Monday, August 23, 2010

Moral of the story: Always throw away your fingernail clippings

Dear family,
Life is good, I've been going outside a lot to exercise in the mornings and after my knee scabbed over it's been a lot better. There's something really refreshing about running at 6:30 in the morning. One of my favorite things is the fact that in the park where we run there is a bench that is permanently occupied by about 5 old grandmas. They kind of stretch, but mostly they just sit and chatter and yell things at me as I run laps, things like:
"Oh, you exercise so well"
"Slow down, don't work so hard!"
"Wow, you're so pretty" (this one I know is a blatant lie, if you saw what I looked like when I first rolled off my mattress in the morning you would know)
The other day while we were out working hard we walked past a small park where some middle aged women and their children were having a picnic. We went up to talk to them and as we were sharing the gospel one of their boys (maybe 9 or 10) came up to me and just starred. He beckoned to his sister and then reach up and poked me. I tried to talk to him, but still unphased he just kept saying "foreigner, foreigner" and poking me to see what kind of material I was made out of. It was one of those moments when I wanted to say "I'm not an animal, I'm a human being!" But knowing that the reference would be cast on deaf ears I refrained and offered to let him touch my hair. Usually that's what they really want anyway, to see my non-brown eyes and see if my not-permed hair feels different from theirs. Oh how I love little kids.
This past week we went out to visit a girl in Danjin. It's a nearby city and while we were on the bus my companion told me some traditional Korean fairytales. One that I particularly liked I thought I would share:
The Punk Kid, the Monk, and his fingernails:
Once upon a time, there was a teenage royal kid who lived in his palace-like home somewhere in the midst of Korea. He was really bratty, never really listened to his parents, didn't study, and was just an all around punk of a kid. One day a monk came by his house. Usually monks will bang their little drums, pronounce blessings on your house and then ask for money. However, this punk of a kid just kicked him out and made fun of him, so intead of a blessing the monk put a curse on him. A few days later the punk kid cut his fingernails, but being a bit of a brat and a slob he just left them on the ground. The next morning he woke up and next to him was a copy of himself. He and this replica argued for a little while and then his parents came and found him. Not knowing which one was real they kicked out the real kid and sent him on his way. Crying and not knowing what to do he went on his way until he found the monk. The monk asked him if he was sorry for what he did. The boy apologized and said that in the future he would always throw away his fingernails instead of just leaving them on the ground. So the monk went back with him to the parents house, mumbled his magic words and the replica boy turned back into a fingernail which the punk kid quickly disposed of.
My companion said after hearing this story she always made sure to very carefully dispose of her fingernails. hehehe.
Anyway, the girl that we went to visit in Danjin is so great. She's been meeting wih missionaries for a while, but because of school this last week was our last time. It was interesting though, because she really has began opening her heart. She reads the Liahona and the Book of Mormon and then basically told us a story and bore her testimony of how something that she read and was told by one of the previous missionaries really helped her out last week. She was having a hard time with her job and everything else and wanted to know how she was going to make it, but then she remembered that Sister Cho had told her that God knows us perfectly and would never give us any trial that we can't overcome and that we can always pray to him for help. So she did. I love her, I hope next school vacation to continue to meet with her.
I hope all is well this week, I love you all, feel free to keep me up dated with your life.
Sister O'Bryan
Daejeon PO Box 38
Chungcheong bukdo 300-600
South Korea

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