Elder Sabin

Elder Sabin

Monday, November 30, 2015

Week 19: Sheng dan jie Kuai le!

Hello everyone!  And Sheng dan jie Kuai le!
Basically, that means Merry Christmas in Chinese.  No tones though.  And good luck on the pronunciation.
Thank you to everyone who is sending emails from back home.  I love you all, and I really appreciate the support!

Alright, so this week was a hectic week.  Transfers happened, and Elder Mak and I are sticking together for six more weeks.  However, it's a bit odd, because we're serving in the same ward, but we're opening a new area farther out east of the chapel.  In the past, we haven't really taught much in the area, because it's a bit far away, but President feels like there's some untapped potential out there.

So, a fair amount of this week was spent moving apartments and getting the old apartment ready for the new Mandarin sisters that will be taking over the area.  Basically, that means writing a ton of notes and splitting our area book, which has a taken a lot of work.  It felt almost sacrilegious to mess with an area book :)

In order to deal with the stress, I created a very high-tech Stress Reliever of my own invention. Pictures are attached.

Anyway, the new apartment is pretty cool.  There's no carpet anywhere, which is kind of annoying when you want to do sit-ups in the morning, but we have a pretty cool view, and the elevators aren't that sketchy.

Also, we had Zone Council this week which was amazing.  Super good for two reasons.  The less spiritual one was that I got my boots!  Super happy, but holy cow they're huge.  They said they're going to hold most of the other packages until the December zone conference (because most of them will be Christmas gifts).

On a more spiritual note, Zone conference talked a lot about the new video, A Savior is Born, released by the church on Sunday.  If you haven't seen it yet, I'd encourage you all to go watch it.  Then, tell all your friends about it, and go watch it with them.  It's awesome.  Our mission is going to try and use that along with a bunch of other Christmas-y things and basically it's just going to be the best December ever.

The other night, we were having dinner with two of our investigators, Wayne and Sam.  They're both really fun people to talk to, and Wayne has really good English, which is so nice for all those times when I have no idea what a word means.  After dinner, we watched the video together, and we shared our thoughts about it.  It was just a really spiritual experience and I'm so glad that we were able to do it with them. 

Also, I had to speak in church the other day, which was nerve-wracking to say the least.  I did realize something interesting though.  When I was giving my talk, and when we were teaching Wayne and Sam, my Chinese was pretty much just my normal Chinese.  It's not great, and I stumble over some words and tones, but I can usually get the meaning across.  However, both at the end of my talk and after we watched the video with Wayne and Sam, the Chinese just started flowing so easily.  I was feeling the spirit really strongly, and all of the sudden phrases just started coming together in my mind.  For those of you who don't know, Chinese grammar is completely different from English grammar, and sometimes I have to try a sentence 2 or 3 times before I can get all the right parts in all the right order.  However, whenever I feel the Spirit, I testify that everything becomes so much easier.  Seriously, every bit of the grammar suddenly makes sense, and I can say exactly what I want to say.

It was pretty amazing.  On a less spiritual note, we went to a fancy Asian restaurant the other day with some of the other Elders.  There were 8 of us, and it was basically half Asian elders, half white dudes.  Us white dudes had no idea how to read the menu, so we let the Asian half order all the food.  Still not sure if this was a good idea.

Anyway, dishes just started coming out that looked like various things, and whenever something odd was set in front of us, the conversation usually went like this.

White guy 1 - "What's this?"
Asian guy 1 - "It's good, just eat it!"
White guy 2 - "Is that a tail?"
Asian guy 2 - "No, it's a tentacle."
White guy 1 - *Drops food back on plate* "I'm on a no-tentacle diet."
White guy 3 - "Wuss"
White guy 1 - "Well, you eat it then"
White guy 2 - "Heck I'll eat it." *Place's food into mouth*

Then everyone would watch to see if his immediate expression was one of contentment or bitter regret.

That usually determined if the dish got eaten.

I think a large portion of Asian food was created by some old Vietnamese fisherman walking out into the ocean, picking up whatever he found, and thinking "Hmm, this looks potentially edible.  I bet if we made this part of our culture, then a hundred years from now, a bunch of big white guys at an Asian restaurant will have to put this in their mouths.  That would be hilarious, I'm totally doing it."

For all the crap I give it, Asian food is actually really good, just so you guys know.  Also, we had some fun talking to the Mandarin speaking waiters and waitresses.  I'm still not over how surprised Asian people are when I start talking to them in Chinese on the street or something.  It's a pretty useful tool, and I can usually at least exchange a few words with them.

Mom - Just so you know, I did get a Thanksgiving dinner.  It was actually lunch, but some of the wonderful members of the Chinese ward knew I was from "Merica!" so they invited us over for chicken pot pie, apple pie, turkey, and mashed potatoes.  It was very sweet of them.  As I said before, I got the boots you sent me, and they're super awesome.  Also massive.  I don't think I'll get the other package for a few weeks.

Ellie - I did want to know that, you're right :) The hair looks wonderful, and I hope that you get everything you wanted for Christmas.  I'm getting a new car!  Sort of.  Our car is apparently the oldest one in the mission (which is crazy by the way.  It's a 2014 Chevy Cruze.  Not old at all, but I guess they rotate out all the cars very quickly before selling them again).  Anyway, we're getting a new car to drive on Tuesday, and I don't know what it's going to be.  Pretty excited!

Hadley - I have sacrificed the toaster waffles.  We gave them to some other elders along with some of our other freezer food because we had a ton, and they didn't have much.  But I might buy more today.  I don't know.  You're turning 7?  I thought you were turning 4!  Are you sure you didn't lose count?

Hadyen - So should I refer to you as "BEAST" or "the BEAST"?  How many capitol letters are involved?  King BEAST?  Still not sure on that one.  Glad to hear that BYU has won again.  I think they're pretty much the only team that I get updates on.  I literally have no idea about anything else going on back home.  If something crazy happens like a zombie apocalypse or Mom learns more French than "Je dois faire pepe" then let me know.  K?

Ashleigh - Wow.  Way to many ands.  I couldn't even finish that letter.  But, on the off chance that the part I didn't read said something like "Wow Elder Sabin, you're just the most awesome, super dope guy ever" then I will respond with this.  Thx.  Just kidding :) I read it. And I brush my teeth at least once a transfer.

Dad - There is no work more important than beating those other Sabins in football.  None.  Also, thanks for the advice on returning members.  A lot of them are awesome people, and they feed us and commit to come to church but Sunday rolls around, and they don't come.  We should definitely involve the members more. We'll try that this week and I'll let you know how it goes.  Love you!

Elder Sabin

My stress reliever invention:

Our new apartment!:

Question?  This is the picture on the package of toilet paper we bought.  Do you think they're trying to imply that wiping with this toilet paper is like wiping with a small kitten?  Deep questions...

Elder Mak, me, and Shirley, an awesome lady that we've been teaching lately. She loves making food for us, and I don't complain.

A funny advertisement that has taken over the back of every bus in Toronto.  Seriously, they asked that guy to make that pose?

Two handsome dudes headed to stake conference last week. One is just us smiling, and in the other one I told Elder Mak to do what he would do if he wasn't a missionary and he saw a cute girl.