Monday, June 28, 2010
"From what I can tell, this is your last P-day. Next week will be a P-week. Yesterday Rose and I received from President Jennings a letter announcing your completion of your mission. Both President Reusch and the Bishop got letters saying the same thing, so you are done. Take a week off. "
"Yaaay! Actually, not that much goofing off planned for this week. Next week is only four days long (Mon-Thurs) and two of those days are P-Days (Mon and Thurs), so goofing off will be heavily indulged in then."
Todd: I remember my last week. I had no fear, I could speak with power to members and investigators alike. Calling to repentance and changelings all I spoke to. You get to do that when you are about to leave this mortal coil. Take advantage of it.
RoseE: Yeah, I'm noticing this . . . last week of your mission, you've got nothing to lose, so stuff just flies out of your mouth without fear of the consequences. It happened at Kim Yoon Eh's house this last week. I think it might make her come to church next week, for the first time in ten years. And even if it's not next week . . . some things are inevitable.
Todd: Friday passed without my feared outcome. I knew that North Korea would lose in the World Cup, but they didn't take their failure out on Seoul, so I think you will survive your mission.
RoseE: Folks around here are worried for the NK soccer team, actually . . . thinking Beloved Leader or whatever we call him might take out his frustration (and humiliation -- from what we hear, he made sure that lots of people in his country were watching as his poor team got their butts whooped 0-7) on the players and that if they do not find themselves a quiet corner of South Africa to live out their lives, they might be living them out in a labor camp.
Todd: Since you will be coming back, what do you have planned?
RoseE: Monday morning, I'm planning a trip to LDS Distribution to beg for my job back. If they give it to me, I will be planning on going to work every day. If not, I have no plans, really. Other than sewing dresses, going to the library, cleaning out e-mail inboxes, and exploring the boxes and boxes of clothes I think I've still got over there.
Todd: Will you stay in the ward or go to a singles ward?
RoseE: Staying in the ward, at least for the time being. I've missed the ward a lot, and until I figure out what the next few months are going to be like (staying in Rose Park/moving elsewhere to chase employment, staying living with all y'all/finding my own place, eventually back to BYU for grad school as soon as those student loans are killed . . . ) I'm gonna stick pretty close to home base.
Todd: Do you want a calling?
RoseE: Yes, please.
Todd: The Bishop has asked for you to speak on the 25th will you be ready?
RoseE: Can do.
Todd: What to you want to do when you get back? I know you are going to Boston, but do you have any locals that you are going to spend all your time with? Do you want to be left alone? Should I find stuff to do?
RoseE: Awwww, dang, I didn't bring my Forbidden List. The Forbidden List has all the stuff I want to do, but I can't remember much of what's on it because I haven't read it because it's Forbidden. (That's why it's called the Forbidden List.) Yes, there are a lot of local folks that I want to spend time with, predominantely the old roommate gang (Serena/Felicia/Laura/Holly/Sarai, the ones who were around a lot just before I left) and my dear friend Cara, who may or may not still be alive (information's thin on the ground over there). But I want to DO stuff, with my family, from whom I have been troublesomely separated for quite some time now. I want to go hiking and see the Church Art Museum again and do fairs and random shopping and movies and Conference downtown and eating American food and eating Korean food and anything else I can get my hands on. I don't want to be left alone. I've been quite alone in my head for a very, very long time, and I've had quite enough of it, thank you kindly.
Though you might wake up the morning of the 11th to find me not in the house . . . I have a vague plan to wake up at like 3:15 a.m., jet lag being as it is and all, and take Isis and go jogging in the park. Just thought I'd warn you, as I know this is not normal behavior for pre-mission me and you might be scared I'd run away or something. Nope--just getting some exercise and hesitantly testing out what being alone feels like. I'm sure I'll find time to organize my thoughts and process this whole experience while those of you who still have real lives are occupied with work and stuff . . . but I don't want to be at loose ends. That's about the worst thing I can imagine now.
