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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

New Apartment and A Korean Funeral


RoseE writes:

"Dear Mum and Dad,

Well, the new apartment is fantastic, in a peculiar kind of way. Here's how it is:

It is about two and a half rooms smaller than our old apartment: just kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, other room that is supposed to be a family room but we use for hanging clothes, and the small rectangular porch holding the washing machine and a storage closet. The bathroom has no sink, so we're brushing our teeth and washing our hands in the bathtub. When we moved in, it did not smell funny, but it was occupied by a lot of STUFF left over by the elders: pamphlets and Books ofMormon everywhere, random bits of leftover food, old shopping receipts, shoes, shaving cream, takeout menus. I set to it with a will, and within two days it became a neat, pretty, well-organized little place with pictures on the walls, and we have about six bags of stuff sorted and ready to take down to recycling. And I have a new toiletry bag and some free body wash.

The washing machine was a bit of a surprise. I stored my almost-empty luggage next to it, where it would be out of the way, and put in a load of laundry. Twenty minutes later I came back to discover that the washing machine drains straight onto the floor, and the water just runs to the drainpipe at the other end of the room. So guess whose duffel bag went on the clothesline for a while? It just isn't an adventure until somebody's luggage gets soaked.

My bed is fantastic. After three months of sleeping sardine-style with three other girls and kicking Sis. Beh every time I roll over, I have a king-size bed all to myself, with sheets and a blanket and everything, and a headboard with fleurs de lys on it. I absolutely adore my bed. It is the best thing ever . . . except the little 'Natural Noise Making Machine' left over by somebody. I figured out how to operate it and fell asleep last night listening to crickets. It's like Christmas in this place, I tell ya.

So when I'm not in bed, I'm teaching investigators. Really. One day this week, we had three lessons! With three different people! And one of them came to church yesterday! Sis. Pak has high hopes that we might actually see one of our very own investigators baptized this transfer. We're praying like crazy, and I'm working on my Korean again (it was on hiatus last transfer as I tried to memorize scripture references I needed for pass-off). As the only missionaries in Yeonsan, it's really all on us right now. Well, and Heavenly Father. Him, too.

We have heard tell that Michael Jackson has died. However, this pales in importance next to something more immediate: the same day, Sister Lee Du Yeop, Bishop Ryu's mother and our sort-of investigator, passed away. She was quite an old lady, but healthy and active all the way up to the end. I could never understand a word she said, but she always tried to talk to me, because she thought that I must be lonely, the lone American in an all-Korean world. She had compassion, and for that I will miss her. She's also the only person who ever made Sister Montgomery resort to sneaking food into her purse, unable to eat everything that she was served.

We attended her funeral two days ago. Sis Pak doesn't know the English word for funeral, so she kept telling me, "We go to hospital. Sister Lee Du Yeop." Which left me a little confused . . . why were we going to the hospital in the interest of someone who has already passed away? Well, here's why. Because with practicality that is as convenient as it is marcabre, every hospital in Korea has a funeral hall inside it. Um . . . yeah.

The funeral was a Cultural Experience. The funeral hall looked like every other soup restaurant in Pusan--hardwood floor, low tables. But beyond it was a room with a wall of flowers framing sister Lee's portrait, with incense burning in front of it. We all went into this room and did a full, formal Korean bow, which means getting down on your knees, pressing your forehead to the floor, getting up, kneeling down and doing it again, getting up, and then bowing once from the waist as deep as you can go. Then we turned ninety degrees to where Sister Lee's children and children-in-law were lined up (the men in suits with a yellow band around one arm, the women in black hanboks with white collars) and did the whole bow again. And then we sat down and ate. Yep, welcome to Korea.

The hospital catered. The dishes, however, were all paper (I have never eaten off paper dishes in Korea) and bore the logo of Pusan Bank, which where I come from would be considered a little tacky. But that seems to be the way it is here: ancient ceremony and modern practicality harshly juxtaposed, the monumental events of your life tempered with the knowledge that your life is just one of many millions going on around you and there isn't too much time for everyone to focus on just you.

This week, I also spent most of English class hearing stories about the Korean War from the older people who attend the class. Brother Pak Gun Gi, the choir director, used to make his living shining shoes for the American soldiers. That sobered me quite a bit. The past here is harldy past at all--it's within living memory, times when war raged everywhere and food was more precious than gold. All the meals I eat, with all the endless bowls of rice, are in part a celebration: we have food. We have safety. Eat . . . our country hasn't eaten well in such a long, long time.

