Monday, September 15, 2014

More Than a Mountain

Family! And others.
I don't even know what to say about this week. It was so good though, but Sister Matsen and I just got back from hiking Mount Nejang (내장산) and we are darn.tired. I forgot my planner, so I'm not too sure what happened this week so I think I'm just going to talk about my year-in-the-country mark and then leave you with a ton of pictures. 알았지?

I've lived in Korea for a year! WOWOWOW. I made a list about the effect it's had on me.

1. I am so good at making rice now. So good. I know how many times you need to wash it before you can cook it, what kind of nuts to cook with it to make it taste even better, and even what to do when the uncooked rice gets infested with bugs, which happens a lot more often than I am yet comfortable with.
2. I like sharing now! In case you didn't notice, I wasn't that big of a fan of it before. But a huge part of Korean culture is sharing things with others, especially food. At first I thought it was weird when my Korean companion would not only share her food with me, but literally feed it to me. But it's just the Korean way of showing extra love. So if I ever physically put delicious food into your mouth, don't be alarmed, it's just love!
3. I think I might have forgotten how to use a fork.
4. I've eaten so much ramen. SO MUCH RAMEN. I don't even like to think about what a dent all of it has made in my life expectancy. It's been delicious though.
5. I'm not sure I'm ever going to be able to get out of the habit of bowing. Once I come home, it's going to be such an awkward problem, I just know it. I'm sorry in advance.

I know there's more, but I forgot my actual list at home. Maybe next week though.

But to tell you a little more about today. It was incredibly, incredibly beautiful. I wish every one of you could have been up there with us (but also kind of glad that you weren't because there wasn't exactly a ton of room up there). Once we made it to the top we said a prayer, sang some hymns (because that's what missionaries do!), and just gazed at all those green mountains. But the best part wasn't even the peak, but before, at the base. There was this little Buddhist temple there and we stopped by to look around. The sweetest little old man (with the cutest little-old-man nose) popped his head out of the gazebo overlooking the view and invited us in. He was pleasantly surprised that we spoke Korean so he showed us the secret of the mountain. He had us lie down on our backs and look at the mountain upside-down--it made everything was different! Instead of a big, scary mountain with cloudy skies above, we saw a sky of rock and trees and the most perfect mountain of puffy white clouds. I can't really explain why yet, but I think it was one of my favorite moments on my mission. Then, as we continued to talk to this sweet Buddhist man I had the most wonderful realization. Heavenly Father loved this little old man more than the whole mountain. This one little, old man. He loved him more than all the mountains (cloud-filled or otherwise) because he was His child and he had the potential to become so much more.  Surely God's grandest creations are His children. 

Sister Arvanitas

The Stream

Waiting to renew our visas

Also it poured while we were walking home. But at least I saved my scriptures.
We did clay masks

One of our members gave us all these crabs. We tried (and failed) to cook them.

 There are these picture places here that you can go and take pictures with your friends. Sometimes they turn out like this.

Happy Year Mark to me!

I was trying to make my arms wiggly like the tree.

The lake. All of those trees are maple trees. Will we be coming back in October? YES.

The Entrance

 The most terrifying buddha of our missions. Also there were three more of them.

 We took a break and ate some banana kick (like cheese puffs, only banana-flavored and a thousand times more delicious).

Made it to the top!

So tired.

"I can see America from here!"

But so cool!

Sister M.....

 I think I'll always remember this country looking just like this.
And then some meditation.

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