Wednesday, May 8, 2013

MTC letter--May 8, 2013

Sister Slaugh has posted her first letter! Apparently Wednesdays are her preparation day (a sort of free day to be spent on laundry, letter-writing, and other such things) so she'll be writing every Wednesday. Which means I'll be updating every Wednesday as well.
Anyway, here is her letter! We got it via email and her subject line was "guten tag (but really spoken in Thai)". I will stick occasional notes of clarification in it.
Hi Everyone!
So my p-day is on Wednesday so I will be writing around this time each Wednesday.
The MTC is AMAZING! It is really great here and the spirit is just always here. I love it so much. Someone--I can't remember who--said that the days here are like weeks and the weeks are like days. That is soo true. Each day is insanely long which is probably because for the 16 hours we are awake, we are constantly learning or working or trying to remember Thai. The weeks however, are super short. I feel like I just got here yesterday. I have no sense of time here. The only reason I know the day is because of our planners. At lunch and dinner, I sometimes forget whether it is lunch or dinner. Luckily my watch always saves me when I get confused. I also have no sense of the outside world. Someone mentioned how Iron Man 3 came out last week and I got rather confused at first until I realized (like 5 seconds later) that that was a movie and people watch movies. Yup, my brain is functioning rather well. Haha :)
I really like my companions--yes, I am in a trio. My companions are Sister Phelps (from Southern California) and Sister Hughes (from Northern California--Napa Valley, think Parent Trap). They are both amazing and so much fun. We all are very similar: optimistic, sarcastic, excited to be here but a little nervous. We get along great! The other two sisters in our room are Sister Du Pleses (Wisconsin and the girl from my mission prep class (a class she took last semester at BYU)) and Sister Stack (Salt Lake City). They are also great. We decided that the reason we get along so well is because we are all here for the right reason and are all high on the spirit.
There are four guys in our district--yes, us sisters outnumber the elders. In the other district of new Thai's there are three Elders and 6 Sisters. Kinda scary, right? It's exciting though. The Elders in my district are Elder Astle (District Leader--Las Vegas), Elder Passey (Utah), Elder Hill (Utah), and Elder Winsor (Utah). Even though we have only been together a week, we have already gotten really close and become good friends. I'm really excited to see where we are in 8 more weeks when we head to Thailand. Our closeness is probably due to our long hours in the classroom. We may sleep in the residence halls but we live in our class room.
We wake up at 6:30 and then have breakfast at 7:30. Then at 8 we ususally have personal study time for an hour but two days ago we had class instead. Personal study time, companion study time, and language study are all done in the classroom, or at least a classroom. We are allowed to work in an empty classroom if we wish. Each of those is at least an hour long. Class is three hours. At the beginning our teacher only spoke Thai to us but now he will speak to us in english for at least an hour so he can talk to us about the mission and gospel doctrine. Our teacher is fantastic! His name is Brother Shipley and he is from the Cherry Hill Stake in New Jersey. He got back around a year ago. Remember how I mentioned there was a guy in my dance class who went to Thailand on his mission? In June, when the next group of Thai's come, he will be their teacher. He comes in like every other day to help out and to observe how to be a teacher. It is really weird calling him Brother Thrap instead of his first name.
Lunch is around 12:20 and dinner is around 5:20. Somewhere during the day we have another 3-hour class period but this time it is without a teacher. During this time we teach our fake-investigator Sam and then prepare for our next lesson. Tonight will be our fourth time teaching him. I think the lessons have been going really well. Our langauge is really simple but we get our point across and he understands us. He is another teacher here and our pi-thai's (the older thai's--pi means older in Thai) say that eventually he will also be our teacher. He is the one who is engaged to the girl from my math class last semester. Our first lesson was messy because we didn't really know what we were doing. The next two lessons went really really well. We are getting the hang of this. :) The pi-thai's say that they currently have about five investigators so sooner or later we will be getting more.
