Croatian Pirates

First, let me expatiate upon the week’s events.

I spray-painted my bike on Monday to defy theft. Here’s the after:

My color scheme was limited to 0-0-0 and 0-255-255. I wanted a nice 255-0-255 magenta, but unfortunately, I couldn’t find it at the supermarket. I’m still seeking, though; it’s never too late for another coat.

Our district hosted an English class party on Wednesday, as is the tradition at the end of a transfer. Masters of low-budget entertainment, we organized games such as: Supau bowling (Supau is a popular Taiwanese Gatorade-esque drink), horribly disfiguring face painting, Halloween bingo, Jeopardy, and–last but not least–a game we termed "Panty Hoedown." In this grueling test of physical prowess, a player dons a panty hoe over his or her head. Its end contains a soft ball or pair of dense socks. He or she then must topple progressively heavier bottles on the ground by whirling the sock around, using a gyrating motion of the head to build rotational momentum before causing the sock apparatus to forcefully contact the bottle so as to push its center of mass past the equilibrium point. The addition of a time limit creates suspense and drive.

Figure 1.1: A young player takes on the heaviest bottle in a fast-paced match of Panty Hoedown.

Figure 1.2: Elder Clark demonstrates appropriate use of the head-mounted assemblage. For exercise one day, we staged several two-person death matches. This game is excellent for building core strength and endurance.

For our spiritual thought, we four elders sang hymns in a men’s a cappela quartet. Elder Cheung sang the melody, Elder Gibson the alto, and I the tenor. Elder Clark completed the act with his deep and sonorous bass. Our performance was a hit.

I cut my own hair this week. Elder Gibson already had a razor, so I figured I would save time and money by using it to cut my own hair rather than going to a barbershop. As Elder Gibson instructed, I installed a guard–3/8" seemed about right–knelt on the floor, turned the razor on, and ran it through my hair repeatedly in different directions. As voluminous clods of hair settled on the linoleum floor around me, I was surprised by how much my hair seemed to have grown since my last haircut.

Then, I looked in the mirror:

​Ack! My hair was much too short. Also, the top is crooked and the sides are really patchy. I tried to cut around my ear and ended up taking a huge square chunk out from one of my temples.

For service on Thursday, we assembled an Ikea wardrobe for a member. Two engineers, a neuroscientist, and a physicist collaborated extensively, at last resolving the complex spatial problem presented by said item of furniture.

We’ve been eating especially healthy recently:

A healthful traditional Taiwanese meal.

In addition to the usual street food, we ate an unprecedented quantity of junk this week. (Don’t worry; in the above picture, we saved two pizzas each for dinner on Sunday.) Pizza Hut, KFC, McDonalds–we cumbered ourselves with all sorts of American fast food. Whenever we teach lessons at Maidanglao’s, which is pretty much our sole option because the chapel isn’t in our area, we have to buy something or else we’ll be kicked out. On Monday, we went to McDonald’s three different times throughout the day for lessons. Each time, we bought an ice cream cone.

We eat a lot of chao fan, shuijiao, and beef noodles. We also buy a lot of drinks at Coco’s (requesting no tea, of course) or other drink stands. Some of my favorites are watermelon milk and Coco’s passionfruit drink with seeds, coconut jellies, and black chewy gelatinous pearls.

The other day, Elder Gibson tried to bake brownies in one of our bowls with a plastic covering. We both thought it was Bakelite or another heat-proof plastic. It wasn’t.

The aftermath.

After removal of the bowl.

The work is going well, although finding investigators remains our biggest challenge. Right now, we’re teaching four people who are likely to be baptized in the near future: Sister Wang, a local college student whose baptism is scheduled for next Saturday; Sister Zhu, a mom who we’ve been meeting with a lot recently; and Sister Zhu’s two sons, 16 and 12 years old.

Our normal modus operandi is to spend almost all of our time outside of lessons street contacting, occasionally spending an hour to make telephone calls to potential investigators we’ve already contacted or received. Street contacting gets very frustrating. People tell us they’re willing to meet again, but then won’t arrange a time and either refuse to give us their phone number or make one up. One woman told me her phone number was 0909999333.

White people are quite rare, but the other night, as we walked through a tiny maze of alleys, we saw a Croatian pirate at a tiny Buddhist temple. He was speaking in English with a pirate accent.

Taiwanese people like shirts with English on them. They don’t care as much about what they actually say.

Thus concludes my weekly email. Bye!


One thought on “Croatian Pirates

  1. Ilene Andersen says:

    Your, diet, is a riot, David. Really. I guess you can survive on anything for two years. Actually, it may not be so bad. A lot of people eat fast food all of the time.
    Keep the blogs coming. I really enjoy hearing about your experiences and the country where you are living.

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