Thursday, July 25, 2013

July 25, 2013, Week 3 is the Best One Yet


I think week three has been the best one yet.  I love my companion but she really loves following rules, so sometimes things can be a little difficult.  But she loves yogurt, so all is well.  We met an elder from Orem that's going to Texas on his mission, and we both looked at each other and said, "He's from Orem?!  and he's going to Texas?  This explains everything."  We both realized that it fits his personality perfectly.  We now refer to him as the "Orem, Texas Elder" not such a positive manner.  I'm glad we understand each other in this regard.

We learned a song that an elder in the Marshall Islands wrote called "Bok in Mormon."  I made a video of me and sister seeg singing it, but it was too big to send.  I think you can look it up on youtube.  It goes:

Bok in Mormon, bok in mormon
Bar juon kalimmur kon Jisos Kraist
Riiti, riiti im jar kake
Bar juon kalimmur kon Jisos Kraist
Ohhhh! Bok in mormon!

It's really lively and fun to sing.  It basically says "book of mormon, book of mormon, another promise of jesus christ,  read it, read it and pray about it"....and it repeats.  The word promise is used instead of testament because the old testament and the new testament are referred to as "the promise before" and "the new promise," respectively.  We also learned the that title "Bok in Mormon" is incorrect.  It should be "Bok eo an Mormon."  I think the first way means it's "the book of the mormons" and the second means "mormon's book," but the first way still works.  the second one is correct because it shows possession, while the "in" in the first just means "of."  The people on the islands know the book as that, so they aren't going to change it.  

The Doctrine and Covenants has been translated into Marshallese, but it hasn't been released yet and we have no idea when it will be released.  Supposedly they can't decide on spellings of words (since there's a new system).  For example, the word for investigator can be spelled "ri-katak" or "rikatak" or "ri katak."  It's pretty annoying that it's taking them so long.  I think there is a set way for the new writing system, so I don't know why they don't just do it that way. 

We got a new elder in our district.  He was in the advanced Marshallese district, but they all left, so he's with us now.  He's going to Washington state.  He's helpful, but he and the teachers disagree on language concepts all of the time.  I never know who to trust.  The teachers all spell things differently too, since every word can be spelled at least 3 different ways.  

One day one of the Marshallese elders and teachers were talking about one of the islands, and my friend Elder Bess and I turned to each other and said, "did they just say the word 'plywood'?"  Supposedly they have a cracker/biscuit that sounds exactly like the word plywood and one of the elders says it tastes or looks like it too.  I'm not sure if they were pulling our legs, but we were convinced we heard the word "plywood" in their conversation at least five times.

Sister Seegmiller just taught an elder how to do laundry.  Oh dear. 

Although we don't have to conjugate verbs, we do have to conjugate some nouns.  They're mostly nouns that one possesses.  So body parts, houses, vehicles, family members, and a few other odd things have to be conjugated.  It's hard because you can never just refer to "a hand."  You always have to specify who's hand it is.  All vehicles (cars, boats, bicycles, etc) are referred to as "wa."  I feel like this might get confusing.  

Another interesting thing in Marshallese are demonstratives.  In english we have "this and that" and "these and those," but in Marshallese there are six different locations:  by the speaker, by the audience, between the speaker and audience, in sight of the speaker and audience by not between them, out of sight, and general (if you're just talking about, say, trees in general).  The rules aren't very strict though, because one can refer to something out of sight as actually between the speaker and the audience to bring it into the conversation.  After a lesson with an investigator, one can talk about the message as something that is between them then.  The distances are also relative based on the size of the object.  So, when we're in the MTC the provo temple is near us and other temples are referred to as "out of sight," even though we also can't see the provo temple while we're inside a building. 
Sister Seegmiller was having some foot problems because she got a bunion removed last year.  I almost got to go with her into the real world for her podiatrist appointment, but since it was in Springville and out of the mission area (Provo) we were on a split.  A 70 yr old service missionary drove her, and the lady didn't know how to start the car or drive very well, so I heard it was an experience.   

The figurative heart in the Marshall Islands is the throat, so they say they feel things in their throat and touch the base of their neck.  

I really like gym time.  I usually go to the track at the top of the gym while most people play volleyball and basketball down below.  A big Samoan elder that plays football has been teaching me how to use some of the weight machines.  After I use the machines, he adds on about 150 pounds to the machines.  But he says I'm doing well!  Haha.

I really like our teachers.  They're all really chill and easy to work with.  Sometimes we walk by other classrooms and everyone looks miserable inside.  Our teachers like to mix things up so we're never doing one thing for too long.  We're probably studying Marshallese 2/3 of the time in class.  When we learn a concept in English we then go through and practice it in Marshallese.  The teachers all say our pronunciation is pretty bad in general, but two of them have told me mine is pretty good.  I try to read out loud often.  

We're doing lessons completely with no notes.  Well, I am.  My companion still wants to take some if she forgets something, but our teachers say they would rather watch us struggle through it. Mom, my favorite word in Marshallese is lanlon (with hats over the n, o, and n).  It sounds kind of like "langaluung" and it means joy.  It's fun to say because the back of the tongue has to hit the back of the roof of your mouth to make the "ng" sound.  Say "sing" and then and then repeat the "ng" sound.  My favorite phrase thus far is "Inaaj kiji botum" which sounds like "kiss your bottom" but actually means "I will bite your nose."  It's a fun one to say too.

Thank you for the postcards, mom.  I think I got them last Friday and Saturday.  Thanks!  I've put my postcards on my wall next to my bed.  I'm not sure what the card says though...

Leans, I'm glad nankai has "wholesome veggie accents" in his meals.  Does he like them?  The photo said "Sister Butler, the spunky scientist."  Sister Whitney drew it.

My classroom is in 18M which is connected to the gym building.  We're mostly with the Spanish speakers.  I don't know why we got moved from the islanders building.  Our classroom doesn't have any windows so sometimes we can't remember if we just has lunch or dinner.  We live in a building on the other side of the gym (17M) so we're kind of in the southeast corner of the MTC. 

The yogurt in the cafeteria is either fruit or vanilla and I've avoided both, which I've heard is a good decision.  There's fresh pineapple, canteloupe, and grapes (and sometimes watermelon) everyday, so it's okay.  And plenty of cottage cheese.  Do Utahns really like cottage cheese?  I hadn't seen anyone eat cottage cheese in a while. 

Okay, two more quick stories.  When we walked to lunch today we were right behind the Samoan elders and one of their lavalavas fell off.  They wear basketball shorts underneath them, but oh man, we were dying laughing.  Sister Seeg said "I wish we could wear lavalavas...oh wait, we wear skirts everyday." 

There's a football player-like, half white, half Samoan elder in one of the Samoan districts that we, uh, call Elder "lockyourheart" for obvious reasons.  There's only one sister in his district and she said that he likes to tell "funny stories," so I've now dubbed him Elder "lockyournose."  I'm glad our classroom only smells like feet. 

I love and miss you all.  Tootles,
Sister Butler


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