Todd: Hugh Nibley* spend a month in Zion National Park when he finished his mission to recoup.
RoseE: I don't like recoup time. I get bored. But I do like Zion National Park. I think. Have I ever been there?
Todd: We have Phoebe with us for the month, and she and Teancum want to hike and camp and we would love to have you along too.
RoseE: Count me in!
Todd: Keep up the pace. Remember: there are only 50,000,000 Koreans left to convert!
RoseE: Ugh . . . don't remind me.
*Hugh Nibley: LDS scholar and friend of the Hadden family; fluent in about 8 languages including some ancient ones that nobody speaks anymore. Here are some links:
Sunday, June 27, 2010
"June 17, 2010
Dear Brother and Sister Hadden,
We are pleased to inform you that Sister Hadden has filled an honorable mission and will return home on 10 Jul 2010. Please know that she has served with great faith and a dedicated heart in this missionary effort. She has been an influence for good and has touched many lives with this glorious message. She has been instrumental in bringing many souls into the church because of her strong testimony and outstanding missionary spirit. She is loved by both missionaries and members with whom she has served. She has done much to further the work of the Lord in this beautiful land of Korea.
Sister Jennings and I have been honored to work with your daughter and have grown to love her very much. You have good reason to be proud of Sister Hadden who has conducted herself nobly and diligently as a representative of the Savior. She has finished well the work and service she undertook many months ago.
It is our hope and prayer that as she returns home she will continue to find joy and fulfillment in service; and that as a result of her mission experience, she might be more prepared for even greater opportunities.
Sister Jennings and I are extremely grateful to you for sharing her with us and with the Korea Busan Mission. She will be greatly missed.
May the Lord continue to bless you and keep you in his watchful care.
Kenneth W. Jennings, Jr.
Busan Mission President"
Monday, June 21, 2010
I think it's technically still Father's Day over there; at least, I hope so.
So Mom sent me fifty billion pictures of the family reunion. On the one hand, I was really sad I couldn't be there when EVERYBODY else was hanging out together, but on the other hand . . . well, I'm one of the oldest cousins, aren't I? Still too young to hang out with the aunts'n'uncles, too old to play with the younger kids who're all the same age or thereabouts. Ah cham. Oh well. At least Will, and not I, gets the stigma of being tallest. It looks like it was an awesome time, though, and I'm glad you had a good time biking up there. You've got to tell me more about this stealth camping thing. It sounds almost as good as sleeping in airports. (see sleepinginairports.com; fun website.)
I FINALLY FINALLY got to do some cool living history stuff this week! It was the Soiburi Festival (Ironworks?) up at Buk Gu Cheong, and we missionaries volunteered at it. I really don't know what they thought they needed us for--they just told us to wander around and be enthusiastic, probably to make it look like there were more weigukins coming to the festival than actually came. We were nominally there as translators, but nobody seemed to need translation. So we just made clay pots, learned to make ddeok with a big old wooden mallet, wove reed circles to put on your head so it doesn't hurt as much to carry heavy stuff up there and it's easier to balance, watched some cool dancing and cooler drumming, dressed up in Choson-dynasty armor (plastic--my medieval sensibilities are appalled), and watched the Hyeahsa, praying to ancestors in general for a successful festival. (Apparently ancestors will do anything for a pig's head.) We also watched lots of blacksmiths doing their stuff, and watched students powering a foot-powered bellows like in Princess Mononoke. Very cool. AND on Sunday Sis. Go Kyeong Ah, the branch president's wife, finally relented and let us hear her play her very awesome Korean traditional lap-harp thing. She has two: a more traditional-style twelve-string one and a modernized 25-string. I took videos on my camera, but they'll have to come home with me 'cuz I didn't have Isobel there to take sendable videos with.
