Monday, June 16, 2014

Sister Holdaway is in Korea!!!

That's right! I've been here for about a week now and I don't think any amount of MTC time could have prepared me for this. It's been a crazy week but it's like a rollercoaster: it's fast going, bumpy and sometimes you're scared out of your mind but at the end of the day you want to do it all over again! 

So, I don't have a lot of email time because today I went to get my foreigner card and that took forever so, I'm just going to list everything I know about Korea so far: 

  • In Korea, you take your shoes off in the house. So in my house (which is a 4 person house) we need like 3 separate slippers. A pair for walking inside the house, a pair for walking outside the house, and a special pair for the bathroom. 
  • Speaking of bathroom, we are so lucky to have a bathtub in our bathroom! However, we don't have a shower curtain so when we shower everything gets wet. 
  • We sleep on mats on the floor. I actually quite enjoy it. But there are some weird bugs in Korea so we'll see...
  • It's HOT. And it's only just beginning. My best friend is the fan in my room. I get my own personal one. It's fun :) 
  • My OTHER best friend is MY NEW TRAINER/COMPANION!!! Her name is Sister Berry and she is Snow White personified. She is the sweetest, kindest human being every. Sometimes we spend our entire study time complimenting each other. I love her so much already. 
  • Speaking of people I love already, the people in my ward! I'm in the 수지 (Suchi) ward and it's a pretty big ward for Korea. I spoke on Sunday in my broken Korean and they all complimented afterwards :) I hope to become friends with everyone. 
  • Speaking of compliments, the Korean people are very humble and very complimentary. It's nice because some days I look terrible because I had been walking everywhere in the hot humidity and yet the still will call you "beautiful." It definitely makes me feel better about myself :) 
  • I live in 미금 (Migum) which is a really nice area on the outskirts of Seoul. However, my area is 수지 area. I love it so much! 
  • Everyone else living in my apartment are Korean (only one of them is actually from Korea though), however, this means that our fridge is made up of mostly kimchi and rice. I don't think I remember I meal that didn't have rice a part of it. I'm grateful that I already really like Korea food. However, my housemates really think it's funny for me to try new things at their house because "It's better than trying it for first time at members house." Because of this, I have tried a lot of fishy things.....not too bad but....hmmm.
One thing I tried was called 멸치 (Myeolch'i) which is basically long skinny small fishies that look like spaghetti but it's kinda salty and crunchy.

[Editor's Note: Here is a picture of stir-fried 멸치.]

There's a first time for everything! I remember when mushrooms were on my "don't eat" list but they are a walk in the park now! I made it a goal to try everything though . . . 화팅!!! (or "Hwai-ting!" -- Korean-ification of "Fighting!," a great cheer to get you motivated and moving forward). 

To end, here's an excerpt of what I wrote my mission president: 
This is my first full week in the country! I remember I used to think the MTC was busy, and stressful, and exciting, but nothing compared to being out in the field. I remember the first subway ride to your house and we had were asked to talk to real people and I was so terrified! I remember sitting there with wide eyes and not knowing what to do and wondering if I could even do this. Then, I simple scripture came to mind: "Fear not." And so, with more courage I talked to someone for the first time and he actually spoke english which I was relieved to hear. I told him about why I was here and what our church believed in. He actually had some questions and offered him a Book of Mormon. He declined but said that "we seem like good people." Which, what I have learned this week, is that if any interaction can end with them knowing that Mormons are "good people" then I think it was a very successful interaction. 
- Sister Holdaway 

Pictures will be up soon! I haven't figured the whole picture email thing yet. 

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