"Dearest Mum and Dad,
I will start off this letter by saying that I AM PERFECTLY SAFE, NO MATTER WHAT YOU MAY BE HEARING ABOUT WHATEVER TEMPER TANTRUM NORTH KOREA IS THROWING RIGHT NOW.
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.