Sunday, February 9, 2014

안녕하새요 여러분!

I finally get to tell you what Korea is like!

 First of all, if anything to put my family at ease; I'm doing just fine. I love EVERYTHING about Korea! The only problems I'm having right now is talking to people ('cause I kinda can't hold a conversation for longer than 10 seconds without my companion bailing me out :P )

I got over the jet lag after the first night (miracle!) People here are super nice (miracle!) I have not tried any food that I didn't absolutely love (SUPER MIRACLE!) My trainer is super-awesome and is totally helping me get into the swing of things (miracle!) Korea is the best, I tell you!

Kimchi here is waaaaaaaaaaAAAAaAAAaAAAaaaAAAy better here than it was when we tried it in Canada. HOLY MOLY is Korean food GOOD! I swear, I'm going to learn how to make all of this stuff and just eat it for the rest of my life.

Anyways, what else... I'm starting to settle in quite well and things are already feeling normal (miracle!), so it's taking me a second. Okay, so, probably one of the first things that I noticed coming here, is, well, that it's cold in the winter. That, and heating buildings in Korea is very different than heating in North America. Every building that I've been in is heated by giant space-heaters that aren't automatic in any way. It is our job, as missionaries to turn on the space heaters in the church in the morning before people get there so that it's not freezing cold during the meetings. It's seriously colder inside than it is outside before we turn them on. So, either there's either giant space heaters, or, in the case of people's homes, the floors are the heaters. Our apartment has this (and let me tell you, that it is the most glorious feeling to walk on a cozy warm floor every morning), and so far so does everybody else's apartment. So far, there's no such thing as houses here. Everybody I know lives in an apartment, or a section of a house small enough that it may as well be an apartment. I've been in an appartment that was literally the size of my room and a bit and was just enough space for one person to live in it. It's pretty crazy, because there's just so many people here packed in so tightly.

The same goes for stores too. There are street vendors EVERYWHERE in Seoul! The street that goes up to our appartment (which is in Noryangjeen (너량진), by the way. It's close to Gangnam (강남) and encircles -Chris and Caden will get a kick out of this-  Bong Cheon Dong (봉천동). I'm going to use the Hangul for Korean words, because the romanization spelling never quite fits right) is lined on both sides with shops that can't fit inside the actual shop, so almost everything is displayed on tables on the street. Sometimes people will just set up shop at intersections or busy streets and sell their stuff right from their wagon, or whatever they have. Sometimes there's just a mat on the ground.

Which reminds me: A lot of stuff happens on the ground here. People sit at the table on the ground (and the table is also low to the ground, of course). We sleep on the ground, or on a 요, if you prefer that (which, in my case, is more like an exercise mat than anything else. It took a while to get used to sleeping on that). When you enter into  a Korean's home, you don't sit until asked to (which, really, isn't as scary as it sounds, because people will give you a warm welcome and make you comfortable right away, I'll get into that in a bit), and when you are permitted to sit, you kneel until you are told that you can make yourself comfortable, and that's when you may sit cross-legged. There's, so far, only been one sofa in each appartment that I've visited. You can't sit on that unless you're offered it (but the member families that we've so far visited offered it to us right off the bat, this is all just etiquette stuff that really impresses them when you know it and do it, and is how to be polite and show respect to them).

The members are so sweet. Since my companion and I were added to the area, we have no investigators or anything yet, so we're getting to know the members and are talking to people on the streets and the subways a lot. We went to visit two member families last night, and even though we had only said that we would be there for a few minutes to meet them and share a quick message at the door, they insisted we come in and sit for a while, and they had prepared a small snack for us, and we took the time to sing with them and pray and give our message (which, was my responsibility... ack!) So I gave my short little blurb or all the broken Korean I could muster about 1 Nephi 3:7 and how it had inspired me to serve a mission. I think they loved it. Both families told me to hang in there, and that they're impressed with how well I can speak the language. They're great people.

Anyways, I gotta wrap it up. I'm sorry that I can't get to all of you individually like I did in the MTC, there's just so much happening right now that I want to get it all down and out to everybody. Things will calm down and I'll be able write you all again, I'm sure, because that's more or less how it happened in the MTC; after everything about being in a new and exciting place wasn't new and excititng anymore I didn't have as much to write and I got more time to write to individual people. Anywho: I love you all! I can't wait to have stories to tell you! This place is just so cool!
Without Wax,
Elder Shaver

1 comment:

  1. Great to read your blog. Your enthusiasm is infectious Love, Grandpa P.