"Dear Mum and Dad,
How will I talk when I get home? Well, strangely enough, probably a lot like Dad. Korean structure puts pauses in a lot of the same places Dad does when he wants to see if anybody's actually listening to him. "I . . . *pausepausepause* want to go see a movie." Koreans do this. "Chonun . . . *think about it* 모모모." Also after conjunctions. "I want to go a movie AND *pause pause pause* eat yangnyeom chicken." And I've discovered that I can't really do normal introductory questions anymore. I can't spit out "So what's your family like? How many brothers and sisters do you have?" It just falls out Korean form: "How does your family become?" I'm sure you'll notice more in a few months.
It shouldn't be getting too much worse for a while, though, because the dreaded Michigan Test is coming up again in December, and since Sis. Pak failed it last time around she's going to take it again. So I'm going to put a lot of my Korean practice on hold and make her speak and listen to English. She improved a lot when she was living with three weigukins*, but she's been with hangukins** pretty much ever since and has started slipping.
Well, inasmuch as we are a united, eternal family, I up'n got sick too. Not bad. Yesterday was lots of sniffling and sneezing, but today it seems to have cleared up. I don't think it's the dreaded H1N1, which everybody is self-diagnosing this week (a couple schools are closed and the hygene masks are EVERYWHERE) . . . just a wrapup to the blissful seven months of healthiness I have thoroughly enjoyed since leaving the Pit of Disease and Death otherwise known as the Provo MTC.
Well, the cold snap hit and then it was gone. The weather's as lovely as it gets. Which is SO weird. Because it was blinkin' freezing for about two days, and we were frantically trying to make sure everyone had enough blankets and that their apartments were well-insulated (Elder Draper, out in the boonies, is looking for a new apartment because their place is colder inside than it is out) . . . and then the cold went away. Gone. Poof. Gorgeous outside.
So . . . missionary work is happening, or something. Hyeoh Un participated in the Primary Sacrament Meeting program yesterday, as did all of less-active Kim Mi Hyang's kids (BOTH their parents came, AGAIN, which is AWESOME). She's nervous about getting baptized, but she has a strong testimony and her mom is completely okay with whatever. And Gu Yeong Eh's niece Hyeon Ji came to church again, and we taught her the third lesson, and checked up on if she'd been reading the Book of Mormon . . . "Well, I got to First Nephi 14," she told us, pulling out her copy and flicking it open. Colors. On almost every page. She's Been Marking Stuff. "I didn't understand this part with the dream about the tree*** that Lehi had, but then later on it explained it really well#, so that was good."
You could have knocked both Sis. Pak and me over with a feather. Nothing blows missionaries away like someone actually, earnestly reading the Book of Mormon. Looking at that book was like Christmas.
So yeah. Hyeon Ji's doing fine.
We ALSO taught the first lesson to our less-active new-member friend Hyei Ji's best friend Ju Hyei (getting mixed up with the names yet?). She's attended church a few times, and told us that she loves Sacrament meeting and feels really good when she goes. She has been GETTING HYEI JI OUT OF BED TO COME TO CHURCH ON SUNDAYS. No, really. Our non-member has been dragging our less-active to church.
We ALSO taught the first lesson to Son Mi, aka Miracle Girl. We met Son Mi on the street two weeks ago with a couple of her friends, said hi, introduced our message, wished 'em a good day, moved on. Then, two days later, we were walking down the street and saw a girl talking on a cell phone. And I was (in my head) like, "Maybe we should talk to her." "Nah, she's on the phone." "But maybe we really, really should." And I hesitated, and looked at her, and she caught my eye and smiled (this DOESN'T happen in Korea) and hung up the phone. It was Son Mi.
Now, y'all know my memory for faces, vis., I have none. I didn't know her from Eve. Didn't recognize her at all. But it was the same girl, that I just randomly felt that I needed to talk to. Or perhaps not so randomly.
Anyway, we invited her to the Halloween party, and she came and helped out and had fun. And this week we made an appointment to teach her, and Sis. Pak made muffins.
We get to the church. She's late. We text. She replies. Sounds like she's not coming.
"Aww," Sis. Pak texts back, "we had a present we wanted to give you."
"Oh, okay," says Son Mi. "I'll be there in half an hour."
Sis Pak looks at her little bag of four muffins and decides that, while it's a fine surprise gift, it's not much to make a special trip for. So she and I went on a mad hunt through the chapel to find something that would be a better present. And what did we find but: A copy of "Stand a Little Taller" in Korean, colored paper, markers, stickers, scissors, tape, and ribbon. And we had a perfect little present waiting when she showed up, to listen earnestly and attentively to the first lesson, at which the Spirit was most decidedly in attendance.
So missionary stuff's goin' darn well in the fine city of Taegu. To quote Independence Day ('cuz it's P-Day and I can do stuff like that), the last couple of days have been REALLY exciting.
So, other news . . . oh, kyool. Gotta tell you about kyool. It is kyool season here in Korea. A kyool looks like an orange or a tangerine, is slightly larger than a golf ball, and is so sweet and lovely and delicious that you can just eat them like candy all day long. Sis Pak and her older sister once ate 250 of them in three days. Their skin turned orange.
Speaking of Sis. Pak, she hit her one-year mark this week, and we all had ribs at TGI Friday's to mark the occasion. (Lunch special. Missionaries are pros at knowing where the good lunch specials are.)
Also speaking of Sis. Pak, I keep forgetting to tell this story but I'll tell it now. A few weeks before Halloween, one night we'd just finished planning and I got up to go use the bathroom. When I came back to our room, I found Sis. Pak standing just inside the door with her very long straight black asian hair combed down over her face.
Three voices started up in my head. One was saying, "Huh. Sister Pak is standing just inside the doorway."
The second said "AAAAAAAHHHHH ITS THE FREAKY ASIAN GIRLDEMON THING LIKE FROM THE RING AND IT'S GONNA KILL ME AND I'M GONNA DIE OH CRAP"
The third said, "Oh, Sis. Pak is trying to scare me. That's a great Halloween idea. I wish I had cool Asian hair like that."
Unfortunately, it was the second voice that got control of my muscles first. So while the first and third voices were like "Wait! Don't!" I screamed my head off and smacked her clean across the face as hard as I could.
She was okay. And I was really, really sorry. And it was all really funny in a horrible kind of way. So yeah. I get to join the ranks of those sister missionaries who have in very fact physically attacked their companions. Lucky me.
Anyway, that's the news over here. We're gonna go watch Prince of Egypt (which Sis. Pak has never seen; some of the elders got permission for a movie day) and I'll write a bunch of letters and life will be good.
Love you! Be Good! Church is True!
** Korean-speaking companions
***1 Nephi 8:4-38
# 1 Nephi 15