Mudaoyou: Gotta Teach ‘Em All

​Picture of District A showing off our gang sign. I’ve already introduced the elders, so here are the sisters, from left to right: Sister Strong, Sister Lew, Sister Fisher, and Sister Jenkins. They all have interesting stories and are great missionaries and additions to our district.

Mudaoyou means “investigator” in Chinese, by the way.

On Thursday, our district was sitting silently in the classroom studying our Chinese vocab. All of the sudden, a huge bang came from the garbage can in the corner. The sisters sitting nearby all jumped. Debris flew up into the air, and bits of Kleenex and hole punches fluttered to the floor all over the room.

We looked into the garbage can and saw nothing but a lidless bottle of orange juice and orange juice splattered over the inside of the can. We realized that the explosion had been caused by the orange juice–which Sister Strong had dropped in the can two days earlier–fermenting and producing carbon dioxide, which swelled the bottle and caused the lid to forcefully shoot off. (We later found the lid lying on the floor at the opposite end of the room.)

The next day, Elder Jensen got three bottles of orange juice for breakfast. We drank 1/4 of each bottle and then stashed them at different locations in our room. Unfortunately, none of them have shown any sign of pressure, and they’ve been sitting there for two days now. We think the original bottle was one of the orange-mango-passion fruit ones, which may have fewer preservatives.

My companion and me at the temple.

I’m doing really well at the MTC. The work can be hard, but it really doesn’t compare to the somewhat soul-crushing workload of high school. I can focus all of my efforts on a few things rather than on a wide range of classes and subjects.

Our P-days are the best, because Elder Heaps and I can walk around looking #Babylonian, do our laundry, and email. My laundry bag today was exceedingly full, even unto the bursting thereof, but I still managed to get everything to the laundry room.

I was elated to find that the bookstore sells pocket protectors. They were at a discount–only 49 cents–so I bought myself two, and I wear them all the time. Now I can sleep soundly at night knowing that my pockets are well-protected.

The food here is as sweet as honey in the mouth, but bitter in the belly. It almost always tastes quite good, but it feels kind of nasty to eat such dense and fatty food so often. A few elders in my branch have gained nearly ten pounds in the few days they’ve been here; thankfully, my weight has remained pretty much constant. I exercise a fair deal and try to go for the salad as often as possible, which has helped a bit.

A few days ago, the lunch menu included Teriyaki Stix. At first, I was eager to get a taste of food originating outside of BYU foodservice. I sat down and started eating. After I had taken about two bites, two elders ran past down the length of our Chinese-speaking branch table, warning everyone not to eat the Teriyaki Stix. Apparently, four weeks ago, when they last served it, everyone had diarrhea for forty-eight hours. I didn’t really believe them, since I’ve heard a lot of myths about the food at the MTC, so I finished my whole bowl.

That night, Elder McLaughlin got sick and vomited many times. I had an upset stomach, but I didn’t throw up or suffer any other ill effects.

The Chinese is coming along very well. It’s amazing how fast everyone has learned, especially those who have had no prior experience with the language. There’s one phrase in our grammar book that always gives people trouble. Used to explain baptism, it means “plugging nose.” The first time we saw it, though, our teacher explained that it was an instruction to “plug this nose.” Two days later, when he asked Elder Jensen to translate it, Elder Jensen said, “you grab them by the nose.” Now, we joke about baptizing people by grabbing them by the nose.

I love you all. Bye!

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