So I'll just start this one out with the word of the week. Let's be real, that's the most exciting part anyway. Anyway, mikitika, mee-KEE-tee-kah, means to tickle. Then, if you double the root it turns into mikitikitika, mee-kee-tee-KEE-tee-kah, which means to mess around with, or tinker while having absolutely no idea what the heck you're doing, as in, "I don't actually know how to fix the car, but if I just open the hood and tighten some stuff and put some more oil in, then it should work..." It's also just fun to say, so have at it!
Last Monday we all went to Lake Tritriva, sorry, LAC Tritriva... (that French stuff gets everywhere!). Anyway, it was a nice long bumpy ride, but then it was super pretty! It's up in the mountains and you get a beautiful view of most of Antsirabe from up there. It's mostly a tourist attraction, so when we got there all of us white folk had to pay the vazaha price while Elder Andriamanganoro, the only Malagasy missionary in Antsirabe right now, got to pay the Malagasy price which was several times cheaper. And then we got hounded by people selling souvenirs. That was pretty funny because they all have jacked up prices because they're used to selling to French tourists. So they would run up and show us their carved rocks or bracelets and say, "Mora be!" Which means, "very cheap!" Then when asked how much their little polished rock was, they would reveal that it was more than the cost of my food for a day if I ate out for every meal. But the lake was super pretty, I took some pictures on other people's cameras, because I still haven't figured out what's wrong with mine. Most of that is probably due to the fact that usually I don't have time to mess around with it (mikitikitika, see how useful it is?).
Then, some exciting news about this week is that the rain has started for real! The even more exciting news is that I left my raincoat back at the other house when I moved, and I didn't get a chance to get that until three days after it started raining! It's a good thing my bag is waterproof... The rain is a blast though! It just comes and comes. Whenever it starts looking like it's about to rain everybody rushes home. Then when it does come, people are crowded underneath any canopy or overhang they can get under! You'd think that people would be used to rain in a place with a nice monsoon season every year, but they're not. It's super funny. The rainy season hasn't started for real yet though, so far it's kind of clear to mostly clear in the mornings, then by about 2 the sky gets dark and cloudy, and then it rains from around 2:30ish to around 7, and then it's just drizzles the rest of the evening. Then repeat the next day! The coolest parts are that the clouds are always a lot lower than back home, so they're super huge and you can see them in detail really well! I'll have to send some pictures. And then the rain also fills up all of the sewage ditches, so you have to be careful which puddles you walk through, but that's just part of the fun! Final note, water proof shoes aren't really that waterproof... If it's not raining and you're just walking through water, they work great. But when it is raining, the water is just running down your legs into your shoes anyway, so that's that. Actually, they do a really good job of keeping the water in once it's there, so I guess they are pretty waterproof...
Let's see... notable things this week would include a split with my district leader, Elder Bowler. He is the second counselor in the Branch Presidency in the Manandona Branch, just South of Antsirabe. He's super funny and way good at Malagasy so it was way fun! However, we only taught two times and half of Preach My Gospel class before we had to go home because he was having some stomache problems... He was just laying on the floor while I taught PMG class... That was a bummer... Pun intended...
Then yesterday I learned how to make mofo sira which means salt bread. It should probably be called mofo siramamy, or sugar bread, because the recipie uses 1/4 kg of sugar, but only a spoonful of salt... Oh, it's also makes enough to feed a small neighborhood... They make it in a muffin tin over a fire, and it's essentially just muffin tops, it's pretty good though.
This week we had lunch with all of the missionaries at the couple missionaries' house. Elder and Sister Tolman, who are actually from American Fork too!, made us some delicious chili and cornbread. Of course, the chili was over rice because you have to have rice with every meal, every Malagasy knows that! Then we had ice cream and cake, which was some of the most delicious stuff I have eaten in since Sister Adams's food the first day in country. Then I also got to check their scale, which actually works. I'm still five pounds under my post MTC weight, but I lost 10 lbs when I got sick last month, so I've gained five back!
The final notable accomplishment is that I made bread again this week and it was heavenly. Thanks for the advice, Trent, because it turned out much better this time. I thought it was so good looking that I sent home a picture for all of you to enjoy to. Except you don't get to taste it... I made some rolls too, and it was nice to just eat bread and rolls for essentially half of the meals this week.
Something I've been working on a lot with those I teach is the principle of obedience. In John 7:17 it says if any man will DO Christ's will, THEN he will know if it is of God. That's true with just about anything, if you want to know if the Word of Wisdom is true, then follow it. If you want to know if the Book of Mormon is true, then read it. If you want to know if God exists, or even if you just aren't sure, then follow every single one of his commandments as best as you can and pray to him, then you'll know. I know that seems backwards logic, but science has figured this concept out too. It's been proven that if you want to be happy, then live and act as if you already are, then the happiness will come. If you don't know if God exists, then live and act as if he does and the knowledge will come. That's an eternal concept, and I know it works. God exists and he is our literal father. The gospel has brought me so much joy not just because it's something I can believe in to improve myself, but because I know that it is true and that my Heavenly Father, who has all power and wisdom, is on my side and wants me to be happy. I know this stuff is true, and like I tell those I talk to here, if I didn't know it was true than I wouldn't have left home and my schooling to come work on the other side of the world.
Love you all!