Yesterday was my birthday! But, unfortunately, not in Korea. I learned that in Korea you are born already one year old and that everyone celebrates their birthday on the new year. This means that in Korea, I am 23 already… I actually had a really fantastic birthday, though not full of the normal party and games that I usually celebrate with. Instead I got a few cards in the mail (I love mail!) including one from the MTC president and his wife, accept it was dated “July 2, 2011” which I got a huge kick out of. I opened a beautiful present that my Mom’smom sent with me in my suitcase. An elder in my district (classroom) bought me a pink lemonade, two sisters in my room bought me a snickers bar and some Korean chocolate, and my favorite gift was a hula song and dance that another roommate performed in my honor. It was a GREAT DAY!
Just so you know the kind of whirlwind I’ve experienced my first week, here’s a little play-by-play:
Day 1: I drove up to the MTC with my grandparents to a sidewalk full of elders waiting to take my luggage. That was the first moment it really hit me, “Oh, yeah…I’m doing this!” It was embarrassing when I accidentally took my phone out of the car as if I’d be needing. “Uh, Sister…Are you planning on taking that phone with you?” I walked in where they took my picture and pinned on my nametag. After quickly dropping off my luggage in my room and grabbing nothing but a notebook and scriptures, I was whisked off to my first lesson…which was ENTIRELY in Korean. I learned the alphabet, how to introduce myself and say, “Nice to meet you.” That night, in big groups of new missionaries, we taught investigators! Our first day! It was a really uplifting and powerful experience.
Day 2: We had a whole lesson about loving the Lord’s children, which made me want to go out into the world and talk to anyone and everyone and learn their story. By the end of the day I could say an entire prayer in Korean…with a little help from a cheat sheet.
Day 3: I freaked out when I forgot to put on my watch. I might be a wristwatch convert after these eighteen months. Anyway, I had heard rumors that we would have real investigators by day three, and the rumors were true! My companion and I prepared a choppy and very simple lesson about how Heavenly Father loves each of us and we taught it entirely in Korean to an investigator. At the end, I even bore my testimony that I believed it was true.
I’ve mentioned my companion a few times, and you should know that she is TOTALLY awesome! Her name is Sister Brooksby and she comes from a family of eleven children! She is very knowledgeable about the scriptures and always has great insight into what other people need. And she thinks I’m funny, I love her! I couldn’t be happier about my first companion. I sometimes wander off without her, but she knows to keep an eye out for me.
Two funny Anna stories for you. First, was a couple of days ago before dinner. My district was all in our classroom studying quietly when I announced that it was almost dinner time. So I said so out loud so other people could also be excited and look forward to dinner and whatever mysteries it would hold for us. Immediately, everyone set rules for when I could use the word “almost” because apparently 45 minutes does not constitute excitement for dinner. I tried arguing that since lunch had been four hours ago, 45 minutes was nothing. It didn’t work. They’ve all gotten used to my continual excitement.
Last story, then my 30 minutes of email time will be up! Two nights ago, I was totally high on life. It was the end of my first Sunday in the MTC and we had heard so many great talks and testimonies that I thought nothing could ever get me down! I was telling my roommates about Daily Affirmations and how I could totally be that little girl right now. They didn’t know what I was talking about, so I immediately demonstrated with my own examples what daily affirmations were: I LOVE MY FAMILY! I LOVE MY LIFE! I LOVE HEAVENLY FATHER AND HE LOVES ME! I HAD A GREAT SUNDAY! I’M LEARNING KOREAN! I HAVE A GREAT COMPANION! etc…All shouted out loud with great big hand gestures. Now, I am required to do daily affirmations every night. Last night it was about my birthday and how loved I feel by everyone here and at home. I wonder what tonight’s affirmations will be…
PS Parents, I am still trying to figure out how to upload pictures. I’ve been coloring your card, Mom, and Dad, your card is awesome.