Due to my favorite Korean food being 부침개 (Korean pancakes), this week is also my favorite Korean holiday: Korean Thanksgiving! I still remember last year’s Thanksgiving because all I seemed to do was eat and cook and eat! I had been here for 3 weeks and still couldn’t finish a bowl of rice – a major faux paux. One should never leave rice in her bowl at the end of a meal. After that weekend, I could finish a bowl of rice and then some! Nowadays, I can finish two bowls of rice no problem. But I learned this week that American food is getting really hard for my stomach to handle. A family took us to a fancy American food buffet called Ashley. I’ll be honest, it was the desserts I was most looking forward to! Though it’s an American buffet, it is still pretty Koreanized, not your typical Golden Corral. That was good because I could balance out the rich cheeses, filling pastas, and delicious sliders with familiar Asian fruits, fried rice, and spicy rice cakes. Chopsticks though; so much easier to use than a fork.
But let me tell you, the brownie and cheesecake I had were in a word: divine. Not straight from the kitchen or Cheesecake factory, but definitely worthy of the American origins they were claiming to have.
Remembering the frustration of not being able to do much missionary work last year, I decided to approach this week with a plan. Last week at church, I announced to all the women that if they or anyone they knew needed help of any kind getting ready for Thanksgiving, to please give us a call. Sister Harless and I also took cute pictures by the river and bought supplies to make message cards for all our members and people we are teaching or were teaching recently. Every night we’ve been feverishly cutting and gluing. Starting Saturday, we started at one end of our Gwangju map and began visiting everyone we know. If the family is home, we just say hi outside the door or go inside and hound them about missionary work! If they aren’t home, we can stick the magnetized message card to the door and keep going. It’s been super successful! Our plan is to visit EVERYONE before the stress sets in on Wednesday.
I was worried that because our ward has six foreign missionaries and no Koreans no one would take us up on our offer to help them, but we have two appointments this week, one the day before and one the day after Thanksgiving, to help members. I’m not really sure why someone decided to compare the Korean holiday 추석 (Chuseok) to an American Thanksgiving, except that Korean Thanksgiving is the most family and travel oriented holiday, just like Thanksgiving in America. But for our message cards we decided to stick to the gratitude idea. We printed two different pictures and picked two different scriptures, so everyone’s card is a little different:
Verily I say unto you my friends, fear not, let your hearts be comforted; yea, rejoice evermore, and in everything give thanks; D&C98:1
Now have we not reason to rejoice? Yea, I say unto you, there never were men that had so great reason to rejoice as we, since the world began; yea, and my joy is carried away, even unto boasting in my God Alma 26:35
It might not be a holiday dedicated to giving thanks where you are, but I hope that every day you keep in mind all the great blessings you have in your life! I know there must be just tons and tons. Our days are always brighter when filled with thoughts of all the great people we know and the plentiful things we have.
Eat some delicious brownies for me this week, and I’ll eat some delicious pancakes for you!