language. Since our district is the only one with Chinese-learning Australia-bound missionaries, they came to us. It was really fun and felt like we were making the District 3 although we're totally not. I hoped you would get to see my pretty face on Australian national TV but they didn't do any filming when they came to visit our classroom :/ We can still hope since they might come back, but more likely they'll just catch up with the missionaries in a couple months when they arrive in the great land of Oz. Later that day (Friday) an old MTC worker randomly came into our classroom with a couple other Chinese teachers from our building and said he was doing a survey with only one question. It felt like a therapy group because we were all sitting in a circle and the question was "what are your challenges?" We were super confused but practically against our will almost everyone in the district said something like feeling confined in the MTC or it's hard to be with a companion 24/7 or not feeling good enough or stuff like that. It was a little depressing, so it's a good thing Zong Zhanglao (Elder Brown) in desperation said something positive about our MTC experience. Once the guy had recorded all our answers and left, we all sat in stunned silence until I asked, "What on Earth just happened?" It was odd. That afternoon/evening in class we discussed some traditionally really hard gospel questions and tried to give simple answers to them. I can't think of any examples, but if you've been on a mission you'll know what kinds of questions I mean. Fun to see more friends coming into the MTC, I saw Elder Bateman going to Buenos Aires North and also one of my HEFY friends going Spanish-speaking to Los Angeles. This week we're getting like 45 new Mandarins, an entire district going to Taizhong and another district heading to England and Canada and the US. I found out just a couple hours ago that there's a Chinese guy here at the MTC going to Lyon! I think he must be learning French or something because I don't think I've met him, although I did pop my head into the French classroom and ask "Avez-vous un drapeau français?" I was met mostly with blank stares and it occurred to me that these missionaries were learning French. I'm not used to having better French than people with whom I try to speak it. Case in point: I met an Elder Ficquet from Toulouse going to Montréal Spanish-speaking (lucky duck) and last night Sorella Visconti from Pau (near Spain) going to Milan. I've gotten to see the other Frenchies fairly often, but only at meals usually. I've been meeting a lot of Italians (aka missionaries preparing to go to Italy) and gotten to confuse them when they walk by and see Chinese on my chest and hear "Anziani, come stai?" coming out of my mouth. Quick favor! Could y'all send my French flag to me pleeeeeassee? Or you can keep it and send me another? Oh and DearElder is highly encouraged! Basically you go to the website, send an email, and I'll get it in the form of a letter that I can read anytime during the week. Fin! Zhongwén sha wode fawén, 江長老

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