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Monday, March 30, 2009

Phone Call From the Airport

RoseE actually did call, and Teancum and I got to talk to her.

She is very excited to be going to Korea (via Los Angeles and Seoul then Busan).

Todd "happened" to meet her at the airport as he was flying out to Long Beach, CA. I hope he gives her a hug.

Cat's message to her was: be good, be safe, and don't die. I passed that along, and added Cat's work phone number in case she has a chance to call her sister directly.

I did not cry, but only just.

Shipping Out

RoseE flies out of Salt Lake City this morning at 0945, going to LAX, and from there to Korea.

She say she gets to call home from the airport.

I think I'm going to cry. Again.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Excerpts From President Jennings to Grama Hadden 5/6/09

RoseE's grandmother, JoAnn, knows President Jennings' son Ken, and wrote to President Jennings about the connection.

President Jennings wrote back:

"Sister Hadden:

I received your letter that you sent through "Dear Elder" today and my wife and I were delighted that you are following Sister Hadden's progress here in Busan Korea. I called her tonight and told here that we received a letter from you and her response was "Oh, no!" We laughed a lot.

Sister Hadden is doing very well. As you indicated, her ability to learn a new language is quite amazing. Korean is much more difficult for native English speakers than are the Indo-Eurpoean languages, but she is well ahead of the curve for new missionaries. Interestingly, in a foreign culture where interactions are based on different verbal and non-verbal signals than we are used to in the West, I don't believe that a person with Asperger Syndrome* will have much of a problem. It's all new to everyone here. In any case, I have not seen any evidence of difficulty between companions or with local member relations. . .

. . . Our family was raised in Korea and Singapore where I worked for over 15 years as an attorney specializing in international joint ventures and technology licenses. . .

We love Sister Hadden and she is already making a remarkable contribution to our mission. I wouldn't worry about her ability to fit in and do her part without any difficulty. After all, the Lord qualifies whom he calls, and she was called to THIS mission by a Prophet of the Lord. What more can we ask?

President & Sister Jennings
Korea Busan Mission"

*Asperger's syndrome: (also called Asperger's disorder, Asperger's or AS) is a high-functioning autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and people with AS therefore show significant difficulties in social interaction and restricted, stereotyped patterns of behavior and interests. AS runs in our family, although RoseE has never been diagnosed with it.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

letter received 3/28/09

RoseE writes:

"Dear Mum,

I left all my usable pens in the classroom. The ones in my room are dead, save for this, which I stole from Elder Kerrigan and which is nearly dead. But I am using it to write and make sure that you are actually really truly okay because there are rules about what moms are allowed to do while their daughters are on missions and "require hospitalizations" is NOT on the list. I checked.

But the (Relief Society) (Sister)(s) are taking good care of you, right? And Marjie and Jean are being big girls and managing on their own? And you are sleeping and watching all my movies? * (Dig out Cyrano de Bergerac. It's sooo good. It's in the open box in the storage room, right near the top.) (Oh, and tell Bethe it's okay if she watches my Doctor Who DVDs--just remember to put them right back in their cases or they'll get scratched and the dialogue won't be snappy anymore.)

Seriously, I'm glad you're okay, and I'm sorry you didn't get to go see Cat. I know you were looking forward to that. Are you going to reschedule for when you're back on your feet? Nothing like watching birds and alligators for convalescence.

I will do my best to call in the morning, keeping in mind that the MTC waits for no man.

My two companions are having crises with their mothers. "I asked my mom for shirts and she sent me all the wrong ones . . . " "I told my mom to send me deodorant and she HASN'T SENT IT . . ." [It's a little bit Anastasia-and-Griselda (they were the wicked stepsisters in Cinderella, right?). I'm not sure if they're just in bad moods because of Korea-packing stress or if I genuinely have a well-above-average mom. I'm leaning towards the latter, but I'll be charitable and say both. My mom drove two hours** with a stone in her gall bladder to buy tag magnets for my companions. My mom writes to me and tells me she loves me and is proud of me. My mom plays the BAGPIPES. My mom is cool.***

Are you gonna go to Emily's wedding?

I love you.


*How did she know? I watched all her Audrey Hepburn movies while I was recovering!

