Monday, November 24, 2014

No Hors(pool)play In The (hors)Pool

Pictures arent working this week so the blog post is gonna be pretty lean this week. i dont like giving you walls of text (intentionally) without stimulating images.

so heres the haps:

Mostly pooping. sorry to make this a blog about intestinal issues, thatll stop when mine stop. im physically restraining myself from using any of the 2,000 poop jokes ive written over the last week, they just come easily when you spend so much time around it. every street has a trench in it here becuase when it rains the city turns into venice but instead of nice water its literally garbage+human feces water

by the way it started raining for real this week, and its nothing like you can even imagine. im struggling to think of how to describe it. think of Portlands annual rainfall coming down over the course of five minutes. its... vigorous. I've dripped my way through several lessons already and left a nice indoor pool in the investigators house after i left.

im officially immune to malaria as if this week! ive been on anti malarials for long enough for them to kick in. fun fax about doxycycline: 
dont lay down after you take it or youll get some nice esophageal burns. 
Even though its supposed to be less psychologically distressing than the alternative, larium, you still get some crazy dreams on it. i have been killed three successive nights in a row by giant insects, a man who could turn other people into copies of himself claiming to be satan, and my mother.
those arent the only positives, it also makes you immune to the bubonic plague, known on the streets as the black plague! by the way theres an  outbreak of that in madagascar/tana right now so yes that is a relevant fact

Starting to really dislike alchohol over here. this was the week that a drunk made the jump to actually hitting me. be thankful you live in a country where domestic violence isnt common or generally accepted, ive already had to see or hear about that too much over here. i cant think of a worse adjective to attach to domestic violence than "common". and alcohol is always involved, at least here.  

sorry to end like this, ill try to be cheerier and better planned next week.

This is a picture of Ian, his Mission President and his wife that was taken the day he arrived.  I'm including it here since Ian wasn't able to upload any other photos.  :-(


Monday, November 17, 2014

***WITTY OPENING SUPERCEDED IN FAVOR OF IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT***

Letters:                                                                     Packages:
Madagascar Antananarivo Mission                          Madagascar Antananarivo Mission
BP 5094                                                                   Dingana III 
101 Antananarivo                                                     101 Andrainariyo
Madagascar                                                              Madagascar

Take note real quick of my shiny new mailing adress, where it now only takes 3 weeks to get letters to me with a 95% success rate! if you ever decide to send me a package (i dont know why you would, but it would be awesome if you did) it takes longer than a month, and items might be removed #fun! BUUUUUT 90% of Madagascar is Christian and they love the missionaries so if put some pictures or stickers of Christ on the outside of the box/envelope the success rate goes way up. you can also send me mail much fast and for free at DearElder.com. COOL

***END OF WITTINESS SUPERCESSION***

So, believe it or not, but traveling to Madagascar nonstop for three days and then living there has been a fairly crazy experience so far.

First things first. I am OFFICIALLY moved out of the MTC (to be read in the voice of Mrs. Incredible, the Incredibles being unequivocally the best Pixar movie). have a look at some pictures of my three malagasy teachers, but not too long of a look cause i was having a bad everything day #ugly

I wish i could go in depth about each of my teachers like i have about people in the past, but email time is way more limited out in the field and the one thing worse in madagascar than in america is the computers (french keyboards + dial up internet speed = hell). Suffice it to say theure all really cool guys who know a ton about missionary work and malagasy, quite possibly the three most fluent at the language white people in the world, considering only .03% of the globe speaks malagasy. 

Brother Sell is the most reserved of the three, and i think ive only heard him speak around 5-ish english sentences, the rest its full time gasy. Hes also a pretty mean cook and athlete, if his sotries are to be believed. 


Brother Bingham's skills include ultimate frisbee and hitting on sister missionaries then claiming he thought they were teachers. Hes the sharpest dresser of the three and has a disturbing amount of interesting socks. i hold a fondness for bingham cause he said he liked my tie the best #HeWasCorrect 


Annnnd i told you about Burton last time. (sorry Bro Bur)



quick pic of all the malagasies at the MTC at the time of my leaving and a picture of my favorite couple in our Branch Presidency, President and Sister Mangum. President has a drawl worth of his last name and an email address Im certain his work gave him. Sister Mangum has a thick Maine accent, something i had no idea existed. they are living pieces of Americana and i love them dearly.


