Monday, June 29, 2009

Got Milk?

So, I've decided that I don't get enough dairy in my diet anymore. It's really a shame. When and if you ever send a package, will you send me some sort of calcium supplement? I have a multi-vitamin that has about 40% of the recommended value--so anything that's 50%-100% is fine. Check Sam's Club. I'm just scared to buy any sort of vitamins here---I can't read the labels and they consume WEIRD stuff for "medical" purposes.

Speaking of packages--I received the package from the Robisons with dried fruit in it. THANK YOU. It was a package from heaven.

Okay, about the minister/priest we met with: It went okay. He was super excited about the message, told us he thought it was great and that he knew we were true messangers of God. He was excited about Joseph Smith and was glad that we were teaching people that God answers prayers. No real intent to change, though. So--it went about as best as one could hope. The funny thing was that he prayed for us and he kept saying things like "I know these Americans can't understand my prayer, but help the people to listen to them and change their lives!" So, he prayed for others to change, but won't change himself---and he assumed we couldn't understand anything he said. Yes, I was lost a lot, but the other 2 americans there could understand fine. Whatever.

Another memorable thing about the visit was the fact that Elder Murray had a couple of holes in his socks---and the minister's mother, who was sitting in on the lesson, insisted on fixing the holes while we tauught. So this woman was sitting there darning his sweaty, stinky socks while we taught. She is a better woman than I...

I was in Gupo station waiting for a bus the other day when I noticed an unusually large crowd under the bridge. There were a bunch of Korean men shooting crap under the bridge (that's a dice game, not something to do with excrement). The best part is that in Korea they still wear weird colored pinstripe suits--so they looked like a bunch of gangster/gamblers from a musical. I felt like I'd walked into Guys and Dolls and was waiting for my cue to bust out into "Follow the Fold". Ahh, my life.

Mom, in your next email can you send me the top--maybe ten?--things that you think are helpful in having a visiting teaching list function properly? No one does it here---as in they've never heard of it---and I'd like to get it started. The message is in the Liahona--translated in Korean, but they're not making visits. We're going to try to teach the leaders how to organize it. I never really was all that crazy about HT/VT but I've come to realize just how important it is. If these people did it they'd have nearly a stake, and not just a little branch. So---everyone go do your teaching appointments and be grateful you live where the Church is so strong. We as members always need to support one another in all things!

Okay, I'm outta time.

Til next time!


Monday, June 22, 2009

Well, here it is anyway!‏

I know I said I wasn't gonna email, but my companion needed to email, so I'll send a short one.

Today's Korea story: the Bidet. That's one to wikipedia before continuing on (I hope I spelled it right). In case I didn't, a bidet is a fancy toilet that--well--it sprays your bum when you're done. Leave it to the French to invent such a contraption (now I sound way to much like Scott). I had heard of them before coming here, but I didn't expect them to be popular here. Korea is really random in its culture adaptations.

Anyway, the first couple of times there was a Bidet (pronounced buh-day) I just wasn't brave enough to try it. I mean, that just seems like a toilet is trying to get a little too personal. But one day I was feeling adventurous. So, I pushed the little button with the little blue butt-cheeks on it (can I say that in a missionary letter?). Well, the spray was just what you'd expect---just a little awkward, but you could get used to it. The thing that made the experience interesting was something completely different.

I assumed that it would be like a flush---they give you a certain amount of water and you're done: congratulations. Not so. You have to TELL IT to stop. So here I am, sitting there with my bum exposed and the water is getting warmer and warmer--and I'm wondering how long this experience is supposed to last. It felt like an eternity before it occured to me that maybe one button turns it on and you have to either a)press it again or b) push another button to turn it off. Meanwhile, I'm realizing that my companion and hte elders are waiting for me to go and I can't just leave it going because my bum is the only thing keeping it from spraying everywhere. I finally found the stop button. It felt like the longest bathroom visit of my life. The thing does have remarkably good aim, though. Life is full of surprises.

That's about all the storiness I have time for.

Tune in next week to see how our appointment with the minister goes tomorrow. We gave him the Jesus Christ's Gospel pamphlet (what's the pamphlet called in English) that basically outlines AoF 4 (Faith, Repentance, Baptism, Holy Ghost). He loved it so much that he asked for 20 so he can use it as a teaching tool in his Church. We agreed to give him the pamphlets if we can meet with him to discuss it (aka give him a lesson). Hopefully something comes of it.

Anyway, I have to go dry my shoes out or the nasties will start growing (I love Korea).

Much love to all!


Monday, June 15, 2009

A mouth of my life never to be repeated‏

Sorry no letter last week. I typd in your email address wrong. Poo. I resent last weeks letter.

I'll be calling Father's Day sometime shortly after 7PM your time. I'm just gonna call Mom and Dad at the house---any siblings who are able to come are definitely welcome. Um--Mom mentioned going out of town in the last letter. If no one answers at home I'll call Mom's cell phone. Other than that, I don't remember anyone else's phone numbers and I don't really have a way to get them before it's time to call. I got permission to call from the Mission Home, though (it's transfer day for us) so it should work out. Hope that works out.

