We moved to the other MTC this week. As to why they moved us, I think they just wanted more room at the main campus... They moved all of the missionaries who are going to the Philippines to the west campus, but I wish they would have waited a few more weeks. The west campus isn't too bad, but in our room, we have twelve elders, but only two bathrooms. It can get pretty crazy. I think the food is actually better at this campus though. I am so ready to go to the Philippines!!
In unrelated news, my kasama and I just got asked to be zone leaders, so that should be pretty interesting. We will be getting to know all of the elders in our zone. Did I tell you that there are two Tagalog zones? There are also one or two Cebuano speaking zones. Isn't that a lot of missionaries going to the Philippines?
Do you remember Josh Wuthrich? He was in my seminary class before Dad started teaching because he went to Hamilton Prep. He moved to China when the Ethingtons moved to China, and now he is at the MTC. He is going to Mandarin speaking NYC South. Isn't that cool? Do you remember Danny McCurdy? He is going to Independence Missouri and is from our stake in Chandler. He is here at the West Campus, so I got to see him, which is awesome.
We got our travel plans on Thursday. I will try to send a more detailed email later if I can, but we are flying from Salt Lake to Portland, then Portland to Japan (I think the name of the place in Japan starts with an N), and then from there to Manila. I am not sure exactly how we get to Naga. All I know is that it requires a ticket because of the email from president Reeder. I think we have 9 days until we are out of here. (Our first flight leaves around 11:30 on Monday).Maybe I will try to call home from Portland. I left my camera and my travel plans back at the residence, so I will definitely try to send another email later.
I think I should tell you about the Zone Leader traditions that our zone has. There are a few items that are passed down from zone leaders to zone leaders. These include: A toaster that all of the zone leaders sign, matching ties that all of the zone leaders sign, the sword of Laban, and the hammer of Nephi.
Here is a funny thing about the Philippines. People who work at places (I don't know how to word this exactly) are trained to call people ma'amsir, just in case they might offend someone, because apparently there are a lot of transvestites etc sa Pilipinas... (But not after I convert them all.) Isn't that wild?
In somewhat unrelated news, I love Tagalog. I can't believe how fast we are learning it here. It really is a very neat language, and it actually reminds me somewhat of Toki Pona (The artificial language that we used to have some fun with in German class), because you can make verbs into nouns and vice versa and all sorts of similar things. I can't wait to be in the Philippines. (Though it might take longer for your letters to come).
Mahal ko po kayo!
Elder Benjamin Merrill