Sunday, in addition to being Valentine's Day, was also the Lunar New Year. On Saturday we went with some friends to an activity at the Korean (church) branch in Federal Way. (They used to meet in Auburn, but moved.)
There are quite a lot of Koreans around here. I do occasionally work up the nerve to strike up a conversation in public (I met a nice family at the library once), but it's difficult. ("Hey! I don't know you, but I see that you're Korean! I want to talk to you!") 쑥스럽다. So I was looking forward to doing some Korean schmoozing, as I'd put it, in a no-pressure setting. Well, we didn't exactly have people running over to talk to us (the random Americans crashing the party), and I realized that if I wanted to meet anyone I was going to have to make the first move. (There were a few people there that I'd met before, so we weren't going into it completely cold.)
In remembering my mission lately, I've been thinking a lot about my Korean companions. I did send 설날 cards to a couple of them, but haven't heard anything back yet. So I was especially interested in talking to the Korean missionaries serving in the branch. There's a Korean sister and an elder, and their American companions, who travel all over the Seattle mission working with the Korean people in the area.
Well, I met Sister Kim and Elder Min, and it turns out they're both from my mission area! Sister Kim (김훈지) is from Gwangju (농성 ward, which is where Sister O'Bryan is serving right now) and Elder Min (didn't get the rest of his name) is from Daejeon 선화 ward. I told him I'd served there, and he said, "So who do you know?" and I just kind of went "Uhhhh..." Nope, can't remember any names. That was seventeen years ago! (I did remember a couple of names, later, but probably not anyone that he would know.) I neglected to ask if there was any chance I would have met him as a four-year-old.
Sister Kim was very sweet. I went over to talk to her, holding Andy, and she said, "Oh, baby!" and took him from me, exclaiming over how cute he was. Then I asked her where she was from and she said "Gwangju," and I just grabbed her hand and said, "자매님! That was my greenie area!" I told her all about how I've been thinking about Korea a lot lately, and practicing the language and trying to get in touch with old companions. (She said my Korean was very good.) I got her email address, so I can write to her after she goes home in April.
There was a lot of food at the activity (but no dduk guk) and some amusing jump-roping. We had to leave early because Kate was bored and cranky (and we wanted to give her a little time to decompress before bed.) I'd like to attend church there some Sunday, but I'm afraid it wouldn't be very interesting for Kate.