Yes, that is right. 26 days (approximately) until we leave for Thailand!!! YESSSSS!!!!! Who keeps having small panic attacks? This girl. I AM SO EXCITED.
How are you?! You are coming to Utah tomorrow, right? So close but yet so far away...I'm sad that I won't be able to see you haha. Walker, how were finals? I'm sure you aced every single one of them. Did Hartelt write something profound in your yearbook? If so, anything as good as "You are a full half of the three amigos"? :) (note: No trip to both Utah & LA—only LA. Change of plans)
And I hear you are all headed to LA for Braiden's farewell! How fun! He sent me a DearElder this week, but I haven't had a chance to write him back. I'm gonna try and write to him before he leaves. OH, ENGLAND! Tell him to be good to Dear Lizzie for me!
Also you get to see EVERYONE! What the heck! I'm so jealous! Will you hug everyone for me? I miss my family!
ALSO!!! What wonderful packages I have received this week! Such goodness for my eyes to behold! Thank you for everything; you are the best. The crocs are PERFECT. I love them.
YES WORLD, I ADMIT THAT I LOVE CROCS DEAL WITH IT. Sorry I'm not even sorry. Sister Phelps and I have set personal goals to have gnarly croc tan lines when we come home. I think we can achieve that. Hopefully. Also, fun fact, in Cambodian, the word "a-crock" means evil...so crocs are evil shoes...but it's whatever. They're the best thing that ever happened to Thai missionaries and the rest of humanity.
This week has been pretty darn entertaining. Seriously. It all started when poor Sister Stack got an inflamed spleen. What? Yes, indeed, an inflamed spleen. So she got some pain killers from the doctor, which she of course took, and of course they made her loopy beyond loopy. I have not laughed so hard since the "aaapple" incident a few weeks back. Here are some of her wonderful quotes:
"What is water? I mean, what is it? And what is ice? I think Sister du Plessis got some water from outer space."
"Brother Shipley, you're so wonderful. You're such a great person. You must have been born happy. People like you aren't real."
"My dad is so humble. But not like you, Brother Shipley."
This is one of my personal favorites...
(We were in the computer lab and Sister Stack's keyboard was accidentally set to Korean, so anything she typed came out in boxes) "AHHH!!!!! BOXES!!! What do you speak, box?!"
But this is the ultimate favorite. Here is some background. Our teacher Brother Phan's first name is Sam. The word "sam" in Thai means "three."
"Brother Phan is so great. I mean, he's just an awesome guy. He's probably one of those Nephites, you know? Hey! That's why they call them the Sam Nephites!"
It was the most entertaining evening of my life.
Also, this week, everyone in our district got sick (minus me and Sister Slaugh, thank goodness. Dad, I have been drinking Airbornes and thinking of you every time. That stuff is nasty, but you used to tell me to drink it, so I'm doing it ha). On Sunday, Sister Phelps had a fever, was super sweaty, had the chills, a sore throat, a headache, and was nauseous. During testimony meeting, she couldn't stop shaking. Sister Slaugh and I finally decided to take her to the Health Center, which of course is closed on Sundays, so we broke out (ha) of the MTC and went to the Intermountain Instacare in Provo. WEIRD. We got out of the MTC. I kept looking around and thinking, "Hey I've been there." But it all felt like it was from another life, like it wasn't real or something. Good news is Sister Phelps is just fine, she had a nasty viral infection that has been going around the MTC because this place is a germ farm, but she is now up and running as usual :)
On Monday we scored 15 pounds of hair products and clothing from the free bins. I'm telling you, free bin shopping is my new favorite activity. We found some really amazing stuff, like Moroccan oil shampoo and conditioner that were basically full... What the heck! I love it!
I've also realized that I have no more social skills...I can't talk to anyone without it being supremely awkward. I guess it's not much of a change, since I was never the most un-awkward person in the world, but it's definitely gotten worse. Haha. Today we were greeting the missionaries coming into the MTC and it was a great realization that I have no social skills. But it's all good, because the Lord makes up for our weaknesses, right? Which leads me to my spiritual thought of the week :)
So I've been thinking a lot this week about Ether 12:27. I have always loved that scripture, but I have definitely gained a new appreciation for it as a missionary. I have been thinking a lot about humility, and I've realized that the Lord doesn't want me to think less OF my self. He would never ask me to think, "I am Sydney and I am nothing." If that were the case, how could we keep the second great commandment, to love others as ourselves? We wouldn't be able to. We would never be able to see ourselves or each other as what we truly are—and that is children of a loving Heavenly Father. He wants us to be humble by recognizing His hand in our lives. He wants us to say, "I'm Sydney and I am awesome and I rely completely on the Lord." That is humility. Relying on the Lord and having faith that He will make up for our shortcomings and weaknesses. He doesn't care about those! He wants us to have enough faith to do what He asks of us and He will make up for the rest. Isn't that cool? I love that scripture.
Another cool thought as I have been so impatient with leaving the MTC: Christ was 30 before He officially started His ministry for the Lord. He spent 30 years learning and growing and experiencing. And He is perfect! I need to have patience with myself and with my location as I prepare to serve Him. If Christ took 30 YEARS to learn and to grow, I can certainly do my best to be patient and enjoy my 9 weeks in the MTC. :)
One last awesome story: so the other day I was speaking French with a girl on my floor who is from Quebec. It was so much fun! I miss speaking French. But there were times when I could only think of words in Thai. It was equal parts awesome and distressing haha. I don't want to forget my French! I told Heavenly Father that in my prayers that night, and I told Him how much I miss speaking French and how I would love to be able to use it at least once on my mission. The next morning, I looked in the free bin outside my classroom as I was walking by and do you know what I found? A small French dictionary of Gospel terms and phrases. Tender mercies. The Lord hears our prayers and answers them. I love it.
I love you, family! Sidtuh rag puag-khun MAAG MAAG MAAG!!
PS "Chingchan" is a real word. It means "sincerely." Haha. I would sign it "love," but I really wanted to use "chingchan". :)
Other Good Quotes of the Week:
Sister Phelps: "Elder Astle, why do you think the Lord has a sense of humor?"
Elder Astle: "The emu."
Sister Phelps: "Does anyone want some raw Ramen?"
Me: "Well, yeah!"
Elder Astle: "There was once a time in my life when I apostatized from raw Ramen."
Elder Passey: "A-PASTA-SIZED."
(That one literally killed me.)
There are pictures of Jesus all around the MTC with a mirror next to them, like the picture and the mirror are in the same picture frame. If that makes sense. Under each picture of Jesus, there are different inspirational thoughts. There is one in the computer lab where we go for language study that says, "Jesus has done His part, are you doing yours?" Wonderful Sister Tilley thought it was talking about how the elders are supposed to do their hair. Priceless.
I love you!!!