**In fact, it was Todd who drove, and I wasn't in pain until the next afternoon.

*** This was actually in the letter; I did not make it up. Truth!

# See RoseE's new address, at right!-------->

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

24 March 2009 P-Day email

RoseE writes:

"Dearest Mum,

Thank you SO MUCH for the tag magnets. I'm sorry it was such a goshawful hassle! I really appreciate it, and so do my companions. They've been jealous of my tag magnet since the first day. Did you really have to come all the way down here to Provo to get them? I'm so sorry! I wish I could have just hopped on a bus to go grab some, but, well, I'm stuck. Here. In the MTC. Where they don't sell tag magnets. But thank you, thank you, thank you. And for the crazy amounts of chocolate (mmmm . . . joyous to the soul) and the tea (which makes me sooo happy; I'm up to two cups a day with no end in sight). And especially the pictures. (We had included our pictures from France in the last care package) I went through the whole massive stack about five times, including with my francophone district-mates, and then spent an hour sorting out the ones I felt I absolutely needed to take to Korea with me. These ones tended to be the ones that made me think "Wow . . . they all look miserably cold and wet, in an obscure corner of France where there are no tourists at this time of year. Yep, that's my family." I particularly liked the kiss in front of the Eiffel tower . . . first because it was a kiss in front of the Eiffel tower, and secondly because I flipped it over to the excited exclamation of "This is where Hitler got his picture taken when he came to Paris!" Yup . . . that's my parents.

So basically I kept all the pictures of people, and sorted them neatly into my photo album. Also the Nike of Samothrace, which I love, and Notre Dame. So I'll have something to remind me of how much I love France as I'm learning to love Korea.

So I'm flying out on Monday!!! My flight SLC-LAX leaves at 9:45, and then I'm in LAX from 10:45 (pacific) to 12:30, when my plane leaves for Seoul. When will be the best time for me to call home? Should I call the home phone or somebody's cell? Please DearElder me the answers, since I won't be able to check e-mail again at the MTC.

So . . . news of the week. It's been an 'off' week, because Sister Copeland has been down with 'flu or something so we three spent a day and a half holed up in our residence hall in teacher-imposed quarantine. It was starting to smell kind of funky. Far be it from me, however, to complain about a whole day to sleep, study, read, and get stuff organized. A real break! After two and a half months! Glory hallelujah.

On Sunday we got to listen in on the last session of the Draper temple dedication. The session started at 4:30, and we all had to be seated in the immaculately-clean gym by 4, and missionaries are always at least fifteen minutes early for everything, so we actually made it to our seats at about 3:35 (right after our talk-free, just-pray-sing-and-go Sacrament Meeting) and sat in absolute silence (all 3,000-some-odd of us) for a solid hour. Then another hour and a half for the dedication itself. Then we got to have a picnic dinner on the floor of our classroom, which was a lot of fun, and troop back down to the same gym for the Sunday Night Fireside, which thankfully was given by Bro. Allen, the Guy in Charge of the Missionary Department. This is the third time in three months he's given a fireside, but I don't mind. He's the funniest speaker we've got. He also lets the elders take off their jackets, which everyone appreciates because that gym can get baking hot very easily, but most speakers won't even think about letting the elders take their jackets off. Poor guys. It almost makes the pantyhose easier to bear.

We got the health-and-safety-in-the-mission-field talk today. We were all excited about this because our Japanese roommates told us that they'd been instructed to Not Get A Pet Monkey, Because You Will Get Rabies And Die. So we were all excited for the Monkey Speech, and not a word of monkeys did we get. Just an admonition to never pet a baby raccoon, no matter how cute it is. Also do not tie sheets together and rappel out of your fourth-story apartment window. We also got to stay behind a few minutes because "they needed to have a word particularly with the sisters." You never saw so many elders clear a room so quickly. Just the thought of the threat of the "M" word makes them take off running for the hills. They're funny.

Speaking of funny elders, I keep intending to type up some of the District Quote List, which I have been collecting since January. Here are a few of the best, as well as I remember them:

Elder Lallatin: Pretty Girl! *hyperventilates* BEAR TESTIMONY!

Elder Gygi: I know just enough Thai to be dangerous.

