I have one more story with Thay Tuan that I forgot to write about last week. One day (I think it was his last Saturday here) Thay Tuan came in at a time when we did not expect to see a teacher, rummaged through the books on the shelf in our classroom, and started muttering in Vietnamese. I didn't quite catch what he said, but when he walked back out of the room empty-handed (except for his water bottle, of course) Chi Dao had a perplexed expression and asked, "What did he just say?" I replied that I thought he said that Co Huong had taken his book. She started laughing because she thought he had said 'the xac' which means body and sounds like 'sach' which means book. My understanding of Thay Tuan's muttering made a lot more sense.
The southeast Asia hallway is now complete! The Laotians arrived this week! There are four elders learning Laotian and they are all going to Sacramento. They are a very nice addition to our already very friendly hallway. We all greet one another in each others' languages, so we all know greetings in Thai, Khmer, Hmoob (Hmong), tieng Viet, and Laotian. Most of also can throw in a bit of Korean, Mandarin, and Japanese. I have joked in the past that our hallway speaks many languages, but we will all express dismay in Hmong: "Ai-ya!" It's supposed to be "ob yo," the way Elder Burdick says it is just so much fun. This week I learned the first bit of Joseph Smith's account of the First Vision in Hmong. I don't know it in Vietnamese, but I can say it in Hmong. Also, I have found a way to keep myself from getting too bored during meals. Really, the issue is that I eat fast, but I tease that my companions believe that a meal is like a gaseous fluid which expands to fill the space alotted to it, so if we have 45 minutes for a meal, they will take 45 minutes to eat, and then I get bored. This past week I've started having the Cambodian elders teach me little bits of Cambodian while I wait for my companions. It's fun! Lest you think I am neglecting the language in which I have been called to preach the gospel, let me assure that Vietnamese has been lots of fun lately. President Nally recruited the Cambodian and Vietnamese districts to come up with a musical number to perform in a meeting, so I've been working on memorizing the first verse of "Come Thou Fount" in Vietnamese (thank you Thay Kiet for giving us the translation before you left). Also, Vietnamese has started invading circumstances when we really ought to be sticking with our native tongue. Sometimes I try to read something in English and it doesn't make sense because I try to use Vietnamese pronounciation. The other day Anh ca Chinh read 'Elder Richard G. Scott' and read the period after G as a dau nang. This morning I woke up and realized I had been dreaming in Vietnamese. It wasn't 100% Vietnamese, but there was a lot.
The highlight of the week was probably naming Look kruu Stevens. Everyone else is the Vietnamese classroom has a Vietnamese name, and he wanted one too. Our district had talked about coming up with a name for him, but when the topic came up while Look kruu Stevens was teaching last night, we hadn't decided anything. I had an idea though. I had not yet discussed it with the district, but Anh ca Chinh told me to go for it, so I did. Look kruu Stevens has now been renamed Thay Chung. Chung means to be universal or held in common; to finish or (when thuy, the name of our investigator, is added before it) to go to the end; or bell (a meaning for which I made a leadership analogy which I do not have time to type). He loved it, so it has been settled. Other highlight of the week: running through the sprinkler in the field durign gym time. No one has ever told me we can't run through sprinklers, and it was hot. Two weeks left until Cambodia! Chi Hoa