Search This Blog

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

To Bug 9/14/09

RoseE writes:

"Dear Bug,

Any of this look familiar?* Surprise! You can get more Eiffel Tower stationery in one Korean mungu than you can probably get in all of France put together.

So word is that you've been limping due to some injuries and your right and left legs being different sizes. Freaky! You and Isis can be gimpy twins. (Is Isis still limping?** Haven't heard any news on that in a while.) I'm limping, too, but it's because I wore a hole in the lining of my shoe and it's cutting into my heel. I'll fix it with some tape when I get home tonight.

I am so jealous you get to do archery. I used to hang out at the archery range all day when I was at Girls' Camp. Never got very good, though. And that string snap is a killer, so watch your arm. You're injured enough as it is, goodoness knows.

I love you! Stay out of trouble, but have fun. Kids in Korea don't get to have fun--they're in school from seven in the morning to ten at night, so have lots of fun for their sakes.


* The picture at the top of the stationery is a watercolor of the Eiffel Tower in fall, surrounded by Korean characters. We visited Paris in February.

**Isis tore her ACL some months ago and limped on it for a long time. The vet said she probably would heal herself, and she has.

To Bit 9/14/09

RoseE writes:

"Dear Bit,

It sounds like you have some fun classes in school. Mom alwys told me to take Auto Mechanics*, but I never did, because I was afraid of being the only girl in the class. I wish now that I had. I will try to find a class like that in college when I go back.

What is the animal class you talked about? (I don't have your letter here on the train with me, so I'm trying to remember what it said.) And are you still slogging away at Chinese? My district leader, Elder Robb, is what we sometimes call a hanja jengi (person who loves learning honja) and sometimes call a hanja spazz. He has learned more than 200 characters. But now he's moving down to the other side of the city, so I won't be able to talk to him much any more.

I am riding home to Taegu with my new companion, Sister Pak Song Hee, on the KTX (the fast train). I love riding the train. It's so quiet and peaceful, and out the windows I can watch all the beautiful Korean mountains go drifting by. There are so many trees out here. It's absolutely amazing, even to me, and I live in the woods in Minnesota three months out of every year! (Also you can buy little walnut-shaped walnut cakes with red bean paste in them from the snack cart. They're pretty good. Man, I'm hungry now.)

I love you and I miss you! Stay focused.


*I don't remember telling her that, but even now it seems like a good idea. They never let me take auto mechanics or shop when I was in high school.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Chuesok, Persimmons, and It IS a Small World, After All.

RoseE writes:

"Dear Mum and Dad,

So Isis* is walking again, and Margie is walking again, but Teancum's down for the count**? Can we not get all of us on our feet at the same time? Holy betsy. What did I TELL you guys about getting cancer while I was out here? Did I not specifically forbid it? If I didn't, I'm doing it now.

And he's going to Greek school. To learn such useful things as "If Person A has three goats and Person B has five goats, how soon will they marry?" I'm sure someone else has already made this joke, but if I'd been there, I would have made it first, so ha.

I told Sis. Pak this week about all the fruit trees in our neighborhood. The thought blew her mind. In the older neighborhoods here, the ones swarmed with little old piled-up-like-legos houses, there are still some fruit trees . . . not like you're thinking, though. They're mostly pomegranetes and persimmons (have you ever had a persimmon? I had one this week. It's like eating a tomato filled with half-set orange jello), and the wider streets are lined with ginko trees. These are in fruit at the moment, and smell to high heaven . . . and every day I see someone standing underneath one, either kicking it or throwing something up into the branchest to knock the fruits down. Then they step on them, so the pit in the middle slides out of the smelly fruit stuff, and they pick the pits up and put them in a bag and take them home to dry in the sun, and then they eat them. Sister Pak says they're really good pan-fried. Um . . . . . . . we are not in Kansas anymore, Toto.