Also this week the government issued a 50,000 won bill. Up until now the largest bill was 10,000 won . . . roughly $8 or $9. Really. That was as big as it got.

And in other history news, Happy Fourth of July! I shall celebrate by watching 1776 in my head, and possibly setting something on fire.

Sister Ogelvie's boyfriend is serving a mission in Montana. He wrote her a letter gasping in shock that he had been obliged to eat Rocky Mountain Oysters*. Sister Ogelvie's reply: "Rocky Mountain Oysters? Are you kidding me? I eat weirder things than Rocky Mountain Oysters for BREAKFAST, EVERY DAY. At least you know what part of what animal you're eating! Stop being such a wuss!"

I like Sister Ogelvie.

I also like Liz. Liz is my electronic dictionary. It's made for Korean-speakers learning English, Chinese, and Japanese, but it's dang useful for me, anyway. In addition to being able to look up anything in Korean, I can also look things up in French (it's got a pretty basic 11-language dictionary function, but it pronounces things out loud for you) and learn how to write hanja and store pictures and read Teachings of the Presidents of the Church, which the former owner conveniently left on the hard drive for me. I couldn't name it Katherine, because that name is reserved for my someday-I-will-get-a-new laptop, but in keeping with my traditions of naming electronics after classic movie actresses, she is Liz.

Can I have the recipe for granola, please? *puppy eyes* It is so good and yummy, and breakfast cereal here is out-of-the-question expensive. Although I did make rice pudding this week, baked and everything; that was fun. And COSTCO opens next week! Yaaaaay!

And today we're going to the Haeundae Aquarium, which is rumored to be better than Monterrey. We'll see--Monterrey was pretty impressive, at least when I was thirteen.

And that's the news from Lake Woebegone**, I think. I love you all so much, and I miss you! I made Irish pancakes for another breakfast this week (the elders left powdered sugar . . . I would have taken it with me) and missed breakfasts with my family while I ate them. Sad day. But other than that, really, I'm just fine. Great. I have my own bed!


*Rocky Mountain Oysters . . . sorry, you're going to have to google that for yourselves.

**Lake Woebegone: ficticious (or mythological) town in central Minnesota, home to the many characters created by Garrison Keillor of Prairie Home Companion fame.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Letter to the Family received 6/21/09

RoseE writes:

"Dearest Mum et al,

Thank you so much for the wonderful package! Chocolate is splendid. :)* But I'm most grateful for the photos. I'm putting them in my take-it-with-me-everywhere photo album, so I can show everyone I meet my family, my kitchen, my dogs, my cat, my yard, bagpipes (bagpipes are very hard to explain to Koreans) . . . my whole life. . .

I'm also enclosing a myongham--that's a card, like a business card or calling card. All the missionaries make them and stick them in one another's journals. They're a Korea thing. This particular myongham is Elder Sindow's. I don't really know him, but I'm sending it because it has the dragon Bethe requested. He had to hike a long way uphill to a temple to get the shot, which I can't do right now 'cuz I have to do missionary stuff, so I am taking advantage of his effort. A genuine Korean dragon. The test says "Dream of the dragon"; dreaming of a dragon is supposed to be good luck.

If anyone else wants a specific picture of something, I'll do my best to oblige. . .

I continue to be perfectly safe, and seemingly more comfortable than all y'all getting soaked to the skin at bagpiping events judged by dementors. It's getting summer, and I'm faithfully using sunscreen, but we haven't yet hit the infamous boil-you-alive Korean summer. Only a matter of time, I guess.

Spend lots of time at the library where it's cool.

Love ya,


* :) Despite having some skill in drawing, and using a pen and paper, RoseE still wrote the smiley sideways, as if she was using a computer without a drawing program.

Letter to Todd received 6/21/09

RoseE writes:

"Dear Dad,

Despite your dire predictions, Busan continues to be boring from a military standpoint. We hear that a couple of American reporters are having a more exciting time than we are, though--they're in our prayers over here.

I like your Appalacian Trail theory of testimony. It reminded me of something President Jennings said in my interview with him this transfer. He referred me to "The Search for the Neutrino" which, of course, I can't read right now. How do you find a particle that has no mass and no charge? How do you quantify faith? How do you know you have enough of something you can't measure? Well, having never read "The Search for the Neutrino" and not being a physicist, I haven't a clue about that, but faith you see by not looking for it. Am I on a mission? Am I testifying of Jesus Christ and the Restoration? Do I love the scriptures? Am I doing things I didn't think I could? That I have faith. "How much" is immaterial. Whether or not I see visions, dream dreams, or speak prophecy is irrelevant. I have enough faith to do what I have done, and when I am called upon to do more, I will do that.

