Happy New Year!!! I am celebrating my first 설날 here! The Chinese Lunar New Year is huge in Korea - comparable to Christmas. Everyone gets together with their families..eats LOTS of food and pays respect to their ancestors. They also wear traditional clothes called 한복 (which we are currently wearing). It was so funny as we were late for conference this morning...picture three foreigners, dramatically sprinting in Korean traditional dresses to catch a taxi across the street - literally like a movie! Seriously what is life. This week we are celebrating the holiday by going to Sis. Willcox's grandfather's house tonight, cleaning day tomorrow (woo!) and a huge hike on Wednesday!
So I'm almost at week 3 in Korea...what! Time continues to go so fast. Probably because I love Korea. Everything about it - the people (Especially!), city, food, Sis. Willcox and Sis. Lee. I love being here!! Which leads me to the life changing lesson I learned this week: "the world does not revolve around Caitlin." Maybe 60% joking. This week I felt like I was constantly questioning myself...what am I doing wrong, how can I learn the language faster, how can I teach as well as my trainers do, how can I become friends with the members.... While at the same time going to sleep every night thinking, how can I feel all these things and still be SO happy - what is wrong with me? I realized looking back at my week that I really can't really remember many of the times I have cried or have felt so frustrated with myself after that exact moment. Every time, I wake up the next morning happy and excited for the next day. Why?! Then I realized it is because for the first time in my life, I am not preoccupied with my own life. My focus is solely on others. We are constantly planning for them, studying for them, running (literally) through Seoul to meet with them! There isn't time to write in my journal, read an ensign, look at pictures, unpack (much needed cleaning day tomorrow) - really to think of myself. For the first time ever, I feel like the happiness of others is more important than my own worries, problems or needs. Focusing completely on others really helps me to know that I can do this and be happy in Korea. It is still hard - I stress about the language every day, my inadequacies, my faults. On Tuesday, someone we had been meeting with told us she is not interested anymore... I probably cried the entire taxi ride home wondering why I couldn't say anything to help her. But then, the very next day, Heavenly Father sends us others who recognize His love for the first time or pray for the first time and no matter what, I am always so happy. It's all worth it!!
I talked to our friend from Mexico about this and she says she feels the same. She packed up a week ago, left her friends, family and life behind, because she had a feeling she needed to move to Korea. She met us her 2nd day in Korea and she says she has a feeling of peace and love when she learns about Christ that fills any hole in her heart of missing her family or what she left behind. I shared Moroni 8:26 with her and we decided it is "her" scripture. It talks about after we follow the Savior through faith, repentance and baptism, we receive the comforter, which FILLS us with hope and perfect love. I put a heart, her name and the date in my scriptures that night because it is so perfect and applies to all of us. MORAL of the story: "forget yourself and go to work." I'm so grateful to be learning this on my mission: that the world does not revolve around me and that we can find so much happiness through helping other people. I promise as we serve others we will be very very happy and be doing exactly what Christ wants us to be doing. I love you friends!!!!! HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!
Korean traditional dress...한복(Hanbok)
Sister Wilcox and I under our 삿갓(satgat)!
Celebrating the Korean Lunar New Year in traditional Korean dresses!!!
Found Acai bowls!!!!
Our beds – I have the hedgehogs and Hedwig pillow pet!!