Tuesday, July 5, 2011


Nimen Hao!
Time is odd here, it so true that the days feel like weeks and the weeks feel like days, all at the same time. I have only been here two weeks, but I feel like my life at home and at college was so long ago.
I wish I had more interesting things to write about, but I can only say that things are pretty much always the same here. They just have us sit in class for a very, very long time and teach ourselves stuff. At first I was a little distressed at how much of our language study was completely based on us, without the teacher involved at all, but we figure that they want us to learn this way so we develop the habits that will allow us to teach ourselves in the field. They can't possibly teach us Chinese in 2.5 months, but they can help us set up good habits so that hopefully we will be able to teach ourselves within two years.
I have a new love of soccer. Every Friday the Mandarins play the Koreans, it is pretty intense. I scored twice last time, which was pretty good since I haven't played since elementary school. Soccer gets brutal here though, this one elder has had a black eye since we got here, another really hurt his shin, people get hurt every game. But it's so fun.

So after gym the other day I was doing the P90X ab workout in my room and all the polynesian elders were just watching me because our room door was open. They are all these huge rugby players from New Zealand and French Polynesia and stuff, some don't even know English yet. Anyways, they are always outside our room because that is where the pull-up bar is and they work out all the time. But after I was done, they said they were impressed and wanted me to teach them the workout. So the next day I ended up leading this exercise class of like 15 elders who wanted to learn P90X, we had to do it all down the hall because we couldn't fit anywhere else. So that has become the after gym tradition, more people show up every time. It is funny watching these huge, tough polys struggle though.

I can't think of any food that you guys could send, maybe dried figs. Those would be good. It has to be something that will keep at room temperature. They feed us dinner at 4:30, so we have about 6 hours before bed and we usually all get hungry and just end up eating candy, because everyone here gets boxes of candy from people and that's the only food available between 4:30 and bedtime. So whatever you do, don't send candy. 

I love you family, I hope everything is going well. Let Ashley know that the dearelders are making it to me. I'm grateful for everything you guys have done for me.
Wo ai nimen,
Elder Braithwaite

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