Most of the time, you're between white blazes and can't see them either before or behind you. That's okay. You're still walking, and you know you're going in the right direction, so you're fine.

I have been a little down, but not drastically so. Slow missionary work is frustrating and disappointing, that's all. But it's just something I've got to wade through. I'm physically healthy and well-rested, my Korean is sloooooowly improving, I'm making a lot of progress on personal goals. Other than the lack of missionary work, my mission is going fine.

Sister Montgomery told me that every transfer is different--dramatically different, even if you don't change areas or companions. Last transfer day I was terrified to the point of tears. Transfers are coming up again this week, but I'm not scared. I'm ready for another roll of the dice. I'm ready for a dramatically different experience, though I've learned a lot from this one.

I'm out of room and need to go play with my new toy . . . I bought an electronic dictionary off Elder Kent. It is shiny.

I love you.


Monday, June 22, 2009

RoseE writes:

"Dearest Mum & Dad,

Well, here's the BIG news: Transfers.

None, really.

The elders are all shuffling around, and one American sister is switching around to take the place of a homeward bound Korean sister, but other than that all the Sisters are staying where they are. Except that sister Pak Je Yeon and I are moving . . . not work areas, but apartments. The elders with whom we were working in Yeonsan are transfering/going home, so we are moving into their old place so the Mission can keep the apartment and we don't have to ride the subway for half an hour to get to the chapel every day. We will be the only missionaries in Yeonsan. And Sujeong, which had two teams of elders, will now have one. We have one investigator in Sujeong, so we're sort of still working there, but we'll spend most of our time in Yeonsan because, hey, we're living there and there's no one else to get the work done.

Elder Lee Song Gi, who is the Yeonsan Elder transferring away, says that the apartment smelled funny when they got there. Um . . .

The whole mission is getting stretched thinner because today THIRTEEN missionaries finished their service and tomorrow THREE are coming. We are down ten missionaries. That's five teams. That's a lot of people. But we still have enough people to have at least one team in every ward, which is good. A ward without missionaries in it scares us.

So I'm staying here in central Pusan for another six weeks. Well, another twelve, because in six weeks Sister Pak is going home, so I will have to stay in Yeonsan or nobody will know what is going on there. So I'll be here until September, at least. Good. More P-Days to try to get to the bathhouse, where I have STILL not gone since my first day. *sniffle*

I had an interesting experience this week: I was discriminated against on basis of race. Yeah. Um . . . odd. For a middle-class white American girl. We (Sister Pak and I, and Elders Hansen and Routson) were less-active hunting one afternoon, and the gwalija (the door guard) of an apartment complex wouldn't let us into his building. When we provided the name and address of the person we wanted to visit, and explained that she was a member of our church, he shook his head and said flat-out that we weren't allowed in. Sister Pak demanded to know if this was the apartment rule: that no one could get on the elevator if they were not personally known to the gwalija. "No," he shot back, "but I won't let 'weigukin' go wandering around the apartments." 'Weigukin' means 'foreigner.' He wouldn't let us in because three of us were white.
Sister Pak, tiny, Bambi-eyed Sister Pak, who is about the cutest human being ever born, proceeded to rip him a new one in rapid-fire Korean, then turn and stalk off with the moral high ground firmly in her control. By the time she made it to the corner, she was shaking, so we all stopped at a grocery store to get some water.

It was . . . a strange experience. I'm still processing it.

Oh, guess what yesterday was? Right . . . it was Father's Day. Guess when I finally managed to find someone in this blessed country who knew the date of Father's Day this year? Last Tuesday. So Daddy, your card is late. I'm sorry! But it's coming, and with a darn good present, too. You'll like it. Unlike your birthday present, which I am going to send mostly because I think it is funny. So happy Father's Day. I miss you like crazy and wish you were here to be in charge of stuff and know everything about everything. The American missionaries here keep asking me, "How do you KNOW all this random stuff? Where the heck did you learn it?" and I shrug my shoulders and smile to think that I am much more like my dad than I ever thought that I was.

Here's Strange Things From Korea for the week:

In Korea, both the handcart and the parasol are alive and well. Every woman in Pusan carries a parasol when it's sunny. They come in a billion colors and you can buy them anywhere. I have not bought one, though Sis. Pak bought me a fan last week, which has proven to be indispensable as the summer starts to heat up. It has cranes on it.

