Nonfunctional self-timer edition.
This past Friday marked the completion of my 19th full solar circuit.
Last week was also my final full week with Elder Gibson. I’m assigned a new companion on Friday; he’s returning home on Saturday. He’s been the best trainer I could ask for.
Some things I’ll miss when he leaves:
I’ll miss having an ultra-convenient, portable, context-aware Chinese dictionary and pronunciation guide always by my side.
I’ll miss the resonance of our apartment’s harmonious quartet hymn performances, with which we always begin our companion studies. Chances are that Elder Gibson’s and Elder Cheung’s successors will not be graced with their same musical proclivity.
I’ll miss being able to discuss ketones and aldehydes with my companion.
Even though I’ll regret the loss of these things, I’m looking forward to meeting my new companion. Whoever he is, he’ll bring new skills, ideas, and qualities I can learn from. I’m super excited for transfer meeting on Friday.
Now, for the other occurrences of the week:
On P-day, everyone was really tired and only wanted to play board games and “zhua yang” (one of Elder Cheung’s self-made expressions, meaning “to scratch one’s self.” Literally: “scratch/grab itch.”). I averred, to some extent. After finishing e-mailing and shopping, I spent my time listening to music, studying Chinese, and practicing sketching in the apartment.
On Tuesday, most of our time was spent teaching lessons. All of the people we’ve taught this week are outstanding, with the notable exception of an exceptionally creepy fellow we taught on Tuesday who was convinced that he was a prophet. Brother Xie is doing great, mostly due to his willingness to read the Book of Mormon and pray with a sincere heart and real intent. Sister Zhu and her whole family came to our stake conference on Sunday, including her husband. It was awesome to see them there.
Wednesday: another day of recycling service! We were tasked with disassembling a variety of electronic appliances, including telephones, keyboards, USB devices, and a sketchy Taiwanese high-voltage magneto-therapy device. Using a screwdriver and hammer, I separated plastic, ferrous components, wires, and circuit boards, all the while reminiscing on my past robotics days.
Once again, we elders were also enlisted in the tossing of second-hand clothing into trucks. This would be an enjoyable task were it not for the accompanying odors and other unpleasant discoveries. This week, we found a jacket swarming with thousands of small arachnids (termites?).
On a similar note, our apartment this week was overrun by fruit flies, most likely spontaneously generated by the decomposition of banana peels left in our trash bags.
Because this was Elder Gibson’s last full week in Taiwan, many members invited us to eat with them.
Eating food as a district.
Eating some more food, at our outstanding bishop’s request. Featuring: one of our investigators, Sister Zhu, and Sister Xie (our bishop’s wife)
The eating of food continues: chidaobao huoguo.
One of our English-class students brought us to an all-you-can-eat hot pot restaurant on Friday, which just so happened to be my birthday as well. It was a very fitting celebration. Eating at this two-story restaurant is like being given free rein to raid a grocery store. There’s an insane amount of food, all stocked on shelves that run along the buffet section of the restaurant. I filled my pot several times over with cabbage, other vegetables, shuijiao, beef, pork, pig blood, duck blood, tofu, duck intestine, cow stomach, and chicken heart. It was delicious. To top it off, I ate several bowls of ice cream, which they had a special machine to extrude from pre-packaged cups.
It’s been a great time. Our investigators are progressing; our finding efforts are bringing forth some fruits; we’re not sick; Taiwan is awesome.