The kneecap

I looked far and wide for an accurate list of the 5,000 most commonly-used traditional Chinese characters for the new final phase of the language study program. I looked online, but the few lists I found contained many errors and drew from sources that didn’t represent a broad enough sample of Chinese literature. I asked 邱姐妹 [Sister Qiu] if Taiwanese students ever used a dictionary ordered by usage frequency, but she didn’t know of one.

Two days later, we went with Sister Qiu to the family history center so she could learn how to research her ancestors and prepare to go to the temple. To our surprise, she brought us each a giant green 5,000-character dictionary, which she had bought for us! This dictionary is super-useful for looking up lesser-known characters because it includes several example words and sentences for each character as well as a (relatively) standardized Taiwan pronunciation. I was very thankful to find such a useful resource.

I realized several days ago that my right big toenail, which fell off about a month ago due to trauma, seemed to be growing back straight into the flesh of the nail bed. I related this alarming discovery to Elder Smith, who then regaled me with the story of his $5 anesthetic-free ingrown toenail surgery, which he underwent at the hands of a pliers-wielding surgeon in rural Miaoli. It was painful, he said, but worked better than the expensive and botched operation he had earlier at a high-class hospital in Taipei.

Elder Smith and I went to the hospital, and I steeled myself for the pain of surgical prying and incisions. When the doctor inspected my toe, however, he told me the nail wasn’t actually growing under the flesh; the toe was simply inflamed, and had bulged up at the leading boundary of the growing nail. He gave me a bunch of antibiotics and told me to come back if it didn’t get better.

In other news, a new senior couple, the Beutlers, entered our mission the other day. Elder Smith and I helped them set up their smartphones, and I selected several apartments for them to visit and decide between. They’re going to 花蓮 [Hualian], a relatively remote and very scenic location on the east coast. Elder Beutler served here in Taiwan many years ago as a young elder. He was amazed at how much Taiwan has changed since then, when it was mostly rice paddies and one-story brick houses. It was great to see their enthusiasm and excitement for missionary work.

Obscure Chinese character of the week:
斌 (bīn)

The left side of the character is 文, meaning literature, culture, or writing. The right side is 武, meaning military. The meaning of this character is "excelling in both academic and military pursuits." It is rarely used except in masculine names.

Have a great week!

Elder Elliott


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