Handcarts are generally full of cardboard. I'm not sure why. But there's always one somewhere, full of cardboard, either pushed or pulled by a Korean grandpa.

And yes, in Korea, just like the newsreel footage of Hong Kong, people do wear surgical masks in public. They are called 'hygene masks.' People make their kids wear them, too. I'm not sure if they're to prevent catching something or to prevent spreading something. Maybe both.

At English class this week, Pak Un Geong, one of our less-actives, actually CAME and hung out with the ward members and it was great! But she was teasing me about how all sister missionaries gain weight, and I just shrugged and smiled and answered, in what I think was perfect Korean, "There is so much love in these wards. And in Korea, where there is love, there is RICE." She laughed and told me, in excellent English, "You understand Korean culture!"

So it seems I've got the culture thing down. It's just the language that's escaping me. But I'm going to work harder on that this transfer, because this transfer I read the entire Old Testament, and so that's done and I'll have all this study time to work on something else. Like . . . Korean. I really should get on that.

Yesterday Elder Routson and I sang at the Halmoni Tree. On the road coming up to Sujeong ward there is this tree, and under the tree are about ten chairs of various kinds, and on a good day every chair is occupied by a Korean grandma, just gossipping in the shade. We always bow to the Halmoni tree as we pass it . . . it's like a rule or something. But yesterday, as we were walking past with the Elders, we stopped and I asked the Halmonis if they would let me take their picture with Elder Routson, since he was going to transfer away. And they laughed and let me. And then Elder Routson asked, "Can we sing?" and I was like, "YEAH! I've been wanting to do that for months!" So we asked if we could sing to them, and then sang "I am a Child of God," the only song we both know (sort of) in Korean. All the Halmonis clapped to keep time for us, and then we gave them all gospel pamphlets. Man, I wanted a picture of all those sweet little grandmas reading our pamphlets in the shade under their Halmoni Tree. It was so adorable.

I ate a bunch of chocolate from my dear families this week. :-) I think, with letters, e-mails, and packages, I am about the most spoiled missionary ever. Every time the Elders hand me my mail, usually with a letter from Dad, one from Em, one from Mom, one from Holly, one from Grandma and Grandpa Hadden . . . they just stare at me like "How the heck do you get all this MAIL?" It's because I only love really really awesome people. I'm just lucky that way.

Urgh, I wish there were more e-mail time!

Bethe, don't get sick, that would be lame. A dragon picture is on its way to you.

Bug: take care of your war wound. My blessed brother can't go fifteen minutes without getting himself hurt . . . .

Cat: Lie down before you hurt yourself. Love you.

Talk to you next week! Much love and all that! I wish you were all here in Korea with me! CHURCH IS TRUE! No, really. It really is. It's crazy, but it's so incredibly really absolutely just flat-out TRUE. My gosh.


Saturday, June 20, 2009

Letter to Todd dated 6/8/09

RoseE writes:

"Dear Dad,

You continue to be the most complete, accurate, and reliable supplier of news to the entire district. Six elders, two sisters, and the two sisters' two roommates thank you heartily. We haven't a blessed clue what's going on. Well, we did hear about the ex-president's suicide, but that was kind of hard to miss because flags were up and at half staff all over the place.

Regarding living exclusively with Koreans: I think I find it harder over the long term than living with Americans, but everybody (including Pres. Jennings) says I'm handling it much better than the average American sister. So that's good. And the only American sisters I ever see are Sister Jennings, Sister Ogelvie, and Sister Beckstead, all of whom I get along with extremely well, so maybe I'm getting a skewed picture of how easy it would be to live with Americans.

I really didn't think my area was as big as you said, but now that I think about it, it does take a good hour on the bus for us to get anywhere. And we spend a lot of time within easy walk of the subway line, so I get the impression that Pusan is a lot narrower than I think it actually must be.

Koreans are strange. They think that Spam is real food.

I have been close to the U.N. cemetary, but I have not yet actually been to it, although it is something I want to do while I'm here. I just have to talk someone into going with me.

I love you, but P. Day's* over.