Let's see, what else is there to talk about? Oh, also in our daily schedule is gym. So fantastic; I'm not even joking. I love gym. So far my companions and I have played soccer and volleyball. We are going to start going on the bikes soon so that it won't be a hard transition when we get to Thailand.
Um, so the food here is not terrible but... well.... It is quite edible and can even be tasty. Haha :) There are sooo many options though so you can always find something good. We went to the Temple this morning (so good!) and we got breakfast there. It was so delicious and a nice break. :) In answer to Barbie's question, it is normal food that would be available here. (I asked her whether she was eating American food or Thai food) This morning I had a waffle. Last night I had an interesting pasta and meat dish. The salads are really good here as well, probably because you can customize them. :)
What else would you like to know? I will send pictures soon. I need to find a way to get them on the computer first. But I have taken some already.
Oh, so on each Sunday and Tuesday night there is a devotional. The MTC really knows what they are doing. These devotionals give us just great pick-me ups and motivation. Um... life here is good. We are learning a lot. We have learned a lot of Thai already even though it is frustrating because we still have so much to learn. "Wonderfully frustrating" as Sister Hughes would say. We can pray, teach, share our testimony. We learning the Thai characters as well so we can transition away from Romanized Thai to actual Thai.
I am really glad to hear about seminary. Please tell everyone that it is really useful and I'm glad I attended. You really have to have a firm grasp on the Gospel before you get here. Oh, interesting note about Thailand. The Bible they use was translated from a German Bible so it's oddly translating so barely any one uses it. So basically we have to teach almost completely out the Book of Mormon. On one hand, easy because I know the Book of Mormon better. On the other hand, so difficult because there are so many good verses in the Bible and I love all the stories about faith and Christ in it. So we'll figure it out.
Your "Walk to Thailand" sounds like an excellent idea! (Our sister Lorri suggested that during the next 18 months, our family walk, bike, and swim "to Thailand." We'll record the miles we walk/bike/swim and add them all together so that hopefully by the time Abbie's mission is over we will have "walked to Thailand.") I wish you much luck on it. I have no way to record how many miles I will bike in Thailand but I wonder if I would reach 50 a month like you guys are planning to. And you should send me a picture of the cicadas when it gets really bad. Good luck on the garden! The cicadas won't affect them, right?
In answer to the questions about whether I would prefer email or snail mail, I have an answer which is a compromise. Dear Elder. (You can find it at I was reminded about it here. You can type a letter out to me (like an email) but the MTC will print out the letter and delivered to me that day or the next day (like snail mail). And it's free. It's only for when I am in the MTC but yeah. Emails are great but I would prefer snail mail or Dear Elder because that means I can respond during any free time I have (aka before breakfast and right before I go to sleep).
So I have to get off soon because we only have a limited time on the computer. I'll see if I can borrow my companion's usb cord thing and see if I can attach pictures. If not, I'll send some next week definitely. Love you all soooo much! I hope all is going really well at home. How is the weather? It's been pretty nice here and has even drizzled a couple of times.

Fast Sunday sounded really good. Ours was as well. Our church is made up of our zone which is the Thai's, the Cambodians, the Hmongs, and the Laotions (Laos - but they are currently not here). There are no Hmong Sisters. But I have gotten close to the Thai Sisters and the Cambodian Sisters. The Elders in both groups are great as well. They're fun. Our zone has the same schedule so we always see each other. We all sit together during meals and have gym together. It's a lot of fun.
So far I have seen three people from my Provo Ward and two from the Leadership Conference from before Fall Semester. If I see them again, I'll try to get pictures with them. Um... I'll look for Jordan...Elder McCleary but the MTC is a big place so I make no promises.
Oh, and thanks for the package! And I really like the stories about Eliza and Clara :)
Oh, and being cellphone-less is interesting. I don't really miss it and am not having withdrawals but it is really weird not having it. I often want to check the weather and realize, "oh, I have no way to do that but to go outside." Yeah, well my hour on the computer is up so bye for reals now! :)
Love you all!
~Sister Slaugh

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