HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!! You're all a year older. How do you feel about that ;) Especially Rylan!!! You actually are a year older.... Hope your birthday was a great one!!!!
1. Soo January 1st isn't actually a huge deal in Korea because it's not their New Year. "설날" (Seoul Nar) is actually their new year. I would tell you what date it is but I can't! It changes every year since they use the lunar calendar (which makes a lot of things quite confusing. You have no idea how many members we've called to say happy birthday and it's not because we're using the lunar calendar from the year before...)
2. They don't actually put their dead underground... the lay them on top and then cover them with dirt. Fun fact that will be used later :)
Alright got another quote for you! I think Mom and Dad will appreciate this especially.
"There are countless ways technology can distract you form what is most important. Follow the adage "Be where you are when you are there." When you are driving, drive. When you are in class, focus on the lesson. When you are with your friends, give them the gift of your attention. Your brain cannot concentrate on two things at once. Multitasking amounts to quickly shifting your focus from one thing to another. An old proverb says, "If you chase two rabbits, you won't catch either."
-Randall L. Ridd from his talk "Choice Generation." I found it in the May 2014 Liahona!
Isn't that great?! I've learned that a lot here... When I really want to learn, I have to focus all my attention in one spot.
So this past week!! You will NOT guess what we did last week for pday. We went ice skating. But oh, that's not all. We went ice skating... AT THE OLYMPIC TRAINING CENTER. So yes, we actually got to watch the Olympic speed skating team practice. One woman won an Olympic gold medal in the last winter Olympics. So ya. Also, the ice skaters were practicing. THEY WERE SO BEAUTIFUL. And we only saw them warming up! You could say I showed them up ;)
After pday ended, my comp and I visited 정분연 (jeong-bune-yeoung), the one that lives by the pretty mountain. Dad, do you recognize that name? Just wondering. She was married in '83 I believe and had missionaries sing at her wedding and always had them over. She got married at 동대문. It was great! We didn't go inside, but just stood at the door and talked.
Tuesday... We visited Kim-meong-oak harmony!! She was great!!! Remember how she said not to come back? Totally didn't mean it. I think she had missed us- she was happy we were there :) Then we just went to apartments and did door-to-door... Met a really cool Vietnamese woman! I'll get back to her later. We didn't go in, but she said we could come by another time. That night we had quickly heart attacked a member's door for his birthday and were on our way to FHE when we met a girl on the street. Very energetic senior in high school. We're meeting her one Wednesday!!! So sweet!!! :) Family night was really fun :) Played a winking game and "Do you love your neighbor?" Also, we went to visit 여복달 (yo-bok-dar) harmony but she had her grandson tell us she was asleep :/ Such a brilliant plan. The only problem was that we could hear her...
Wednesday!! LAST DAY OF 2014. We had district meeting and it was as great as ever! Learned so much. So that afternoon our appointments fell through... So we decided to visit a member! Only her and her daughter were baptized (Also has a husband and son), and her daughter is less active. Kind of strange.... we were at her house and asked if anyone else was home and she said only her son but he was sick so he would just stay in his room... Later, though, a door opened and her daughter came out to go to the bathroom! What?! Haha she said, "Oh! Ya my daughters home..." She had told us she didn't know where she was. So obviously the daughter really wanted to see us!!! Haha. She had been avoiding us. She didn't want to talk but her mom made her come and sit with us. Her mom really wants her to start coming to church again. So, the mom said she's really good at English so practice English with her! Don't talk in Korean! So I did and she's SO good at English!!! Really!!! And miracle, we get along so well! We talked about music and she likes the best music! I don't know how she knows so many American bands. And she loves Coldplay! What?! She had to leave to go to a friend's so her mom like pushed us out the door after her. Haha. Her mom, "Get her number!! Get it!!" So lucky for us we were stuck in an elevator for a solid two minutes together so we got it! Real quick, her mom was so kind. While we were talking, before her daughter came out, she made us some food... She opened up the fridge and got out some sweet potatoes I think she had previously boiled. She put them in a blender along with a little milk. Then blended it up for us. So, you can imagine how tasty that would be, right? To make it even better, she then put it in the microwave so it could be kind of warm!! Yes, I thought I was eating semi-warm baby food. Haha so kind of her, though! Back to the actual lesson part. Oh ya, right before the daughter had to go, we just prayed really fast together and the mom asked me to which was fine, except since it was my first time meeting them I didn't quite remember their names... So during the prayer I just made up some sounds and pretended it was their names. Terrible, huh? They sounded kind of similar though! I'm pretty sure they were quite confused! Haha. Just so you know, the daughter's name is 이지원 (ee-jee-won).
After, we met the other sisters and went to 이충송 ee-chung-song's house. They are the nicest! Her husband and daughter were home as well. So, again silly me. On the way I thought, "Oh, I'm a bit hungry. Maybe they'll give us some food." They sure did alright. We were talking and she said I bought something yesterday and I will make it for you! So after a while of talking to the husband and daughter we walked over to the kitchen to see what delicious food she was boiling. There were 5 or so huge octopus swirling around in a large pot. AH. I've had to eat octopus quite a bit on my mission, but none ever in this way. We sat down and took scissors and cut up the octopus into edible sizes. And then ate. So. Much. Ok there's only so much octopus a body can take! But we just ate more. And do you know how kind that family was? They left the heads separate because that's the special part. Then they just offered Sis. Seegmiller and I one. Yay. That is exactly how I had been hoping to end the meal. SO YES. I ATE AN OCTOPUS HEAD. AND ALL THAT COMES WITH IT INSIDE! Holy cow. I've been good with all the foods I've eaten here but... I think I can do without eating that again. Just... so much happening in one bite. Flavors I thought I would never taste were just bouncing around my mouth. Quite the way to end 2014!