Elder Conley: *about the MTC* The possibilities are endlessly limited!

Sister Copeland: Don't listen to me. I have a humidifier. I don't know what I'm doing.

Sister Linford: Hey, Conley Changnonim, catch my trash!

Elder Kerrigan: *reading out of Preach My Gospel* "Ask yourself, 'Am I a blessing or a burden to the bishop?'" Hopefully you can answer YES!. . . because if you can't answer 'yes', you probably just didn't show up to your mission at all . . .

Sister LeBaron (our teacher): I'm having a brain freeze.
Sister Hadden: That makes ten of us.
Elder Lallatin: Hey, wait! Uh . . .
Elder Gygi: Told ya.

Brother Thiel: *examining a stain on the cover of his PMG* What is that? Kimchi?
Elder Kerrigan: Hot sauce?
Elder Barzee: I'm pretty sure it's John the Baptist . . .

Okay, that's some of the best ones that I can remember, and I only have five minutes left. So . . . um . . .

Oh, Shirley the Floor Mom has "smuggled in" a VCR and some exercise videos, so I can do yoga instead of hanging around in the increasingly-boring gym fighting for exercise machines. She's waiting for permission to keep the videos up there, so while the bureaucracy grinds on, I'm doing yoga in the comfort of my own lobby. Yaaay!

I did a bunch of mending today, of which I am very proud.

And . . . I'm excited to go to Korea. There's a lot that I'll miss about the MTC, but I'm really, really ready to not be here anymore. It's been a very long time in a very small space. Hopefully North Korea will not do anything stupid until after I make it to Pusan.

And . . . Oh, crap, my mission address! Just a minute.


Crap, I don't have the dang thing on me. I'll pop it in the letter I'm sending to Cat.

I love you all! Take care of yourselves and BE SAFE, because I freak out enough about you all without you doing anything STUPID like rappelling out a fourth-story window.


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

17 March 2009 P-Day email

RoseE writes:

"Okay, so I made a handy list of everything I wanted to write and then left it in my room, like the ditz that I am. So here's what I remember of it.

On Thursday, during our Referral Center time, I got on a chat with a man named Nathan, from Pennsylvania. Amazing. He had so many questions about life, the universe, and everything . . . we made it through like a lesson and a half in an hour and a half of chat. And he just went tearing through the Book of Mormon, reading all over the place. We did another chat on Friday -- he was right on time, and had read what I'd asked him to read, and had more questions -- I was SO excited. Over the moon. Cloud nine.

Then something happened and our Monday appointment didn't pan out. I nearly cried. I hope it was just a one-of-those-things kind of thing and that he'll be back on Thursday (I'm e-mailing him reminders this week, just in case). It felt so good to have a real investigator, even for a few days.

In more cheerful news, on Saturday I was quietly eating my lunch in the cafeteria when a German elder, maneuvering past, tipped a full glass of apple juice onto my head and down my back. It was the most hilarious thing that had happened to me since I got here, 'cuz this sort of thing just doesn't happen at the MTC . . . but it totally did! So here I am, laughing my head off and stripping off my juice-soaked blazer top (machine washable--go, me!) (and I was wearing a long-sleeved shirt underneath it instead of a cami--go, me!) while the poor elder and every other elder in earshot apologized profusely and did their best to mop the juice off the chair, the table, the floor, and my person (without touching me, which is hard to manage). I was in a great mood for the whole rest of the day. Until my chat appointment fell through, but that's another story, see above.

I Found Boots. Some silly person left these awesome boots in the 'giveaway' box, presumeably because the seam running up the top of the foot was splitting a bit. But the outer layer is only fabric, so I snatched them up (fit perfectly, btw) and whipped the seam closed, and now they are 100% free awesome boots. Yaaaay!

I also found a bottle of leave-in conditioner in the box . . . Spanish leave-in conditioner. But hey, I'll take it. And I did.

Oh, before I forget, if you haven't sent that last package yet, are there tag magnets to be had for love or money in Salt Lake City? You know, like the one I bought at Dressed in White the day I got here? If you've already sent the thing, don't worry about it, but they sure would be nice to have. At least one--two would be even better.

Happy birthday, Margie! I love you!

