Original article posted by Greg:

Well friends, come Saturday I will be one month away from Taiwan. I have nothing else to say about that.

My goal for the day is to memorize 80 words, which thing I have never done before. Therefore I shall have to be brief.

I have had a goal to write back to every person who writes to me on the first P-Day or Sunday available. Thanks to my brash 80-word goal, and Spencer this is now impossible. For which I have to thank Spencer. It makes up for the postage due on your first letter. Those were some pricey Werther’s Originals.

So, let’s get straight to the news. Despite a rotten weekend last week, it’s been pretty good. The natives are restive, the peasants remain in a non-volting state, and remain well within the realms of the cult, canny and scrutable.

On Tuesday we learned “the ba principle.” “ba” is a word which doesn’t translate in to English and has no place in our grammar. So it can be a little tricky to get. I overcame this obstacle by assigning it an English term with no real meaning.

To use “ba,” it’s kind of like “grab” or “get” or “obtain” or “have.” The usage can be something like “you ba napkin, give me.” (nib a conjin gei wo). This allows us to separate 2 objects in a sentence which might be somewhat confusing: “You give me napkin.” See, in that instance, you can’t tell what is getting verb’d. So you can use ba to separate. And if you use my translation of “ging Ni ba canjin jiao gei wo” you end up with “please you amp-up that napkin and give it to me.”

So now you know some Chinese. Woot.

In other news, my bartending skills are already paying off in the mission. In the MTC they give you free ice cream sandwiches at lunch and dinner if you want. Wherefore, I have created the Ice-cream-sandwich shake, by mushing it up with a cup of milk.

This passes as news for me.

I find myself relying on the ancient haiku:

Child named “spatula”
Has no instant career
Like “habib.” Mudflap.

Sister Mary Ellen Edmunds spoke Sunday. She was quite funny… Especially since her first mission was to Taiwan where she learned Mandarin. She relates: “I quickly noticed that this isn’t a language. It’s funny little noises. And then I found out that it’s funny little noises with tones. And those tones are really important. The little kids ran around me laughing and showing off – talking to me. I wanted to smack ‘em. I wanted to say ‘Hey! I’ve got a college degree! You can’t make fun of me for not knowing these funny little noises!’ But of course I didn’t know the noises to say that.”

We all had a good laugh. It seems missionaries back 40 years ago were moving their heads up and down with the tones, just like today.

What a funny ‘ol world it its.

Finally, one of our teachers, a Computer Science major originally from Taiwan, keeps saying, “we need to find the kernel of truth.”

I told him we need to decompile the kernel of truth. He laughed for a long time.

Spencer: thanks for the letters. Tell your harem thank you from me.
Jared: I understand you have some interesting intentions towards me. Perhaps we need to have a talk.
Stephanie: Don’t forget I love you and also you should send popcorn balls.
Mom & Dad: What’s the latest? Please send jerky and possibly rice-crispy treats. Also I love you guys too. And stuff.
Eric: Thanks for the letter. I have frequently considered making a comic strip of the mission, but studying Chinese pretty much rules out everything else. And yes, I checked for wayward alarm clocks based on your advice.
Mickelle: Thank you very much. It always warms my heart to hear from you in any medium.
Blaine: All your base, your base, your base…
Ryan: Now belong to us.
Abe: You rock. Send pics.
Hastings: You rock more. Tell Abe to send pics.
Rachel: Shouldn’t you be studying?
Kaye: Can I?
Rodney: Heard a little about what is going on. Need non-hearsay

To all: The Church is true. I learn it over and over again every day. Faith precedes the miracle, and the trial of your faith will be more valuable than gold.

— The Candy Thief.

Orginal comments:

Nickname: lovestruck84
Re: Greg’s letter 03/27/04
Well I hope I have the right person and I am commenting to bluepatch(by the way, never knew your real name) So I hope this is you. I boycotted opendiary for awaile because of some emotional turmoil that was going on. But I did read your last entry and saw that you have relocated. Anyway, I love your writing enough to register to this websight, so here I am! I would love to exchange emails with you, so feel free to email me at Daisie105@lycos.com or Kakolewski@fordham.edu. If you cant, perhaps I will come here from time to time to check up on you.
Good luck!