So yep. Seventeen months of searching in vain for a good Korean-history activity space, and my last month one jumps out at me and I get to spend two days hanging out there! And I got a free t-shirt. Except it isn't a t-shirt, it's a senghwal hanbok shirt, nice and cool with frogs to fasten it at the neck. So comfy. Sis. Alcazar is sleeping in hers. I'm wearing mine today to go up and see Seoknam Grotto. Hot as Hades and mosquitoes galore. I don't mind the skeeters, 'cuz I just don't react to the bites anymore, but poor Sis. Alcazar swells up like a balloon at every bite, so we've been experimenting with makeshift screens and netting tents, and taping up the vent in the bathroom 'cuz a lot of them seem to be getting in that way. Better last night.
We had President's interviews on Tues and Sis. Alcazar spent the whole time cutting elders' hair so they'd look spiffy for the mission tour. I got my Death Letter: the "This is when your exit interview is and this is how much money you'll need to get to Seoul and this is what you can do with the time you have after your temple session" letter. Death Letter. That whole last week's still kind of up in the air, since transfers are on Monday but exit interviews aren't 'till Thursday. It's looking now like Sis. Linford and I will just be companions and sleep in the living room for a couple days, and Elders Bocchino and Oxborrow will do something similar and have free run of Bangeojin to Kyeongju to say last goodbyes to everybody.
Sis. Kim Min Kyeong, the investigator who talks really fast, got matched up with Sister Go Kyeong Ah, who also talks really fast, and we had a lesson with a member and the two of them really hit it off and it was fantastic awesome.
We're having a ward activity in two weeks: Water balloon volleyball in the Daehwa River Park. Sis. Culver made a mad-cool collage poster for the occasion, with which everyone is very impressed. Now to get our investigators to come. . .
Sis. Wang Ga Jeong, of whom we had such high hopes, is in a pickle . . . her Buddhist mother-in-law, living in the States, has forbidden her to participate in a Christian church. She reeeeealy wants to come to church, but we're in Korea and Confucius reigns supreme and . . . we're stuck. Dang this woman, whoever she is.
This coming week: splits to Daegu, Zone Conference with Elder Ringwood, District Conference. It's going to go by really fast. It would even if it were a week in the middle of my mission and not my second-to-last week of regular missionary time. Chaos reins. We scramble to get stuff done. Even right now: gotta catch a bus to Kyeonju like NOW. So I love you! Happy Father's Day! See you in gosh-sakes-three-weeks!
"In Korea they're called Dochangs. I'll get him one. If anyone else wants one, let me know. I can get 'em done up with just about anything written in Korean, Chinese, or English. I'll just do his in English, just his name, unless he'd like some characters on there or something in Hangul. So I'll wait a week to see if there are more specific instructions/further orders, and then do 'em all at once. I wanted to get a new one cut for myself anyway.
Really, anybody who wants one. Just tell me what you want written, in what alphabet, arranged how. By next week. I'll get 'em cut.
. . . and since this is all she wrote this week, this is all you are going to get.
So get your requests in today, folks!
Sunday, June 13, 2010
"Dear Mum and Dad,
So we discovered this morning that Monday P-Day means the library, the youth center, and all the other amazingly useful places for e-mailing are now closed to us again. So we're back to Digital Plaza,
The Electronics Store, with dancing girls
the electronics store, trying not to get kicked out. Ah, cham.
We found the doncas restoraunt run by the most awesome Jeong Hyeah Shim, and ate doncas there while chatting with her and her brother and sister. Sis Jeong (aka The Cake Lady) is about the most awsesome person I know. We love her whole family. After English class this week she took us out for jajjangmyeon (except it had octopus in it . . . I didn't know you could get jajjang with octopus. It was SO GOOD) and we bullied her into letting us pay 'cuz she's fed us like three times now. We are excited to start teaching her, but right now isn't good 'cuz she's trying to cram through her cake-baking course and is studying every waking minute except the minutes that she's taking us out to eat. So we're encouraging her through that, and in the meantime are trying to get ward activities happening again so she can come out and meet some ward folks.
