"Dear Mum, Dad, and All,
Thanks for the e-mails and news, and particularly Dad's letters. They are the best parts of my week, hands down.
It's been a quiet week here in Lake Woebegon*, my hometown. Really, not much very interesting has happened. The older sisters and Korean sisters are gone, leaving just the five of us girls and a total of four Korean districts. Elder Conley (the brightest and least grown-up of our districtmates) has been called as the new District Leader, stepping in for Elder Kerrigan, the oldest and most mature of our districtmates. So dynamics are changing a little bit. We're all getting used to it. Also my good friends the Thai sisters are leaving a week from today, which is sad. Sister Crepse is about my best friend here at the MTC. She and I are going to get English Master's Degrees together when we get home.
A week from today I will have a very good seat for the devotional. A very good seat. President Carlson asked me to offer the closing prayer. He had to interview me before he asked, mostly to make sure I knew the proper use of the language of prayer, the archaic informal. "President Carlson . . . I have an English degree." "Oh. Well, that's fine, then." They seem to be rather worried about an unanticipated 'you' slipping out on camera in front of several thousand missionaries worldwide.
Saturday, we taught in Korean for the first time. It was hard on all of us, in different ways. For me, it was once again lesson organization and flow that was my problem, although we did much better than we had in previous lessons on that. Being forced to simplify does wonders. My biggest problem right now is that I just don't have the vocabulary to understand what anybody says to me. And the vocabulary that I do have, I keep forgetting how to use. Playing an investigator on Saturday morning, I tried to say "I worry about my family" and ended up saying "I get nigh-on-homicidally frustrated with my family", which made my teacher convulse from shock in his chair. Yesterday, I left the classroom without my scriptures and had to run back for them, explaining breathlessly to my perplexed teacher, "My testimony does not exist." "Your what?" "Um . . . Scriptures! My scriptures do not exist!" "Oh, good. I was going to say, we can help you with that . . ."
Korean is a tricky language.
Tuesday night, Elder Ballard** came and spoke to us. I knew it was an apostle because everybody stood up in the middle of the hymn, which we have been strictly admonished NEVER to do unless a. the presiding authority tells us to or b. an apostle or higher enters the room, but I couldn't figure out who because a. I don't know Elder Ballard by sight very well and b. he was the only member of his party wearing a gray suit. I have never seen a Twelve wear a gray suit. My eye skipped right over him. But I was sitting in the front row of the choir, and we sang "Joseph Smith's First Prayer" and did a pretty good job. It's nice having all those basses and baritones. This week we're doing "Come Thou Fount" so I'll finally know all the words to that one, thank goodness.
The big news on campus today is that IT'S SUNNY OUTSIDE! AND WARM! It's cause for MTC-wide rejoicing. We haven't seen any significant amount of sunshine for sooooo long, and it's soooo depressing and sludgy and awful. MTC in winter is about the worst idea ever. But once we get into the field, it will be great. Sis. Copeland assures us we'll be arriving just in time for the cherry blossoms, and we will only have to endure one humid August and one freezing winter, enjoying the benefits of two lovely springs and two lovely autumns. Ha!
Our two new districts come tomorrow. It is very freaky that we're going to be the 'older' districts now. It's also freaky that we have nearly a month of training left. I am starting to get antsy. I want out of this MTC. I want to go to Korea. I want to talk to people about the gospel and stare blankly at them when they respond to me, and sleep on a mat on the floor and eat rice and kimchi every day. But I have at least another month to go--possibly a month and a week, if they decide to keep us here through conference. I wonder how flights to LA are going to be that week. Probably not so good.
So anyway, that's life these days. My pool of corresponders seems to be shrinking, so if anybody who's reading the blog had been intending to write me a letter while postage was still cheap, now-ish would be a good time because in a few weeks I'll be in the midst of prepping for departure and won't care quite so much. But right now I'm rather bored. And I'm having to learn to stop bouncing my knee when I think, because apparently this drives Koreans nuts.
So . . . the Church is true, Talmage is a good writer, Korean is fun to mess up in, my stockings have holes in them but so do everybody else's. Anybody found tag magnets yet? My un-magneted tag's pin-clasp is broken, so I only have one tag I can wear, which is a hassle in very variable weather. I love you all . . . write me letters or the wrath of God shall come down upon your head . . . it's true, I read it someplace . . .***
* Lake Wobegon, Minnesota, fictional town created by Garrison Keillor.
** M. Russell Ballard, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He has been serving as an Apostle since October 6, 1985, traveling throughout the earth to instruct Church members and direct day-to-day affairs of the worldwide Church. http://newsroom.lds.org/ldsnewsroom/eng/background-information/leader-biographies/elder-m-russell-ballard
***BlogMom note: RoseE can get snail mail any day of the week, but she can only get email on Tuesdays, and she doesn't have much time to read it, nor can she print it out. So sit down and write her a letter! It's good for you!