Sunday, October 27, 2013

Eating Tentacles & Dancing Gangnam Style

It seems that Sydney is in good spirits this week.  She is becoming more "Korean" every day.  She sure loves it there.  Most the pictures are of her apartment.  I must say, it's a whole lot cleaner than Nicholas'.  There is no purple goo in the corner of the shower.  

I've completed my first transfer! Yes!
In this new transfer, we added three new elders to our ward, so now their are six of us! Hopefully, our new found strength in numbers will help us in finding investigators because we are struggling.

[Our newbies are Elder Arnett, Elder Gliattli, and Elder 이용환. The last two are greenies like me, so I'm not the baby of the group anymore. :(]

Now that I've completed my first transfer, I thought we might take a nice walk down memory lane and discuss...

11 Things About Korea That I Haven't Bothered to Tell You.

Yeah. Sorry about that. It's been a busy six weeks.
Nevertheless, let the list-making begin!

1. The first thing I noticed that was different about Korea? Not the buildings, not the smell, not the people, no, the chalkboards. I can't really explain it, but the chalkboards are different here. It's extremely off-putting.

2. The ward members cannot pronounce my name. I tried to tell them to just call me "Nitas 자매" like they did in the MTC, but they didn't like that too much. So now, I'm 아바 자매, or Sister Abba. Like the Swedish pop band. Like "Dancing Queen."

3. Food trash. Also known as the bane of my existence. I mean, I'm glad this country is environmentally conscientious, but every time my companion and I decide to gather and take out our food trash, it's like an episode of Dirty Jobs. I hate it.

4. Everyone smokes in this country. Honestly. It's like I'm back in the 1960's and smoking is glamorous and no one knows anything about lung cancer.

5. I eat kimchi almost every day. In fact, I've eaten so much that I can now tell the difference between good kimchi and bad kimchi. For instance, a couple of days ago, my companion and I went out to dinner and as I was mindlessly shoveling kimchi into my mouth, I paused and said, "This is not very good kimchi." My companion then took a bite herself, chewed, swallowed, and looked at me with this huge grin on her face and said, "자매님! You're right! This is some of the worst kimchi I've ever had! You know kimchi now. You've become more Korean!"

6. Speaking of food, you would all be very proud of how much seafood I've eaten in the past six weeks. Before, I would have balked at the idea of putting anything that resembled a creepy, crawly, sea creature even close to my mouth, but now I'm a pro at it! Just last night we went to a ward member's house for dinner and had spaghetti (real spaghetti! yay!) I spied a whole array of sea creatures: shrimp, mussels, and something small and vaguely tentacley. But did I hesitate? No! I popped those tentacles into my mouth like they were nothing! I mean, I probably still wouldn't spend money on seafood, but I'm definitely no longer afraid of them swimming happily around in my stomach. :)

7. We sleep on the floor on mattress-like things that also fold up into tiny couches. They're called "yo"s. No one knows why.

8. Someone once told me that I probably wouldn't eat bread too often in Korea. Lies. I have never seen more bakeries and coffee shops in my entire life. There are at least three of each on every street and you can bet that if I have the money and the time, I will stop and buy myself a chocolate chip croissant.

9. The inexplicable obsession this place has with corn. And not corn of the cob, mind you, oh no--canned corn. I've seen it on pizza, I've seen it in salads, I've seen corn-flavored popcorn, and once, most memorably, I saw corn-flavored ice cream. The only response I have to this--whhhhhyyyy???

10. The buses. Granted, I haven't ridden too many city buses in my lifetime and I'm sure Korea isn't the only country that's like this, but my goodness, these bus drivers are crazy. Every day it's like riding the Knight Bus, only faster and more death-defying.

11. 채육 대회. This is something that the stakes in Korea do every year. Essentially, all the wards in the stake gather together for a day and compete against each other in various athletic competitions. It's rather exciting. However, fun fact--even in Korea, I get picked last. I just have one of those faces, I guess.  I did win one competition though! At the very end of the day, the stake president called all the missionaries up and we did a shoe toss! (You know, like, when you loosen your shoe and then try to kick it off and launch it the farthest. Hey, I don't make up the games, I just play them.) Anyway, both the elders and the sisters had to do it and from the sisters, I won! For our prize, Elder Andersen (the elder who won) and I both got enormous boxes of ramen! But before we could claim them, we had one last task to complete: to do the Gangnam Style dance. In front of the whole stake. So awkward. But we did it because missionaries do what their stake presidents tell them to do. Even if it's dancing to Gangnam Style.

I love you all. Korea continues to be as ridiculous and as wonderful as you imagine it to be.
Have a Happy Halloween!

Sister Abba

She says this is a random reminder that she's in Asia

They made sweet potato cakes for a couple in their ward who was celebrating their anniversary

Sydney's district before transfers.  This is a "sticker picture"

She found the Hello Kitty section at the store

Sydney wrote, "In other news, I was supposed to get my new name tag a few weeks ago.  Instead, this happened.  I'm not amused."  I told her to keep it for Nick.


  1. Hello Sydney, I am a friend to your grandma Gray as I took care of your mother when she was born then about 18 years later worked with your grandma at the Church Offices. I was invited to read your blogs which has been so fun.

    I have two Korean daughters-in-law, they both served in Korea and then came to America and my son's found them, neither of them served in Korea, one in Haiti and the other in Italy.

    I've been to Korea twice when my oldest son and his family lived there for 5 years to give their children that experience, I loved it there, the people were so polite. I ended up speaking in sacrament meeting on my second visit so my daughter-in-law translated for me. They lived in Suwon.

    May the Lord pour out his blessings upon you and those whom you come in contact with that they may feel of the truth that you speak through the Holy Ghost.

    Barbara Morley

  2. 안녕 Syd 어떻게 지내십니까? I'm fine. You are soooo lucky to be over there eating the 김치 I wish I could get more of that! here is something for you to try... Rice, rice vinager, sessama seed oil, tuna fish, and korean bean paste mix all together put on seaweed wrapes very good. my idea from Korean dramas. I'm glad that your better at the language then me but I am still trying! Have fun tell your comp 안녕 from me :)