Sister Jeong Hyeah Shim aka the Cake Lady
We went to the Daegongwon Rose Festival . . . big feature of this is concerts, too late at night for us to go to them, but we did get to go see the rose gardens for free, which was nice.
We also hit the Daehwa River Water Festival, which was MUCH bigger and featured a lot of things I'm glad I got too see before I left Korea, like Korean traditional wrestling matches and the dragon boat race finals. (Hyundai won.) And just walking around in the sunshine talking to people is so very pleasant. I love Daehwa River.
World Cup: Korea vs. Greece. I didn't get to watch it, but BOY HOWDY did I hear it. We're in our apartment, quietly minding our own business after a hard day's work, and all of a sudden this ROAR resounds from outside, like every person in Ulsan just started screaming at the top of their lungs. Korea scored. We've also been kindly informed by everybody that America tied with Britain, so they're not doing too badly, really, for Americans.
Getting kissed by a drunk guy. An American from North Dakota. He'd been up all night and well into the following day watching US vs UK, and we met him on the street, where he kept us in conversation for a very, very long time, and finished it up by kissing both of us on the hand and cheek. I hope he doesn't remember this later. Elder Bocchino, when he heard of this (and also learned that the drunk guy in question was married; he'd told us so) labeled us both 'homewreckers.' I need that on a t-shirt.
OH, speaking of t-shirts, at the river festival we saw the Mother of All Korean T-Shirts, the Untoppable Wonder. It was being worn by a mom, out with her young family to see the festival. Printed on the t-shirt, in big black letters, was a neat list of every radically offensive epithet you can think of, one for each cultural or social group, just lined up neat as you please. She obviously had NO idea what it said. We almost worked up the nerve to ask her for a picture, but chickened out. Dang it.
Missionary work in general has not been much fun -- a lot of dead-ends and very, very awkward lessons. So no fun peppy news on that front, really, though Song Yeong Ok and Yoon Mi Hyeah are still coming to church, as did a lot of less-active families this week 'cuz it was branch conference. I spent too long gossiping with Sister Jennings. I always do.
Since last e-mailing, I had my last Zone Meeting. Ah, good old Shilla zone. Good folks all, from Shinjeong to Pohang. Zone meeting is presided over by the Zone leaders -- neither Prez nor the APs nor anybody high-ranking or official comes, so it sometimes decends into chaos. Highlights are 'Shilla time', the talent show portion, and the after-meeting game of werewolf while waiting for pizza to arrive. Good times have been had at zone meetings. And then I made the elders sing for a long while, prepping for Elder Ringwood's mission tour in two weeks. Nah, it's not intimidating . . . why would you think that? Silly.
And my photos are now all safely backed up on a flash drive, but I'm just going to keep it here with me and you can see 'em when I get home, though by then you probably won't want to, mission pictures being what they are and all. I'll send a few this week, though, while you're still interested.
And Guess Who called me this week.
Unlisted number registered in my phone. I picked up.
"Yes . . . Who is this?" said a throaty female voice.
"Um . . . I'm Sister Hadden missionary."
"Yes. You served with me."
"Huh? You say I served with you?"
"Yes. Served last year."
"Last year? Did I meet you in Busan?"
"No . . . you were serving with a Maori person ."
"Oh, yes, yes. Sister Matthews. Do you know her?"
"Yes . . . "
Okay, gotta go look up an e-mail address for Sis. Linford and send y'all some pictures of stuff, so until next week!
Friday, June 11, 2010
"While serving in Daegu, I lived in an apartment overlooking the KTX rail line. And every morning, at 6:47, the train rattled past on its way to Seoul. And every morning, at 6:47, I thought, I could be riding that. I could be on my way home right now. All I have to do is give up.
Elders and sisters, all we have to do is quit, and we can go home any seond that we choose. We all know it. We all think about it at some point during our missions, when frustration and disappointment weigh heavy on our shoulders. So why are we still here?