*P.Day: Preparation Day. For those of you who don't remember or didn't read the last entries about P.Day, it's a missionary's one day off during the week. She has to stay with her companion, though. I would think that having a Korean companion in Korea on P.Day would be a good thing.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

edited Letter to Emily dated 5/25/09: On names,

RoseE writes:

"25 May ‘09

Dearest Em,

I always thought that giving up your last name would be one of the roughest parts of getting married. Names are important. So much of your identity and history gets tied into them. It’s like letting go of a version of yourself, which can be scary or liberating or both. Since I am a wuss, I just keep making my name longer as my life goes on, so I’m currently Sister Rose Evelle RoseE Arianne Han Chang Mi Hadden. (I just picked Han Chang Mi as my Korean name this week. Han’s as close to Hadden as we’re gonna get in Korean family names, and was the name of one of the Royal dynasties of Korea, which is why the country’s name is Korean is Hanguk, the Kingdom of Han. And Chang Mi means both “Rose” and “Sublime beauty.” Pretty, but pretentious, just like my American name.)

It has just occurred to me that I must learn how to spell “Deckenback.”* Darn it. I was just getting to where I could do “McConnell” right 9 times out of 10.

I don’t know if all of the above was “exactly what to say.” You say I always know this, but I never feel like I do. But I love you and always will, and will be your best friend no matter what your name is or where you live. Even on the other side of the world, as evidenced.

Hugs for Jeffry, too!


*She just spelled it right!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Senior Companion, Diet Variations, A Good Sunday

RoseE writes:

"Dearest Mum and Dad,

I love you.

Mum, I am so proud of you for kicking trash and taking names in the bagpiping, most particularly in adverse conditions (then again, if there weren't adverse conditions, it wouldn't REALLY be a Hadden Family outing).*

I'm glad you had fun with the package!** Mind you, I'm never sending ceramics ever again, but I may put together more crazy snack foods and stuff at some time in the future.

And a note for Emily: HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!! I put together a birthday present package for you two weeks ago, and sent it . . . well, today . . . so it's late as all get-out but at least it's coming, though it may have to be a wedding present instead. Le sigh. But I love you, and I hope your birthday was freakin' awesome.

Here is the News of the Week:

First off: Is Cat Wilson still alive? I haven't heard from/of her in ages, and have been wondering these past few weeks. I hope she and her family are doing well and having fun and all that jazz. I love her and miss her.

Other things this week: well, I took a big leap and became a Senior Companion for a couple of hours. This week, some of our Koreans had to take the Michigan Test, which is an English test they need to pass if they want to go to the US and study at BYU. Sis. Pak Ji Yeon only took it because elder Lee Song Gi dared her to, but that left me companionless for the 1.5 hours of the test. But Sister Pak Song Hee was taking it too, so her greenie, Sis. Beh In Yeong, was also at loose ends. So I was informed "You're going to be companions with Sister Beh."

"Okay," said I. "Cool."

"What are you going to do?" asked Sister Pak Ji Yeon.

"I dunno. Ask Sister Beh," I told her, wondering why this was complicated. I'm a new missionary. Other companion makes the decisions. End of story.

"No, you're the senior. You get to pick. What are you going to do?"

"Wait . . . WHAT?"

Because, despite being a Korean and speaking Korean very well, Sister Beh is still in her first transfer and I technically outrank her . . . so we went street jeundoing. And since she didn't know what to say to people and I didn't know how to say it, we weren't exactly Alma and Amulek***. But we opened our mouths, and we worked, and we made fools of ourselves and had fun. And I will never have to do that for the first time ever again.

I discovered that feared Korean institution called the Meat Buffet. Missionaries run and hide at the words. It's actually a pretty cool meal concept, and quite charactaristically Korean: at your table there is a gas stove with a fry pan on it, and you pick up cuts of meat at the buffet (predominantely thick-cut bacon, but any part of the pig will do), grill it on your stove, cut it up and eat it wrapped in lettuce leaves with garlic and kimchi. Kinda fun. It was kinda fun for me because we didn't have very much time there. But from what I hear, meat buffets are where even strong-stomached missionaries have been known to heave, or to have to go home to their apartments afterwards and lie down for a few hours, because given enough time the members will make you eat to the point of tears, on the assumption that you need protien, poor starving thing. I survived with grace, ate mostly vegetables, and even had room to indulge in the complementary after-dinner ice cream cones from the freezer full of ice cream (not containers of ice cream--just full of ice cream). So that was good.

I also discovered Mr. Pizza this week (Motto: Love For Women. I don't know why. It's on all their signs). But last P-Day the Three Pusan American Sisters (Sis. Beckstead, Ogelvie, and myself) landed there to have a hawaiian pizza and a salad bar, and unlimited dessert of Yogurt with Stuff You Can Mix In It. This is SO GOOD. They had different kinds of raisins and nuts and cereal, and two bottles of flavoring syrup. I tried both. One was cherry, and the other . . . hm . . . was clear-colored, and thick and sticky, and sweet, and tasted really familiar but I couldn't quite put my finger on it . . . HONEY! Oh yeeeeeeaaah, I remember honey! Good stuff.