So, I lost my notebook this week so I didn't take notes on what to write about. I am kind of at a loss. It's crazy how everything in Korea is becoming normal. Normal is definitely a relative term because I still have to convince myself that eating squid is an okay idea (which happens at least once every day). I've been eating it for a month now and I'm not dead yet...

One thing I really miss and took forgranted in the US was the abundance of good pianists. People ask me to do musical numbers all the time here, which is all fine and dandy--and i love singing to invite the Spirit, but it's really hard to sing when the pianist is fumbling. Not that I have room to talk because they are doing better than I would in that situation, but it's frustrating none-the-less. Fumbling piano mixed with sightreading music AND Korean at the same time makes for some interesting rehearsals, but life goes on and it's amazing how you get better as you continue to try.

Some lady just came over and said something about "other people" and "time." That's about all I caught. I think she wants the computer. Too bad. I was here first. She can have it when my hour is up. How's that for a Christlike attitude. I claim American ignorance.

Yesterday we went to a fireside given by the man who first translated the Book of Mormon into Korean. It would have been really cool, except I didn't understand most of it. When I'm in Church meetings I write every word I understand translated into english in a notebook, that way I can catch a theme and some of the message, but with this guy there came a time when I thought he was speaking Japanese. Sis. Beckstead and I got some good tic-tac-toe/note-passing time in. What I did catch was really cool---it was just way over my head. Yay for 2 hours of biographical information in Korean. Welcome to Korea. Welcome to my life.

Sad thing this week is that Yon-Hyon Ryung called up completely drunk and told us she didn't want to be baptized. Satan knows who to target and how to target them. We;ve been praying to figure out how to overcome those things, but it all comes down to agency and her will to cahnge. We haven't given up yet, though. The Spirit is the only reason I feel confident at all in this very delicate work I'm doing---the work of saving souls.

I've started a list--the title I stole from Sis. Hadden: "Things that can't be found for love or money in Korea--or at least a reasonable amount of money--and love was out of the question anyway" From here on out the list will be shortened to TTCBFFLOMIK.

Reeses anything
hand sanitizer
cookies (they exist but they are all missing either fat or sugar or both---you must have both of these to have a cookie)
peanut butter in almost any form
anything with hard red wheat in it
anything with an enriched variation thereon

There are more, but I don't have the list here.

I better take off...there's now a line for the computers.

Much love to all. i'll try to be more organized next time---though next time will only be a few hours after the phone call, so I don't know what I'll have to say.

Until next time!


rocky mountain oysters are nothing‏

(This is last week's letter, which Rachel sent to the wrong email.)

To start off: those who read Scott's letters should write him back and call him a pansy. At least you KNOW what PART of what ANIMAL that is. If that's the weirdest thing he eats on his mission then he's got it made. I eat things weirder than that EVERY DAY!

Karina asked me if it was ok to send pictures and the answer is a resounding YES! Anyone in the family can send me pictures via email or snailmail anytime---much appreciated.

Speaking of, if anyone has any decent pictures of Scott and I TOGETHER I'd love a print of it. Neither of us is overly photogenic, so I think it's kinda unlikely, but some effort to find one might be appreciated.

So, Mom, you'll like this: everyone here has and uses a parasol---and if they don't have a parasol they use their umbrella to shade themselves from the sun. You'd fit right in here!

I've decided that watermelon is the most misused and abused flavor in America. That pansy adaptation they call watermelon is just high fructose corn syrup as you well know. Well, here they have things that are watermelon flavored and DUN DUN DUN---it tastes like watermelon! The tomato and watermelon smoothie was a little weird, though. The Koreans loved it. I ate it because it tasted more normal than whatever was in the soup that smelled like vomit. My life is so fun.

People here are obsessed with blood types. No joke. People ask "What's your name, where are you from, how big is your family and what is your blood type?" It's kinda weird. It's sort of like your astrology signs (capricorn, aries, etc...) and they associate certain personalities with certain blood types. On top of it there are "horoscopes" so you can know what kind of a day you'll have if you're A+ or whatnot. I tell people I'm O + and 1) they're surprised the American knows her blood type and 2) their eyes light up like they suddenly know everything about me. Weird.

Can anyone tell me why I heard the impossible rumor that Obama made gay marriage legal in all 50 states? That kinda thing doesn't happen overnight---what started this nasty rumor?

Um, Mom, can you forward me the email Pres. Jennings sent about me? I was kinda sad when Scott mentioned it in a letter and I had no idea what he said about me. Apparently the whole world has read this letter and I haven't :). Also, what did he say in the snail mail letter?

A little news about N. Korea would be appreciated. Chalene mentioned something about nuclear testing and the next day we got some adament phone calls about 72-hr kits and re-reading exacuation procedures so you know them well. I'm sure we're afe here, but it'd be nice to know what the hype is about.