It's been two weeks, and I'm still coughing, so Sister Copeland booted my butt into the health clinic to get me some prescription cough syrup (mmmm . . . codine) so I stop sounding like a St. Bernard.

We get to go to the Draper Temple dedication on Sunday! How cool is that? I'm really excited, and bought everyone handkerchiefs for the occasion.

I still don't have my flight plans, though we expect to see them any day. We're getting lots of talks about "exit interviews" and "departure meetings" and all that jazz. Less than two weeks to go, and we'll actually be over our heads in Korea!

Bye the bye, how's that N. Korea sattelite thing coming?

Oh, and DID HEATH LEDGER WIN BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR? Nobody knows or will tell me. I cannot go to Korea without this information.

Dad: I am not allowed to arrange meetings with friends or family while I am on my mission, so whatever you choose to do, on your own head be it.

Our Korean roommates are so much fun. Sister Jeung in particular. She's really outgoing and funny, and knows all the words to "Eidelweiss." Really. She loves correcting my spelling on my vocab flashcards, and is a fan of Backstreet Boys. Go figure.

This week, I ate a bug. Really. Apparently silkworm larvae are like popcorn over there in Korea, and one of our elders received a can from his parents. So I ate one. It tasted like an olive, only crunchier, and more traumatic, and with more screaming, and with more need for two swiftly-chugged glasses of milk afterward. Sister Lee thought my antics were very funny. She, however, refused to try root beer, so I win. So ha.

And . . . I dunno, is there anything else I need to say/tell people/ask? I can't remember any more. This is why I write lists, and promptly forget them in my rez hall.

Oh, I got my hair trimmed today. That was nice.

Seriously, try the omlets at the Provo Temple.

Oh, and today after eating omlets we met with a member of the temple presidency and had a very nice and very helpful question-and-answer session. Apparently you're allowed to do this at any temple if you have questions. I never knew that. Sister Copeland did, though. Clever stuff.

Oh, taxes. Are taxes being handled? Do taxes require my involvement/signature/presence in the United States? I'd file them, but what with me being on a mission and all . . .

I think that's everything for today. Love, and missing, and excited to go to Korea, and everything.



Tuesday, March 10, 2009

P-Day Email 8 March 2009

RoseE writes:

"Dear yorobun,

(This means 'y'all' in Korean, only without the cultural stigma so you can actually say it and it can actually be useful. Cooooooool.)

I just got your package this morning, which was pretty darn good timing on the part of everybody. Tell Bethe that I love her painting and am putting it up on the inside of my closet door so I can see it every morning. And THANK YOU FOR THE STOCKINGS! I was down to five pair, which is double-plus-un-good.

Tuesday night* went swimmingly. More or less. Gygi Chongnonim** had a rather complicated conversation with President Smith about whether he was from Provo or Bangkok ("You're from where?" "Bangkok, Thailand." "Really." "Yes, really.") and then I had a rather complicated conversation with him about whether or not I was Sister Katherine Kitterman going to Germany. (She gave the prayer last week and the paperwork hadn't been updated, so I very nearly got kicked off the stand.) But everything was settled at last. We got to hear Elder Kikutchi of the Seventy*** speak, which was very interactive and quite entertaining, and I was sitting in just the right spot to see the teleprompters. When I got up to pray, I was very nervous, but I spoke in no language but English, didn't stutter or pause, remembered to use the correct pronouns and did not have any wardrobe malfunctions of any description. So that was good. Then I got to shake hands with everybody (one of the mission presidency said I had a very nice bow; I don't know if he's an expert, but I was pleased) and then we were late for devotional review and that was my fifteen minutes of fame.

Except . . .

On Sunday, the Young Women General President, Sister Dalton#, spoke in Relief Society. She asked for any volunteers who knew the story of Ruth. Since I do know the story of Ruth, I raised my hand. She called me up to the stand, along with my 'companion' (I was sitting next to Sister Ogelvie, so I just grabbed her and dragged her with me instead of making Sisters Copeland and Linford walk over her) and several other sisters, to talk about it. As I got to the microphone, she corrected herself: "Oh, whoops! I meant Esther, not Ruth." So I shrugged and told that story instead. Then I backed away from the podium, but unfortunately didn't think to move to the side, so for the next ten minutes I was in full view of the camera, along with poor Sister O., holding perfectly still because I knew that inching sideways would be even more conspicuous. So now pretty much every sister in the MTC knows who I am. Oh, and one of Cat's friends found me in the cafeteria, now knowing what I looked like. So yes, Cat, he has fulfilled his commission. And now I'm famous.