In Sunday School yesterday we had a new family come in . . . from Mongolia. Yep. Two sisters and the younger sister's husband. Their Korean is about as good as mine (so . . . not very), and the older sister speaks a tiny bit of English and plenty of Russian. So Elder Ee Son Gi taught the lesson in Korean . . . but he taught it dang well, clearly and simply, in sentences even I could understand, making liberal use of the chalkboard and his passable artistic skills. And for the few really tricky words I whipped out Liz, whose 11-language feature does not include Mongolian but does include Russian, so with English, Korean, Mongolian and Russian all going at the same time, we got through astonishingly well. We're not sure what we're going to do about Conference, though.

Speaking of, Conference is not this coming weekend but next (it comes to Korea a week late). THIS weekend is Chuesok, one of (as far as I can see) only two holidays actually celebrated in Korea, the other being lunar new year, when everyone gets a year older. Chuesok is basically like Thanksgiving. Everybody's with their families, talking and eating and talking and eating for three days straight. They also go clean up and give food to the graves of their departed family members, which is the only instance in which you can stick chopsticks straight up in a bowl of rice. (If you stick your chopsticks in like this at any other time, it's basically a declaration that you wish everyone around you were dead, and is the second-rudest thing you can do at a Korean table, short of not eating all the rice.) So the Elders get Chuseok day itself off entirely. Full P-Day. The sisters get to go to Sisters' Conference and sit in meetings all day. We'll get blessings.

So last night at a big Suseong ward potluck dinner thing I ran into an American named Brother (I think Keith) Jorgensen, who mentioned offhandedly, "I knew a Hadden in grad school . . . Barney***?" Yeah, so he and Barney were in the same ward at UCLA. And I ran into him in Taegu. He's doing fine, if Barney asks. Teaching geography at one of the universities here.

I made myself a treat this week. GRANOLA. Yeah, I finally got the ingredients together to use that recipe. It ended up being a little unorthodox . . . honey got replaced with "sweetening syrup," and included in the mix were corn flakes, banana chips, and chocolate-covered peanuts, as well as a bag of sunflower seeds that I think have been living on my bookshelf for a very, very long time. But it tastes dang good, and I am eating it with yogurt for breakfast every morning, and am happy.

The work's picking up here. Sister Pak seems to be the tipping point for these wards. The pressure's been on for a long time to change the way missionary stuff works around here--the Area Authorities have been pushing from above, the missionaries from below, and President Jennings from the side. And for a long time the only Korean sister serving here was one that was a little hard to get along with. But Sister Pak, of course, is an angel, so people are now coming out of the woodwork to tell her, "My niece really needs to hear the missionary lessons. Here's her address," or "You need to start teaching so-and-so's family. If you want me to come along, I'm free in the afternoons." And just now, walking to the post office to e-mail, a woman (wearing a hygene mask, so she was almost completely incomprehensible) stopped us and told Sister Pak, "I met with your missionaries a long time ago, and I have some more questions. Could I get your phone number?" And as far as Sister Pak is concerned, this sort of behavior is par for the course. She's just like that.

I got a letter from Dad this week containing an essay by Orson Scott Card that has caused me to repent of last week's rant. I'm sorry! It was all about the type of missionary that people trust, and the kind of missionary that people don't. I'm trying harder this week to be the former--to know better how to teach, to talk less about myself and more about the gospel, to just say what's true and leave it at that, and to not go into anything without preparing well and thoroughly. And I'm also cramming vocab like a madwoman again because I HAVE GOT TO LEARN THIS LANGUAGE! I don't know how the missionaries in Center Ward are doing. Have them teach you the First Lesson and see what you think. And if they ever get themselves stuck in a really awkward situation because of the rules (like, they can't accept a ride from you if you're the only sister in the car, so they have to call someone else for a ride or just walk home), then they're probably pretty good.

We didn't get to hear the RS broadcast. Is it printed in the Ensign? Or is that the YW broadcast? Can't remember.

Sister Beckstead is a barrel racer#, I think. I'll ask her for tips at Sisters' Conference.

Um . . . I think that's the news of the week. I didn't jaywalk across freeways or ford rivers . . . just crammed and sulked and repented of the sulking and kept on keepin' on, as we must.

I love you. Don't do anything too dumb or too fun until I get home.


* Isis: our dog

** Teancum was diagnosed with a benign tumor in the top of his left leg, which is what has been making him limp for the last 5 months. Stay tuned for treatment . . .

