Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Week 5 in the MTC

So, Michael is past half way in his duration in the MTC!  Just 4 weeks left, so it may seem.  Still, his sense of humor is as good as always.  I do think it is cool that Malagasy has two ways of saying “ours”, both including and excluding the person you’re talking to.  How many times do we have to clarify that in English?  Oh, and did anyone get the words to that Mulan song?

Two emails again today, although the second was pretty short. 

Subject:  "An A? But all you can read is my name and the date" "I saw where you were going with it"

Well, it's been another week. As if you didn't know that. I've got some fun stories for you today, but perhaps we should start with a language lesson. Let's see...

Let's go over making an object possessive! Take a noun like... karavate (referring to a neck-tie, and yes, they get it from the French word). To possess it, you have to always add "ny" in from of the word you want to possess. And so it becomes "ny karavate". Then you must add a possessive ending to show who is possessing it. For most words, these are -ko, -nao, -ny, -ntsika, -nay, -nareo, and -n'izy ireo. Respectively, they mean of me, of you, of him/her/it, of ours (inclusive of the person you're talking to), ours (excluding the person you're talking to), all o' y'all, and of theirs. Add it to the end and you'll have "ny karavateko". Directly, it translates to something like "the tie of mine". Pretty simple stuff. There is also something called a weak ending (when a word ends with -na, -tra, -ka) which means you just chop off that ending and the possessive endings change a little bit. But it's not too bad.

The language is actually coming along pretty well. Or so I thought. We prepared a lesson for Miandry again (one of our progressing investigators), and I felt totally ready to teach the Creation and Adam and Eve. Seriously. And then we walked in to give the lesson, and walking through the door was like being baptized. Except instead of all the sins washing away, it was all of my preparation. Everything was just gone. So that kind of sucked. Elder Hamm did most of the teaching, and (kind of fortunately) Miandry told us he had to leave right when we reached my part of the Forgotten Lesson. Unfortunately, I didn't understand him, so I kept talking (saying nothing useful) until Elder Hamm started poking me and explained what he had said. We offered to close with a prayer, and he gestured to me. I folded my arms, bowed my head, and starting praying. What I didn't realize for about a minute, is that I was actually bearing my testimony. Not saying a prayer. So that was pretty sad. But I caught it, and life went on. Suffice it to say, it was not our best lesson. Sadly, it was also not our worst.

So I hope that got everyone laughing a bit. And if that didn't work, remember what Julie said about milk and cookies and the last email. I definitely got a good chuckle out of that.

Sorry I still can't send you any pictures yet, but I can't get to the website Dad told me about, and I don't have my camera with me anyway. So that's not helpful. Hopefully once I get out in the actual field (only four weeks left!) I'll be able to send them all. There's also a couple of "MTC" pictures that one of my teachers has been telling me about, so I'll see if I can take some of those. They should be rather stylish.

Looking over the last week (how did I ever survive without a planner?), we had some pretty good times. And taught some pretty good lessons. I don't know why, but Miandry seems to suck out any ability I once had with the language as soon I walk through the door. It's weird. With everyone else I teach, we have a grand old time. One of them has a couple problems, mainly that his wife wants to separate, and that's the main reason he sought out the missionaries. He wants us to help keep them together. So that could be interesting.

I've also made a few other slips-of-the-tongue regarding Malagasy. Most of them aren't even my fault! Okay, yes they are. But they're really close to the word I meant! I don't think I'll explain them now though. Some were pretty bad. Basically, there's room to improve.

And now I have something of a sad story to share with you. Since I'm a district leader now, I am privileged to sit in on a great many fantastic meetings. Soooo enjoyable. Anyway, we sit there and talk about the problems that we've been having with our group. Fortunately, my people are awesome, and so I have basically nothing to report. Recently though, an Elder got very homesick. Not one of mine, but I heard about it. He was so homesick that he spent most if his day throwing up. So that's not a good sign. In short, he ended up going home. The moral of this story is, thank you everyone, for not making me homesick. That would have been no bueno. Or rather, tsy tsara. So yeah.
I feel like I've killed the mood a bit, so I'll share a story about one of my teachers (the funny one). But it takes some background. A while ago, my teacher (who shall remain nameless) had left his car in a parking lot. When he returned, it had been towed. But it hadn't been posted as a towing zone! Not even a no park area! Anyway, he was pretty mad. So he went to the guy that towed it to contest it, and eventually threatened to bring in a lawyer (his uncle was one and he had already learned that he was right in not having to pay for it). The guy at the towing place explained that someone had done just that before, and won. The problem was that the ticket had cost $250, and the lawyer the guy had paid for had cost $500. The poor sap ended up doubling his price, just to avoid the ticket. So my teacher was right that he shouldn't have to pay for the ticket, but proving his point in court would cost twice as much. So he just paid for the tow and moved on.

Or DID he move on? A short while later, his car was found in that same parking lot, all by its itty bitty self. When the tow truck came around, the driver saw Nameless Teacher's car and made his move to snag it. What he hadn't realized (much like the wolf that tried to attack Jeremy Renner in the Bourne Legacy), was that a devious trap had been lain. Right as the truck pulled up to tow Teacher's car, my teacher revved the car and sped off yelling, and I quote, "sucka!!" Turns out he had been sitting in the car the whole time, with the seat leaned down. Sneaky.

Anyway, I hope that leaves you all a little happier. I should probably go now, but as usual, I'll be back. Terminator.

And I'll give you one more movie quote for now. "Great, she brings home a sword. If you ask me, she should have brought home a ma-" and I'll let y'all finish that off. OH! And for the love of Pete, will somebody PLEASE send me the lyrics to "I'll Make a Man Out of You" from Mulan. I need to prove to my companion that they don't say "tranquil as the forest, we'll fight fire with wind". I mean, how does that even make sense!? Clearly the words are "tranquil as the forest, but a fire withIN"! Also, Elder Horne thinks that they say "we must be swift as a raging fire". Poor kid. I mean, did these people even HAVE a childhood?? Honestly, it's sad.

Time to go, keep it real, and please write back whenever you can,

-Elder Arrington

Second Letter (subject was the same):

Well I'm not really sure what else I can say today... oh! So you remember how I mentioned that Mr. Incredible was here? Well he left yesterday and I had missed my chance to take a picture with him! But what am I saying? If you want to see him, just go watch the Incredibles. He's the tall, strong guy. He looks like that.

Anyway, I spent most of today trying (with little success) to sleep. I don't know what it is, but I seem to lack the ability to take a nap. It seems I did fall asleep eventually, just in time to be woken up for dinner. So that was interesting.

Um... yeah... so how has life been for all of you? Everyone staying busy? I know Mom and Dad have... and it sounds like Steven's almost doing well in football. But most of that doesn't seem to be his fault.

Anyway, keep up the good work everyone, and PLEASE right back any time,

Thank you!

-Elder Arrington

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