The Lord faced the same decision every morning of his mortal ministry. He had the power to quit any time he chose. No one could have stopped him. Said he, "Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father." Even the nails that affixed him to the cross could not have held him there unless he chose to let them. At any point, he could have changed his mind, hopped down, and gone home, back to his family, and friends, and carpentry business, and good, decent, unremarkable life. He could have left the salvation of mankind to be somebody else's problem. He could have. But he didn't.
We all have the power to lay down our lives--our jobs, educations, friends, families, ambitions, plans, boyfriends, girlfriends, pets, cars, home culture, home language, independence. No man taketh these things from us; we lay them down of ourselves. We have the power to take them again. But every day that we choose to leave them laid aside, we become a little bit more like Him who made the same decision on a much grander scale. And we learn, a little bit, why he made that choice . . . because as we love our companions, investigators, members and friends, so he first loved us, and laid down his life for us.
We lay down our lives that we may, in due course, take them up again.But they are not the same lives we left. They are changed beyond recognition, enriched beyond measure--with greater love, stronger faith, truer freedom, deeper understanding, loftier goals, and a much, much bigger family . . . the people we've taught, and the ones who've taught us.
As I prepare to finally take that long ride on the KTX, I do so with a heart full of gratitude for our Savior, Jesus Christ, through whom we receive this and every opportunity for learning and growth. I'm grateful to have served with all of you in representing the Lord in the Korea Busan Mission. I know the Book of Mormon to be God's OwnTruth. I know this work to be his work--striving to bring all souls, including our own, unto him. I offer this, my testimony, in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Monday, June 7, 2010
It striketh me as it has never before that Mother's Day and your birthday are fairly close together . . . as are Father's Day and Dad's birthday, come to think of it. Not AS close, but still.
So hoping this gets to you in time, Happy Birthday! Your last letter sounded ticked about the new glasses you've been forced into, like needing them made you feel old. Well, I'm younger but I'm certainly catching up--in the course of my mission I've developed bunions and bone spurs, started to go gray at an increasing rate, and aged from 23 to 26 in less than 18 months. My eyes are okay but my feet are in real bad shape. But hey, that's kind of the point, right? If you've got anything left at the end of the race, you didn't run it right. Thus saith Elder Holland (thus roareth Elder Holland, actually, if I know Elder Holland--I've never heard that talk, but you can tell in print when he's raising the rafters and it still makes you want to either run to join Helaman's Army or hide under the bed.) Well-worn things, whether shoes or glasses, are signs of a life well lived. Speaking of which, I've got to take my brown shoes to the cobbler's sometime this week, to be glued back together so they'll survive another two months' work. They're real gosh darn missionary shoes now. Fortunately there's a cobbler's booth right outside our church, so it shouldn't be too much trouble. (Cobbler's shops in Korea are, really and truly, called kudupyeongwon--shoe hospitals.) (I probably already told you that. I forget what I've told you and what I haven't.)
Oh, we saw a Honda outside our apartment today. A Honda! What is a Honda doing in Korea?
Dad's probably double miffed now that you've got two letters and a phone call while he's got nothin'. Tell him to hold his horses; June is coming. I'm really tempted to call stateside again and leave a message on his work voicemail to wish him a happy Father's Day, but I won't. Obedient missionary and all that. I'll think of SOME kind of mischief to do in his name on that day, though; don't worry.
I love you. And don't worry. Thora* wears reading glasses and her husband isn't even out of college yet.
*Thora: RoseE's good friend
**Bisoux: kisses (fr)
Thursday, June 3, 2010
"Dear Mom & Dad,
myldsmail's being obstinate again, and the computer won't read gmail either, so we're back to option 3 so I at least get an e-mail out. Tiresome machine.