*** Uncle Barney

# Bethe is going to compete in barrel racing in a hippotherapy rodeo in October.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

My Desk

Can you spot:

A postcard from Beaune
Dad's mission photo
a Quebec flag
Bro Cho's baptism phot
A handkerchief press
a maglite
a family photo
our area books
a tiny green bible
a journal given to me by Sara W.
a rubber duck?


If you have spotted them all, write RoseE and tell her and you will get a prize.
RoseE writes:

"Dear Mum and Dad,

HA! Sister Matthews is going to have a fit.* I should tell her companion to take a video of her opening that package.

Um . . . Sister Pak Sung Hee wants a mouse, too. She thinks Kiore is adorable.

It's very funny that you think I could help with a Korean phone call about airplanes. I can't even say 'airport' reliably. It's something like 'heng gong,' but I don't remember what, exactly.
But in honor of the international keyboard on the iPod, here is your first Korean lesson:
ㅎ This is a hiyeut. It sounds like H. Pretty straightforward.
ㅏ This is a vowel that says Ah, like at the dentist. Like a face with its tongue sticking out. (Korean vowels are all sticks, some with sticks sticking off them.)
So to write ha, like ha-ha that's funny, it's just 하.

And if you add one more consonant (ㄴ, neyeon, which sounds like N) it gets stuck to the bottom of the syllable, so you write it 한, not ㅎ ㅏ ㄴ. And 한 means 'great' and is in things like Hanguk (Korea) and Hangul (the Korean Alphabet). It's also my Korean last name, because it's sort of like Hadden. Kind of.

So, this week. Well, Sister Pak is a patient sweetheart and I love her to death, though I do miss Sis. Matthews. But I got to see her this week; we had a sleepover in Pusan so Sis. Pak could attend her convert's baptism. My old house! My old mattress! That apartment is HUGE. I never realized it. It's enormous, especially for just two people. We four in Taegu are living in a third of the space.

And with Sis. Matthews gone I'm discovering that I know absolutely nothing about navigating Taegu. So we've been getting lost a lot. Including two nights ago, when we went walking in the river park to try to talk to some folks. It was really nice; the weather was beautiful, and Suseong bridge was all lit up, and underneath it a guy was playing traditional Korean music on a saxaphone, which was cool. And we crossed the river on this very pretty stepping-stone bridge, to walk back up the other side. Except on the other side there's no way to get onto the street, because the freeway runs right along the edge of the river for a good long way. So we, um, jaywalked. Just across an offramp. We had no choice. We were trapped. And we're not dead, so it's all good, right?

In two weeks, over Chuseok** weekend, we're having sisters' conference, because Chuseok is useless for missionary work. And Sister Ii Yeong Bin, roommate and Sister Representative, asked us to give a talk.

"On Chastity," she told me.

"On WHAT?" said I.

"Chastity," said she. "You know. Chastity. The pure love of Christ."

Me: "Um . . . do you mean charity? Because a chastity talk addressed to sister missionaries probably isn't going to take up fifteen minutes . . ."

Yes, on charity. That's what she meant. Good thing, too.

Oh, food tip of the week: Costco hot-dog onions with ketchup and mustard. Everybody mixes this up as a side-dish salad when they eat at Costco. It's good.

I love you! Sorry it's brief; I was writing rants.



* I knitted RoseE a tiny mouse, stuffed with lavender, which Sister Matthews promptly fell in love with and named Fiore, which is "mouse" in the Maori language. She humbly asked for one for herself. I have just finished Sister Matthews' mouse; it will be sent out tomorrow. I would love to see the video of her opening the box. I hope RoseE can arrange it.

** Chuseok weekend: I'm guessing this means General Conference weekend, where the Prophet and Apostles counsel us on what we need to work on for the next 6 months. No regular church services are held, as everybody is (assumedly) watching Conference and listening to prophets' voices. General Conference happens the first weekend in October and then again the first weekend in April. At one General Conference in October 1855 or so, President Brigham Young got up and advised the church members that 3 handcart companies from Winter Quarters, Iowa had become stranded in the mountains and were out of food. Everybody IMMEDIATELY went home, packed up 250 wagons with food, clothing, shoes and blankets and set off to rescue them. A month and a half later they brought the survivors into the Salt Lake valley. Shortest Conference ever, I bet.

