Wednesday, April 18. I bawled a lot. So did my mom. We dropped off Elder Spud at the MTC. It involved Daddy, Mama, Andrew, Elder Spud, and I, and a silver rental car my parents got for the trip. It also involved a camera to capture some memories of this moment. Can I just say that it was a sunny day?
Ya, that whole "TASH! Keep your eyes open!" thing got pretty old pretty darn fast. I'm sure Daddy got rather sick of it as well, since he was the one who had to keep telling me to open up my pretty eyeballs. It's just that they can get twitchy from trying so hard to keep them open. You'd think that people would learn to appreciate my fine makeup skills and just call it good. Or maybe I should learn to masterfully apply eye shadow to create the illusion of a glimmering eye upon my closed eyelid. Then it wouldn't matter WHEN people took my picture. I would always be prepared! MWAHAHAHAHAHA! WHAT NOW, CAMERA?!?!
Observe!Open eyes: Notice the bizarre squint that appears in the corner of the eyes, the unnatural expression induced by the strain placed upon the eyeball-keeping-open-muscles, the excessively strange shape of the eyelashes.
Closed eyes: Notice the........ natural appearance.......... of ........... that...... thing.......
Contrary to obvious appearances, those shapes are not Dr. Seuss fish, but are in fact mine own makeup-festooned eyelids. Also, I do not intend to sport a Grinch-like grin. It was purely incidental, I assure you.
Anyway, after we took lots of pictures with and of Elder Spud, we all piled in the car. I got to sit by my brother. I was in the middle because that's the smallest spot, and I'm still the smallest person. (I have officially given up on being a big kid. Ever. I'm doomed to this shortness. But there are benefits to being short. You're cute and you can get away with things.) Andy was in the backseat too, and he spent most of the 10 minute ride bracing himself for what it would be like when there was no Elder Spud in the car. When we got to the MTC, there were loads of people to tell us where to go and whisk the new missionaries away and show them around and help them to settle in. We parked by the curb slot #23, and then all piled out of the car. We pulled Elder Spud's stuff out, and then stared forlornly at him. We took some more pictures. I wasn't in them, because now not only was it sunny, there was also some strange blob of liquid in my eyes that made them even harder to open... at least while maintaining at least some semblance of a humanoid facial structure.
And then Elder Spud marched into the MTC. He's there now. He's learning the Thai language, and is already learning how to be both the most popular guy on campus, and also one of the biggest trouble makers. He likes to tease other missionaries. I shall give unto you an example.
Elder Spud and some other missionaries were studying Thai. One of the sister missionaries had made lots of flashcards to study vocab words. Elder Spud thought he'd be clever and pull a trick on her. He took another note card and wrote some random symbols on it (I think that he calls the writing "script," but I'm not sure), and wrote a definition on the back. He challenged her ability to name off all of the vocab, a challenge which the sister valiantly accepted. She was doing very well until Elder Spud pulled out his own card. She tried so very hard to remember, but it's so very hard to remember a vocab term that isn't real. She got frustrated and grabbed the card from Elder Spud and read the back: "Why are you so mad?" She was not quite as amused as was Elder Spud. Isn't he a goon? But he's also a great goon. We are so proud of him!
Andy did well to prepare for the departure of Elder Spud. It turned out that he had brought chocolate truffles as well as mint Milano cookies, favorites of both Mama's and mine. There was crying and bawling and missing Elder Spud, though he had just barely walked into the MTC. Andy patted me on the head and gave me another cookie every time I heaved a sob. You can't sob with a cookie in your mouth, can you? After dropping Elder Spud off, Andy and I still both had one more final exam each before we were done with classes. We made it through. I held so tightly to my chocolate truffle that it melted in my pocket during my final. My consolation melted. *sigh* I miss my brother, but I know that he's in the right place doing the right thing. And that is consolation enough for me. Except for a chocolate truffle sounds pretty darn good. I like those things. .... Andrew....???