Wednesday, January 27, 2010

New Investigators, New Students, and New Toy

So Friday of last week Liji and I went with the missionaries to meet with a new family that they had been referred to by the family that we met with the week before, and I am so excited about this new family.(And it's not just because I found out that they are big skiers and snowboarders) They really are a great family. The oldest son is 20(Korean Age, 18 or 19 American age) His name is In Yu. He is just about to graduate from High School and will be heading to a University in Seoul, in March. He speaks English very well. I would say he is fluent. He came with the Elders to our family home evening at the Air Base last night and I'm pretty sure he understood most everything. He has a younger sister who is 19 and she speaks English pretty well also, though not quite as fluently as her brother. Her name is Pi Nah and she is already a great Korean Hostess. Both of them go to High School Boarding Schools that are a few hours away from their home so they are usually only home on the weekends. It is pretty common for High School students to go to Boarding Schools like this from what we have heard from our own students, especially the really smart and dedicated students. At these boarding schools they must study until 10:00 at night. I don't know how they do it. But right now they are on Winter Vacation so they are home during the week. Last night I did find out from In Yu that him and his family are big skiers and snowboarders, which I am really excited about. I have been trying to figure out how I can go skiing while I am here. There is a pretty famous ski resort only about an hour from us, but I've been asking around and nobody has been able to tell me how we can get there on public transportation. In Yu told me there is a bus that goes to the ski resort every morning at 6 and that we can go together sometime, so now I'm really excited. Liji's not so much because it is pretty expensive to buy passes; it's worth it to me to be able to go skiing in Korea, but not as much to Liji who doesn't have quite the passion for it that I do. But he's still willing to go for me. It's gonna be Great!
Saturday Liji and I went out on the field to try out the new boomarang that we got in Australia and it ended up working pretty good, besides the time that Liji almost wacked to ladies walking by. We got it so it would come around and come back to us and Liji caught it a couple of times, but didn't like to because he said it really hurt. We also went shopping at Lotte Mart and I finally talked Liji into getting a huge carton of ice cream that was on sale. It's usually pretty expensive. I wanted to get the all chocolate one but decided on this one so that Liji would get to have a treat eating it too, since he doesn't like chocolate. I was really only getting this one for the chocolate part and was so, so , so looking forward to diving into it when we got home. So much so that I had to open up the carton to look at it when we were in the elevator on the way home. When I opened it up all you could see was strawberry and I was a little worried but Liji said he was sure that they must just layer the different flavors differently than we do and that the vanilla and chocolate were on the bottom. That put me at ease a little bit until we could get up to our apartment and inside. Well, I opened that thing up and dug and dug on both sides and what did I find? No chocolate! It is all strawberry. Man, I was sooooo bummed, and so mad at the false advertisement. I was sooo looking forward to chocolate ice cream. So much for relying on the pictures over here anymore. Of course I will still eat the ice cream, I mean it's ice cream, but strawberry just doesn't quite hit the spot for me. Total Bummer of deal right? Liji thought I was being way too dramatic and then laughed and laughed at the carton after I was done with me search for chocolate, so he just had to take a picture. I don't think it's that funny, I only looked on the 2 corners.

Sunday I found out that we are going to be getting a third sister in the Air Base Ward in a couple of weeks so I guess that is now enough women to start up an official Relief Society and I was called to be the President. It should be good practice for me and not too much work with only 2 sisters to look after for now. President doesn't want me to set anything else up because he doesn't want me to feel to overwhelmed; I still have to teach Sunday School and play the piano in Sacrament Meeting. He just wanted to call me so that he can have a women to send the other women to that need someone to talk to and stuff like that. Not too hard if you ask me and I think it should be fun. I'm especially excited about having a new sister.

Here's Katie just taking it easy in Mr. Waite's chair.
Below are some pictures of our newest and youngest student so far. Her older brother vin is in one of our other classes. She is only about 5 or 6 and super cute. I named her Nina, for her English name. I just had to get some pictures of her when she was wearing this cute outfit and her hair in french braids, ADORABLE outfit as Liji would say. That's right Liji used the word ADORABLE. I never thought in a million years I would hear him say that word, and it was so cute when he did. I had just taken some pictures of Nina and was about to start our tutoring session when Liji walked into ask me something and then looked down at Nina and said, "Why, isn't she just ADORABLE!" and that she is. We have to spend an hour teacher her everyday; her attention span is very limited and she barely knows her ABC's, but she is so much fun. She is so easy-going, laughs at anything and everything we do, and has a smile to die for!