A Missionary's Advice

Last week I asked RoseE what our ward here in Salt Lake could do to help out the missionaries assigned to our Stake. She wrote:


Okay, I won't rant, I promise. I'll just say the following:

Missionaries do love getting fed, this is true. Nothing like a good member meal. They sure do 'preciate it. But they would happily live on ramen in their own apartments if the members were too busy talking to their friends about the gospel to have time to feed them. That would be missionary heaven.

Strike up conversations with people about church and what we believe. Invite people to ward parties, Enrichment, Achievement Day . . . any ol' get-together. Don't be pushy; just be open, and keep yourself ready for when those teaching opportunities come. And if someone asks you a question you can't answer very well, just say, "You know what? The missionaries could probably answer that better than I could. They're eating at our house on Thursday; do you want to come too?" These are Magic Words. (For further Magic Words, see Preach My Gospel. There are more good ideas in there than you think that there are.)

Ask the missionaries to introduce you to the people they're teaching. Say hi to these people when they come to Sacrament Meeting. Call and invite them to stuff. Ask them how they feel about what the missionaries are teaching them. As you're making Christmas cookies/fudge/cute poems for ward friends, make one for them too. (I know you're all getting ready to make them. I remember Christmas in Center Ward.)

And DO YOUR HOME AND VISITING TEACHING. A ward that doesn't take care of its own is not a ward missionaries want to bring people into.

Okay, that became a little bit of a rant. Sorry. But being a missionary has made me understand a lot about what a goshawful member-missionary I was. Honestly. When new converts got baptized in our ward, I never went to their baptisms BECAUSE I DIDN'T KNOW THEM. Jeeez louise! That's the whole point! Of COURSE I didn't know them; that's why they're called 'new converts.'

The thing that I didn't realize (and, I think, that many wards don't realize) is that a ward is not just a unit of a stake. It's not just the place where you go on Sunday to chat with your friends about the gospel. It is these things, yes. But missionaries think of wards as units of their missions. Really. Center Ward is part of a mission, and in it missionary stuff is going on right now, and it was last year when I was there and I didn't know about any of it. A ward is a growing thing.

Um . . . six short paragraphs. Sorry. Please edit as you see fit.

RoseE the Ranter."

Monday, September 14, 2009

Toaster Ovens, Transfers and How Powerless We Are in the Face of Adversity

RoseE writes:
"Dear Mum and Dad,

So spoiled today! I'm e-mailing at the mission office, so the whole darn computer's in English! and there was much rejoicing. I might actually get some pictures out this week.

Well, news of the week. I'll start with the happy stuff. This week, Sis. Matthews and I were visiting a bunch of old addresses on the ward list that nobody'd checked on in a long time. There were three on one side of this little stream, and three on the other. We did the three on one side, then looked for the nearest handy bridge. Both bridges were a good hike away in either direction. But the creek was tiny. It barely deserved the title. And there were all these rocks in it.

"We could probably just climb down and cross on the rocks," I joked to Sister Matthews.

"Yep. Probably could," Sister Matthews answered.

We looked at each other.

And then we headed down into the gully.

It turned out to be NOT as short and easy as it looked from up top. We got pretty well prickled in the masses of something that looked like squash or pumpkin plants growing all along the creek. We made it to the water, stripped off our shoes and stockings, and rock-hopped/waded across (it was slimy with green growing stuff, which is an okay kind of slimy that I'm familiar with, not nasty city pollution slimy), put our shoes back on, and started the even longer hike up the other side. Now without the minimal protection of nylons we got even more scratched and prickled, so our legs were covered in little pink slashes by the time we got to the other side. And it had taken longer than we'd meant it to, so we didn't have time to visit anyone anyway. But it was a heck of a lot of fun. Just don't tell Prez.

