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Thursday, April 22, 2010

To Dad, Early April 2010

RoseE writes:

"Dear Dad,

I'm sorry you haven't managed to see Brigham Young's grave yet. Might want to try a weekday.* If you can wait 'til July, I'll go with you. I like walking. I'm sort of discovering this now, 'cuz Sis. Yoon is not yet used to walking--at least, not in missionary quantities--and I'm suddenly noticing just how far I generally walk in a day. It's a long way.

We went up to Kyeongju again today and spend the afternoon in the Tombs--actually a very pleasant park full of odd-looking steep round hills. There's one excavated tomb sort of renovated into a museum space, so you can walk inside the hill and see how they're put together--one coffin and a box of burial goods in a decent-sized wooden chamber, covered by but tons of rocks and rubble, covered by a thick layer of dirt, covered by grass. I don't know if the other tombs were ever opened. When they opened the one, back in the seventies, they found tons of cool stuff, like a big antlered crown with jade pendants and horse gear with painted designs still intact, so you'd think they'd be curious about the others. I dunno. Knowing what I do of Korean history, I'd guess there's an inventory of all the burial goods stored in some temple somewhere, so no one sees any point in checking. I dunno. History education seems to be different around here. We saw lots of school groups (all in two straight lines, just like Madeline) being lead around by guides, who informed them through megaphones "This tomb is twenty meters tall. How tall is it?" "TWENTY METERS," chorused back the lines of children. Okay, think I, it's twenty meters tall. But who's inside it? Who built it? Why did they build it this way? What did they believe about death? What did they eat for breakfast? I'm sure all this information is somewhere--just nowhere that I, as a missionary, and a foreigner, can get at it. But at least I know now that the tomb is twenty meters tall.

So we played werewolf amongst the tombs--two rounds. I called them both. Elder Bocchino, our district leader, is a werewolf/mafia junkie, and it's hilarious to watch him play--he gets very intense. And it all brings back good ol' camp days,** rounds played around the fire on Aventure Nature campouts with the loons wailing hauntingly in the distance. This is the last P-Day of the transfer, so maybe no more werewolf for a while--but Elder Bacchino's my death d???, so betcha five bucks I'mgoing to be calling another round in the Seoul airport.

Holy cow. I've nearly made it through my first full-senior transfer. Friday's transfer calls, Sat-Sun is Conference, Monday's a working day, Tuesday we'll probably go spend the night in Pusan, Wednesday training day and thursday Transfer Day. I haven't madde it through very gracefully, and we're still baptism-free, but there haven't been too many major disasters, all told. We've hung on. I still can't cook, though.

I miss you. Let's go backpacking or something. I'm finding that my most restful activities on P-Days are either watching movies (rare) or being outside, in pants and sneakers, on pine needles or grass, a little bit dirty. It feels so different from my pavement-skyscrapers-and-stockings life--so much more like who I used to be, only more appreciative of the privilege.

Getting back to Ulsan. I love you--


*He did. The gate was still locked, so we could see the grave but couldn't go up to it.

**Werewolf: (also known as Mafia or Assassin) is a party game modeling a battle between an informed minority and an uninformed majority. See more here.

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