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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.

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