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Monday, October 5, 2009

Korean Holiday

RoseE writes:

"Dear Mum & Dad,

Looks like there's some kind of scramble going on over there, because I don't see an e-mail from all y'all. Maybe it was just a really boring week. Or maybe (as is more likely) my gosh darn e-mail account is bouncing things, despite being all but empty (it refuses to admit that I've got space in here. It's possessed or something).

Anyway, we're doing all right over here. The big news of the week was Sisters' Conference, which happened over Chuseok since we can't really get any missionary work done when Chuseok is going on. (It was eerie. Really. There were moments when I could hear No Cars At All.) Anyway, Thursday afternoon we hopped on the train and went down to Pusan, where we got to go into the mission president's house for the first time since I got here. It was great to see absolutely everybody--Sister Matthews, Sister Montgomery, Sisters Beckstead and Ogelvie, Sister Linford and Sister Jung Min Hee from the MTC, Sister Musser, the legendary Sister "Ace" Acey . . . well, everybody, in fact. There were talks, of course . . . fairly inevitable . . . but there was also Costco pizza (lots of it) and a game of Jeopardy (funniest sight ever: a dozen Korean sister missionaries frantically trying to figure out the meaning of the expression 'trick or treat') and a watching of Errand of Angels, complete with Korean subtitles. This movie is a whole different experience while on a mission. Things that are absolutely true around here: the empty apartment staircases, the awkward appointments, the impossibly endless amounts of just FOOD . . . Things that don't happen in our mission: beds on frames, off the ground (what the heck are they sleeping on?), and silent and solitary two-man apartments. There are some two-man sister houses, but I've only lived in such an arrangement one transfer out of five.

Speaking of sleeping arrangements, we all slept in Prez's living room on a bunch of yos*. Sister Jennings made it clear that she would eat our souls if we stayed up talking past 10:30, so we all faithfully found a spot to lie down on . . . but not a soul of us could sleep until well past midnight. We just lay there, in eerie silence, occasionally sitting up to exchange "You can't sleep, either?" looks with others doing the same. I toss and turn when I can't get to sleep, and since I didn't want to kick Sis. Kim Yoon Ha I tossed and turned the other direction, off the yo and eventually in between the potted plants and the wall, where I finally dozed off for a few hours.

(side note: Sis. Matt's package** came while we were all at the house. I took a video of her opening it, but since the video-sending plan doesn't seem to be working, here's the transcript:

(Scene: The living room of Prez's house. The floor is covered in yos. In the background, Sis. Linford and Sis. Ogelvie, in pajamas, are folding up their prostelyting clothes. In the foreground is Sis. Matthews, wearing an "MTC: Enter to Learn/Go Forth to Serve" t-shirt and a turquoise necklace, with a toothbrush in her mouth and a small cardboard box in her hand.)

Me: Well, it looks like you've got a toothbrush in your mouth. So let's open your box and see what's in it.
Sis. M: holds up her box and looks into the camera) First I wanna say thank you, to the Academy, for, um, this opportunity . . . (starts on the tape)
Me: You know, most people brush their teeth BEFORE coming to the Academy Awards.
Sis.M: Yeah, well, I'm from New Zealand. We do it backwards. (Is discovering that the tape won't come off) Augh!
Me: (veers camera over to Sis Kim Yoon Ha, who is chilling out, sprawled on her back on a yo) This is Sister Kim Yoon Ha. She's on the floor. (Veers back to Sis. M.)
Sis M.: (grabs a pen off the side table) Currently, I have no knife, so also in New Zealand, we use our MacGyver skills . . . (goes after the tape with the pen)
Me: Was MacGyver from New Zealand?
Sis M.: Yep.
Me: Okay.
Sis. M.: He's Maori.
Me: Maori from New Zealand. MaoriGyver.
Sis. M.: MaoriGyver. He's my cousin's uncle's sister's brother's friend.
Me: As is everyone in New Zealand.
Sis M: Yep. You know us too well. (is still having trouble with the tape) Ah, cham. Ah, freak!
Me: Yeah, this is what we call "Murphy Packaging."
Sis. M: Who did this?
Me: Cuz you see, in Ireland, there's this family called the Murphys, and they always use way too much tape on EV-ERY-THING.
Sis M: Is it my family's auntie's siser's cousin's Murphy? There's some Murphys in New Zealand. Except they're Maoris. See, everyone's Mauri. Oh, man! (Abandons the pen and goes back to pulling at the tape) What do I need a ball pen for?
Me: (incomprehensible)
Sis. M: (ditto)
Me: Get it open!
Sis M.: Augh! (Rips off a big strip of tape. The box pops open. Sis Matt squeals and grabs the mouse out.) AAAAAHHH! My Kiore! Is it identical?