We also this week celebrated my halfway point and Elder Robb's birthday by going with the entire zone to that wonderland of food known as Vips. Much deliciousness was had. Vips has a little conveyor-belt toaster (an impinger, we used to call it at the theater) for toasting rolls and things if you want to. And Sister Matthews, clever thing that she is, decided to try to toast a piece of salmon in it. Well, that went fine. Worked just great. So she got Sister Ii Yeong Bin in on it, and they put an even bigger piece of salmon through. But when they tried to pick it up, it fell apart and dropped into the internal workings of the toaster. So they were trying frantically to get it out when Elder Son Oh Un came up to see what they were doing, bouncing around them like a puppy in a "Hey, guys! What's goin' on? Can I see?" fashion, with these two poor sisters trying to wave him away so he didn't attract more attention to their plight. Finally the Vips staff figured out something was up, informed the sisters sternly that the toaster was only for bread, and shooed them off. They hustled back to our table and sort of hid until the cluster of staff around the toaster went away and they figured the problem was cleared up.

We had THREE meals with American families this week. It's been some dang good food, man. But the Tollets' house was odd, because their daughter greeted us at the door with "You can keep your shoes on." They'd had some work done in the house, and the floor was still gritty with construction dust. But MAN, that felt wrong, to go into a house wearing your shoes. I wanted to at least tiptoe or something. Ugh.

We met this week with a woman by the name of Ii Mi Suk. She is a member who just went through major surgery battling advanced ovarian cancer. She's doing really well, or as well as you can be doing with ovarian cancer. She's a chatterbox and a jokester, and was so glad to see and gossip with us. Sunday afternoon, we visited her with a member family, and at her request sang "Be Still, My Soul." By the time we finished it, we were all in tears. She took our hands in each of hers, and gripped them tightly, and said in a tear-choked voice that I will never forget, "My life is . . . bottom. But I believe Jesus Christ. So I don't care!"

I feel so helpless most of the time. We missionaries are servants of Jesus Christ, but in the face of so much fear and pain, what can we do? A hymnal, a tissue, a hand to hold, the willingness to walk wherever we're told to go . . . it's all we have. A puny arsenal. But Sister Ii Mi Suk called us servants of Jesus Christ, and clutched our hands and told us she would never forget us. What did we do? What could we have done?

She didn't need us. She needed Jesus Christ, and she has him. I could see the strength and comfort and happiness in her, sick and hurt and frightened as she was. And it gives me a great sense of peace to know that one day, when I do my inevitable battle with breast cancer (It's coming. I know it.), I'll have access to that same source of strength. He helps us through.

Speaking of things that are hard to go through, Thursday night we got The Call. In spite of all our hopes and plans and pleading and prayers, Sister Matthews and I are being split up. Sister Matthews is moving down to Pusan, to serve in Sujeong ward, my old area, as well as Haeundae and Gwangan wards. She was heartbroken. But she's serving with her MTC companion Sister Hawkins, which has softened the blow somewhat. She was so upset she forgot to ask Elder Clark who MY new companion was going to be, but I was so upset I didn't care. I just crawled under my desk and cried for a while, while she called all her friends to say good-bye. An hour later, she learned who I was going to be serving with: Sister Pak Song Hee, my former roommate and first friend in Korea. So that's something. But this will be my third transfer of five living exclusively with Koreans, and this time there will be no Sis. Beckstead and Ogelvie to save me on P-Day. But at least it's Sister Pak Song Hee, if it had to be somebody.

I love you all! Be good!


Monday, September 7, 2009

Biggest Shoes In Korea, Senior Companion, and Fantastic Dinnersr

RoseE writes:

"Dear Mum and Dad,

. . .

How come Bit and Bug get to do things like hippotherapy, fencing, and archery for their sports and I got shepherded to basketball? *sulks* It's 'cuz I'm tall, isn't it? The world is just not fair for tall people. But at least in one small facet it has been rectified, because Sister Tollett took us on base today and bought us both new shoes! In our sizes! I've got little brown flats with brass buckles, while Sis. Matthews made off with brown canvas mary janes. We are over the moon. New shoes! The ungettable thing! I also took my from-Cara brown shoes to the Shoe Hospital (really, that's what it's called, but actually it's an old man sitting on the corner outside our apartment who just fixes shoes all day. But he's still called a kudu pyongwon, shoe hospital) and they got glued back together so I should be able to beat those some more, too.