So . . . gaaah. What on earth happened this week? Well, we had ZLCM (hamburgers and baked beans . . . joy itself. I nearly killed myself with two pieces of fudge cake a la mode) and then right smack after that Zone Conference (yesterday). It was odd, because your last Zone Conference is supposed to be this big deal, because you give your Samang Marsum (Death Speech) and then everybody sings 'Each Life That Touches Ours For Good' just to make sure you cry, if you didn't cry while giving the actual talk, and you say goodbye to everyone and it's very sad and tragic. Except we're having another zone conference later this transfer, because Elder Ringwood's coming, so although I did give my talk and get sung at and cried, I didn't say goodbye to anyone, 'cuz we're all doing this again in four weeks anyway. So, uh . . . bye, y'all. I'm very lucky things worked out this way . . . as you may know, I heartily dislike dramatic goodbyes. I'd rather have goodbyes done with before I know what's happening.
You may recall that when I gave my farewell talk, though I was well prepared, I had some issues filling the time allotted. Well, that problem's a thing of the past. The trick with Samang Marsums is squeezing them into three minutes, lest you get eaten by the APs for over-extending their meeting. Whatever else I may have done, I'm proud of myself for not going over three minutes. HA.
This week Sunday was the big in-the-middle-of-church event of all watching the Joseph Smith movie together. Though none of our investigators came (gggaaaaah! The big standardized English test was on that Sunday, so at least two people couldn't come because of that [one of them Son Yoo Jin, who answered my call and talked to me again! Yaaaay!] and others were busy or not answering or dang it all), our awesome friend Kim Kyeong Bin's less-active dad came, as did a lot of other less- and semi-active members we weren't expecting to see. Kim Kyeong Bin was just beaming the whole entire time. She was SO excited her dad came to church.
Big discovery this week was a little cafe called Tesoro. We met a woman who works there a few weeks ago, and she gave us her business card, and we've been meaning to find the place for weeks and weeks . . . well, this week we finally managed it, and met her again. Nicest person in the world. We sat at the bar drinking hot chocolate and eating brownies and just chatting for a good hour or so, and I was able to give her a Book of Mormon and a cookie. The name on her business card was Son Hyon Seo, which is what I've been thinking of her as, but now that I reflect, that might be the name of her aunt who owns the new cafe.
We had our first power outage this week. Fortunately it didn't cause too much trouble . . . it was the middle of the morning, and although I was in the middle of a baking project, the oven was already lit and it's gas-powered so there was no problem. Lucky sods, us.
Sis. Culver got to pull out her old skills again and give a haircut to our member friend Charlotte, wife of Matt and mother of Lincoln and as-yet-unnamed. AYU is due at the beginning of July, so it's anybody's guess if I'll get to see him before I go. We're all hoping so. Charlotte's friend Wynne, from Scotland, also came and got a trim, and we got to talk a lot with her (she was very impressed that I was a piper's daughter) and eat tacos. Lots of weigukin food got et this week.
*checks the blog* Wait, you lost the second picture disc? Lost it? AAAAHH, freak. Now I have to make another one, and this one that's supposed to be copying right now is taking for blinking ever; I'll probably have to cancel the job. I may just have to buy a bigger flash drive and back everything up to that, because the CDs are turning into a real headache.
President Pak Yeong Chol, Branch Prez, is threatening us with Boshimtang again. Fortunately, his wife, Go Gyeong Ah, is about my best friend in the whole world now (I taught her Sunday school class for her this week and now she loves me) and has promised to protect me from any bizarre substances her husband might try to make me eat. Yep. I'm all for new experiences, but there are some lines I just do not cross.
It's been another week of bizarre freezing coldness, but sun's finally out (about blessed time -- it's JUNE already, people!) and we're doing another run to the whale museum today, as I am the only Chamei who has yet seen it. I'm wearing a sweater I dug out of the church's random leftover clothes pile with a zipper for a neckline (it's weird . . . show ya later) and am all set to have a great day and a great week, including a possible split to Taegu so save Sister Chon, who's going insane. So . . . I love you! Mom, Happy Birthday! I'm still trying to see what you e-mailed . . . I might have luck and I might not. Rrrgh.
Stay out of trouble