Monday, January 25, 2010

It can be a Hard Life

Sometimes life challenges just get me down and I often end up taking out all my frustrations on Liji. Man, I just don't know how I can be so mean sometimes. I really don't mean to be! I just find it so interesting how many unsuspected places Heavenly Father takes us in life. I hope that I can do better at enduring it well and pass the tests that I am given without having to take it out on my poor husband. He is so good and patient with me. I know this is still only the beginning of many hard times to come, but Heavenly Father knows best. I am definately learning, even if it is a slow process. Those of you are enduring much harder things than me, and ten times better than me thank you for your examples. Keep going strong, I know we can all make it, and Oh what joy will then be ours!

Grad School

So I think I forgot to also mention some really exciting news. Liji was accepted to Utah State University's Grad Program. We should be headed back to the states in June and will be living in Logan this August, which I am really excited about because we will be back to living within only one tank of gas driving distance from family! I think that I am a huge baby when it comes to having to miss out on family get-togethers, which happens a lot when all but 3 of my siblings live within 30 minutes driving distance of eachother. I am so proud of Liji for working so hard and being so smart. I really am lucky, I know our family will always have the things that we need. We are also really hoping on a scholarship because Liji scored in the 90th percentile on his grad entrance exam test, but we don't find out about that until April.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Another Early Morning Wake Up Call and Skype

I forgot to mention that last Saturday at 4 am I was woken up by someone ringing our doorbell over and over and pounding on the door, yelling. It took me quite awhile to register what was happening as Liji and I happened to have stayed up very late that night already and had only been in bed for two hours. Once I realized that it was in fact real life and not part of my dream I tried to get out of bed, but Liji was even more dillusional at this point than I was and was having a much harder time coming back to reality. So his ramblings about the situation were making it even harder for me to think that this was really happening. I wasn't about to go answer the door because I was pretty sure it was some drunk person from one of the bars at the base of our apartment building and by the time Liji got dressed and over to the door the person had just left so we never saw who it was or what was going on. Oh well I guess. Wasn't to funny to us at the moment but pretty now. Who bangs on someones door at 4 am, seriously!
This last week my sister-in-law Cortney had their 2nd baby girl. They named her Nancy Jane and she is just adorable. I got to talk to them on Skype for awhile while they were still just hanging out in the hospital and I think it is so cool that I can still keep in such good contact with my family even though we are on the other side of the world. However I am not quite as astounded about it as my Grandmother was when she came into the hospital room with my parents to see the new baby and she got to see me on the computer as well. She just could not believe that we could see and talk with eachother over the computer. My parents have told her about it but I guess it hadn't quite registered to her how good it really was until she actually saw me and I could take the computer around the apartment and show her where we live and the great view of the city off our balcony window. She didn't stay a whole long time because she has a group of friends that she plays cards with every night at the assisted living center that she live at. But when my parents dropped her back off at home they said that as she got out she said, "Just wait till I tell the girls that I got to see Korea!" HaHa, I love my grandma she is so cute.
On Friday my sister Alisa called us while we were at work but not actually teaching yet so we had our computer out and I talked to her for a little bit. Some of our students started showing up for our first class so I had them come in our office and say hi to Alisa and her youngest baby Kaleb, who was still awake. They are the youngest class so that can't speak very much English yet, but they still really liked that. After we hung up one of them said "Wow!" and wove her hand around her face and then said, "Twins" to let me know that she thought Alisa and I looked a lot alike. I said yea we do. They were pretty happy about getting to do that, so we are really grateful to have Skype.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Unpacking, Family Love, and Missionary Moments

