Elder Smith and I decided to walk over to 中正紀念堂 [Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall] for P-day. We explored the building and watched the changing of the guard. The memorial itself bears a striking resemblance to the Lincoln memorial in Washington DC.
The view of the plaza from the entrance to the memorial.
We observed some gruff old men playing Chinese chess. Most of them had retired years ago and played for hours every day since. They were loud and coarse, grumbling obscenities when they lost and bursting into raucous laughter upon victory. After watching several games, Elder Smith challenged them to a match! One of their most seasoned players accepted the challenge. All the other men took Elder Smith’s side, though, giving him constant tips and even moving the pieces for him! They wanted to see their friend get beat by a foreigner so bad. Elder Smith’s elderly opponent was not pleased. "Stop helping him," he complained. "This the Sino-American war!"
Elder Smith lost the first game and tied the second. We shook hands with the men and headed back to the office.
This week, we drove back to my and Elder Smith’s first area, 中和 [Zhonghe], twice. First we delivered some mattresses to the elders, then we brought a bike for the sisters. Walking up to the elders’ apartment at night and letting myself in brought back tons of memories. The outside of the building was completely unchanged, and I heard the same bustling and clanging of pans from the lighted windows by the entrance gate. At the inside door, I used the same bent coat hanger to reach inside and unlock the door, just like I did every day during training. It’s crazy that almost two years have gone by now.
We stopped by our favorite boxed-meal restaurant, which I used to go to almost every day with Elder Montierth. Sure enough, the staff were all the same, and the food was still as good as we remembered.
It was a pretty cool experience to go back to my first area.
The other day, one of the elders in my generation told me, "See you in five weeks!" Only then did it really hit me how short the time is that I have left. I’m both excited and a little stressed because there’s so much I have to finish before then. I’ve been praying every day that I can get done everything I need to before my time’s up.