"Dear Mum and Dad,
Holy cow. It finally came. This is finally it. This is the last e-mail I'll send you from Korea. And a lot of computer time is getting taken up with business stuff, like copying files onto/off of Liz* (she's being passed on to my daughter Sis. Culver, who needs the dictionary more than she needs her American cash, whereas I am in the opposite position), e-mailing our less-active record to Elder Jeong, and generally tying up loose ends.
Oh, speaking of Elder Jeong. Friday night transfer calls were insane. When the APs called, I actually had the audacity to flippantly tell Elder Kim, "Yeah, I know where I'm going . . . not much you could say that's gonna shock me, really." Oh, did I eat those words. 'Cuz here's what happened. Sis. Culver is moving to Jungni ward in Taegu. Just Jungni ward. Just one ward, with one missionary team. Just sisters. Sister Alcazar is staying in her area, but only Hogae, not Bangeojin. So she's moving up to the abandoned Hogae elders' house, which means that our apartment has to be closed up for long-term abandonment. Poor apartment. So the time I have left that isn't writing down important information to pass to Elder Jeong (Elder Jeong's staying in Shinjeong, but his companion, Elder Wells, is moving to Suseong in Taegu) or eating one long string of shiksas** is going to be taken up with cleaning, cleaning, and more cleaning. Really. I scrubbed the laundry room floor last night.
So it's one team per ward now. The training curriculum is getting rehauled, as is scheduling (everything's now running on 'quarters' or 'months' . . . once-a-transfer anything is now a thing of the past). The leadership are going to be subjected to bi-monthly three-day-long leadership training meetings (so long, suckers! Have fun!) which I'm sure Sis. Jennings is thrilled to death to have to cater for. (Not.)
Oh, and Sis. Culver, scissor expert that she is, cut my hair. Since I've been on a mission and am now an adventurous, exciting, fearless person, I told her to go ahead and cut it pretty much exactly the same way it's been since sixth grade. She took this in good humor, and cut in some cool layers that give me a whole bunch of effortless curlyness. Sis. Linford and Alcazar got trimmed, too, so we're all set for the trip home. Well, not Sis. Alcazar. But you know what I mean.
Gaah I can't even remember what we did this week at all! Oh, ward activity. Yup, we played water balloon volleyball in the parking lot with a bunch of the ward kids and parents. It was a ton of fun, and everybody got really wet, but fortunately the rain held off until we were quite done. Sis. Culver had told me that Elder Wells had told her that it was somebody's birthday (not sure who . . . maybe The Kid Who Looks Like Spock) and that I needed to make a cake. Hey, no problem. I like making cakes. So I made a cake. And after the activity it turned out that the cake was for my surprise going-away party. Yep. Elder Wells had me make my own farewell cake AND I WAS STILL SURPRISED. Sis. Culver played it really well. And my going home present was a plain white t-shirt, signed by all the folks. Which is SO awesome. I always wanted something like that. So I'm lugging it around and making people sign it, and I am well pleased. Sister Shin Jeong In drew a swoosh on it, so now it's a knockoff Nike t-shirt. Yaay!
Let's see . . . I had my first pat bing soo*** that I actually liked, at Paris Baguette with Sis. Go Gyeong Ah (the Branch President's wife). And this week we're being taken out for shabu shabu# (my favorite interactive meal concept) and boshimtang (dog soup--Branch prez said I could have samgeitang#* instead. I said he'd better believe I was getting sameitang instead. He's just really proud of his rep as 'The Boshimtang Branch President') (Now I think of it, it kind of blows my mind how much Pres. Pak and Sis. Go are like you two. Really a lot). And dinner tonight at Matt & Charlotte's, assuming that Charlotte doesn't go into labor (she's fairly well at the 'any-minute-now' stage, and is astonishing everyone by how little her very large pregnant belly impedes her from doing anything she dang well feels like doing).
The bags are being packed; last goodbyes are being said. The Seoul temple president, who used to be a couple missionary in Yeonsan ward when I was serving there, asked Prez if he could coerce one of the missionaries going home to Salt Lake to take a couple of books to his son, who's living in Utah. So Elder Kim the AP hesitantly called me to ask if I might possibly by chance be able to sqeeze these books in and still make weight limit . . . and I, being my parents' daughter, said, "Oh, yeah. I'm travelling light, so I've got plenty of space. Not a problem." and Elder Kim was happy.
So . . . we've got to run to a shiksa pretty quick here, and close my Korean bank account, and pick up last useful things like boric acid (we don't seem to have roaches, but nothing like being careful when you're leaving a house abandoned for an unknown stretch of time), and generally say my goodbyes to Korea. We are one hundred percent jangshim opda## (ask Helena), which pleases me, because the less time I have to think about this the better I'm going to take it. Which has always kind of been my style, I realized. This is why I've never attended my own graduation and dislike big weddings. I like to plow through life changes, not wallow in them. Maybe this isn't giving enough reverence to the occasion, but it keeps me moving forward and having fun, which is good.
So we going to Aaron's wedding reception on Saturday?
Love you guys. And, um . . . gosh sakes. See you this weekend.
**shiksa --"meal." The missionaries use this to refer to dinner appointments.
***pat bing soo pat bing soo-- red beans on shaved ice, with various other things done up fancy like a sundae. Pics here: http://www.google.com/images?hl=en&client=firefox-a&hs=6FK&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&q=%ED%8C%A5%EB%B9%99%EC%88%98&um=1&ie=UTF-8&source=og&sa=N&tab=wi
#* sameitang--maybe samgyetang? Chicken soup, but with a whole chicken. http://www.google.com/images?q=%EC%82%BC%EA%B3%84%ED%83%95&oe=utf-8&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a&um=1&ie=UTF-8&source=og&sa=N&hl=en&tab=wi# shabu shabu --this is actually a Japanese thing. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shabu-shabu
## jangshim opda --I'm guessing this is jeongshin opda, basically losing your mind. Like you're so busy you can't think straight.
Many thanks to Helena for the translations and links to images!