Which is not good, because that morning was daylight savings time, which all three of us forgot about, so we rolled out of bed and went straight to breakfast without cosmetic adjustment of any kind. Whoopee.

Can somebody DearElder me Grandma Rosie's address so I can actually send her letter?

It keeps DANG SNOWING. I do not want it to be snowing anymore. I want it to be warm and pleasant and enjoyable, in a 'hey-let's-go-study-outside-in-the-sunshine' kind of way.

The new Koreans are here, but they're still in International orientation or something 'cuz they're stuck in the 'holding cell' ( a room on the third floor where they have to stay for two days for reasons known only to God and the administration). But we're all just thrilled to death to have them, except Sister Copeland, who is convinced that they, too, have smuggled in kimchi and will open it in our bedroom.

Oh, and I'm sick again. Another cold. I don't care what they say, the MTC is NOT Zion. I refuse to believe that people could get sick so much in God's holy city. Decongestants are my new best friends.

The temple cafeteria makes to-die-for ham and cheese omlets.

Elder Kerrigan eats to-die-from amounts of pepper on everything.

I don't know why Elder Gygi thinks I'm Russian. Complete mystery to me. I have not yet asked Elder Barzee if he is related to Wanda Barzee##, and I really don't think I will.

Concerning stockings: yes, tights are most certainly an option, though if there is a non-itchy kind, it would get preference. Darks and tans are what I wear most now in the stocking line of things. Knee-highs are my new best friends . . . is there such a thing as an above-the-knee-high? 'Cuz it's considered tacky to have your stocking tops show through your skirt slit. But apparently summer in Pusan is not something you face without knee-high stockings. And Winter in Pusan I do not want to think about, with four inches of snow on the ground outside.

Companions and cookies: Sis. Linford can't eat chocolate but loves peanut butter, and Sister Copeland loves all cookies but is partial to oatmeal-based ones.

Other things I need: If we can get a 4x6 of the family portrait, to put in my handy dandy little album, that would be phenominal. And, um . . . that's pretty much it. Pictures and stockings. I have very simple needs. And I'm out of e-mail time.

I love you! See you next week! Sort of


* RoseE was asked to give the prayer last Tuesday night at a missionary devotional.

** Elder Gygi? I'm guessing.

***Elder Yoshihiko Kikuchi of the Quorum of the Seventy

# Sister Elaine S Dalton, president of the Young Women's organization, for girls 12-18 years of age.

## In June 2002, Wanda Ilene Barzee and her husband Brian David Mitchell kidnapped 14-year-old Elizabeth Smart from her home in Salt Lake City. Elizabeth was found alive 12 March 2003 in Sandy, Utah, and reunited with her family. Ms. Barzee and Mr. Mitchell are in mental institutions.

To Auntie Cat postmarked 3/10/09

RoseE writes:

"Dearest Cat,

This letter's going to be in bits and pieces, because the time to write a proper, long letter simply does not exist. So sorry in advance.

Anyway, first off, thank you so much for writing to me so faithfully! Letters make such a huge difference (and e-mails; I'm counting e-mail as a type of letter.) I love hearing from you every week.

I'm having problems with Speaking French, too. My new native dialect is Purancongolishais, which is a bit of a problem. Unfortunately, I've got lots of enablers, because at least five other Korean-speaking folks learned French first. So when I say things like "Hwajangshil ay go must? choh ay aussi," people understand me and I have no motivation to stop!

The Koreans that I have met so far I have loved. Our Korean sisters were so sweet and friendly and funny. And they were all in love with Elder Gygi. I don't know why. Asian women are just crazy about him. He got his picture taken as though he were Matt Daemon. I bet anything that when the new Koreans come next Tuesday it will be the same story. We'll see.

