Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Halfway at the MTC

I've been here now longer than I have yet to go here!  Then Mongolia!  Speaking of which, we have started our week-long EIL (English as an International Language) bonanza, with training from eight to noon every day. Then we will practice our teaching techniques on missionaries here from other countries to learn English.  

I'm learning to write a little in the Mongolian script, but people don't use that for everyday language.  It looks cool but isn't very practical for modern usage.  So, Mongolia still uses the Russian alphabet.  We always get stopped at the MTC and asked if we are going to Russia (or Greece) when other missionaries read our nametags.  Nobody ever guesses Mongolia!  It is fun.  Also, for some strange reason, Mongolia is in an MTC zone with Madagascar, Marshall Islands, Fiji, Samoa and Tonga.  I don't know how we got in the tropical island category, but it is fun.  I have learned how to greet people in Samoan!

I have been gaining a reputation as a language guy.  I can usually guess anyone's nametag, and missionaries are often surprised when I can speak to them in their language.  

Our class is fun, and we have great teachers.  They appreciate the help I am able to give the others when they are not teaching.  We are also learning a few things in Mongolian Sign Language because there are a lot of deaf people in Mongolia.  Now, there are plenty of native missionaries assigned to teach in sign language, but since there are so many people who are deaf, it is good for us to know a little.  We like to use it to spell things to each other in class, but I'm sure I'll use it more in Mongolia.

Well, I've learned all sorts of things here, like how to sleep in a room with three other guys, how to tolerate public bathrooms, and how to do good ROTC style calisthenics.  One of our district members was in ROTC, so he is helping me maintain my fitness; it is really helpful.

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