Saturday, October 11, 2008

The Therapy of Distance


I've come to the conclusion that I'm very far away from everyone that I know and love. I've also been receiving a disproportionate amount of difficult news lately, what with my Grandfather passing away, and my buddy, Frank, getting hit on his moped, and needing 7 titanium plates in his face, and (mentioned in a previous post) my mission buddy from Paraguay getting hit by the truck.

I thought about writing another somber blog, but realized that I really am not in somber mood at all. Yeah, it's a little tough to get news like that, but I also just found out that Cordoba will be getting a TEMPLE!! I can't get general conference, because the church isn't allowed to do much here (I'll have some stories for you later), but I got an e-mail from the mission president's wife, and she clued me in.

Also, I MISS MY BROTHERS!! Someone should make sure that Scott and Stuart have my blog address, and that they read it. Also, THEY NEED TO E-MAIL ME because I love them. I miss them. :P I'm jealous that everyone get's to see them before I do.

The fun part:

The other day, while we were waiting for the bus, I heard, from a group of girls, "Oh my G**!! It's Mister Cooler!!" :D I can't say that's ever happened to me before.

You've noticed the care they have taken to get my name right? Well, we've gotten everything from "Cookie" to "Cooler," but my personal favorite is "Mr. Cool."

This weeks lesson was on Describing People. Last week's was on Emotions. I have some funny things to share from that lesson. After explaining the emotions and acting them out (I would get applause almost every time for each individual emotion) I would go around and ask the kids how they feel. Some of the responses include things like, "Happy." When asked why, they would reply, "No why."

One conversation happened as follows:

"How do you feel?"



There was a pause here. Many of my students can read and write English, but most of them can't speak a word. Weird. He gathered his apparently scattered thoughts, and while pointing to the boy next to him, was able to reply, "He... drink all me water!"
The vehement protest and denial that followed was a quick, "I do not drink you water!"

"You drink me water!"

"I do not drink you water!"

Another amusing answer was based on context. Being a teacher in a classroom where only a couple of students consistently understand you lends itself to certain abuses. I approached a boy and asked him to stand. I said, "Alright, buddy, you're next up for the guillotine. How do you feel?"


I smiled.

Next: I asked a boy how he felt, and was unsurprised to hear his reply of, "Happy." I asked him for a reason, and he said, "I like... ME!... you?" (He was trying to correct his pronoun to the one that would indicate his teacher.)

Continuing: Another response from a boy: "Sad. She always look at me!" I followed the line that his finger indicated, only to see a boy!

I was surprised, and asked, "You mean, 'he'?"

"No! He is a SHE!"

For a moment I doubted my first judgement (trust me, this boy will have genderal identity issues later on...) but my intuition, and the laughter of the class, confirmed my first appraisal of the indicated student. He also had a mustache.

Summary: The phrase, "I love you!" is apparently an acceptable answer to any possible English question posed by Shannon or myself. I have had more professions of love (by the person herself, or by their friends) than I can count.

The other fun part:

This story isn't truly mine, but I was present, and I want to share it. We went to a cave that purported to be an all-natural concantenation of different geological formations that looked like different things, like animals, and the great wall, and stuff. Yeah. Not really that natural. We passed the surprisingly life-like rooster closer than we were supposed to (it's hard to tell someone to stay on the path if you can't their language... he he he....) and could clearly see that it wasn't even shaped stone. It was cement. I was not impressed. Our companion, who spoke some English, asked the guide for us, and was obviously convinced by her response. He insisted, "It is truly amazing. All natural." :)

After the cave's astounding array of "natural" formations, we went outside to wait. The 2 teachers from Shuangpai were going home, and we were to visit them and their school, and then return home to Youngzhou. There was a car that was supposed to come and pick them up (ours was on time, but theirs was late), so we were waiting. A police car pulled into the parking lot, and I said, "Well, they found you two, and their going to lock you away in a Chinese prison."

The car pulled up, and Mr. Chin (their liason) got out of the passenger side. He said that this was the car, and, seeing that he was not going to make any explanation for it being a police vehicle (lights on the top, and everything!), they climbed inside. As it drove away, I noted that there was no license plate. Hmmm.... I don't even know what to think about that one. And when they got to the school, they told us that there were bloodstains all over the floor! Transportation in China really blows my mind.

I love you all, and expect to hear from you!


  1. Hi. Sounds like you having quite the time in Yongzhou. I wonder if you might be able to direct me to a blod or travel journal of the two teacher you mention teaching in Shuangpai. I have an interest in Shuangpai and would love to follow their time there, if they are indeed blogging. Many thanks! Janiece

  2. Hey, I looked in my contacts, and can’t find anyone named Janiece. If this is the Janiece I knew from USU, you should shoot me your e-mail, and we’ll keep in touch better. That year in Uruguay must have really messed up your English. :) If you’re not that Janiece, how do I know you?


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