I also had to say goodbye to my two MTC companions, Elder Hieden and Cyusa. You gotta know im gonna miss them like crazy. Here they are on the Utah TRAX (fun fact: it took planes trains and automobiles to get us to Mada)


IM GONNA MISS IT

Travel facts section (TravFax) Mada is the farthest possible mission in the world from its MTC (no one speaks Malagasy in the Ghana MTC) and the church for understandable reasons, wants you there as quickly as possible. point is I traveled for around 56 hours straight with no showers, and despite meeting some super nice missionary loving people in every city and the fact that i love airports and airplanes, it was one of the most miserable experiences of my life. As I entered hour 30 of not showering i could feel all of my old anxieties and stresses returning and i still had decades to go of being trapped inside of cage of my own turgid pool of sweat and dirt. i think i clenched my fists until i cut my hands and i almost just started shouting at one point in Johannesburg. But all in all it was a really fun experience actually!



This part of the London airport really spoke to me on an aesthetic level. the most lonely, cold christmas tree ever. trever. 

I know the "brittish people are silly" jokes have been done to death but i have to say i think London is the most bizarre, surreal place ive ever been. Literally EVERYTHING is exactly like america, except never exactly. just an inch off. It was so disturbing to be trying to buy some food in a brittish starbucks, have everthing be in english, and yet have no idea what the sandwhich i was ordering was or how much it cost. it was also like theyre version of veterans day, which is exactly like americas but called like veterouns day or some crap and everyone wears these big silly flowers. even their bathrooms were somehow fancier but more stuck up and ineffectual. their stalls are huge and wood, but the toilet is tiny and weak and they pipe in classical music. they have sinks that are some how laid out different and mange to do nothing to your hands.

quotes from the brittish news in the airport "Sausage Warning: 1 in 10 sausages may be infected" and "Sausage Warning: Sausage meat should be cooked for 20 minutes"

Enough of that. 

MAD-TV-A-GASCAR  TIME

The gritty nitty: My trainer is named Elder Horspool. My area is Betongolo (Bay-toon-goo-loo), a section of da big city: Antananarivo. Betongolo literally means "lots of onions" (the green kind). i havent seen a ton but i eat alot with eggs for breakfast often. Everything here is superfresh, meaning the onions were probably grown within walking distance of our apartment and the eggs come with feathers still on them (delicious!)

I feel the need to talk about the chickens at this moment, cause they deserve special mention. the same way london is like a perverse bizarro version of america, madagascar is so completely and insanely different your much more surprised when something happens that feels familiar. Case in point: even their chickens are radically different, i swear theyre not the same beast. Theyre everywhere, theyre tall and thin and mangy and made of matted black feathers, they roam freely and im pretty sure each is a convicted felon. i swear i saw one wearing crips colors. theyre constantly making noise, and not clucking, its far more akin to the cry of a velociraptor. Malagasies are so hardcore they just grab these dinosaurs, still fighting, tie their feet up with scraps of rope and then break their neck when its breakfast time. then im pretty sure they squeeze a few last eggs out too. the sun rises here around 3:00 in the morning and i can hear the chickens and people eating each other until its time for me to get up at 6:30.

honestly i cant even talk about all the weird/cool/foreign things here cause its everything and its so much i can already feel myself getting used to it cause other wise i just curl up in the middle of a cobble stone street and stare into infinity mumbling in malagasy. i mean, in the last paragraph i just mentioned the sun rises at 3 and sets at 6 in passing and neglected to mention that one time while i was teaching a lesson one of the families chickens walkied right into their house and jumped on the table and started fighting with their kids/learning the restored gospel of Jesus Christ because it doesn't even seem strange anymore.
here, let me just describe a few images and maybe you can start to figure out what its like to serve a mission in Madagascar

the look of Tana summed up: a sixty year old malagasy wearing an "I ate my homework" T-shirt

two 4-8 year old kids under a butchers stall playing some sort checkers like game with cigarette butts

