Sunday, January 5, 2014

"I Don't Know About You, But I'm Feeling 22..."

Surprise! Unbeknownst to any of my family or friends back home, I turned 22 this week! In Korea, the first nine months spent in the womb count as your first year of life, so on the day you're born, you're already a year old! And, instead of becoming a year older on your birthday, you gain another year of life every January 1st along with the new year! 신기하죠? So this entire time that I've been in Korea, I've actually been 21 (sorry I didn't tell you) and now with the start of 2014 I'm officially 22! I'm growing up so fast!
Now, onto the rest of the week...
Oh, but first! Thank-yous!
To the Logue Family: Thank you so much for the package you sent me. I was touched by your thoughtful kindness and I feel truly blessed to know you. THANK YOU.
To the Cummings Family: I got your Christmas card! It was adorable, as always. I loved reading all your little notes. I found Rachel's "Powerpuff Girls" drawing particularly hilarious.
This week...
1. Our Nepalian friends came to church! Surprise again, I have Nepalian friends. We met them on the street a couple of weeks ago, but haven't had the chance to really meet them again because they're so busy working to support their families back in Nepal. But finally, this week, after I boldly texted them with a, "Hi. How are you? Come to church!" they answered back with an, "Okay," And that was that.
During the second hour, we gathered together with them and our ward's other missionaries and their investigators and had perhaps the most wonderful and culturally diverse lesson ever--4 American missionaries, 2 Korean missionaries, 2 Nepalian men, 1 Korean man, 2 Filipino women, and 2 half Filipino, half Korean babies. We're thinking of starting our own little 공주 version of the UN pretty soon.
2. In other news concerning strange and wonderful happenings, this week my fellow 공주 sisters and I showed up to a member's house for dinner expecting to follow the usual routine for eating a meal in Korea--sitting on the floor, eating with chopsticks, rice, kimchi, etc. etc. However, to our never-ending surprise what we found instead was a full-sized table (with a tablecloth!), chairs (chairs!), and cheese quesadillas.
But wait, it gets better. In addition to this already incredibly wonderful meal, there was chili dip, tortilla chips, Costco chocolate-chip muffins, Reeses cups, and root beer floats. It was the single most unhealthy dinner I think I've ever consumed. And I'm the girl who once ate chocolate cereal with half&half instead of milk. And yet despite the meal's complete lack of nutritional value and regardless of the fact that it was less of a dinner and more of a strange hybrid of Halloween and a Superbowl Party, I was so touched that our wonderful members had thought about us enough to want to serve us some of the American foods we might be missing most.
And even though we still ate them with chopsticks, cheese quesadillas have never before been such an honest expression of love. :)
3. New Year's Eve was, as to be expected, pretty lame since we're still missionaries who have to go to bed by 10:30. But luckily, this was well made up for with New Year's Morning which we celebrated by meeting our ward at 7 in the morning and taking a refreshing hike through the mountains in order to watch together the first sunrise of the new year. Before the sun officially rose, we gathered together and said a prayer, reflecting on the past year's events and excitedly anticipating the ones we would experience in the year that was about to arrive. And then we waited, all standing on our tip-toes with our cameras at the ready, prepared to get the perfect picture of that very first sunrise.
And then, at last, there is was. The sun. And as that sun finally peeked over those Korean mountains it was, at least in my little corner of Asia, 2014.
It was almost indescribable, the feeling of that sunrise. It was love and joy and hope all compacted into one moment, as the first rays of the 2014 burst through the trees and lit up our faces.
I was so joyful then, and I'm still joyful now, at what that sunrise meant to me--an entire year stretching before me that I would spend, spent in the service of the Lord, here in this beautiful country, as a missionary.
I am so thankful for this new year.
아바 자매

 look at those pointed arches. :)

A couple weeks ago we went to get a closer look at Gongju's beautiful catholic church. This is my "i love gothic architecture" face.

me and k.......(One of the missionaries in her apartment)

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