After getting home from Australia it was a bit hard to get back into the swing of things. After flying all night to get home and taking a 4 hour bus ride home from the airport we were not too happy to be going straight to work after only having an hour to take a shower and eat. Luckily it was on a Wednesday which is the day we finish early so we only had to work from 1:30-6 and then got to go back home to unpack and rest. It took us pretty much the rest of that week and the weekend to get clothes washed and the apartment cleaned and the food shopping done to where we felt like we were back to normal again. You know how it is coming home from a trip. Right now our students are on their Winter Vacation from School but it’s not good news for us because it actually means two more classes a day for us. Since the kids aren’t going to their public schools in the morning they can spend more time at the Academy so now we have to be to work at 12:30 instead of 2:00pm and still finish at the same time. Yea! Because of that we haven’t been able to do as much in the mornings as we were and really liked to have that time. We shouldn’t go back to our old schedule until March though, which is kind of depressing to us. Oh well, we shall endure.
Last Sunday we got a package from my sister Mandy full of treats and cute pictures from Bella and just today we got a Christmas package from my mom, a nice letter and pictures from Liji’s sister and a really nice book of Australian Poetry that includes “The Man From Snowy River” with an extra little surprise inside from Liji’s parents. Today was like Christmas. It was so much fun to get and I’m pretty sure we’re going to gain back all the weight we’ve lost coming here in the next couple weeks eating all the treats they sent. Some of our friends have gotten to reap the rewards of their thoughtfulness as well, which they were quite happy about. I am so grateful for each of these very kind acts and feel so very blessed for the huge support that we have always had from our family. Even though very far away I still feel very close to them and will always know of their great love for us. It’s always nice to know you are still being thought of.

This last Wednesday we were able to go with the Elders to meet with a new family that they are teaching. They have a son who is 20 and a daughter who is 16. What they usually have us do is they practice their English with us for about 30 minutes and then the Elders teach them a lesson in Korean and then we share our testimonies while the Elders translate. It was really good to meet with this family and I have a feeling that it was only the first of many visits. The mom was just so happy to have us over, so kind and accommodating. We really had a good time. But the thing that impressed me the most was how strongly I felt the Spirit as the Elders taught them a lesson on the Plan of Happiness and I listened to them go off in Korean. I couldn’t understand what they were talking about and they weren’t translating yet I could feel the power of the words and the truth of them. And then it was neat to then after they finished, share what I could feel with this family and point out to them why they were feeling the things that they were and what that feeling means. That it is testifying of the truth of these words. I just feel so blessed to be able to work with our Elders. They are really powerful and doing a great work. Missionary work is not easy over here, especially in our small town of Gunsan where the members are so few.
Saturday was a busy day. In the morning Liji went with the missionaries to play basketball with the older boy from the family that we met on Wednesday and some of his friends. I think he had a pretty good time doing that and then we went to lunch with the Elders and a new man they found who is actually a member but less active. He is an owner of an English Academy like the one that we teach at and speaks English fluently. We were so impressed. He is for sure the best Korean English Speaker that we have met so far and he hasn’t ever even been overseas to an English speaking country. He just studied really hard on his own. He seems like a very intelligent man and we had a great lunch with him. After lunch we went to Liji’s favorite second hand store and found some more great $2 wool sweaters for him and then when to our friend sister Oh’s apartment to take some things to her and visit. She invited us to stay for dinner and then decided to invite the missionaries over also because she can’t normally have them over as there has to be another male around. She overdid herself as she always does and how every other Korean hostess does and really spoiled us with some great Korean food that she had delivered to her place. There is a huge cultural responsibility for the women hostess’ in Korea to take care of the guests in their home. They will never even think of letting us take our dishes to the sink nonetheless wash them or something like that. We try to but she says she will just feel really guilty afterwards if we do and feel like she is not a good hostess. After dinner we went over to the Air Base and finally got to see the movie ‘Avatar’ with our friend Michael. Wow, it definitely lived up to all its talking up. I never felt any sort of lull or boredom whatsoever and very eye appealing graphics. Amazing!

Today (Sunday) we went out to leave for the Korean Ward meetings on the scooter and ended up at the edge of the parking lot with a flat tire. We could have just went and got on our bicycles and headed over to the church building for the Korean Ward but that wouldn’t have gotten us all the way to the Air Base, which is where we have callings and we would have had to take the bus there which wouldn’t have been good getting back on the bus since we were having to stay after church for a PEC meeting and on Sundays the bus only comes every other hour. So we decided we would have to miss the Korean Ward while Liji tried to get the tire filled up but couldn’t find anywhere to do that and just ended up back home an hour and half later without the scooter, no bike shops were open. I guess that’s a good thing since it’s Sunday and we ended up catching the bus out and then getting a ride home with President Ault after our meeting so it all worked out.
I really felt bad about missing the Korean ward because our friend Sister Oh has been having a real tough time making it out to church the last couple months and we really laid it into her when we were at her house last night that we were expecting her at church and then we weren’t even there. I know that she showed up though because we left our camera at her house last night and I had called her when we got home to have her bring it to church. Now she had a specific reason for coming and when I called her today about missing church and how we could get the camera she said that that was the only thing that got her to church today, but she was really happy it did and was happy to be there. Heavenly Father pays attention to the details.

