I can't believe this day has come, it's so surreal. I've now been here for almost nine weeks in which I have started learning a language that is totally opposite to English, reviewed all aspects of the gospel and learned new insights along the way, had a blast with my district and other people in my zone, and learned what it means to be and how to be a successful missionary. Now, I'm off to South Korea!
The MTC has been such a great experience, I've really had such a good time here. I really don't understand why anyone would choose to not go on a mission, it seriously has been the best 2 months of my life (yes, that sounds cheesy, but it's true). And now that the age has been changed, literally anyone and everyone could and should go. So if you're 18 or 19 and you're a boy or a girl and you're not on a mission...... ummmm, what are you doing? Go on a mission! Haha, because really, it's the best opportunity you will ever have.
But anyway, back to my MTC experience. Like I said, it's been so great here. This week, being my last week, has been full of review and new information. As far as the language goes, it's a line-upon-line type of thing. When I think about how much Korean I know right now at this moment, I feel like I don't know anything. But then, when I compare my ability to the first week here, I've made leaps and bounds. It just makes me so excited for months from now to see how much I've progressed. I feel comfortable speaking with all of the teachers and Korean missionaries here, but I know that the second I get to Korea I'll be all like "this is defintiely not the language I learned in the MTC" haha. But it's okay, because I'll just work on it and get better and better day after day.
So funny story. Korean is interesting in the fact that it doesn't have certain sounds in their alphabet that we do like "f" or "v" sounds, for example. Therefore, whenever a Korean tries to say an english word with an "f" or a "v", they use a "b/p" sound instead. So, to make things easier for them, English words translated to Korean are just spelled with a "b/p" sound. For example, "Eve" is really pronounced "eebuh". Now, my last name is Graf. So in Korean, it's Grap. HOWEVER, usually, because the "g" sound is the start of the word, it has a harder sound to it in Korean so it really sounds more like a "k" instead. SO, my name in Korean becomes Krap, or, in other words, Crap. So, everyone in my zone just refers to me as Elder Crap hahaha, and I introduce myself as such. Isn't that just wonderful hahaha, imagine a missionary coming up to you on the street and just saying "Hi, my name is Elder CRAP and I have a message for you about Christ. What do ya say!?" Hahahaha, it's the worst (but really the best) and it's exactly what I'm going to be saying for the next two years hahaha.
Also, my travel plans make no sense. The plane we're flying on from Salt Lake to LAX is a tiny little SkyWest plane. So that'll be fun. Then, you would think we're flying from LAX to Korea, but we're not. Instead, we fly to San Francisco from there. Why? I have no idea. But hey, it gives me more time to make phone calls from the airport so that'll be nice. Then, we get on a 747 and fly to Korea. That flight will be fun, but then I saw that the missionaries going to the Seoul mission get to fly on an Airbus A380 (the new double decker plane that is even bigger than the 747) and I'm extremely jealous. Some of the Seoul missionaries were like "so?", and that made me even more jealous, hahaha. I still can't believe that this is actually happening, I'm actually going to South Korea. Am I ready? Well, probably as ready as I'll ever be haha, so it's time to go.
Anyway, the next time I email, I'll be in Korea! I would have loved to send you all my MTC pics, but I lost my memory card so I practically have none on the new one that I bought here from the bookstore. I'll make sure to take tons these next two days so I can send some next week from Korea. Ah! From Korea. Crazy.
-Elder Graf (그라프 장로) (Elder Crap)
Oh, PS, you can email me anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org for free. That way, it won't take 2 weeks for me to get your mail, and you won't have to pay 2 bucks for it either.