This was quite an eventful week for us. Sister Nam and I are becoming pretty good friends. She is so funny. She is going to BYU’s language learning program in January, so we are practicing her English. Every evening, I “interview” her in English about some random topic and she can respond only in English. She doesn’t know a lot of English. So it is funny. I sometimes videotape her. I can’t wait to come back to the States and upload these videos so you can see them. A mix of bad English and very odd Korean thoughts and outlooks about life make for good film. They include such topics as, “What happened on the way home from church last night?” “What kind of man do you want to marry?” “Why do you only drink warm water and only at night?” Very very entertaining.
But you probably care more about the kiss and the poison than my little videos. No, alas, the two were not connected.
On Wednesday, we were out proselyting and we passed this woman on the street who was picking something out of the bushes. I asked her what she was doing. She said that she was picking “ma fruit.” I said “oh” – I had no idea what ma fruit was. Neither did Sister Nam. They looked like the baby of peanuts and berries. She told me to try one. I had no desire to try one, but I felt like I couldn’t refuse, so I ate one. It didn’t tast very good. Sister Nam pretended to eat hers but didn’t actually do it. We then tried to proselyte to her. “Have you seen missionaries like us before.” “Oh, yes, many times,” she said, while still stuffing her pockets with these things (which she didn’t eat). “I know your church well,” she said in a weird tone of voice and with a strange smile. The conversation died. “The fruit might make your throat burn a little,” she called after us as we left.
Awesome. I spent the rest of the day thinking that I was dying. I was convinced that she had an axe to grind against our church and was trying to kill me. And my throat burned (though that might have mostly been in my head). I kept telling Sister Nam that I was dying. I asked her if we could go to a PC room so I could email my family before I died. She said no. I told her that if I died it would be her job to tell you all that I loved you and that it was her fault that I hadn’t been able to say goodbye. She just laughed. I told her that the last thing I wanted before I died was a sam-gyup sar party (Korean meat). That night our members took us out for said meat. I was ready to die happy. But then I didn’t die. Turns out, that either it wasn’t poison or the sam-gyup sar (which literally means “three-layer flesh”) heals all wounds in a sort of bezoar type of way. Regardless, I was fine.
Then on Friday, we were out proselyting again and we saw a 70-ish year old man collecting recyclables. I offered our assistance. He came over and grabbed my hand (which is weird, because members of the opposite sex do not touch in Korea–we don’t even shake hands). And for such an old man, he had an awfully powerful grip! I lost feeling in my thumb. He would not let go. He asked Sister Nam if I was married. She said no. He then asked me to marry him. Then I said no. We explained that we were missionaries, etc. and that we couldn’t get married and that we just wanted to serve and spread the gospel. The whole time he wouldn’t let go of my hand. I tried to pull it away. No luck. We said we needed to go several times. He just kept asking me to marry him. And then, he moved his mostly toothless blackened-with-disease mouth towards mine. I pulled back in revulsion. So he went for the hand instead. And then his mouth made contact with my skin and I almost died. This, this was the poison. I don’t mean to sound mean, but it was the grossest thing. We made our escape–I think I left part of my hand grasped in his–and I used a whole bottle of disinfectant on my skin. Sister Nam thought it was so funny. I did not.
So, that was the highlight of our week. Won’t be emailing on time next week because of Korean Thanksgiving. So don’t worry if youhave to wait for a blog. All is well in the Land of the Morning Calm.