Liji Also bought some Cuttlefish this last week and had some great fun disecting and eating that thing.

Sunday, January 10, 2010


Here are a bunch of pictures from our trip to Australia, they are not in any kind of order. When we have more time, we will tell about the pictures.

Christina in the Hong Kong airport the second time around.
So, every time we got in the car to go somewhere, I thought we were going to die. They drive on the wrong side of the road! That also makes crossing the street very interesting. I was always confused about which way to look first. My solution was to look both ways 10 or 15 times before stepping off the sidewalk.
As we were leaving Mark's to go to the airport, I found this elephant beetle in the driveway. When I picked it up it kept hissing, hissing and hissing. I would have up-loaded a video, but it takes too long.
Mark's beautiful family: Veronica holding 'Rafa,' and Mark holding Helen.
We took Helen on a walk, in the park we found these flowers, I have no idea what they are called. We walked to the store to get some souvenirs and found much cheaper prices than what we got in the city. Helen got a bit impatient with Christina's slow shopping though and I had to chase after her a few times. She is a cutie though.
The first time I saw this sign, I asked Mark if the magpies were dangerous, he gave and emphatic 'Yes!' You can't tell by the picture how big this magpie is, but it is the size of an American crow, and as you can see the beak is much sharper. I guess they regularly attack people, though we didn't have any problems with them.
This is the best picture we got of Rafa.

We had a blast at the beach, it was a hot day, but overcast so we didn't get fried. The water was great, there were tons of waves. A couple of times we got caught off guard and were tumbled by a wave but that was the fum part.
This is a cake called 'pavlova' with mango and passion fruit on top. It is really popular in Australia; a member of Mark's ward made this one for us. It tasted like pure sugar to me, but Christina enjoyed it.
This mountain is part of the Great Dividing Range that runs along the eastern side of Australia.
That might look like a small kangaroo (that's what I thought it was) but it's a wallaby.
This is a wombat, a very interesting animal. They are burrowers and they had to cover the bottom of their enclosure with chain-link fence to keep the from burrowing out.
This is one of two joeys that we saw, Jay's daughter was fascinated by it, she kept trying to grab it and take it out of its mother's pouch.
These mother-baby pair was the main attraction at the koala enclosure. They were pretty cute.
This is a different species of kangaroo, he was much shier than the other ones so we didn't get to pet him.
A pair of Australian ducks.
Petting an echidna, Australia's version of the porcupine.
Most of the Kangaroos were too full to eat, every person that passed by was giving them food.
Kangaroos are sooo soft! Softer than any other animal I have petted, except maybe a chinchilla.
Most of the Koalas we saw were sleeping, I guess they sleep 20 hours a day.
This mother was so patient, but when Lily (Jay's two year old daughter) tried to take the joey out of the pouch, she hopped off.
These rhinoceros iguanas are native to Cuba. I bet the big one weighed over 25lbs.
The famous non-native Australian cane toad. Mark told us there was a bounty on them for a long time until the animal rights people made a big enough fuss to put an end to that.

Christina covertly organized a birthday party for me. Mark's twin brother Jay, a baker by trade, made me a blackberry pie, and a great cherry chocolate cake. The pie was not as good as my mom's, but his crust was amazing, the best I've ever had.
One highlight of the trip was Rafael's (Rafa) blessing, This is a picture of those in the circle.
Veronica's mom made these pants and the white shirt for the blessing.
A species of Australian dove?

Eucalyptus trees in Mark's yard. Australia was beautiful, so green, but they told us that it was unusually green.
The red berrys are called miracle fruit, they change your taste buds so that sour things taste sweet. After eating two of the berry, I ate a half of a lemon, and it was sweeter than an orange!
This is called a kebab, pronounced kee-baab.
This guy was astounding, he gave a great demonstration on the dijiridoo, but our camera battery died so we missed it.
We are posing with the lizard Jay caught, it bit him on the thumb, but it wasn't too bad.
We saw close to a hundred of these lizards, they called them bearded dragon.
This one is well over three feet long.
These cliffs were just behind the temple, it was a beautiful place and a bueatiful day.