Thursday, October 9, 2014

Week 1 of 104 (Not that we're counting)

No longer able to have Drake Bell's wikipedia page open 24/7, Ian "Twenty-Tabs" McCrary is but a shell of his former self. But like the Phoenix, from my ashes I am REBORN. 

I'll start this blog off, like all great works of art, with a caveat. I'm actually not running the blog, I'm writing through email to my mother who then posts it via missionary guidelines, so please forgive me when I forget what I've already written and repeat something.
as i "de-planed" and left my airtime companions (a Hispanic business man playing 2048 and a lady watching Shirley Temple movies on an iPad) a thought struck me: I'm technically a "man" now. I mean not in actuality, but I'm supposed to be. What a terrifying concept. I actually out-age most of the missionaries here and yet i swear they all look about 5 years older than me. 

The Missionary Training Center its pretty intense. i got off the plane, took a cab to Provo, they slapped a name tag on me (Elder McCrary ny Fiangonan' i Jesoa Kristy ho an' ny Olomasin' ny Andro Farany) and i went to class studying Malagasy. I study, eat, and go to meetings from 6:30 until 10:30 at night. aesthetically id sum it up with this image: a 200 pound white guy in a short sleeve dress shirt pushes himself in front of you. he fills his glass with fresca. and while there's chafing to be had (no music players at all in the MTC, I will hear nothing but Called To Serve, objectively the most overplayed hymn of all time until i get to Madagascar 5 weeks from now) its overall been a great experience so far. 
These are my companions:Elder Heiden and Elder Cyusa, 18 from Portland and 23 from Rwanda, respectively. Don't trust this image, Elder Heiden usually looks like Don Draper. Yes, Elder Cyusa's cheekbones are real. I've felt them.

Elder Heiden has this kind of effortless old fashioned suaveness that makes me really envious. hes one of those people who's a hipster, not cause hes trying, but just cause he IS. His suits and and ties are thinner than mine and i hate that. i was hoping my clothes would rake in the compies (short for compliments and also compsagnathus) but i never will with him around. he shaves with a singled blade razor and a brush. I pretend to shave with disposables in order to fit in.  
Elder Cyusa (Choo-sah) is one of the most amazing people I've ever met. His mother died when he was very little and he never knew his dad. he was raised by his older sister but moved out as soon as he finished school "cause I don't like studying. I wanted to work. I'm good at surviving." he met some missionaries in 2013 and got baptized, than baptized his whole family. Hes been a young men's president and decided to serve a mission after only being a member for 1 and half years. when you ask him what he likes to do, he says "i like the preach the gospel. ...oh and to sing." No, his spiritual strength isn't intimidating or anything. he likes to show me photos of him and "his crew" from over the years. he always points out he didn't learn how to smile until after he joined the church. Elder Cyusa and i are getting along really well though. hes a super funny guy, and his grasp on English is good enough that he tosses around the word "infrastructure" but his accent leads to some twisted conversations. "you like shin po?" "shin what?" "like the clothes. shin po. you know the rapper? p deedy?" "Oh P Diddy. yeah i know sean paul" Elder Cyusa's favorite movie is High School musical and he follows Ashley Tisdale on facebook. His name is the word for the quality a lion possesses to make you feel fear. i like to call that "presence".  

Malagasy is an extremely fascinating language and I'm loving it so far. its a Polynesian/African/something-else blend that like 95% of the flora and fauna is completely indigenous to Mada. mada is what the kool kids call the 'gascar. its super organized , way more so than English. they even ditched like 6 letters of the alphabet just cause, I guess. So long "u" don't let the door hit yo on the way ot. Every active verb starts with an m, and to make something future tense you just change it to an h. past tense, n. amazingly simple. they don't even have words like, a, an, the, to be or any kind of conjugation, cause screw that crap. if ever language was like Malagasy, linguists would be out of a job. like more so than right now. and they have universal preposition (amin'ny) that replaces all dat in, through, on noise. there's really such a great personality behind the language. the only downside is because they're so direct and simple, things can wax kind of long winded. it takes three lines of paper to say step sister. also every word has like 8 a's in it. ananana is a real word. you just cant do that.
General conference (well, at least Saturday) was excellent. I think I've been waiting my whole life to hear someone give the talk Holland gave. its honestly making me re-evaluate what i want to focus my career on. i know now more than ever i want to find someway to make sure i can serve some one every day. this is kinda what its like to be here, i feel socially like an infant, pathetic and filled with anxiety. but never before have i felt so guiltless, so sure of my purpose.
Praise to the man <3

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