Monday, July 16, 2012

Week 2, in which I run approximately ten thousand miles and eat approximately twenty thousand pieces of cheesecake. That balances out, right?

First of all, I can not say thank you enough for the letters, quotes, scriptures, and packages! I love you all so much! Even though some of my Dear Elder letters are addressed to "Elder Cutler," I know your heart is in the right place. Really, the trip to the mailbox after dinner is always the most nerve-wracking time of the day. We all stand around, acting really casual, pretending that we don't care about getting mail. But whenever we see Elder Morton coming back holding a small pile of letters, I pray so hard that all of them are for me! And I think the other missionaries do the same thing... Although they probably are much more Christlike and charitable than I am, so they probably pray that each of us will receive a letter. But it's whatever.

While on the subject of Elder Morton, let me tell you something. The kid is hilarious. He is sitting at the computer behind me saying over and over again, "He is very fat" in Cantonese. In the cafeteria, there are huge milk dispensers by the cereal bar. To make the milk come out, you pull up on a big metal handle, and the milk pours out of a thin, white tube. Well after he got his cereal the other day, he sat down next to me and we had the following conversation:

Elder: Have you ever milked a cow before?

Me: No, I haven't had the pleasure.

Elder: I haven't either. But I think it must feel kind of like using the milk dispenser. You push up on the udder and it's kind of heavy, and then the milk just squirts out.

Later that day:

Elder Arrington (as he gets out of his seat to stretch): Dang it, my butt fell asleep!

Elder Morton (with a completely straight face): That means it will be awake all night.

And if you haven't had enough of the elders' interesting, and sometimes rude, comments:

Elder Arrington (as he sits on the ground, looking at my feet): Are sisters allowed to get their nails done on P-Day?

Me: Are you saying that I need to get my nails done, Elder?

Elder Arrington: No! Not at all! My nails look real messed up too!

Me: Are you saying that my nails look real messed up?

Elder Arrington: No! Not at all! Why do you assume that I'm always being mean?
(At this point I wanted to go on about the implications of iteratives such as 'too,' but I think people are getting annoyed by my linguistic rants, so I held my tongue.)

But Elders aren't all bad! In fact, I don't think I've opened a door for myself in about 4 days, thanks to the Elders' chivalry. I always check the name tags of the Elders opening the door and try to thank them in the language that they'll be speaking on their mission. At first I thanked them in Cantonese, but 'mhgoi' doesn't really sound much like a word to most people so I've stopped doing that.

Speaking of the language, it's coming along okay! My teachers are great! For the first week and a half, we only had one teacher: Gu Hingdaih. But one day, as we prepared to go teach our investigator (A-Fung) again, A-Fung walked into our class wearing a shirt, tie, and white name tag! Turns our he's our other teacher! It was super weird for a while, because I wasn't used to him speaking in Yingmahn (English), but he's really cool. I love my language class; it's definitely one of the best parts of the day.

In other news, I've met an elder from Ireland and an elder from England. I secretly follow them around while we play sand volleyball just so I can listen to the lyrical lilt of their melodic voices. I don't tell them that though. It might creep them out. I also met the first, yes the FIRST, elders being sent to Turkey. YES. TURKEY. How miraculous is that?! I am literally witnessing history in the making.

Speaking of sand volleyball, I've been playing every day this week and I almost spiked it once! I'm practically a pro at this point. Sister Law isn't very athletic, but I get her to go running with me around the field by the temple, and we've set a companionship goal to do situps every day before we shower. My core will be solid steel by the time I leave the MTC.

One of my favorite things about the MTC is how musical it is. We aren't allowed to listen to our ipods or cd players, so everyone just sings or whistles wherever they go. I mentioned last week several of the songs that have been running through my head. Here is a smattering of this week's mental playlist: Waving Flag, I Must Have Done Something Good (Sound of Music), Hey Jude (this is especially contagious. As soon as I hear, "Na... na, na, na-na na na" I have it in my head for the rest of the night. And as I walk around the MTC humming it, I always hear at least one other person start singing too.), and (of course) Hark All Ye Nations. Honestly, Hark All Ye Nations is sung more frequently here than Called To Serve, which came as a surprise to me. At last week's devotional, we sang it as the opening hymn. At the end of every verse, the organist would play a brief chordal fanfare and then, no lie, change keys. He went up one step after every verse, so by the last verse I couldn't even hit the high notes! Of course, that may have been because I was laughing so much. I don't know if I've accurately conveyed to you how hilarious this situation was, but just take my word for it. It was pretty funny.

Rebecca, thanks for the updates on Wimbledon! That sounds pretty intense! If anyone wants to send me updates on the Olympics, I would really appreciate it!

The Provo temple has been closed for cleaning, so I won't be able to go for a couple more weeks. I'm really excited to go though! Even though we have a super early temple time.

Does anyone remember how, when we were little, we would walk around bent over, looking at the ceiling? And how it actually looks like you're walking on the ceiling? Well I noticed that in the bathroom, the same tile goes from the floor to the wall to the ceiling. So I did that again while showering. And then I felt silly. But not really.

Anyways, my time is almost up, so I'll send the rest of my update in a letter. Love you all! Thanks so much for your support!

Sister Katie Cutler

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