Me: (laughing) No, it's different.
Sis M: (screams and tosses it at Sis. Kim Yoon Ha, who shrieks and rolls out of the way, then picks it up and puts it on her shoulder) Waaaaa! I love Kiore! (bows to the camera) Kamsahamnida! (scares Sis Kim Yoon Ha with it again)
Me: And there we end.

So that's how that went down. It was very funny.)

Anyway, in the morning (like 6 a.m.) those as wanted to went to Hoshimchang, the awesome bathhouse. I was 'as wanted,' of course. It was raining, which was pretty cool. The outdoor baths are fun in the rain. Sis. Ogelvie had never been, and came with and had a lot of fun.

Then we got home to fantastic Sis. Jennings breakfast (I cannot tell you how joyful breakfast food is) and, as it was raining, decided to have all our meetings in the morning and play in the afternoon, instead of staggering them as originally planned. So we did Christlike attribute activities (more fun than they sound) until lunchtime, when we packed up bag lunches and went to Haeundae beach for a few hours. We were all wearing matching pink-and-white Sisters Conference t-shirts, so we looked like an elementary school group. But oh, well. We played in the sand and the water and ate good food and took pictures and listened to Pres. Jennings talk about anything (he's like the random information generator. It's like watching Discovery Channel) and generally had a good time. Then we went back to the house, had a testimony meeting, ordered chinese food (NOT like chinese food in America) and watched Horton Hears a Who. Which is all about missionary work. No, really. It's freaky.

By then, it was too late to get back to Taegu, so we four Taegu sisters stayed in the Gupo house with the four (Korean) sisters living there . . . yep, just me and seven Koreans. 9_9. And then we went home.

The Elders, meanwhile, had a full P-Day. Which should have been lot of fun, but wasn't because none of them could decide what to do with it, so they cleaned their apartments and ate at MacDonald's. HA.

So today is not actually P-Day. It's just e-mail and go day. We were going to go up to Palgongsan with the Tollets, but Sis. Tollet is sick so we're just going to sneak up to their apartment and decorate their door to wish Bro. Tollet a happy birthday, and drop off some yooja tea for Sis. Tollet.

We had Chuseok dinner with the Relief Society president and her husband, and also Sis. Li Mi Suk (who is out of the hospital!) and her son. There isn't actually a special 'Chuseok dinner' . . . the only specified food for the season is little balls of duck (the rice stuff) filled with this really good stuff that's like honey and sesame seeds and something else. I likes 'em. The members gave us a nice shampoo gift set (that's what's exchanged at Chuseok: gift sets of food and gift sets of bath products. I've seen people with them on the bus all week), so I'm set on the shampoo front for the duration.

Yesterday we had Sunday lunch with Sis Li Mi Suk, too. She made us absurd amounts of spaghetti, which I ate with shredded radish kimchi (I don't understand how we eat spaghetti without shredded radish kimchi. How do we manage that?) and had fun dressing up in the wigs she'd bought for when her hair starts to go from the chemo. If positive attitude=speedy recovery, this woman has it in the bag.

Anyway, that was the week. It sort of got out of rhythm, with the holiday, and not much work got done. But good times were had, and on we go.

I love you! Be good!


* yo: less than a futon but more than a sleeping bag.

**I sent RoseE a tiny knitted mousie stuffed with lavender petals to be in her photos and to remind her that we love her (it's the lavender and the knitting, I guess). Sister Matthews fell in love with it and asked for her own, since she and RoseE are not companions anymore. So I made one for her, too. That's the box that arrived.

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