Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Hairy Meat

Note from the editor: We sent Elder Carter a list of questions and his email this week was primarily answering our questions. I thought it might be good to show you what we asked so his answers will make more sense. Here is our note to him…
Hey, you said you like answering questions, how about this...give us another schedule like you did in the MTC. Pick a day last week and go through the day from when you got up until bedtime.
 And tell us how the English classes are going.
 And be sure and tell us the details about your upcoming temple trip...
 And try describing your favorite dish that we haven't had before.
 mmm...I'll think up some more for next week.

 Well, again ate at the ginormous hot pot place again. Except this one was different. It had all you can eat Haagen-dasz Ice Cream (I know I spelled that wrong, but since when do I care about English? I'm learning Chinese, not English. Oh- it's not even English. Whatev). I LOVE ice cream. It's a special treat here, and I think I ate about 200$ worth of it. Just kidding. I am eating healthy (when I can), and just so you know, almost ANYTHING in Taiwan is healthier than food in America. Even streetside food. There may be a lot of oil, but NO sugar, and NO salt. I don't know, I still eat my fruits and vegetables, and I'm doing God's work, past that, who cares what I eat? I ate blood today. I said I wouldn't, but I did, and it was... alright, I guess. A little weird.
What I've eaten:
Chicken feet
Duck feet
cow, pig, chicken, (you name it) STOMACH
Shrimp head
Fish head
Fish eyeballs
Fish brain
Duck brain
Duck eyeballs (not bad, actually)
Duck Beak
Pig's blood
Duck Blood
Meat (I don't know what it was... but I ate it anyway)
Hairy meat
Pig intestine
Other seafood, that doesn't have a name... well- I can't read it yet anyway, but I still eat it!
Who cares anymore? The only problem I have is texture. I didn't realize that was my picky side until I got here. If it has weird texture, I WILL NOT eat it. I hate gross texture. (But duck eyeballs aren’t bad? Ick!) I don't know what it is, it messes with my mind, and is gross. Hairy meat is nasty to eat... blech.
Now, you all told me to learn how to cook... I'll try... but pretty sure you don't want to eat this stuff. When I have time I'll learn to cook the REAL food. Nothing super specific to Taiwan so far though. It's all Japanese, Chinese... etc. It's the experience of going to these restaurants that's different. Taiwan has it's specifics, but I haven't found anything good yet. I'll work on that ;)
My Chinese is getting better, at least more fluent! :P I have passed phase 1 now, and my Gospel Chinese is good enough for the President to feel comfortable with me learning other Chinese. I will constantly review Phase 1, but we teach everyday, so I practice that all the time. Now I am working on phase 2, that has 4000 some odd words in it and 300 or so names, titles, and idioms. So Good! After I finish going through that I will review phase 1 and 2 and start phase 3, which is characters. By that point, I hope my Chinese is flowing better, and I have means by which to continue learning words. When I start phase 3 it will probably be after Christmas. So, maybe by then, I could either use money to buy some dictionaries or word books with things like sports, movies, school, animals, cars... etc. And then character dictionaries, too. Then I can set my goals then. So excited that I passed phase 1! That's a scary pass off. But Elder Prier, my zone leader said, it's not about the words, the phrases, the grammar... etc. He says, the point is to evaluate teaching, and if you're a convincing teacher of chapter three in Preach My Gospel-you pass. I guess i passed. But I still need SO much practice! I still need to work on having the Spirit with me. And simplifying. But that's coming easier now. Elder Pei tells me that my Gospel Chinese is to the point where the only thing I can do is keep practicing it. He says, now, that we are going to talk about different things in Chinese, at night. Like the army, or airplanes, or cars, or work, or countries, or history, or just life stories. All in Chinese. He says he wants to do this to help my "non-gospel" Chinese. I agreed immediately, because my Dad told me to learn the rest of the language besides just Gospel Chinese. Preach My Gospel, President Holland says that we should "stretch ourselves in the language" and "do not restrict yourself to a 'missionary-vocabulary' only"-- I tend to agree. I find that the times that we connect with our investigators the best are when the Spirit is there in our lessons. But when relationships are solidified are when we just talk with them outside of the lessons. Through the phone, with members in the foyer of the Church, or on Preparation Day taking them out to eat somewhere. Obviously we need to keep our purpose evident and always work towards their baptism and their Enduring to the End, but when we just talk- about other missionaries, about friends, girlfriends, life, work, favorite movies... etc... that's when the relationships solidify, and they really begin to connect with the members, cementing them into the ward. So good! The transformations are fantastic! And they really respect us for trying to learn their language, so when they see you trying so hard to use it, and learn it, and when you say four swearwords in a row because you forgot a certain tone on a word, they laugh, and laugh, and you all become super great friends.