Bethe is, as far as I know, the first of your daughters to want high heels while still a teenager. They won't kill her. Don't worry about it. You should see the lunatic shoes people walk around in over here.

But back to the Tolletts . . . they fed us Taco Bell! There is a Taco Bell on base! Taco Bell just ended up on the Forbidden List a week ago (vis., the list of things I want to do when I get home, which I write things on but never read) because I had a random Taco Bell craving, and lo and behold, there it was!

We actually visited Camp Walker twice this week. The first time was a lunch date with a less-active sister in Suseong ward, whose husband is retired navy. (By the bye, did I ever have a military dependent card? Everybody thinks I aught to have one, but I've never seen one in my life.) Anyway, this sister is rich beyond belief, for all the good it does her because she is bored, lonely, and unhappy, hence her taking sister missionaries to lunch at the restaurant at the on-base country club.

Being on Camp Walker was really, really strange. Almost painfully. Because it looked just exactly like Glencoe, Minnesota with a fence around it. Houses lined up along the street, each one sitting in its own little yard . . . little grocery store, Wal-Mart-ish everything store, food court, Burger King, swimming pool, bowling alley, public library, movie rental place, golf course . . . it was in a way almost scary, because I felt like I could turn a corner and just be right back on Seventh and Redwood, six blocks from my house, and Korea would just have been a very bizarre, very vivid, but ultimately unreal dream. It was strange, and scary.

Also strange and scary was that the base has a 1-hour photo printing shop, when just outside the gates you can get pictures printed in four minutes, for half the price, in won. In Korea, 1-hour photo printing seems like a joke. You just walk into anywhere, plug in your camera, and print the darn photos and walk out. Come on, people.

I did indeed get the box! Soooo exciting! Sister Matthews was blown away that she got chocolate with her name on it. She's sending you a thank-you in my next box home. She also named the mouse* Kiore (Kee-oh-ray), which means 'mouse' in Mauri. I'm having fun taking pictures with him but can't send them today because this gosh dang computer is using Windows Vista, which seems to me to be the most uncooperative OS I've ever seen. And in Korean, to boot.

So this week I was the Senior Companion, which meant I had to decide what we were going to do all the time. Aaaaaand it wasn't stellar. We didn't get much done, really. But I didn't blow up the mission, which was my only goal for the experiment. And we did learn some things we didn't know before, and taught a girl we met at a crosswalk all about Joseph Smith, and she was really interested! Some people are just ready to hear, and some aren't. This knowledge makes me feel better about teaching in general. People saying no to you all day doesn't mean you're just not saying the right things. Nothing we say is really going to catch their attention if they don't want to hear. Talking to someone who is ready to listen is a COMPLETELY different experience. But completely.

We also had a fantastic dinner this week with Martine, who is an Australian RM (served in Daejun) who's come back to teach English. She's pretty tight with Sis. Matthews, them being south-Pacific-ers and all. So we went to some crazy nice buffet and just ate and gossipped and had a good time, which was a relief after less-active-hunting all day as per my poor navigation skills. The other fantastic dinner we had was with a member family who live ON A FARM. Like, outside the city. On land that they own, where they grow stuff. We had songyeopsal outdoors, sitting on a raised platform with a table on it, playing with their dogs and watching the stars come out. (Only like 3 of them--we were still pretty close to Taegu--but more than I've seen in months.) Oh, gosh, it felt good to be out of the city, on dirt, dirt in which things are growing, and to be able to hear things like birds and bugs and trees instead of just the incessant hum of the traffic. Wow.

And also this week we ran into some boys in a back alleyway who were playing baseball, getting out of the way whenever someone either walked or drove past. We stopped and played with them for like half an hour. Good times.

Oh, we're sleeping on mattresses again! Sort of! The weather's cooled off, so we've pulled out the house's 'folding mattresses', which are basically three big sofa cushions sewn together. But they're the squishiest surface I've slept on in a long time, so I'm way excited.