Jules, a deaf malagasy member of the church who invented his own sign language in order to talk with his family working with a few other missionaries who learned his language to skype a sister missionary in Washington DC in order to learn american sign language so he can get a better job and someday go to the temple in Johannesburg and understand it

Me, being so dehydrated on saturday i stumbled back into our apartment and peed yellow acrylic paint 

Countless shops claiming to sell PIZZ ' AS 


this, a typical malagasy roof

me, Elder Horspool, and about 7-9 malagasies crammed into a room about 10 feet by ten feet singing Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah and then having to explain to them that its not really a hymn and is in fact more about atheistic doubts and sex than praising God

a street fight breaking out over a motorcycle in front of me and Horspool, and a third malagasy breaking it up by telling the two combatants that "they cant fight in front of holy men"

Seeing stray dogs literally everywhere  and learning to run away from adorable puppies bounding towards you because you know theres a rabid momma close behind

in fact, let me go on one more animal tangent: Dokotras. imagine a turkey crossed with a duck. Now, instead of whatever silly thing you just pictured, imagine the nightmare version of it. that is dokotras, and the only animal ive never seen a malagasy brave enough to touch. even the biggest dogs keep theyre distance and i dont think malagasies eat their meat or their eggs and yet somehow theyve managed to enter the city and walk its streets freely, their only purpose to inflict suffering.

Its just Antananarivo, man. the city that goes to sleep at 8:30 cause the sun went down a few hours ago and they cant light it. the city where every taxi is a khaki 1920's Volkswagen beetle. the city where you walk through rice paddies to get to your neighbors and say hi to their hyper malnourished cow. the city where everyone greets you with a friendly "Salama tompko!" no matter how few teeth they have. the city where 4 year olds come up to you dressed in rags, carring and infant on their back and you can bond with them by singing the Dora the Explorah theme song (the words are different, but the do-do-do-do-dora is the same). the city where youre food is 50% the fruit flies that land on it as you raise the spoon to your mouth. The city where youre either never pooping, or always. 

Really, just the coolest city in the world. 

have a dumb video,

video


and some pictures. for a challenge, see if you can guess which are provo, and which are tana.
















Saturday, November 8, 2014

Malagasy McCrary's Madagascar Mission Malcontent Mission Murmurings - FINALE: Take care of yourself.



Im sorry MTC, but no matter how many vaporwave inspired 90's cybercore aesthetic gifs you use on me, my time approaches. MTC ya later.

Things really are getting serious though, i fly out in just 2 days as of writing this. its gonna be a huge anticlimax, cause even though i leave in 2 days, i arrive in 4. The whole goodbye process gets a little weird when you have these emotional farewells then sit in a plane/airports for 40 hours afterwards before reaching closure. Thanks Mada, for being the number 1 most distant destination coming out of the Provo MTC.


The first real upheaval came when it was time to say goodbye to the Indonesians. im so jealous of them, theyre probably already experiencing their first intestinal issues as the adjust to the local bacteria. awww



it was time to say goodbye to Gagarin and an angel appeared!


it was time to say goodbye to Gagarin and an angel appeared!


Cyusa and the other international missionaries got to visit temple square this week, which i think is a pretty awesome idea. this might be the only chance a lot of them ever have to see it. I've honestly never noticed just how huge/cool the Salt Lake Temple is, though if you gave me forty years id probably be that huge/cool


Actual to scale picture of cyusa/rest  of humanity


Also heart-wrenching was when we went to a devotional at BYU this week. being inside the Marriott Center just reminded me of being dragged to basketball games and watching the scores changed until they were all prime numbers and added up to a prime number. or trying to annoy the  crowd by cheering slightly too late and reminding the players to take breaks and drink plenty of water. there were also some good memories.

the other importance of this picture is that one my teachers, Brother Burton is sitting to the left of us. Burton's an awesome guy, and quite possibly the best non native Malagasy speaker in the america (thats not really an exaggeration). hes had a hand in writing the most of the english-Malagasy dictionaries I've heard of, and apparently has a reputation even among malagasies for talking fast. i think this is mostly a result of him being aggressively extroverted, hes the kind of guy who wants to be a motivational speaker and has already done so at EFY. i can only assume he went very native when he was serving in Antananarivo.  


