"Dear Mum and Dad,
I forgot to ask things on a couple of Scottish topics. First: is there any information forthcoming on the proposed Scotland foray? I know only "Scotland" and "August" and "Robin McKinley". That's the sum total of the information at my fingers. And Emily and I want to have tentative plans for me to go out east a week or so ahead and spend some time with her, which works out fine as near as I can tell, from what I know, which is, as mentioned above, "Scotland," "August," and "Robin McKinley."
Second: will Teancum greet me with bagpipes at the airport too?
I forgot to make a 'this is what happened this week' list, so here's what I remember . . .
We had interviews this week, in the which we were informed, by an annoyed-but-resigned President Jennings, that all the missions in the world are being switched from managing their finances locally to managing them through JP Morgan "Purchasing" cards, which:
Cannot be easily replaced if lost or stolen
Cannot be used at Korean ATMSCan only be used at SOME international ATMs
Take a 3000-won transaction fee
Don't let you check your balance from an ATM OR by calling the bank
Take 3-5 business days to process any transaction
Issue a once-weekly balance statement by e-mail, sent at 5:30 p.m. on Thursdays, the end of P-Day, so we can't see it until next week
Can only be used at the largest, most expensive stores
Hold their balance in dollars, so we're at the mercy of the exchange rate both when the office puts money on our cards and again when we take it off
Are kind of ugly
But other than that, they're very convenient.
We also learned that Seoul mission is eating Seoul west mission, giving a little chunk of it to Taejeon mission. Pusan remains untouched. Yaaay!
This week, I went on my very first "real" split (I can't much count the last one, as I spent most of it in bed). Sister Crowther, new greenie from Colorado, came up to Ulsan from her area in Pusan while Sister Pak explored her old area down there with Sister Musser. As I haven't spent a whole day with an English-speaker in some, what? two or three months, at least?, I fairly well talked her ear off the whole time, forgetting entirely the rules that say you have to speak to greenies in Korean until one in the afternoon. Sorry.
But we had a great time. We made pancakes and cookies and didn't even get lost on the buses really and did some actual work and learned how to play one-card and were called upon to do an emergency musical number at a hastily-planned baptism in Shinjeong ward (as the baptizee was a member's 8-year-old daughter, you'd think they would have seen it coming . . .). Sister Musser had particularly instructed Sister Crowther to make me tell her a story, so I got to tell a story, too. It was the first day of my mission where I was really actually in charge all by myself, and nobody died, so I count the day as a success. Sister Crowther's a lot of fun and I'm glad we have her, because we're going to need her positive attitude and even-keeledness in July when we all disappear. (Sister Musser's extending to July and coming home with S. Linford and me. Sis. Ogelvie still planning on August as far as I know, and when she goes Sisters Crowther and Chon, starting their fifth transfers, will be the oldest American sisters. Party on.)
Sunday was District Conference. As President Jennings is somehow in charge of districts or something, he and Sis. J. came and spoke. There was also a district choir for the occasion, in which Sis. Pak and I participated, despite my being made to sing soprano against my will. (There were like twelve sopranos and five altos! What the heck? I begged, but to no avail.) Anyway, the sister sitting next to me (a young single adult and particular friend of Sister Pak's; I can never remember her name but her nickname is 'the supermodel,' 'cuz she's got the proper proportions and complexion to be such) tried to tell me that I looked really pretty. She took a minute to search for the right word to tell me what I looked like . . . she knew it in English and seemed pretty proud of herself for that. When she remembered the word, she told me glowingly, "Sister, you look like . . . penis!"
I think I blinked a couple times, and I know I felt every drop of blood in my body go rushing to my heart and lungs and then come shooting back up into my face as I demanded, "Wait . . . WHAT?"
"You know . . . the goddess," said this sister helpfully, grabbing for her cell phone to look the proper spelling up on her Korean-to-English dictionary.
The sisters all around us were now in on the action, too. "Yes, it's a goddess's name. Roman? Or is it Greek? I don't know. That prononciation's really hard, huh? Yes, that V sound. But it's very important in English, huh? Yes, I can never do it. We just write it as ㅂ, but it's a different sound. What did she say, Chamenim? You're absolutely flaming red all over, so she must have said something good."
I explained, as well as I could in a chapel, not having studied the 'male anatomy' section of my vocabulary book (I'm kidding . . . there isn't one, really) and then you had half the soprano section and the accompanist absolutely gasping with laughter until the start of the meeting made them get ahold of themselves.
When I got my proper face color back, I thanked the sister (who was pretty red with laughter herself) for her kind compliment.
This morning I finished my hanbok alterations. The dress itself looks gorgeous. I tried it on with the chigori and the chigori is also too darn short. I don't think there's gonna be a quick fix for this one. Mmmmph. Frustrating. I dratted hate being six feet tall in Korea.
This is Sister Pak Min Jeong's last P-Day. In honor of the occasion, she went to a beauty salon and got semi-permanent false eyelashes glued to her eyelids. Interesting process. Stuck on one at a time with black glue. Handled with tweezers. I considered trying, too, but then thought better of it. I'll stick with my own eyelashes, thank you kindly.
In actual missionary-related news, a member sister asked us to come teach her mother. The member sister's not much older than we are, so her mom's not much older than my mom and though she speaks saturi (dialect) I can still understand a lot of what she says. She's really interested, and is planning to come to church on Sunday. We gave her a giant Book of Mormon, since she said the regular size was too small for her to read. And we also had an investigator and her friend come to district conference . . . as dist/stake conferences are about the most boring meetings in the church, if they survived that, they'll survive anything. And we have an appointment tonight with a woman whose husband just got baptized in Australia. AND we found a woman who had taken the missionary lessons in Idaho, but because there were no Korean-speaking elders she'd gone through them in English and not understood much. She whipped out her calendar right away and was like, "So when can we meet? When can you teach me?"
So missionary work is lovely. I like it when stuff happens.
And that, I think, is the news from Ulsan. It's raining. Life's pleasant. Our houseplant is still alive. Oh, and we have tortillas and peanut butter and are very happy indeed.
I love you so much, and miss you like crazy!