Monday, June 18, 2012

Last week as a TRAINEE, 5 months as a missionary!

Hello again my Darling Family!!

Sisters: I LOVED the pictures!! hehe Thanks for them. I'm jealous you are at home right now!  Have a blast at girl’s camp, braid lots of hair and take even more pictures! And then send them to me!! Deal??

Last week Mom asked me what I wanted or needed in a package...what I really miss is seeing people!  SO, if anyone and everyone wants to send me anything, I would be MORE than grateful to get pictures!!!!! (Letters attached to them would be nice too).  Sister Griffin and Sister Stone THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU for the package!!! It was/ is fantastic!! I'll be sending a thank you card home with more gushings of my thanks, but seeing as that will take 3 weeks to get to y’all I figured I’d better tell you here first!  So thank you!

(her address is on the right hand side, you can send letters to either address, and they will get to her in about 3 weeks time...)

This last week was busy and fun!!  Tuesday was my last meeting as a Trainee!  Can you believe 12 weeks are nearly up!?!  I can't.  It was fun too see everyone again, of course, especially the younger missionaries that are a transfer behind us.  I haven't seen them since the MTC, so it was lots of fun to see them in Korea and see how they were adjusting. 

Wednesday was the Stake Sports Day!! Have I mentioned how fantastic Korean's are at planning and preparing activities? Because they are!! There was never a dull moment.  There were games, activities and food; one right after the other!!! It was soo fun.  Did I also mention how COMPETITIVE Koreans are?? Because that is also true.  It's never just all fun and games…there are always awards involved.  Here, all the wards were competing against each other to win.  With each activity there would be representatives from every ward to go against each other for points.  Most points win (of course).  After 11 weeks of serving in my ward I think I FINALLY and COMPLETELY won the hearts of the ward members.  My long legs gave me the advantage in the different races and I was able to help bring the trophy home.  They were so impressed that I even got a special thanks in the ward bulletin on Sunday, ahaha!! It was fantastic! And all the little kids now know my name, which is good.  lol

The rest of the week was pretty busy, especially with meal appointments!!  Oh man I thought I might explode a couple of times!  Saturday we had a lunch appointment with the Ward Missionary Leader and his family. There we had pizza (Korean style: potatoes, corn, meat, and lots of other veggies) pasta, and chicken salad.  Then we had to go to a primary activity were they had pizza and ice cream (though we had already eaten and tried really really reallllllyyyyy hard to refuse, they made us eat some, calling it our 'dessert'. Sometimes I think the members think of missionaries as a food trashcan and that we can just eat and eat and eat.... yeah, that's a lie.)  And THEN that night we had a Dinner appointment with an investigator at a member’s house.  The food was FANTASTIC!! it is called 해물탕 (hae mul tang).  It's like a seafood soup.  There were crabs, squid, clams, and other shellfish (the twirly shells were really delicious!  It was fun using the chopsticks to pull out the meat! MUCH easier than using a fork!!) with veggies in a soup. It was sooo good!!!!  And then there were tons of side dishes as well.  Some of the things were a little chewy...but over all I would definitely eat it again.  The hardest part about the meal was in order to keep the soup hot, the 2 pots were on camping style burners on the table and they were on for most of the meal.... IT WAS SOOO HOT!!  And of course, like with every meal here, no matter how much food they make you eat during the meal you ALWAYS have to have room for fruit at the end. 
By the end of the week I felt like I could be rolled home like the blueberry girl from Willy Wonka

While on the subject of food I’m excited for a meal appointment we have this week...  So Koreans have an old tradition of sorts called 삼계탕 (sam gyeh tang).  This is when you eat 3 special and specific meals during the summer time in order to keep you stamina in the heat and work of summer.  I had the first round of meals a couple of weeks ago when we had like a chicken and rice soup. The chicken part was literally a whole chicken just chilling over in the pot.  You cook it in the broth and rice with dates.  It's pretty bland, but over all it just tasted like a chicken and rice soup from Campbell’s.  Well, this next week we have round 2 of the meals... BUT... I don't want to tell y’all what it is I want y’all to try and FIGURE IT OUT!!! Google it, ask a friend, anything... hehe  =D Then, next week I’ll let you know how it goes!!!! It'll be a... memorable... experience for sure =]  (The meal is called 보신탕 (Boe Shin Tang) to make it easy for y’all)

The work here is going great and of course I am loving every moment.  Don't get me wrong, it is hard, but it's worth it. 

This week is my last week as a Trainee and transfer calls will come on Thursday night.  Both my trainer and I think that she is leaving (she's been in Geum Jeong for 4 transfers...)  But as I look back on the past 12 weeks I realize how much I have learned and how much has happened and how much I still need to learn.  For example:
- I still say a LOT of things wrong, but the people are patient and kind.  And an advantage of having a Korean companion is that my accent is pretty decent. 
- I don't remember the names of the foods I eat most of the time, but then again, I don't really know WHAT I’m eating either.  All I know is that it's delicious... Crazy moment, I realized the other week that I actually like the smell of Kimchi now!! hahah And I find myself craving it every now and then... dun dun dunnn lol
-I don't understand a lot of what people are saying, but I'm still happy to just sit and listen.  And I can help my companion teach.
- I can always find my way back home now! I know the bus numbers and I understand the subway for the most part.  Public transportation isn't a scary thing anymore.  And I find that my sense of direction isn't too terrible here (and that in and of itself is a HUGE miracle)
-I am more tired here on a day-to-day base then I have ever been in my entire life... but I’m also SO HAPPY!!  and Heavenly Father blesses me with the strength to make it through the day.
- I love the people here like my own family and I am honored to serve them.  That is one thing that I have been grateful to be able to learn from my companion, is how to love these people with all of your heart.  But I also find that no matter how much I loved them yesterday, they do something else that makes me love them even more today.
- I have been drenched in rain, yelled at, and told that I belong to a cult and that I don't believe in God and Jesus Christ.  I have been sick, looked at funny, and even laughed at as I’ve tried to talk.  But again, I have never been happier because I am serving the Lord and fulfilling my dreams.  I am Feeding God's Sheep. 

I know that there will be harder days ahead of me and that I have only begun to learn new things while I have been here.  There is still so much to learn and do and so many people to teach.  Every night when I review the day I realize there is so much more I can do and should do and need to do.  It's humbling, and I know that I will only be able to do it with the Lord's help. 

I'm excited for the Transfer calls on Thursday.  I think that this next transfer will bring a lot of learning experiences.  It might not be easy but I look forward to learn and grow.  But whether it's easy or hard I’m excited to do MORE! 

I love you all and every day I feel your prayers helping me.  I feel your support here in Korea and I am ever grateful!!
Take care this week!! Have fun, be safe and remember that I love y'all!!!

ps. If you would like anything to send me I wouldn't mind a jump rope =] and some info about P90X.  Though I like to go running in the morning, I’m realizing that dragging my companion with me isn't always possible... so I just need some good exercises I can add to my morning routine... thanks!! 

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