"Vanity" ~Photograph, Emery Cyusa 2014


Elder Heiden and I took a 10 minute break from studying one day and tried to create a likeness of ours companionship on the chalkboard. See if you can guess who Elder Heiden drew!


Yet another awful bathroom-lit photo of me and someone you've never met, my good friend and college room-ate  Christopher McClellan. You cant tell because of the lighting, and because they made him cut his hair, and because he wears a very conservatively cut suit, but Chris is an absolutely gorgeous human specimen. By far the most attractive guy in our dorm, and also the one who left it least. To woe of human beings everywhere, Chris is eternally bound to his computer and his computer alone. he built it himself and it has some sort of space age casing on too so she always looks her best. Hes so perplexing, every shut-in I've ever met has no where near as good a sense of humor, social skills, of frankly face as our resident pretty boy. but instead of becoming President with his charisma, hed rather stick it out with League of Legends (which by the way, hes the best at). Chris also has an extremely juvenile sense of humor which you would never guess from his reserved/elegant demeanor, but which you might guess by his farts. His father and older brothers all went to Japan on their mission, and hes carrying on their tradition. His Zone Leader tells me that hes the best at Japanese by far in his class, but when i asked him flat out the day before he was too modest to say so. Chris also loves his dog almost as much as his computer, and i when i brought him up to the girls in our FHE group at the end of the semester they didnt know who i was talking about. The best thing Chris ever did for me was show me the video Mr. Ando of the Woods (look it up, i beg you)   


i have the pleasure of looking at these paintings of Joseph Smith and Jesus every day



Another weird thing that's happening: the new Malagasies got here before we left, which is almost unheard of. On top of that, since the Indonesians left our whole zone has just been Cyusa, Heiden and me. Remember, 3 people is insanely small for a district, and zones are supposed to be made of multiple districts. and then all of a sudden 24 new missionaries came in this week to our zone, and Heiden and i as zone leaders got to train all of them. As of right now i only have this bathroom-lit photo of me and Elder Tangarasi, a new Malagasy learning missionary from Vanuatu. if you don't know where that is, its just one of the Melanesian islands. If you don't know where Melanesia is, neither do i. According to this map i saw in the lobby, its to the west of Fiji. The pictures of the country look like paradise, and im almost certain it is because  Tangarasi confided in me he'd never worn pants before today. I absolutely love Tangarsi, hes so excited about everything, and he loves to challenge himself in Malagasy. he thinks of how he wants to say something in English, then keeps working at it until he got in gasy. by the third day he was here he was teaching me new words. Awesome guy, fantastic at English, and he speaks three other languages besides, but they're all Vanuatuan dialects. I kinda wish i could stay here and keep helping him, but ill probably get to see him in the field. I'm afraid he'll be better than me at Malagasy by then though.  

THAT FEEL WHEN YOUR VISA ARIVES AT THE LITERAL LAST SECOND AND KEEPS YOU FROM SERVING IN SANTA ROSA CALIFORNIA




Amin'ny rayko, misaotra. Amin'ny renyko, veloma. Ahy amin'ny zanaka rehetra, arahabaina! 

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Malagasy McCrary's Madagascar Mission Malcontent Murmurings - Mild Mormon Movie Malarkey Madness, or My Moronic Malfeasance Museum, or More Marvelous Moments Maintain My Malevolent Mirth, or part 4

This week a certain Reed Bernhisel prayed that she would be afflicted by less selfies on my blog, and lo her prayers were answered in the form of a massive zit cozying up next to my schnozz. 

jk, there is nothing that could reduce the amount of selfies on this blog. 