We also had to go bowling with the Snakes# not once but twice. I am not very good at bowling and am becoming progressively less good at dealing with the Sujeong Snakes. Too much giggling.

But over in Yeonsan, little Yoon Hey Jung has been kicking trash in her tae kwon do performances and competitions. We've gotten to see her a couple of times now: she's good! And watching Tae Kwon Do is so much fun. My favorite is the choreographies--they're beautiful, and I love knowing that this ancient martial art, is now, in time of peace, more dance than weapon. But the biggest news for Yoon Hey Jung is that she brought her friend Yoo Mi Ra to church yesterday!!! All three hours! And in Young Womens they worked on Personal Progress, and MiRa got her own PP book, and Elder Lee Song Gi taught youth Sunday School and had everyone participating and thinking and laughing, and . . . yeah, that's pretty much exactly what we want to have happen, right there. When days like that happen, the missionaries just sit back and watch the miracles roll in without having to lift a finger. I adore the whole Yoon family.

Today I managed to give myself a crown braid. Cool.

I also found some TimTams## this week! They were way too expensive but I bought them anyway. Now I need to buy either hot chocolate or milk so I can slam### them.

And one of the other elders in the mission is selling me his electronic dictionary, so I will finally have one of my own and be able to look up words without bothering Sis. Pak or resorting to "MinJeong's Handy Korean/English Dictionary" which considers 'edutainment' to be a real English word.

And . . . I'm out of time again, 'cuz we have to go take a Zone Picture. But this is my last P-Day of this transfer, so the dice will roll again on Friday and we'll see what fate has in store in the continuing adventures of


Blogmom Notes:

* bagpiping: The Salt Lake Highland Games were last weekend, and the Salt Lake Scots, for which I, Blogmom, play, took first in both categories--in the driving rain.

**package: RoseE sent us a box from Korea. I took pics of everything and will post them . . . . soon.

*** Alma and Amulek: two missionaries from the Book of Mormon. Alma went to a city called Ammonihah to preach the gospel, was cast out by the people, then sent back to Ammonihah by the Lord and was met by an Ammonihahite named Amulek, who said, "I know that thou art a holy prophet of God, for thou art the man whom an angel said in a vision: Thou shalt receive. Therefore, go with me into my house and I will impart unto thee of my food; and I know that thou wilt be a blessing unto me and my house." Together they preached the gospel and were really amazing at it. See the Book of Mormon, Book of Alma chapters 8-16.

#Sujeon Snakes: some sisters in Sujeong ward whose main interest in life is getting a husband.

## Tim Tams are a chocolate biscuit made by Arnott's Biscuits, Australia. A Tim Tam is composed of two layers of chocolate malted biscuit, separated by a light chocolate cream filling, and coated in a thin layer of textured chocolate.

### Slamming Tim Tams is sucking milk (or tea) up through a corner of the aforementioned biscuit, and then cramming the rest in your mouth. See a demonstration here.

Letter to Bethe 5/25/09

RoseE writes:

"Dear Bit,

Hi! How are you doing? How is school, and swimming? I am so jealous that you get to swim all the time. Even if missionaries could go swimming, we still couldn't because I have not yet seen a swimming pool here. To get exercise here, every day I go outside my apartment and jump up and down for twenty minutes. Really. My companion sleeps in, so we cannot go downstairs to exercise, and I can't jump rope because the noise bothers the neighbors. It is the most boring exercise ever.

I keep looking for a good dragon to take a picture of for you, but we always go by them too fast. I will try to get one soon.

I met a girl in Yeonsan ward yesterday who is the same age as you. Her name is Lee JiHeon (her family name is Lee and her given name is Jiheon). In Korea, being the same age makes you automatic friends (really. The word for friend, chingu, means "person who is the same age") so she has decided that you are her friend and she wants your e-mail address. If you send it to me, I will give it to her and maybe she will e-mail you.

Thank you so much for your letters. They always make me smile. I am glad to hear from you and to know what you are doing. I hope that you're happy and that you're doing okay in school, and I miss you every day.



Monday, June 8, 2009

Of Propane, Practical Jokes, and Presidents Who Read Extensively

RoseE writes:

"This week was like the week of the most letters EVER!!!

