Too Much Rice for an Irish Kid

I have never eaten so much rice in my life. I swear.

Having a companion who is assigned to Korean work and living on a missionary’s budget, I have had so much rice in the past week. It tasted good at the time, but ultimately, this Irish/German kid’s stomach does not approve. I basically curled up in a little ball last night and complained to poor Sister Dame about how we were never, ever, ever having rice again. Then our dinner appointment called this afternoon to ask if stir-fry was okay for dinner. 
It has been a crazy week, and in the words of Elder (Black) Smith, we were just “doin’ work!” We tracted long enough for me to get a sunburn, found a new investigator (we are meeting with him this week), did some service for a ward member, taught a few lessons, met with members, street/sidewalk contacted, and got fed a lot of crazy food. I got poisoned once (but it was worth double the points, since it was coconut AND peppers). I can say absolutely nothing in Korean, and my brain was mush after interpreting for 3 hours yesterday. Life is good here in the Great California San Fernando mission! 
Also, I am fairly certain that we live next door to Kenny G. I’ve probably mentioned this before. Either way, someone can rock the saxophone like it’s their job in our apartment complex. 
Yesterday after our meetings we ate lunch with the Korean branch. I’m fairly certain I’ve never before felt as awkward as I did as the only person who spoke absolutely no Korean in the room. People would say things and I would just smile and nod, and if the elders or Sister Dame bowed, I did the same thing. My triumph for the day was succesfully avoiding the kimchi. The branch was celebrating the Lunar New Year, so we had a traditional soup that was filled with spring onions, rice cakes, beef, and seaweed. It was actually really delicious, and we’ve been hounding Elder Yang to email his mom for the receipe all day long. The Korean branch absolutely loves Sister Dame, and you don’t have to speak Korean to figure it out. She asked if we could take a tangerine or two home after lunch and this little Korean matriarch just told her to take all of them home, and asked if we wanted to bring anything else. I think she will be completely spoiled when she officially serves in the branch, especially since President Choi has already practically told her so! While all the Korean branch and the missionaries were talking, I essentially tried to figure out ways I could avoid the kimchi. It is essentially pickled, spicy cabbage (this is not okay with the Irish kid). It smells fermented. Meanwhile, Elder Yang is eating it like it’s going out of style. He and I will be buddies at ward/branch events – he speaks very little English, and I speak no Korean. We are kindred spirits in our silence! 
I had Greek food for the first time in almost 6 months! It totally made my day when a few of the older sisters in our ward invited us out to a Greek restaurant for lunch. I was so excited for my gyro and tzatziki sauce that I don’t think I said a word until half-way through the meal. It was almost like being back home for a little bit. Not nearly as good as the Greek/Italian restaurants at home, but pretty darn close for an area of California that is essentially immersed in Hispanic and Asian cultures.
Sister Shakespeare, one of the single sisters in the ward, had us over for dinner the other night, which was a real treat. She is one of my favorite people here in Chatsworth. She’s Jamaican, and made us traditional West Indian curry and rice (again) with a bread pudding her dad used to make when she was a little girl. I felt like I was going to roll out of her house! She is one of the strongest women in the world – she raised her four children by herself, both her sons served missions (one in Boston, one in Madagascar/South Africa), and all of her children have been married in the temple. She went from having no degree to running an entire wing of the hospital by herself. I love having her pray when we meet with her, because they are some of the most humble, patient, and loving prayers that are so filled with faith and love. When we split the area, she was telling us, she was so worried because she was losing us sisters. As a single sister, she can’t have the elders over without having another priesthood holder present. She got down on her knees and prayed that there would be a way for her to feed us, and the next week in sacrament meeting Bishop announced that the rule was that single sisters would be under our stewardship, whether or not they lived in the elder’s area. She told us, “I knew God would answer my prayers for me to keep my sisters!” I love her so much. I am so thankful for members like her who are so loving and supportive of us. 
Ugh, gotta run!! Love you all so much and am so thankful for all your love and support!! 

Sister Red

PS – only time for one photo, but this is our zone – we say we love you here!

PPS – we had rice five times this week. No joke.

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