Sunday, February 23, 2014

New Goal: Must Learn to Like Kimchi!

Well, I'm here! After the longest flight known to the existence of men, (3 hours from SL to Detroit and then 14 hours from Detroit to Korea) I am here and I am happy. And for the record, I lost a day of my life during the trip here. If anyone finds my February 4th, please notify me because frankly, I'm kind of worried.... jokes. Jokes. I actually got to sit next to Elder Demille on the flight and that made things exciting. I wasn't as terrified to be stuck in such a small amount of space for such an extremely long amount of time as soon as I discovered that I'd be sitting next to someone I know and love! Thank heavens for that! Anywyas, yeah. Korea. I'm not even really sure where to begin because it's been quite the adventure since the moment I stepped off the airplane into Incheon Airport.
Anyways... My mission president and his wife are the grestest people ever. So much fun and so kind! They made the transition into Korea a little smoother on our sanity. My trainer's name is Sister Sloan and she's the greatest person. She's been here in Korea for 9 months and she's from California. She's the sister training leader for our zone so that makes things fun and exciting. We have been assinged to open a new area for sisters in Incheon (I blame that on the fact that the first thing I told the mission president was that I love trying new things... ha.) called 만수 (pronounced monsoo) so we're starting from scratch in the area and that's been pretty tough. But we have 16 appointments scheduled this week along with ward members and our ward mission leader was pretty impressed with that. Wish us luck as we work to get things burning here in our new area!
Um, I don't have much time this week to write (I'm so sorry!!) but there are a bunch of random, fun facts about Korea that I thought you might enjoy hearing:
 1) there are pingpong tables in every chapel. Like. Multiple pingpong tables. It's great.
2) There are virtually no traffic rules around here. Red lights are merely a suggestion. And all the cops are teenagers. (Quick sidenote, if someone who is older than you tells you to do something here, you HAVE to. No questions asked. So, you can see how teenagers being cops could be a problem. "Don't give me a ticket, officer" -says the eighty year old psychotic driver "Okay........I'm sorry I'm an idiot." -says the poor, young cop trying to do his job.) So, long story short, I always feel as if I'm going to get hit by a car. It's the greatest.
3) Old people LOVE American missionaries. Seriously, everywhere we go people are either muttering "beautiful! beautiful!" under their breath or screaming it at us from down the street. Needless to say, You're gonna have to tell me that I'm beautiful a bunch to make up for all the Koreans here that tell me I'm beautiful. hahaha I honestly probably hear it at LEAST 300 times (or more) a day. They call my companion and I "twins!!" but only because we're just white girls. You know how all asians look the same to white people? All white people look the same to asians.
4) They serve kimchi at every meal. (Fermenting, rotting cabbage with spices on it.) I'd rather eat my own foot. But instead I get to choke down kimchi because it's polite!! Pray for me to like kimchi.
5) The fruit here makes up for the kimchi. Like, hello fruit of the heavens. It's served as desert here-- no joke. I crave it all the time. I love fruit so much.
6) They have all sorts of "exercise equipment" on the streets for pepole to use. But it's practially the equivalent of a playground for old people. And they don't even really work-- for example, one of them is literally a big wheel (like that on a toy ship) and you just sit there and spin it. SO FUNNY. My companion and I love watching the elderly people work out on them because everyone takes it so seriously and it doesn't even really work anyone out. It's real great.
7) There's no such thing as garbage cans here. The only place I've seen one is in a bathroom or in our aparment. We have one garbage. And we have to sort all of our garbage. There's food garbage, plastic garbage, paper garbage... so different. Needless to say, my purse is full of garbage that I couldn't put anywhere else.
8) They heat their apartments by heating the floor. SO WARM. Whenever I'm home I just lay on the floor because it's soooo warm. Our beds are on the floor too. So when we wake up we're always dying of heat. But it's fine. We don't have a functional dresser yet and we don't have hangers yet either so all my clothes are in my suitcases on the floor and they feel like I just pulled them out of the dryer when I put them on because the floor heats them. I'm a fan of that. Except... real dryers don't exist here. Only hang drying. So fun!
9) They have THE cutest kid's clothing stores EVERYWHERE and so now I want my own babies. So bad. I literally have to refrain from purchasing baby clothes on a regular basis.
 I had to speak in church this Sunday and that was the most nerve-wracking experience of my life. I just sat on the stand looking out into a congregation of people who all speak Korean and thought to myself, "I can't speak Korean. What on earth am I supposed to do right now!?" I may or may not have had a slight panic attack. But it was so reassuring to have so many people come up to me afterwards and tell me that they thought I was an older missionary and that they thought I'd been out for as long as my companion. Three missionaries (me included) spoke yesterday so I was pretty unexcited to be compared to the other two speakers. And I had to speak last. But I was glad to sit down after I'd spoken knowing that I didn't have to speak anymore. What a relief.
Ummm. I had a dream about all my loved ones this week and it made me feel super heavy. I just missed everyone so much and felt so overwhelmed by the fact that I am in korea and away from everyone. Immidiately, I sat down at my desk and just started writing away. This was the result:
"Memories of them dance upon closed eyelids as my mind takes me on adventures I've yet to see.
My heart feels heavy when I rise from my desire to have them near.
But I press on.
I wear my best smile and I press on.
This is the Lord's work and because of Him,
they CAN be mine."
I'm thankful for the knowledge that families can be together forever! Being a missionary is not easy-- but I've never been happier.
This is HARD work. But the task of the Lord was never meant to be easy. I'm grateful that He believes in me enough to challenge me.
You're in my thoughts and prayers! Korea is great. I'm adjusting well-- slowly, but well.
Love you!
All the best from Korea,

Sister Bagley

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