Oh my gosh thank you all so much!

Teancum: I'm glad you're having fun with alluc.* But do your homework. I had problems with this. :-)

Amanda:** What event are you doing in Speech? Somebody told me but I forgot.

Camille:** Hey, I stepped on a nail once and had to go to the hospital, too! Good times. Did they pop you with a tetaunus shot? I hate them things.

Crystal:** Stay out of the way of baseball bats, silly girl!

Melvin:** If you use the word 'succulent' one more time to describe food I will not see again for at least another year. I will throw something at you. Yes, from Korea.

Max:** I wish I'd gotten a photography merit badge, or at least done an online tutuorial or something, 'cuz I'm a lousy photographer and it's coming back to bite me now.

Sebastian:** Rock climbing is awesome!

Sheila,*** thank you so much for the update/bulletins. I love reading them and knowing what's going on with your family.

So, dearest Mum and Dad,

If you are continuing to freak out, here is the following.

1. A member named Brother Allen works at the U.S. Embassy here in Pusan, and is in a position to know very quickly if something happens, and he has promised President Jennings that the mission will have all the warning it is humanly possible to have. His family is still here in Pusan, so he's not too worried.

If there is trouble, the whole mission's got an evacuation plan in place, and we all know it. Little trouble would get us sent to the Church Area Headquarters in Tokyo. Big trouble would get us sent to the States. We know where the army bases are, and are in every way prepared and unworried.

Oh, except Elders Hansen and Olsen, because Sister Pak played a prank on them this week and told them over the phone that the North had just launched seven missiles and we were evacuating. Half an hour later, we get a call back, to the tune of: "I HATE you! We called the APs and they told us you're lying liars! Elder Olsen was packing!"

Sister Pak is very pleased with herself.

This has been a slow missionary-work week, sadly, though we have done a bunch of hill-hiking to find addresses, which I like because it feels like work. I did meet my first Jehovah's Witness last night. I now kind of understand why many returned missionaries say, "Oh, Jehovah's Witnesses. Yeah," and then sigh and change the subject. This gentleman was very polite and spoke English very well, and kept us (me and Elders Routsen and Olsen; the older missionaries stayed well clear) in a fifteen-minute conversation about the linguistics of the Book of Mormon and why it can't possibly be true. It was unpleasant. Not because he brought up anything that in any way bothers my testimony--quite the reverse, actually-- but I just got bad vibes from the whole thing. Why would someone spend so much time and effort trying to destroy someone else's faith? If he'd said "In my church, we believe this and this and this," I would have been okay with that. That's offering something. But to stand on the street for fifteen minutes trying to destroy someone else's faith as an intellectual exercise, is . . . hurtful. Why would you do that? The truth of God is a gift, not a weapon. I need to always remember this in my own teaching.

We also had President's interviews this week, which are great. I love talking to Pres. and Sis. Jennings. Sis. Jennings brings out the wicked side of my sense of humor (unfortunately), and Pres. Jennings has read many of the books I've read (probably ALL of the books I've read) so we can reference things without missing a beat. This is so enjoyable, because no one around here speaks my langauge, really. I don't mean English . . . I mean history, and books, and old movies. All that stuff. Elders are delightful, but they're not who you go to when you want to talk about how Prince Caspian can be an allegory of the Restoration.

So, um . . . strange Korean things to tell you about this week. Let's see.

Oh, the scooters. There are little moped scooters everywhere. They're mostly delivery-persons delivering things, like pizza and propane. Seriously. I have seen with my own two eyes a Korean man riding a scooter AGAINST TRAFFIC carrying one tank of propane on the back of the scooter and another one held between his knees, while SMOKING A CIGARETTE. But he had his turn signal on.

Copyright. Copyright is a vague concept in Korea. It doesn't really apply to day-to-day life. This is why on every street corner you can buy Disney socks not made by Disney, why every missionary has a tiny 4-inch-by-4-inch bootleg Preach My Gospel, why so many people wear hats with the logos of very masculine American institutions, like the FBI and NYPD, in very feminine colors, like hot pink. It is also why Elder Hipsche's P-Day shoes are Nike sneakers trimmed in Louis Vuitton faux-leather. Yeeeeeah . . . .

And that's my time for today. It's Soccer-playing day, so I'm writing lots of letters! Yaay!

And lest we forget:



Blogmom Notes:

* I don't know what this means. Teancum doesn't either.

