Well this week has been a blast. I am going to spend this email only talking about two things. The first was that this week I was blessed with the opportunity to go to a traditional Chinese funeral. That was absolutely amazing. We were able to go because the widow is a member and we wanted to go and support her. So we went with the sisters in our ward to show a united missionary presence. So we got on one of the shuttle buses that was provided by the mission home and took it up the mountain that is near us. Then we got there and the whole building smelled like incense. Then we went up to the floor that the funeral "chapel" and in the lobby there were huge paper planes and Mercedes cars and bridges and homes that you could buy and burn to send to your ancestors. Then when we got to the outside of the chapel we had to sign our names... in Chinese. I couldn't use the two characters that mean "Elder" because it was disrespectful, so I had to write the other two that I had never done before. And with characters there is a special order that you have to draw each line and it is different for each character so I just did the best I could and one of the members that was standing behind me laughed at me but, meh. Then we lined up in the doorway and were allowed in and formed 2 lines of 5 and bowed to the huge picture of the deceased man and then turn to the left and bow to the widow and her 2 daughters all dressed in black. There were three "priests" in the corner singing and burning incense and playing all sorts of instruments I had never seen before. Then occasionally the family and the "priests" would come in to the middle of the room and do some stuff. I can't possibly describe it with words. So we stayed for an hour or two and I just stared at stuff. Also by the way the whole ceremony was done in "written" which is the other version of Cantonese that you need in order to read characters so I understood almost none of it. It is impossible to put in to words. Then we left and had to reverse the bowing in process. On the way out we were given a paper envelope that contained a $1 coin and a candy. The $1 we had to spend that night or else it was bad luck so we went to McDonald's and got some Ice cream. It was by far the most profoundly Chinese thing I had ever seen and the first time I had seen people worshiping idols like that. I was very cool and made me very thankful for our knowledge of the Plan of Salvation.
The other thing happened today. A man named Yoshi "Changed" us today. Which means he fed us. At a Chinese buffet. So how it worked was that he booked 2 and a half hours for the 7 of us (me and my companion, The assistants, and two other companionship). And it was all you can eat and we went so hard. They had German Wurst and cakes and all sorts of pasta and things. It was amazing. I also learned that there is a special way to eat a lot of food. I can go in to that later. It was great we stuffed ourselves then walked around the mall and then came back and did it again and I have never been so full in my life. It was awesome. Plus a lot of good fun with the other Elders and Yoshi.
Love you all,
So, I live in a mall and it is super busy
In our apartment building with new suit and haircut
Out in the world near a race track in Fotan
Race track They had to use the facilities so took pictures
The tree in my office that my family sent to me.
(he was very happy we attached a G.I .Joe before we sent the tree!)
It got kind of cold and I put a sweater on, my companion from California was freezing
Christmas door hanger. I also have a stocking my family sent me that I'll send a pic of later
At the Chinese buffet
Yoshi and I