I think not advertising one's church at the movies is a good idea. There's a church in Salt Lake that advertises that way--The Rock Church or something like that. I never really thought that the Atonement of Christ and electric guitars were a good mix, but I'm old-fashioned. (But this week I heard an elder sing a version of "I Need Thee Every Hour" that he'd written to be played with acoustic guitar. It was very soothing, in a "Hey-there-Delilah" kind of way, and I liked it.) It's cool to think, though, that we missionaries are going out two by two, just like Paul and Silas, or Aaron and Moses, or Alma and Amulek. It is about relationships--just going out, and meeting people, and loving them, and offering our testimonies and understanding of Jesus Christ. All about relationships. All about love. All about supporting each other as imperfect people trying to be better.

Speaking of which, it may not seem like it, but this letter has taken me the better part of a week to write. The new Koreans, who were coming next Tuesday, are now coming tomorrow. The beautiful weather is gray sludge again. I hope it's nicer out there, if not now, at least by the time Mom gets out there! I gave your address to my North-Carolina-bound roommates and told them to say hi and show pictures if they're in your area. If they do, tell Sister Graves I found her missing earring!

I love you!


Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Preparation Day 3/3/09

RoseE writes,

"Okay, in a rush today, they changed the rules on temple times, so we can't go in the morning anymore.* We must go last thing in the afternoon and be late for dinner, which we are, and hence late for the devotional, which we cannot be because, as mentioned previously, I am supposed to sit on the stand and pray, for which reason I am wearing a suit jacket which I found in the sisters' giveaway box and had dry-cleaned, as it fit very well and looked professional and cute.


We have two new sisters: Ogelvie and Peterson. I, being from Minnesota**, can pronounce Sister Ogelvie's name correctly. I am the only one. They are both handling the MTC with much more grace than ever I did, which is good for them.

Our North-Carolina-bound roommates are leaving tomorrow. This is the second set of roommates to whom we have bid goodbye, and here we remain, still. Twenty-seven days and counting! We theorize and suspect that when the new Korean-from-Korea sisters arrive next week, they will be rooming with us, so that they will have some roommates who "speak Korean." Which we don't, really. But we try.

My district is now playing a "paper clip game," wherein if you speak English when you were supposed to be speaking Korean (which is most of the time now) you must surrender one of four paper clips you have assigned to you at the beginning of the day. Yesterday I was the only person to lose a paper clip. Tomorrow I am putting the smackdown on the others and actually calling them out when they slip up. So there.

We have not yet received our flight plans or anything like unto them, but I am fairly sure that when they arrive, there will be a rule printed in big letters that says something to the effect of 'if you were scheming to meet somebody in the airport, you can just forget about it right now, Elder/Sister.'*** We have a lot of rules like that. But we are allowed to make phone calls from the airport to our families, which is good.

Brother Thiel took each of us aside this week and had us repeat the First Vision after him so he could correct our pronunciation. When it was my turn, he had me repeat back the first line or so and then just recite the rest. He said my pronunciation was genuinely surprisingly good and that he was very impressed. (Sister Pace, the teacher down the hall, assurred me that this would happen if I read aloud from the Book of Mormon every day. So I did. And so it did. Aren't miracles handy?)

A billion billion thanks for my package! Sister Linford was really excited to have cookies that she could eat. I was just excited to have oatmeal scotchies, as they are the most delicious cookies known to man. I am very smug about my small and efficient carryon, and will be more smug when packing day comes. Everyone else will have their trains of bags and I will have . . . just my stuff. That I can run a block while carrying.#

To Bethe: I do miss Doctor Who and Avatar a lot, but there is nothing here to watch them on and no time to watch them in, and for a while I have more important things that I have to be working on. But when I get back it will be summer and I fully plan to just veg on the couch for a week and catch up on my shows, probably at peculiar hours of the night as I will be jet-lagged out of my blessed mind.

To Teancum: I laughed my head off at your letter. Yes, they have been a bit short -- I really liked hearing more from you. The more you write me, the more I can write you back and tell you some of what it will be like when you go on a mission. (It will be like wearing a suit coat all the time. Next question.)

On the chat this week, I talked to a man named Wes who was A. not crazy and B. not looking for a fight, which is a big step up from most of the chats that we get. I committed him to go to church . . . and now I'm waiting anxiously to hear back from him to see how it went. Real investigator! Yaaay!

