What? Are the Gumi Sisters just a couple of massive slobs? Is that what you are asking after seeing those photos? No! Of course not! We are clean!!!! Swear it! What are those photos, then? you are probably now asking yourself. Well, therein lies the most epic story to come out of Gumi this past week.
Last Monday, New Year’s Eve, was our P-day, as per usual. We slept most of the day. (Haha.) Stayed at home, wrote letters, napped, lounged in our pjs, etc. We left the house around three, ran errands and then did missionary work until about 8:30ish when we made our frozen way home. We opened our door to find no light when we came in. “Huh, that’s weird” we thought, as our entry-way light is a motion sensor type of thing. But nothing. Sister mcKay got de-shoed first and went inside, only to discover the above pictures. Well, she didn’t actually discover the pictures, as I took them later, but she discovered the contents of the photos. You know what I mean.
“Sister Markland,” she called, “I think someone’s been in our house.”
So I come in and, sure enough, our house had been mildly ransacked! Someone had gone through her luggage, both of our desks, our jewelery, our closets–some fiend pawed through my garments!–and had pretty much just molested our apartment.
The first thing we did was check to make sure said fiend was no longer in our apartment–he wasn’t. Then we called the Andong Elders to tell them that we were home–and that we were going to be calling President because we’d been burglarized! What, the what?!
So I called President Gilbert. He told me to go ahead and call the police. I interpreted that as call 정재환 and ask him for help. I explained to him what had happened. He called the police for us and then said that he was on his way to our house with our ward’s first counselor in tow. During this whole time, I tried calling the landlord several times, but couldn’t get ahold of him.
Well, the police showed up before our Brothers, so I had to deal with that–my 1) fear of all police and 2) knowledge of Korean did not put me in good standing for talking with the police, who wanted to know what was missing, what had happened etc. I told them that nothing was missing. It didn’t seem as if the culprit had taken any jewelery, they hadn’t taken our DVD player or cameras or Sister McKay’s ipod, all of which were out and easily accessible. It honestly didn’t seem like anything was missing. They told us to sit in the bedroom as they made phone calls and took photos. We were there with them for quite a while as they kept asking questions about crap. Sister McKay and I had already decided to look on the positive side of things and were just glad that we were being allowed to party on new Year’s Eve with some men in our apartment. Haha. I’m kidding, mom, we never actually said that. (Not that we didn’t think it ^^).
The police told us to stay put in the bedroom and to touch nothing. Then they peaced. We didn’t know what was up. But our ward Brothers finally showed up and told us to come wait in the hall. So we did. We then tried some more to track down the landlord. Then–the CSI came. No joke. Korea is a super safe place with not a lot of crime, so we apparently made the department’s night as they got to deal with a crime on New Year’s Eve–involving foreigners! We were mighty glad that we could oblige their desire for some action. So the CSI came and took more photos with better cameras, scanned the whole house with these black light thingies and even dusted for fingerprints! Yes, I am aware that this was kind of a serious thing, but Sister McKay and I were sort of giddy from all the excitement. During large portions of this, we were alternating phone calls with President and Sister Gilbert and the Andong Elders.
After a while, we were informed of how the intruder entered–the kitchen window. We live on the third floor. But apparently he had climbed in through the window–they could see the evidence of it. So we called Sister Gilbert and let her know that’s what happened. She then chewed us out for not locking our windows. Honestly, it had never occured to either of us–this is Korea! And we live on the third floor! Oh, well, it was a lesson in common sense.
Well, the police finally left and our first counselor re-dedicated our house for us–but only after the two of them went over the whole house and criticized our furnishings and the lack of food in our fridge–and then they left, too. We were told that we could pick up our stuff and reorganize everything. That’s when we discovered that something was missing–out of our pearls, diamonds, cameras, ipod, DVD player, etc., the only thing that the thief took was the chain from my Young Women’s medallion. Not the medallion, just the chain. We decided it’s because he’s in love with me and just wanted a momento–we (meaning me, Sister McKay, and Sister Gilbert) are all okay with that. It’s mostly amusing. Actually, everything about this is funny.
As we were cleaning, we got a phone call from Andong at about 10:28PM (which is unusual because we are not allowed to make phone calls after 10:20P) but Elder Struhs began by saying, “I have permission to call you. This is an emergency. Lock your doors and windows.” So of course everyone in the whole mission got the phone call, but only President and Sister Gilbert, Andong, and we knew why. Sister McKay and I were dying! We were so stoked to be a “cautionary tale”! Elder Struhs thought that is was pretty funny, too.
So after that, we heard some loud talking from outside, so I crept to the window to listen. I could hear JaeHwan’s voice, but I couldn’t distinguish his words. Shortly thereafter, however, we got a visit from our landlord. Apparently our two Brethren had tracked him down and chewed him out. He apologized and told us that he would be installing more CCTV cameras to cover the back of the building as well and that he would be installing bars, etc. (side note: he stopped by last night to assure us that he has already purchased four cameras and will be installing them this week). Then we got more phone calls from the police and had to call back and forth with President Gilbert and the police and JaeHwan, etc. So, we were allowed to stay up until midnight on new Year’s Eve! Yay! Hooray for valid excuses to ring in the New Year!
Unfortunately, we had to wake up at five the next morning. We wanted to die. We hiked through the frozen cold–my eyelashes turned to ice because of my breath–and wound our way to the mountain. And up to the base of the mountain. Only to find no ward members. We made some phone calls. Turns out that we were not meeting at the mountain after all (there were a ton of other crazy Koreans there, however, to greet the New Year). We were meeting down the mountain at a gazebo on a frozen lake. We eventually made it there.
We sang hymns, prayed, talked about our desires for the ward and for ourselves, personally, for the coming year. Then we knelt down in the snow and ice to offer up personal petitions to the Lord, before singing and praying again as a group. We were blessed to be given a ride home. We were SO grateful for that.
The rest of the week was pretty good. Had a great District Meeting in Andong where we celebrated District Leader Struhs’ birthday, spent all day in Busan at our last training meeting together and pretty much just partied it up rockstar-style in Gumi. We also taught some lessons and did our best to fulfill our purpose as missionaries.
The sad news? That this will be our last week together in Gumi. Transfer calls–for my last transfer–are this Thursday and one of us will surely be going. President Gilbert has asked me twice, once via e-mail and once in person, what my thoughts are about staying in Gumi for my last transfer. I’ve told him that I’ll be happy either way–it’s just what is best for him and the mission. But no matter who stays or who goes, I’ll be losing Sister McKay, which breaks my heart. I love her to freakin’ death and the thought of having a companion who’s not her for the next six weeks makes me want to throw up. Or cry. Or both. I just pray that she gets an even more awesome companion for this next transfer. Whatever happens, though, I will be happy knowing that is is the will of the Lord. So stay or go, I don’t know, but it will be a great six weeks, regardless.
Hope you all have a great New Year!
And seriously, don’t worry about us. We still sleep with the kitanas and I now sleep with a switchblade as well. I pity the next fool who tries to break into our apartment! Love you all!
P.S. – Here is a picture of the frozen lake: