Monday, November 29, 2010

The "Grin and Bear It" Stage

November 29, 2010
MTC, Provo, Utah

OK guys. Well, what a week.

Last Tuesday we had a person from the 70 come and talk to us.  He was from Sweden.  He was really funny.  Earlier in the day, I met an Elder from Sweden in the lunch line.  I asked him about a couple of things the Swedish government does, such as no private land. The guy behind him shouted, "Yeah, ‘cause they're all socialist."  I looked straight at him and said, "That's why I like Sweden."  The kid was dumb-founded.  Then I continued my conversation with the Swedish Elder.

Thanksgiving was truly great.  In the morning, Elder Holland came to talk to us.  He talked about being blessed by the poor.  He said something like "eat where they eat, sleep where they sleep, love them. . ."  It was really cool.  And I'm super excited to be going to impoverished place.  His family was there, and his grandkids sang to us all.

Thanksgiving dinner was awesome.  Earlier in the day we had the traditional thanksgiving meal at lunch time.  In the evening for dinner we had sack lunches.  Sister Lyman had a pie, and Annie had sent me one.  So we all ate together and with two pies had a good time.  It was really fun. We went around the table and said what we were thankful for.  I was thankful to be going to a poor part of the world.

I have been making worksheets for our class, in hopes that instead of someone wasting time because they can't decide what to work on, they'll grab a worksheet.  This is now part of the class’s activities.  We play Jeopardy with the list of words I create for the week.  I chose the words based on what we needed.  This last week it was verbs, but we chose as a class this week.  We played Jeopardy and Elder Peterson and I lost by 200 points, 2100 to 1900.  The only reason we lost is because our teacher said "question" instead of "ask."  Which was stupid, because it was a sheet of verbs, not nouns.  He always throws in some kind of trick.  Elder Peterson didn't get it, but the sisters did.  Sister Danner was really taken back on how competitive I was about it.  It was pretty funny.

We taught another zone this last week.  We taught them the first lesson.  I went on splits with another Elder from another district.  It was rough to teach with him, because we have such different styles.  We did terribly.  I felt embarrassed.  It was really rough, but I got over it.

I've been running during gym.  I tried volleyball for a while, but have vowed to never do it again. So I run.  I run the entire 50 minutes, so I run about 5-6 miles a day.  It's really cool.  I never count how many laps I do, or else it wouldn't be enjoyable.  I do this in part because I am sitting down so much, but also because my acne has flared up.  It's ok, not that big of a deal, but a little frustrating for a 19 year old.  During Thanksgiving, another district had a paper football tournament.  I have pictures of it.  It's fun to see what people do to have fun around here.

I met an Elder here who likes the Marx Brothers!  We talked for about 45 minutes about them. He started the conversation by saying “You kind of have a Groucho Marx sense of humor."  Which is awesome, because that means I'm legit, but also kind of bad because Groucho Marx is pretty rude.  Maybe I should tone it down again.  It's all in good fun though.  His name is Elder Faran, from Buffalo, NY.  Now when he sees me, he quotes Chico Marx at me

I went running outside the day before Thanksgiving.  It was colder than a well digger's butt.  I put on the thermal underwear under my gym stuff.  I looked ridiculous.  I stopped running after a while, not because I was tired or too cold, but because I was embarrassed.  People were laughing at me.  It was pretty cool, but at least I got exercise.  (The gym was closed that day)

I wasn't feeling very well this week - kind of a stale feeling.  Like I was cramped up and had been dormant too long.  Maybe the repetition and sitting down affected me physically.  Also, there aren't a lot of vegetables here, or at least not many worth eating.  So to feel better, I ran.  I didn't feel like running, but I did anyway and I felt a lot better.

Elder Doig is pretty cool, but has his crazy moments.  I enjoy his crazy moments more than my roommates.  Somebody in our zone called him "Aswang" which is a mythological creature the Filipinos blame for miscarriages.  He took it to heart.  He jumped in our beds at like eleven o’ clock.  He jumped into Elder Peterson’s bed, and Elder Peterson ignored him.  He jumped into mine, and we had an epic late night pillow fight.

Some Elders in our zone play four square and tennis in their dorm.  It's sick.  They tie a blanket across the middle of the room, and hit an about 3 inch wide ball with their open hands.  It's so much fun, and works excellent.  It's fun in such a tiny room.  To make it funner, people watch the game from the top and bottom bunks.  There are about 16 people in a room watching 2 people play.  They also get a four square game going, but not at the same time.  They put tape on the ground and play with the same ball.  I play with them sometimes.  It's so much fun.

So we had talk last night by Somebody Allen.  He was funny, but he did hit on some good things.  He said there are four stages to the MTC:

The honeymoon - the first day or so when you're happy to be here and giddy about your mission

The hostile phase - where you wonder why you're here, who are these people to boss me around, why do we have so many rules?

The “Grin and bear it” stage - where you come to terms with your mission and you start really working hard

The endure to the end phase - you enjoy it and love it.

I'm in the grin and bear it stage, and I haven't seen any light from the “endure to the end” phase. It's getting better, and I am really working hard, even harder than before.  I study every moment I have now.  I have a lot of verbs down now.  This week we teach lesson one entirely in Tagalog!

I am sending home another SD card. Please don't take pictures on it.  In the photos are two temple walks, one Thanksgiving dinner, indoor tennis, and a couple other things. I took a lot of photos of other people in our zone with the expectations you would share them with other folks.

Elder Thayne got called as district leader, and Elder Ball as zone leader.  I am still just the same. Sister Lyman in our district got called as coordinating sister.

Elder Peterson and I taught the district yesterday.  It went well.  Really well.  I am already a better teacher. Teaching Elders Quorum would be a cinch, and so would a Sacrament talk.  I love you all.  Expect letters from me soon.

Oh, and Dad, I'm Nate please, not Elder Waggoner.  At least Elder Nate Waggoner. Love you.

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