Um, what else is news this week . . . hm . . .

I knew I should have made a list, now I can't think of stuff . . .

Oh, Grandma Rosie wrote me a letter, and I wrote her back, and then realized I had thrown away the envelope with her address on it, which was stupid of me. So I will probably write a letter to Cat and stick them both in one envelope and make her write the address on it and pop it in the mail. If I can do that before next P-Day. I find I do not correspond much between P-Days anymore.

Excuse me . . . juunbi nal. We are strongly encouraged to say "Preparation Day" isntead of "P-Day." I feel that this is a losing battle, but in the spirit of the thing we have all learned to say it in Korean and thus avoid the issue entirely. Nobody knows what we are saying in Korean anyway. Although one of the new sisters tried to say something at dinner the other day and I was like "Huh?" Because she said "moh-da" instead of "moh.-da". Um, the difference doesn't type out very well, but she missed the t-shaped glottal stop at the end of the verb stem and I just could not figure out what she meant. So I guess that's good, if I'm beginning to hear things like stops and dipthongs correctly. And can differentiate between things like "sa-da" which is "to buy" and "SSa-da" which is "to be inexpensive." My favorites are still "i-da," to be, and "i.-da," to exist. Two different verbs that sound almost exactly the same and mean almost exactly the same thing but which cannot under any circumstances be mixed up. Fun times.

Oh, and I have learned the word for "to sparkle." Pik.gaban.dja.KKada. It's a sparkly-sounding word. Just . . . trust me.

Eurm . . . oh, the printer is fixed now, so I can actually print out e-mails, which is a great convenience. Still only on Tuesdays, though.

Aaaaaaaaaaand one night this week Elder Barzee came into the classroom wobbling around like he was drunk on the half-bottle of Raspberry Disani he had in his hand. Elder Gygi tried to wrestle it away from him and calm him down, playing along. "Come on, Barzee, you've had enough . . . you know you can't handle vodka . . . just give it to Sister Hadden, she's from Russia. She can take it." He pulled the bottle away from Barzee and handed it to me. I promptly wrenched off the top and took a big swig. Both elders just stopped and stared at me. Sounding awestruck, Elder Barzee asked, "You really thought it was vodka, didn't you?"

Fun times.

Anyway, that's what I've got for you this week. Cat W., I'm writing you longhand, because I have more time to do that. And I love you all, and all that jazz, the church is true, Joseph Smith is a [] PROPHET OF GOD, and I am out of time on this computer.


*Missionaries at the MTC attend the temple every week on their Preparation Day. (P-Day)

** RoseE was born in Minnesota, and lived there (excepting the few years we followed Todd and the Navy around the East Coast) until she was 15.

*** Todd has plans to fly to California on the day RoseE is flying to Korea. I will just cry, so I'd better stay home and take the phone call.

# Guidance from RoseE's Great-Aunt Bethe, who knows: Only bring as much baggage as you can carry around the block at a run.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Letter to Grama & Grampa Hadden 3/2/09

"Dear Grandma and Grandpa, (with Korean Characters)

One of the things that make Korean so hard is that it is a SOV language. All Languages are classified by how they arrange their sentences' subjects, objects, and verbs. English, Spanish and French are all Subject-Verb-Object languages, the most common kind. In Korean, the verb always comes at the end of the sentence, and it's packed with information. There's the verb itself, and then you tack on syllables to indicate that you want to do this thing, or can't or won't do it, or are in the process of doing it, and when you're doing it, and if the person you're talking about outranks you, and then you wrap the whole thing up with a sentence marker that tells the person you're talking to exactly how much you respect them. So most of your sentences addressed to any particular person will all end with the same sound. Which is why Koreans don't understand why rhyming is such a big deal in English - their language rhymes naturally, all the time. It's really quite pretty.