** Cousin

*** Aunt

Monday, June 1, 2009

Busan Fish Market & the Beach

RoseE writes:

"Dearest Mum and Dad,


Yes, we have been hearing wars and rumors of wars over here, all a bit vague because our news sources are not very reliable. But I talked to the APs* yesterday, and they're not worried. "Do you have your 72 hour kits?**" "Yeah . . ." "Then you're set. Quit gossiping and get back to work." And they're right. I mean, we're in Pusan. Invasion-free since 1600. And if the occassion warrants it, the safety of Japan is one ferry-ride away, and I can get to the ferry terminal on the subway. So we're having fun gossiping and speculating, but there is no word from any reliable source that our missions are going to be in any way interesting from a military history standpoint.

Oh, except we may go to Seoul next week for Sis. Pak to see a doctor about her eyes, which have something wrong with them that I cannot understand because I don't speak Korean. :-)Aaaaanyway . . .

The adventure of the week is best chronicled by typing out my journal entry for Friday (yeah, like I journal every day or something . . .Riiiiight):
"We and Elders Hansen and Routson and Bro. Kim and his two sons and Lee Mi Keong and Jang Hei Weon went to the beach, waaaaay at the south end of town. We stopped off at a fish market,
filled with rows of colored baskets all packed to the gills (as it were) with living, squirming fish, as fresh out of the ocean as ever a girl could ask for.
Fish, eels, slugs . . . and of course every tank of baskets was presided over by the inevitable Korean halmoni. Gotta love those halmoni."

So Lee Mi Keong starts pointing out some fish, including one big gray whopper of a thing, which the attendant halmoni obligingly sorts into a basket for us."

'See the big fish?' asked Elder Hansen. 'We're gonna eat the crap out of that fish.'

"And as we watched, the halmoni, chatting freely all the while, transformed these living, healthy fish into horribly maimed, bleeding fish, then headless fish bodies, and step by efficient step, wielding very old knife with very practiced hand, into bite-sized pieces of white, boneless fish flesh, packed in styrofoam and served with wasabe and a bottle of hot sauce that in its previous life contained a goodly measure of beer.

"Elder Routsen, with awe in his voice, called her a 'Boy Scout'.

"We ate the fish at the beach itself . . . it didn't taste like much, kind of bland, so I ate a lot and if I'm deathly sick tomorrow I'll know the reason why 'cuz there was NO disinfectant in that fish market, let me tell you. Then I spent most of my beach time watching these thousands of awesome little crabs make millions of tiny sand balls, then disappear in the blink of an eye when something startled them.

Sister Pak on the Beach

"And the day was finished off when little Kim Hi Jeun, Bro. Kim's younger son, decided his pants were too wet to wear and stripped them clean off in the sight of God and Man. The sight of his sand-covered naked little rear end sticking out from under his shirt as he went scrambling across the beach was the perfect crazy ending to a very crazy day."

So other than that . . . drama in Sujeong ward continues apace, much aided by the addition of the term 'snakes' to my vocabulary (thanks, Dad!) which perfectly sums up our four husband-hunting single sisters with whom the bishop and seminary teacher are at odds. CrazySister Yan Son Yeong fed as again (FED us) and informed us that because Sujeong ward is boring, she's going to Bible study with the church down the road . . . the one so peculiar it makes our church look mainstream. (Something about how you can only recieve revelation from God when it's raining . . . I didn't catch it all). So all of that is very discouraging. I feel rather sulky about the whole thing, rather like "FINE. I'll just go home and enjoy the blessings of the gospel ALL BY MYSELF." Rrrrrrgh.

On the plus side, though (yaaaaay!) I got a package from my family! Full of candy, which I ate, and a Costco Card (counting down the days . . . thank you so much!) and letters and sunscreen, of all precious substances, and many beautiful and useful handkerchiefs. THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!!A recipricoal package (I can't spell) is on its way, eta 2 weeks, maybe.

Oh, and I also have Dad's missionary picture hanging on my wall. Sis. Pak thinks he's handsome. :-)

Please find included Beach Day Photos: The Fish Market, Sister Pak in the water, and Me With A Fish. The gray stuff on the beach is all little tiny sand balls rolled by little tiny crabs. Crazy, huh?
I love you!
*APs: Assistants to the (Mission) President: Elders that are assigned to assist the mission president.
**72-hour kits: a day-pack containing food, water, means to make a shelter such as a space blanket, rope and pocket knife; clothing, important phone numbers-- anything you might need for the 3 days it takes to survive until the officials come and rescue you after a natural disaster, or war.