September 21, 2011

Greetings from a พีไทย!

Well, takes forever to type in Thai, since I don't know where any of the letters are.  It's like blind hunt and peck, but I also have to use shift to get all the characters.  If anyone finds a chart for typing in ไทย, I'd love a copy. 
Well, my title says พีไทย - Phii Thay, older Thai.  It's pretty cool that we have the new Thai missionaries coming.  Well, tomorrow we get Naang Thay, our younger thai missionaries.  Just two sisters.  We are excited!  We already have plans and goals to help them (For my TL friends, I must add that we do have a vision for us as Phii Thay, it's written on our board so we remember it and work towards it).  We don't get a Thai elder.  (Elder Staten would have called him Winston, I wanted to call him Zoram, but there is no Elder.)  So it's back to the three of us in our room, because Elder Burbank has left.  Elder Burbank went to the doctor, who just said he was sick of seeing him, just go to Oklahoma.  Once the man who is in charge heard of this, he had a plane ticket and plans for Elder Burbank within 20 minutes, and Elder Burbank left the next morning.  It was insane. 
The night Elder Burbank left we did something quite fun - MOIUT with Elder Staten, our ROTC Army man.  MOIUT is Millitary Operations In Urban Terrain.  So during Gym Elder Burbank and I learned how to do such things in the building where the Gym was.  We used coat hangars, and ran around, until security was called on us (we think, we didn't wait to find out), then we went into the Gym and did martial arts. 
Thai is coming along really well.  Yesterday I had to ask what language we'd been using, I'd forgotten.  I forget everything though.  But Thai isn't that foreign now.  Not that we can say our understand much, we do our best.  We are doing quite well.  Reading is much closer, I've started to figure out how to read in the tones without having to recreate the tone chart in my head for each syllable.  That means I will be able to read propperly with enough practice under my current method.  It can be sped up, recreating the chart never would be fast enough to really read.  I also am starting to have a lot of words I recognise on sight - the real way to read, not just sound out fast.
Saturday we taught a RM in the TRC (I hope I explained the TRC somewhere else), we found out after that he went to CA, speaking Laotion.  It's really similar to the dialect in Essan, as they border.  His tones were all different, and he used different words for things.  Fortunately he knew enough Thai that it worked more or less.  I really hope that Laos opens up and we are among the first missionaries into the Country.  I plan on getting a Lao Book of Mormon before leaving just in case.  Their writing is also similar, it seems more like Cambodian than Thai script though.  There are some languages related to Thai, but not many. 
Speaking of Cambodians, we have new Cambods, Mongs, Koreans and Vietnamese on our floor (the classrooms at our end of the hall) as of last Wed.  It makes me happy.  I even taught one of the Cambods Cham Rab Sua, Hello, his first word of Cambodian.  And the Mongs asked if I knew Mong when I popped my head into their room on the first day.  It helps to know a few random words in the other languages. 
Well, this week I read Psalm 119 - it's long, but it's terrific. 
The work goes on and on.  And the English speaking missionaries keep on rotating in and out like crazy.  We'll be in the field soon enough.  Until then, everything we do is in anticipation of that time, to be as ready as possible.
Choog Dii!
Elder Robert Buss

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