NOW WELCOME TO 2015. You will not guess what we did!!! Our ward met at the base of a mountain and hiked it and watched the sunrise!!!! CAN YOU IMAGINE ANYTHING MORE BEAUTIFUL? I CONCLUDE NOT. It was incredible!!!! We got up at 5 and met at the mountain. It was 망우산 (mong-u-san). Dad, have you heard of it? The mountain was covered in snow and absolutely beautiful!!! There were a lot of mounds we were avoiding.... Remember the whole burial thing? Haha yes. So they were all graves! But they were really cool!! There were a lot of people hiking it but we were the only group that went all the way to the top. It was so beautiful!!!! The only problem is that I will never be able to top this. You know people say, "Oh, what did you do last year for New Years? Oh, I went to a party and counted down at midnight. Oh, I played with sparklers.... How will I ever be able to beat, "I hiked a mountain in Korea." I can't. It can only go downhill from here! Haha just kidding. Such an amazing experience though!!! Also, just a tad bit cold.. Then we went back to the church and ate a traditional soup for the new year and played games. Yay! After all the excitement, my companion and I visited that Vietnamese woman that afternoon. She was so kind and let us in! Has no interest though. She actually gave us the Book of Mormon back... So that was a bummer. But she was very kind! She is married and has a 4 month old baby. He was so cute!
That night we visited 성정희 (seong-jong-he) and her 2 sons (the ones that don't work...). One was playing a video game (League of Legends ;( ) the whole time and the other was leaving to go hang out with friends. I feel so badly for her honestly... She works so much!!! She has such a tough life. Did I tell you her husband passed away? Ya. So it was a really good visit! Just talked with her. She needed someone to talk to, I think.
Friday was weekly planning! After, we did exchanges and I went with 길수려! (gil-su-reo) She is so amazing!!! Learned so much from her. She's so loving. We tried to visit some people and all were not home! Actually one apartment complex didn't exist anymore so that created a bit of a problem.... So we just walked all night!
Saturday I was still on exchanges with her so we went and visited a couple people. One said that she couldn't meet because she was feeling sick... so we made her 죽 which is kind of like their chicken noodle soup when someone is sick. We got there and she was so touched! Then she told us that actually she couldn't meet because she had been meeting with missionaries from another church... She said she didn't enjoy it and disagreed with what they told her. She asked us a lot of questions and says she feels like what we're sharing is true. It was so cool!!! She wants to come to church but it's really far from her and she's really poor and can't afford the bus fee. So we're trying to find a way to get her to church! She's so awesome. (She has a job, just doesn't make much money. Also she's 28. I think?) Then English class! Sis. Ahn and I taught the spiritual message, even though we were never together to prepare... but it's ok! It went well :) That night we tried to find a could people but they weren't home. And then.... EXCHANGE CALLS!!!! Everyone in my district was saying I would leave since I've already been in my first area for 3 transfers. But my companion said we weren't allowed to talk about it haha. She really didn't want either of us to leave! Well, she was pretty sure she wasn't, but she wasn't sure if I would. She we waited for our call and.... I'm staying in 중랑 Jung-nong another transfer!!! It's actually surprising. My first area for 4 transfers?! But sweet! I love it. My companion was so happy!! Haha. Also, Sis. Seegmiller and Gil are staying, too. And this week starts Sis. Seegmiller's last transfer! Crazy. We will have lived together for 6 months! Also crazy. I've been on my mission 6 months? Impossible!!! The time just goes by too fast. I don't feel like I'm nearly good enough to have been out on my mission that long!
News about my district, Elder Murdock and Hong will be leaving but that's it! Also, Eld Armstrong will be our new district leader!! Weird because Eld Pons will still be in our district..
Anyways Sunday! Really good!! 방연숙 bong-yeon-suke came to church! We met with her after with a member and it was quite sad..... She actually has no gospel interest, she said she will only come to church while I'm in Korea. Darn :/ So we're working on that! Then.... THE COOLEST THING EVER. Sis. Ahn and I left our area to visit a member in our ward and her husband who isn't a member. They're in their 80's. Anyways, I guess her husband is quite famous here because he is really good at writing in the old Chinese characters (it's an art here). He just won a huge award a couple months ago and was in a few magazines for it! Well, they gave us some of their paintings!!!!! THEY'RE SO AMAZING!!! He signed and stamped them in front of us. I can't wait to show you!!! You will love them.
On the bus back we met such a cool family! They have no interest, but were so nice! The mom took a Book of Mormon and read the whole introduction on the bus! Sis. Ahn and I ate sooo much when we got back hahaha (Fast Sunday... we were quite hungry). Then went to visit a less active but she just yelled at us. She was probably just having a really bad day....
There's my week! Probably am leaving out some stuff but I can't remember! I hope you had an exciting New Years! I know yours was, Mom. (And Dad and rylan!) You got to enjoy the snow ;) Isn't it so beautiful?!
Love you so much!!!!
P.s. Have you ever got my package?