I've decided that the Buddhists have it figured out. I'm trekking around Korea in the heat and humidity with nylons and dress shoes not to mention the frumpy skirts while the Buddhist monks where lightweight neutral colored robes that hide stains and wear socks and tennis shoes. Church headquarters should look into revising the uniform plan.... :)

So I didn't fully realize it until this week, but as I was slowly learning the names of people and places I put t he strangest titles to things in my head. Some examples are : smurf-land, flame office church (my Korean comp tried to tell me it was by the fire station, but what came out was flame office), radish street (there's a giant statue of a radish on an archway---weird), and ugly lady (there's a picture of an ugly, immodest woman there.) These are just a few examples. The list, I'm finding is endless. At least I know the real names of things now and they're starting to sound normal.

As for the work it's slowly progressing. We had to drop several investigators this week, which was depressing, but one of them agreed to be baptized 20 June (the one who broke up with her boyfriend). We're praying for her to make it through. She's great! We've decided to spend more time in Gupo because it's been kinda ignored the last few transfers and therefore the members don't really trust us. Hopefully we can make it better for missionaries to come and help the members get fired up about the work.

WE had choir practice in Gupo. That adventure. The whole branch is in the choir---I'm not sure who we're planning to sing to...

Well, we're going to go play soccer. Much love to all!


Monday, June 1, 2009

Are you exciting?

That is one of the most common questions you'll receive in Korea when people want to practice their english on you--they mean "are you excited".

Just so you all know--Asian post-it's are vicious. They don't use the same kind and gentle glue that we all know and love in America. It's a close substitute, but you DO have to be aware or you'll tear things apart with them.

So, last week we went to Beomosa, one of the largest Buddhist temples in the world. That was a very interesting experience. I'm not sure what makes people attracted to the idea of becoming nothingness, but it's interesting to see their practices. Seems kinda depressing to me. It's a different world over here.

Funny thing at Beomosa: Sis. Beckstead asked if the watermelon the giftshop cashier was eating tasted good and we all ended up having watermelon shoved under our noses. It's rude not to share something if someone even hints they want some, so we ended up eating half their watermelon on accident. We felt kinda bad...such is life.

I had the chance to go to the Gupo Branch for the first time this week. I went on a split. It was fun. At the end of the Church I had four different Sisters grab my wrist and try to drag me to their house for lunch, but of course I couldn't because I had to meet my companion in Gimhae (feels weird to write that romanized). People like feeding the missionaries here. Yesterday I'm fairly certain I ate my body weight over again.

Korea is crazy. Friday I went on a split uh-ehm "companion exchange" with Sis. Beckstead. We were visiting members' homes, but it's next to impossible to kind anything in this country. We had an adventure anyway. We started in this uppity Korean apartment complex complete with guards and gates. Then, less than a 5-minute walk away, we landed in an impoverished area. I felt like we were in Guatamala and that the shacks were made of whatever materials happened to be available at the time. After that we found this old-looking stucco wall that looked like the wall to an old Spanish mission. On the wall in old-style calligraphy there was some english writing. I started to sound it out, "Yes--ter--day...all---my---turr-oubles---WAIT A SECOND...." Yes, it was the Beatles song, just imprinted on the wall. Weird.

When people eat pizza here they roll it up like a crescent roll and shove most of it in their mouth at once (the crust is thinner). Puts a new meaning to "pizza rolls".

The Korean word for "cherry tomato" literally translated means "jingle bell tomato". It tickled my fancy. They eat them for dessert. Mary would be in heaven.

I love this experience. People need the Gospel more than they really know, and seeing the light in their eyes when they feel the truth ring true in their hearts is AMAZING!! That's something I can't bring them---it has to come through the Spirit. I love seeing people finally find the peace they gave up on looking for so long ago.

Yon Hyon Ryong (Probably a bad American spelling, but whatever) one of my investigators, is doing really well. She broke up with her boyfriend because he told her that she shouldn't go to Church. When we found out that was why they broke up we partied (so far as missionaries party---we went and got ice cream). I've never been so happy somone broke up before.

Thanks for the email Karina. It sounds like things are going well for you. Let me know how the vomit comet is!

So there's this woman who climbs up and down our stairs every morning calling for peoples' dry cleaning. What makes this funny is that the word for dry cleaning is "Say-talk" which sounds like "satan". That mixed with her ominous voice and the way it echoes in our stairwell makes for an oddly creepy experience as this crazy lady is calling for "satan".

There are two responses I get when I say I'm from Colorado--they are: "Where" and "Ahh, cowboy country!" It then gets worse when they ask if I have a boyfriend (and they ALWAYS ask) followed by a desire to see a picture. The picture of choice for me to show is the one with him all dressed up as a cowboy in Montana. They must all think that's what we dress like all the time. I like it. That mixed with the fact that Sis. Beckstead has various scholarships from rodeo-ing (is that how you gerrund that in English?) so they must think ALL americans are cowboys or cowgirls...

Anyway, I've been here too long. Nice talking to you all.