It's also nice to see how they warm up to you as you talk with them. At first they hear that you're new and probably don't have that good Chinese. I don't have good Chinese. But then you start talking, and they understand that you can understand a lot more than they gave you credit for at the beginning. And they become a lot more comfortable talking with you. Plus, if you just TELL them you don't understand, or ask them to slow down, or use a different word, they WILL do it. They respect your hard work. And now that I can pick out words I don't understand and say them right, I can tell them the word, and they can explain, and then I understand. And with my basic Chinese, I have enough to be able to explain almost anything I want in a way that they'll understand :P But My Chinese is still on pins and needles and it still sounds horrible! :P
I also realized, recently, that when you are in an argument, or in a potentially contentious situation, the Chinese leaves you. At least the Spirit of understanding does. I can still speak, but they seem to have a harder time understanding. I was down on myself last night, and was starting to get a little contention in my voice with Elder Pei. He couldn't understand a thing, even though I was saying everything I could to help him understand.
Then, this morning, I prayed for help and begged God to be behind me as I confronted him about problems in our companionship. It led to contention from him, but I had prayed for help, and I spoke smoother, and more fluid than I have yet. And later today, he came and talked with me, and we figured it out. He understood me perfectly this morning, and I don't even remember what I said, but the Spirit was there, and now I feel a lot more respect coming from him. Our companionship is better because of the companionship of the Spirit. It's been a hard week, with Elder Pei being sick, and having problems in the companionship because of my pride, and Elder Pei's culture, and not a ton of success otherwise. But today is great. And we have 3 weeks left in the move call to blast this place out of the water. I'm not worried about my Chinese anymore, really. I still misunderstand a lot of words, and people's accents, but I'm confident in my Chinese, now that I know how to use it. With the Spirit.
English is great. Being English leader is pretty easy, and it's funny, this move call we've had the best attendance yet! But, I'm pretty sure it's because I put Elder Buenning on teaching Intermediate English which gets the most students ;) Probably 'cause he's the best looking Elder this mission has. Lol. I teach Beginning English now, which had a ton of students last week, but I wasn't there, becuase I was on exchanges with Elder Prier. (Best exchange yet!)
English is good. We added a fair amount of people from that English class, as well. :D
Normal Schedule:
5:55 wake up. 6:00-6:30 running without stopping at about a 6-minute mile pace (I am at 6:11 now for my mile time. My watch died this last week, though, so I'm unsure:P, and we don't go to the track anymore, so it's hard sometimes :D) Then it's get ready, contemplate life, eat breakfast, shower from 6:30 to 7:30. 7:30 to 8:30 is personal study, 8:30 to 9:30 is Companionship Study, and 9:30 to 10:30 is Language Study. We say prayer at the door, and leave at 10:30. 10:30 to 12:00, proselyting, lessons, calling... 12-1PM Lunch with Language study. 1 to 5:30 is proselyting, tracting, lessons, calling.. etc. 5:30 to 6:00 is dinner. 6-9/9:30 is proselyting, lessons, calling, tracting, ward activites, baptisms, etc. 9/9:30-9:30/10 is planning. Then 9:30/10 -10:30 is study, talk, eat, talk, laugh, get ready for bed and bed at 10:30. Wake up again at 5:55 the next morning. It's the same everyday except for Sundays when we sleep in to 6:30 (cause we can't exersize, and church is at 9), and when your companion is sick. If Elder Pei is sick, we stay in all day, and I'm just calling everyone that lives in Taizhong. At least 3 million people. Yes. My ears hurt.
There's a quick run-down of my schedule. We don't stop contacting. We literally talk to everyone on our way from church to appointments or appointments to lunch or wherever. We stop on street-sides, at every red-light, and every-where else (sometimes even in transit!) and in the coolest places! Remind me to tell you about PMG changes Training changes next email.
Also let everyone that has written me and not got a letter back know that I love them, and I'm doing my best to write them!!! I love you all! (thanks Sister Byers!) and lately I've only had time to write family, so I hope my friends don't hate me :P
Love you all!
Gotta go-
til next Wednesday-

Elder Carter
A You Banfa! Missionary

1 comment:

Okie said...

mmmm...the joys of funky food. :)

Kudos on the language study...I did the Spanish thing and it took time...I can't even imagine Chinese.