HERE IT IS!
Hello Dear Family!
Has it really only been less than a week since I last saw yall?? Because it seems like it has been so much longer! The days are definitely long here, but so far the week did go by decently fast.
First, thanks so much for all the letters and little notes of love and encouragement. Every time I find a note or re-read a letter my day gets just a little bit better. I doubt that I have found them all, but I am so very grateful for the ones that I have found!!
Ok, Dad (and I'm sure everyone else) wanted to know what all happened after the final hugs at the curb-side drop off. So let me just tell you...
The Elders who were helping me with my luggage took me to my residence hall (17M) to wait to get my name tag (WHOOT!), room key, white hand book and schedule for the day. After receiving all those things I was passed off to a Sister who then took me to drop off my bags at my room. Of course, even then there wasn't time to rest! We went straight to get my 10lb bag of Korean materials and books before I was whisked away to my classroom. Here is where things get interesting! As soon as I walked in I felt like I had a deer in headlights look on my face. Of course my teacher was only speaking Korean and instantly I thought "What did i get myself into!?!" Things got a little better when I met my companionS and realized I wasn't alone in all this.
Yes, I said companionS! I am in a Trio! Sister Baker is from South Jordan, Ut and a dance major from BYU (she knows Katelyn Carter). Sister Kersey was one of the girls I found before the mission on Facebook and she is from Sacramento California. Sister Baker is completely brilliant!! Seriously though, she is so smart and Sister Kersey is the giggly, comic relief of the group. And then there is me.. a happy medium I think.
There are 9 of us in my district, but there is 26 new missionaries in my zone going to 1 of the 3 Korean missions. None of the Elders in my district are going to Busan, but all of them are really great. So far we all work well together. The funny thing though is that when they get stressed they all begin to laugh and get slap happy. Needless to say we've already had some giggly days in the classroom.
(Mom, Elder Mitchell isn't in my district but we have talked! He is very nice and was glad to have that connection.)
Now, the next big question... How is the language?? Well, it is SO HARD!!!!! I have been told by several teachers now that Korean in the second hardest language for native English speakers to learn. You sound like Yoda when you directly translate what you saw in Korean to English. For example, I Like Kimchi would be said I Kimchi Like in Korean. Though the language is very difficult and I have already found myself more overwhelmed way more often then I thought possible I already can read, write, pray and teach basic in Korean. Amazing how the Spirit enhances learning huh? I know it is the Spirit because there is no other way I could possibly know the things I know. The vocabulary is difficult to retain, but the words start sticking after frequent repetition. The reading and writing part of Korean is pretty easy. I think all my life I was meant to write in Korean!!! Finally I have found a language that you spell the words EXACTLY as they sound! With their alphabet they have characters that represent soungs. So "Hah" and "Dah" and "CHah" are all their own individual characters as well as the vowels like "EE" and "AH" and "OO". The OO, OH, AH, UH's get a little bit confusing, but the more I read the easier it is to remember the difference. The really crazy part is we are already teaching an investigator! He is a native from Soeul, Korea and he speaks little to any English. Luckily the Korean people are so kind and patient!! Seriously though! I have never met a nicer group of people.
My Branch President, President Shin in a native from Korea and his wife, also a native served her mission in Busan! Also, in my Branch Presidency are the very recently returned mission presidents from Busan!! It has been so nice to have Sis Jennings there to answer questions and just comfort us when we think we are getting in over our heads. Sunday was kind of a hard day and she was there to give us words of comfort and big hugs! I thought of you on Sunday mom when my companions and I went and watch music and the spoken word. It was a little slice of home and our Sunday mornings.
Time is up, so to quickly answer questions:
*I usually wake up at 5:45 to go to the special sister missionary work outs in the morning (anything from yoga to kick boxing)
*My favorite spiritual experience so far was listening to a rebroadcast of Elder Hollands MTC devotional intitled 'Missions are Forever' I'll write about that later...
*The Schedule is rigorous and has us going from sun up to sun down!! It's nice to be so busy, but at the same time is feels like you hardly get anything done! Again.. I'll write more later on that.
And one final funny story... so in Korean there are several works that sound VERY close to each other and if you don't pronounce things correctly then you can be WAY off base! Such as We and Duck are very close as well as Atonement and Soy Sauce. My personal favorite, instead of praying to Heavenly Father, a couple of times we accidently prayed to the Great Hippo!!! hahah Korean is great! HARD but great!
I love all y'all!! Keep the letters coming! I now understand why Gwen would always want them so so bad!!
My P-days are on Tuesdays so expect another letter from me then!
Love dearly, Wells-Longshore Cha-Meh!