This week went by so quickly. I think I'm finally starting to feel comfortable here (to answer your question, dad), except for the language. But that's okay. I know it'll come eventually. I'm way too hard on myself, as usual, and I know I understand much more than I did when I first came. This language is just blasted annoying because no one really knows how to teach it, and everyone disagrees about the grammar. I have to write down words and phrases if I even want to try to remember them (and writing them down helps me learn the grammar too), but when I asked someone how to spell something they say to just sound it out. When I check in a dictionary later though, I've forgotten about 3 or 4 letters that I just couldn't distinguish when I had heard the word. A lot of letters at the end of words are silent too, so "bwid" and "bwil" both sound like "bwi-", except the mouth is shaped slightly differently when the word ends because the person is getting ready to say the "d" or "l" but stops right before. But that changes the sound. Does that make sense? We can't always tell the difference between the two, but the Marshallese people can, so I try to repeat what they're saying but it's different. Does that make any sense?
Most disgusting thing I ate this week: gummy bears covered in koolaid powder (and there must have been a little water mixed in too to get the stuff to stick). I don't know why they're obsessed with koolaid, but it's gross. Luckily I had a water bottle with me so I could dilute the powder in my mouth and then eat the bear.
Speaking of bears, I got your bear postcard, LATE. Thanks! I think this is the third bear postcard I've gotten from the michigan folk, so everyone things I really like bears...which isn't a lie.
Most delicious thing I ate last week (I forgot to write about it): jekaro. I have no idea how to spell it. It's coconut juice that comes directly from the tree. Supposedly one has to climb the tree every day and slice off a little bit of the skin of a stem (frond?) to get the juice. I don't know if one collects a little juice every day or if it's collected all at once at some point, but one has to be diligent about doing it every day (which I've heard some missionaries use this as a teaching example. They also use the example of steps cut into the trunk of the coconut tree to talk about faith, repentance, baptism, etc).
Most delicious thing I ate this week: marshallese donuts. Mmm, they're so good. Carolynn made them for us. They're just spherical donuts fried in hot oil, but they're so good. She gave us a lot to take with us, but they're weren't as good cold.
Annie, I thought of something you might like to try. When we ate dinner at the Weir's house back the first day I was here, we had ketchup with curry powder in it. It was really good on hotdogs. It seems like something you would like. I'm not sure how much curry powder to put in, but I'm sure you could try it.
There have been a fair number of ripelle this week since the forum has been going on. Not as many come out to Laura, but a whole lot of them came out for some sort of performance at Laura beach. A lot of the women in town had been practicing traditional dances and they all made flower tiaras to wear.
Well, in case any of you were wondering, Roscoe has been reincarnated in the Marshall Islands. The Jolet family got a new puppy and I asked them his name and I guess they hadn't chosen one yet...and then they asked about my dogs and I told them about Roscoe, and then they named him Roscoe after the dear old pup. Isn't he cute? He's so small and warm.
What do you do when you're trying to kill a cockroach and he runs down the drain in the kitchen sink? Cover both drains, boil a pot of water, pour half down one drain and half down the other. Hopefully we got him.
Last week was like christmas! Holy cow. I got 6 pieces of mail. I got a postcard from you mom, from the Anne Frank house. I think it must have gotten to the MTC and although they say they don't forward mail on to missionaries, they obviously do because a yellow sticker with my address here was put over the MTC address. It's crazy that it actually got here. I got both of your letters, Sara Jane. I wrote you back a really long letter that I'll mail off today. I'm not sure how many stamps I'm going to need, because there are a lot of pages. I also got the dear elder (I agree, it is a stupid name, Annie) with letters from mom, dad, and emack (thanks!). And I got LATE's letter, which was really funny. I want to eat a hungry heifer. That sounds so good.
I'm starting to like the ultra pasteurized milk. Is that weird? One box of it is $2.50. Ugh. Everything is so expensive. A bag of chocolate chips is 4 dollars. The rice and meat are cheap though!
I'm pretty sure nankai wouldn't survive here. The dogs are so mean to each other and they always get in fights. Most dogs are missing part of an ear or an eye. I saw a woman pet a dog yesterday and I thought for a second I was back in the US. I told Sister Ieie that if the people were nice to their dogs, the dogs would be friendly. She didn't seem to understand. I tried to explain that we treat dogs like babies in the US.
The sisters' P day activity in Laura was lots of fun. We ate lunch and walked along the shore and took lots of photos. We also celebrated Sister Weir's birthday. Is it bad that every time I try to type "weir" it comes out as "weird" first? Sister Bulkley, the nurse, says she also knows Anita and that she lived in Indian Hills for a few years too. She and Sister Weir knew each other back in the day too.
So I've emailed a photo of a map of Majuro. Hopefully it'll help you understand a little bit about what the atoll looks like. The lagoon is the ocean in the middle and the ocean is what surrounds the whole atoll. Of course the water is all the same. The lagoon isn't very deep in parts, and I've heard at low tide one can walk from one island to another. Laura is the widest part of the island, as you can tell from the photo, and when standing on the beach of the lagoon, you can see the 4 islands closest to Laura (small, big, small, big) and then there're a space, and then maybe the next two islands. And then it gets fuzzy but on the other side you see maybe half of ajeltake, but you can't see Long Island or Delap or Rita from Laura. Does that make sense? So I can see maybe roughly half of the atoll.
There's an inclusive "we" and exclusive "we" in marshallese (including or excluding the person you're talking to), so in prayers you use to the exclusive we because you're not asking God to also bless himself.
Our power goes off maybe once or twice a week. Sometimes it's for most of the day, which can be annoying. I'm excited to live in town at some point. They can buy food other days of the week (since they're food to buy in town).
My new go to dish is fried rice. I just fry some butter, onions, brown rice, shoyu, frozen peas, eggs, and salt and pepper in a frying pan.
I mostly just sit there during lessons. I bear my testimony and the end and extend commitments and such, so I feel pretty useless most of the time.
What are the japanese words for "light" and "to take a shower"?
Okay, I think I'm send this now and see if I've forgotten anything. I love and miss you all! Thank you so much for the letters and emails. I wish I had time to respond to all of them individually. Annie and Kate, hopefully I'll get your package today!