I made another cake this week. The cocoa powder* came just in time, 'cuz we discovered at the last minute it was our Ward Mission Leader's birthday and had to whip up a surprise party for him. I got to make a chocolate cake with actual cocoa powder in it! And Sis. Matthews donated her precious watermelon, which she bought as her own particular treat (she loves watermelon), and Martine came through with bunches of random everything, from dried squid to Australian cheese with fruit in it. And good times were had by all.

Did the little movie-thing I sent you come through? Multimedia experiements continue apace.

And . . . I think that's the news. This week's the last week of the sixth transfer of my mission, which will make it my official if-we're-counting-by-transfers Halfway Mark**. (Counting by exact date is trickier, but I think it's in a couple of weeks.) I love you! Stay out of trouble! Don't fight with semis!


Oh, P.S.: Next recipe request. Brown sugar muffins, please? I could do a lot with a brown sugar muffin recipe."

* In the last care package we sent RoseE, we included cocoa powder, 2 rather large bars of chocolate on which were written the companions' names with permanent marker, and a miniature (2") knitted mouse stuffed with lavender (to be the subject of photos).

**Half-way Mark: According to Todd, who knows everything--or can at least do math with a large degree of accuracy--the actually halfway mark of RoseE's mission is September 15.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

to Dad, received 9/2/09

RoseE writes:

"Dear Dad,

The rivers in Taegu don't strike me as particularly battle-worthy rivers. More like glorified streams, really. They're not big enough for shipping. They've even got fountains in them. If I weren't a missionary I could probably wade or rock-hop across the one by our house. But then again, it's bigger than the stream under Burnside's Bridge*, so I guess it sometimes doesn't take much water to bring an army to a standstill.

I think that if perceptions define reality it's only a matter of time before the two Koreas are reunified. As far as most Koreans are concerned, they're still one country--that just happens to have two governments. Whenever anyone draws a map of the country to show me where something is, they always draw the whole peninsula and then, as an afterthought, a slash across it to indicate the 38th parallel. Most children's maps don't even show the border at all--just one continuous Korea labeled 'Uri Nara'--Our Country.

I'm going hiking in the mountains outside the city today, in Palgongsan National Park. It's gorgeous. You've got to come see it.

R. Hadden"

Included with these letters are 2--for lack of a better word--business cards with RoseE's picture, address and email address on the front, and this quote on the back. See if you can spot the Korean mistake(s):

"The road must be trod, but it will be very hard,
And neither strength, nor wisdom will carry us far upon it.
This guest may be attempted by the weak with as much hope as the strong,
Yet it is oft the course of deeds that move the wheels of the world
Small hands do them because they must,
while the eyes of the great look elsewhere. " J.R.R.Tolkein

*Burnside's Bridge:'s_Bridge In September 1862 at the Battle of Antietam, the Union Army under the command of Major General Ambrose Burnside tried to cross this rather narrow bridge pretty much in single file for 6 hours while a small band of Confederate soldiers from Georgia methodically picked them off one by one from the other side.

The water in the river below them was waist deep.

It is said that if Burnside had been able to get across the river, the Union would have won the war at Antietam.

to Teancum received 9/2/09

Rose writes:

"Dear Bug,

I am sending you some more jell-o things* in the next box.

I just went to see the biggest statue of Buddha in the world. It was really big, and very pretty, but not very old--it was finished in 1992. I like old things best. So I really liked the beautiful buildings of the temple much better. They were really old. And there are some flagpoles here that were set up by the Kingdom of Silla, a long time ago--about 450 years after Jesus Christ, so they're more than a thousand and a half years old.

The mountain is so pretty. There's a natural spring that makes some rocky streams all running through the trees, and some of the water comes up in a fountain at the temple. There are a bunch of water dippers hanging there so you can have a drink if you want. I wanted--it was so hot! (The weather, not the water.) Also there was a place where you could pay money to have the monks pray for you for different amounts of time--1 year of prayers was about $100. I didn't buy any prayers, because I can pray on my own for free, but I did buy a cell phone charm.

Love you!


*a Korean soft drink: carbonated beverage mixed with jell-o