NOTHING.

Embedded videos make their triumphant return to the blog, here to caress your ears with dulcet tones and glisten in the reflection of your corneas. Simultaneously! Mostly in the form of me being a "boolly" (as Gagarin says) to Elder Cyusa.

video

Cyusa gives you all the scoop on Rwanda and my finger brings shame upon my house forever


video

music video for David Archuleta's "Glorious," a song the church made the  mistake of putting on LDS.org so now missionaries are listening to it 24/7 just to get some semblance of pop music

video

when missionaries feel rebellious sometimes instead of quieting down at 10:15 and studying their scriptures they push two footstools together and play a facsimile of "spikeball", something that im pretty sure is only a game within the Utah state boundaries. 


the big news this week is that my room-ate Elder Turley had to go home this week. this is the last known picture of him. his knee just didnt heal fast enough for them to send him out to the field, so he'll continue to recover at home before flying to lithuania. on the bright side, he'll have been learning the language for 12+ weeks before he gets there, so he should be one of the most fluent ever 1st week missionaries. Turleys a tough guy, spiritually and physically, and he took it all super and says he's excited to show his mom (who is very opposed to the church and signs her letters to him "i wish you were at princeton") how much the mission has changed him. I was sad to see him go, even if we did have to get up at 4:00 friggin AM to send him off. 


its really hard having him gone, so to fill the space in Elder Cyusa, Heiden and my lives i fashioned this crude Turley out of scrap. it doesnt help.

but sometimes, it even feels like...



He's here



got around to deco-rating my room, here is my wall of inspirations. Jerry Seinfeld is the second most influential Jewish leader here.


Cyusa loves taking pictures like this. i dont understand it but i cant argue with the results. BYU bakery bagels are fantastic and the only safe breakfast option around here. yes Cyusa drinks coke for breakfast


i think this picture says something. it says dont wear red while you have massive zits, paleface.


the Indonesians are leaving this week, thats going to be the hardest goodbye yet, theyre all hilarious.i have soft spot for Jasperson though, if you look at this picture long enough youll see him


some idiot fell asleep in class. have sympathy for him, he probably woke up at 4:00 friggin AM to send a dear friend off. probably even carried his bags for him. what nice guy.


Paparazzi snapped a pic of Cyusa and me right after our jacket-swapping scandal


The Stick of Judah and the Stick of Jesse


shall be one in MY hand



For some reason it took Sister Pullicar 3 tries to get this picture down

i guess i havent told you about our sisters, theyre are both very inspiring in thier hard work and the power of their testimonies. Sister Pullicar is from Idaho and is actually learning Malaysian, which is so similar to Indonesian its pretty much a dialect but for political reasons is considered a different language. Shes the only one going to Malaysia of the current batch. She has a mean set of pipes on her so we mostly keep quiet and let her sing most of the hymns cause no one else in our tiny ward is musically inclined. Sister Baricante is from the Philippines and hates beards. her full time job seems to be reminding Elder Heiden to shave, but its to no avail. Heiden is just too dang suave that its physically impossible for him to have a shadow any earlier than 5 o'clock. She misses having rice every meal but never gets some from the rice section of the cafeteria? still havent figured that out. 


dANGIT pULLICAR



we're thinking about forming the worst kind of rock group, christian



Another run in with an old friend, this time from Powell Ohio (its around Columbus). Caeden Brower is 18 and going to Scotland, didnt get a chance to ask if hes miresaka ny teny anglisay or learning some foreign language. Caeden got one of the best smiles ive ever seen and it comes easily to his face, great sense of humor, very friendly. He'll do great at chatting people up. Beyond that Caeden the most intimidatingly big guy to ever be really mediocre at arm wrestling (not that I ever beat him) and invented his own technique of beatboxing he calls breathboxing that sounds like a hyperventilating chihuahua but also somehow cool and pleasant . One time at some church event they asked us to film ourselves talking about our experience there and we did ours in a rapping/breathboxing format. I never forgave them for not putting that on the DVD. 



shades polarized to see through the Heavenly Light