Dear Mom, Dad, and, Eric,
I'll begin by answering your questions. Again, I have a time constraint, so I'll try and cram as much in as possible.
1. Have I participated in curbside pick-up of missionaries? Unfortunately, no. It would be fun to see the families drop their kids off and such, but no, I haven't.
2. Is my Zhongwen or Espanol better? Well........my Spanish is better. I actually never realized how good my Spanish was until I got here. The Spanish-speaking Elders...aren't very fluent. That being said, Sister Ochoa is a native from Mexico and I can often understand what she is saying. That being said, my Zhongwen is catching up hen kuai (I can add tones in the next email if you want).
3. The gap is definitely being closed. I feel like as I study harder and harder I have passed some. Those that have a base and study hard are still well ahead of me. :/ For example, my companion has had three years prior to coming here. While his tones are better than mine, and often his grammar too, I feel like my vocabulary might be better. Hard to say. I often get lazy with my tones and I'm really trying to stop that practice.
4. I HAVE SEEN PRESTON!!! AAAAHHH! He's so Preston! :P I love that kid. He's doing great supposedly which is fantastic! There are a ton of Alta kids here. It's nigh impossible to go a day without running into several.
Now for your actual email:
In mom's letter she said something along the lines of, "not much has changed," then she proceeded to tell me all of the many changes that she is doing to the house. It made me laugh! It sounds like it will be much different! MALAYSIA?!?! That is so cool!!!I'm very jealous! I've met some missionaries who have been there and they loved it. Also, I was fortunate enough to study it in my Geography class at BYU. CRAZY place. But I'll try not to freak you out too much. Just....be careful what you eat and keep your stuff safe. :D I'm ridiculously jealous about the whole Hunger Games dealio. I wish I was going. I expect a full report on the film. The Oscars didn't turn out how I expected. Did Nick Nolte win? I've heard The Artist is incredible....but it's in black and white and it doesn't have sound. Harry Potter never gets love. :'( I'm so happy that you guys are learning Zhongwen! It seriously makes me very happy! Just make sure you know your tones! If you don't know the tones, you don't know the word! Xianzhi(1 and 1) means prophet(s) while Xianzhi (with 3 and 4 I think) means like evil sorcerer or something ridiculous like that. Just keep that in mind. Keep it up! And I want you to know that I am working hard as well!
So today I got a haircut. It was the most difficult thing I've done on the mission thus far. It's actually not THAT bad. :/ I was in desperate need of one however. One of the sister missionaries also gave me one of her three blow driers to help me out a bit. :P
I don't know if you guys are capable of doing this, but is there a way that you could send BYU a copy of my SLCC transcripts. You'll need to go on SLCC's website and ask for a transcript. If you can that would be great! If not, it's all good. I also wanted to tell you some crazy news I found out today. Sister Ochoa's dad is the second counselor in the general young men's presidency. Wicked (as my Brittish roommate who is reading this email would say; we're companions for the moment)!
You'll never guess who I ran into this week....JOSH FREEMAN!! How nuts is that?! We didn't really have time to catch up, but it's SO weird! Also, for Eric's sake, I ran into......CINDY HUTCH!!!! Weird week! Tons of crazy newbies! I'm considered really old here at the MTC. The English-speakiing missionaries are only here for three weeks. I'm on my seventh (by MTC standards).
Also, the other day, we watched a few "I'm a Mormon" videos (one of the few things we're allowed to watch in the MTC). The ones we watched were in Zhongwen and they were awesome! I got totally pumped to go to Taiwan. I want to share them with you. You may have to switch the language on mormon.org to Zhongwen, but look up Kaiping and Jingyi. I can totally understand some of what they're saying! Sometimes whole sentences! Too cool!
Anyway, I've gone over my time again. Keep me posted on everything that's going on at home! How's Jordan? How's Denise? How's Grandma and Grandpa Wilkes? And how's Grandpa Woolsey?? Please keep me updated!
I love you guys so much. This mission, this life is slowly becoming a waters of mormon for me (Mosiah 18:30). More importantly, last night I taught Bei Jiemei (Sister Mitchell in a "practice teaching exercise) about baptism and I began to tell her what my personal waters of mormon are. When I thought of this, I thought of you guys. I thought of our house there on Cranberry Hill and night games with the neighbors. I think of my own baptism; being able to be baptized with Eric. Most importantly, when we went to the temple. I cherish those moments. I look upon them fondly. They are "beautiful" to my eyes. I encourage you to reflect on your "waters of mormon." They are sweet and delicious. I love you guys so much. Zaijian.
Ai, Wu Zhanglao