So add all that information to Joseph Smith's writing style, in which every sentence goes on for half a column and achieves a level of intricacy that makes most professional wordsmiths weep with envy, and you will understand why memorizing the First Vision in Korean is no mean feat. It feels a little like waltzing backwards while standing on your hands. (Not that either waltzing or standing on your hands is permitted at the MTC)

All the Japanese missionaries are endlessly grateful they don't have to learn Korean. We Koreans are all grateful we don't have to learn Finnish. And the Finns get to have Alma 31:18* all to themselves. (I'm just teasing; we love the Finns.) Korean actually makes a lot of sense when you get used to it - much more than English. It's kind of like switching from Windows to Mac. It's so well-organized and user-friendly that it's absolutely incomprehensible when you're used to nothing making sense.

Sorry for the page-long rant on Korean; it's been a long day of studying.

Anyway, Sister Bergeson says she's glad her brother did so well in his talk, and Elder Gygi, when I mentioned the ice cream, launched into Hank** ice-cream stories that would probably have lasted half and hour if our teacher hadn't insisted that he focus.

Focus has become a problem for us lately. We're six weeks in and we're going a little stir crazy. I'm trying to stay on task - my teacher, Brother Thiel (pronounce 'teal', like the color) told us that it's easy to spot the missionaries who goofed off in the MTC once they get to the field. I don't want to carry that stigma. No way. So I'm trying to keep my language goals really high and then meet them. I'm also reading the Book of Mormon in Korean, one painstaking sylable at a time, because I've been assured that missionaries who accomplish this have noticeably better accents and stronger reading skills.

We're expecting two new districts of Americans next Wednesday, and one of Koreans two week after that, so by the time I leave we'll be back up to ten Korean-speaking stisters. Right now the only Korean missionaries in the MTC are the ones who came in with me, and we seem to be very few in number. The Japanese are moving in on our territory in the cafeteria. Hopefully our reinforcements will rectify this situation.

Well, I have now written a very long, if not particularly interesting letter, and it's time for me to go to bed. Love you!

(Korean Characters)
Ha den Cha Mei
Sister Hadden

It took me nearly a week to get that last letter out, so you get another page to answer your questions. Hopefully you've received the letter on Elder Gygi by the time you get this, and you are hinting to Heather and Hank that they should write to him, since he gets very little mail and deserves much more.

How's language? It's good. We taught in Korean for the first time on Saturday, which was stressful. But we made it through. The whole zone is going to speak only Korean from Wednesday to Saturday this week. Everyone else calls this (Korean Characters), English fast, but I call it super (Korean Characters) Korean, because A. That's what we call it at camp***, so it's what I'm used to, and B. It's too easy for me to cheat with French, and English-and French fast is not a catchy title.

We heard from our very first Twelve this week: Elder Ballard. He talked about his experiences managing PR for the Church during the Romney# campaign, and about what the world doesn't know about us but needs to. He was wearing a gray suit. I've never seen a member of the Twelve in a gray suit. He also told us that Elder Bednar can't conduct music to save his life.

Interesting things about my fellow missionaries...well, Elder Gygi once had a dream about camels that scarred him for life. Elder Kerrigan tried to bear his testimony to a Korean Temple Square sister and ended up asking her if she was handsome, and somebody in our zone can suck a spaghetti noodle up his nose and spit it out of his mouth. I've never looked long enough to find out who. No one in my district.

The Korean sisters, along with our older sisters, are all settled in Korea by now. They took an unbelievable number of strange and wacky pictures before they left.

The food is good. Except for the noodle thing. We have a box of junk food from packages that lives under our bedroom window, and the thing is like the basket of bread that fed the matter how much we eat, it's never empty. I am not sure if this counts as a miracle.

Anyway, I will finally mail this letter.


*Alma 31:18 "And again we thank thee, O God, that we are a chosen and a holy people. Amen" This is part of a prayer that a people called the Zoramites said by rote every day from their church. They were a very prideful people, definitely uppity and they treated all those whom they felt to be beneath them accordingly, which included the prophet at that time, Alma. They were very surprised to get their come-uppance little later in the book, but you'll have to read it to find out how.
I'm afraid RoseE is teasing her fellow missionaries here.

** Henry "Hank" Hurren, RoseE's uncle

***Concordia College International Language Camps in Northern Minnesota. Specifically Lac du Bois, the French Camp that RoseE attended at a camper for 3 years and as a counselor for 5 years.

# Marion G. Romney, member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, died in 1988,