"Dear Mum and Dad,
Well, keep that cold weather the heck away from me! It's been astonishingly nice here in Daegu. I don't think it's gone below freezing or even anywhere near it. We are praying in gratitude every day that the warm stretch holds out, and have armed ourselves with scarves and ear warmers and extra stocking-looking socks and the whole thing, ready to go as soon as the weather breaks.
Despite the warm weather, Santa Lucia still came. But as it's just me, in a houseful of Koreans, with limited baking resources and no time to myself . . . you better believe I did Santa Lucia anyway. I made cookie dough the night before, stonewalling Sis. Pak who kept asking me, "Are you making them for Hyeon Ji? That's a good idea. Or for Son Mi? Why are you making these cookies? Why did we have to make a special trip to get sugar TONIGHT?" And then next morning I got up at five to cut them (with a knife), decorate them (with 1 ancient half-can of sprinkles and a bag of Halloween-colored peanut M&Ms), and bake them (in the oven). My darling roommates were bewildered but in general accepted my gesture of festive goodwill in the spirit in which it was given. They even ate some of the cookies, which was very sporting of them. THEN Sis. Pak and I made a bunch more for investigators and new members, and she had an absolutely grand old time. She'd never decorated cookies before, and thought it was as great idea. We're still spice-hunting for gingerbread men; I've got ginger and cinnamon but other stuff's eluding me, which is sad 'cuz I want to make wassail, too. Sis. Jennings suggested Home Plus, so that's the next stop.
Othe festive pursuits of the season include belly dancing. Yup. I bragged myself into something I now can't brag myself out of, and BOTH wards want me to dance for their Christmas parties. They want the Elders to dance, too, but I don't think it's gonna happen. They're all sports and they'll do any crazy thing they're asked, but last night Sis. Pak tried to learn how to do an undulation (and she's an experienced song-and-dance girl), couldn't manage it and woke up the next morning sore all over. I don't know if the poor elders' abs could take it. So I, who have never choreographed, never performed, never soloed and hasn't practiced in a year, am going to do a solo performance of some choreography I'm making up in the evenings. Well, one way or another, we'll get some laughs out of it.
Ward Christmas parties in Korea are on Christmas day. Really. We've got one the 24th and one the 25th. "Sister Hadden, what do you do in America when you go to Church on Christmas?" "Um . .. we don't go to church on Christmas. If Christmas falls on a Sunday, we drastically reduce church or just cancel it altogether. We stay HOME on Christmas."
The Military branch's annual curriculum order came in and it was full of copies of True to the Faith in Tagalog and French. So I have a new toy. And since the order got processed after I quit at Distribution*, this is not my fault.
Oh, I ate my guts out on sushi this week. One of the members took us to this really nice sushi resterant, where the stuff just kept coming in course arfter course. It was pretty darn mind-boggling. I just about killed myself eating it all . . . particularly as Sis. Pak played the Korean-exclusive "Oh sorry, I don't really like sushi" card and was NO help whatsoever. Rrrrgh.
Progress in missionary work is coming slowly, but still coming. Hyeoh Un faithfully read her scriptures yesterday. And Hyeon Ji, confined to the hospital with sixteen nails in her legs as she recovers from bowleggedness-correcting surgery, is reading, too. (We're big favorites in her leg-injury hospital ward. We always leave with more fruit than we came with.)
Transfers brought our well-beloved Elder Hamilton up to be our District Leader . .. and it was his birthday this week, so on no notice whatsoever we tossed together a surprise party for him, for which I provided a nutella-filled poorly-decorated cake. Anyway, Elder Hamilton's dream is to spend all Christmas season caroling all over Taegu, and hey, we're all game, so that's what we're doing this week. Fun times.
Um . .. I think that's all the big stuff for this week. I didn't keep a list of stuff to write, so I have no idea what to put, really. Rumor has it Sis. Jennings, Sis. Matthews, and maybe even new couple-missionary Sister Bagley could FINALLY come up to hit Seomun market . .. keep your fingers crossed. I'm gonna go play with multimedia now, to find belly dancing music and maybe send some pictures.
I love you! Christmas is awesome! I miss you, but I think the Lord is blessing me because it hasn't quite HIT me yet, you know?, that I'm missing out on Christmas at home for the first time in my life. On the other hand, I'll never have another Mission Christmas, so that's good reason to keep my eyes open and my pen scratching. And hey, I get to call** on Christmas, and I hit my year mark right after and life's pretty good, really.
Love ya much
* RoseE's job before she left for Korea was working as a translator at the church Distribution Center, where all the books and magazines are printed and from where they are sent out.
** Missionaries get to phone home on Mother's Day and Christmas Day.