MEETING MY FAMILY!
We woke up, and spent the morning tossin' some good ol' disc for exercise at a local elementary school, talking with each other about the crazy events that could unfold as we had planned to meet my family just a few hours later that morning. Elder Hendricks and Doyle kept saying that I was going to end up in Sydney with my Uncle YK, but I told them no way. I'd be back by 9 at the latest (pm) and would have killed the game. So, after exercise, Elder Miller and I basically spent an hour and a half trying to look ..well, good. ..Haha we both felt so silly -- like we were getting ready for some kind of date, but man! This was important!
After we were all prepped and red- to go, we set out! We bought some water so I could take my motion sickness pills and made it to the City Hall where I met my two new grandmas, Kim JW, and Kim JS, her younger sister. Sooo cool!! They were so excited, and started waving their hands like crazy when we were just a little ways down the road. We ran up and got the biggest hugs ever, and were also met by a very stylish son of Kim JS. Super cool. He drove us all the way to our house in Yeoju, and on the way, we just talked and talked and talked. Grandma JS called dibs on the middle seat, and Elder Miller took the front so I could be with the family. We talked about everything. I took out my photos I had printed (sent from my wonderful mother who is somehow prepared for everything), and they flipped! I explained my family, and Grandma JW originally thought I was from Liz's side (my mom's sis), but we got things cleared right up when Grandma JS stepped in to correct her, hahaha.I heard tons of great things about my Grandpa Don, like how he was the most handsome man out of any foreigner or American they had ever seen, and how even though he wasn't the best at speaking Korean, he was incredibly fun, courteous, and astoundingly good at flipping through his handy Kor-Eng Dictionary. Hahaha. And how when he didn't know what to say, or what anyone else was saying he'd just throw his hands up in the air and say, "I don't know!" (in Korean, haha). I learned that most of them communicated with him through English because they learned it in school and had it fresh in their minds. But none of them would let me test out their English skills now -- they said it'd been far too long, hahaha. We talked forever - and an hour and a half passed like 20 minutes. The driver of our car works for Volkswagen (fun fact), and was really nice too. They had me tell stories of how I tried to find them, and were so thankful that I had. ..Goodness. I'm thankful too. What are the odds?!After the (supposedly) long ride, they said "We're here!" in the middle of the most beautiful No man's land I'd ever seen. Beautiful, lush green mountains and rice fields everywhere, dotted with old, Asian style houses from back in the 50's. Just amazing, seriously. We took a small side road down to the house where my family was waiting outside for me. And man, meeting them was amazing. I wish you could hear Elder Miller's side of the story too, hahaha. When we first got there I greeted a few people with bows, hugs, and waves, and my poor Grandma Han (My oldest Grandpa Kim's wife) thought that Elder Miller was the foreign grandson she had been waiting for! After the mistake and a few laughs, she was pretty silent towards Elder Miller, haha. Sweet lady. ..We went into the house, kids occupied inside by watching Ghost videos on Youtube via a cellphone, and others telling and explaining to me who they were, and how we were related, and man, it was nuts.Soon after, my Uncle YG started drawing me an entire family tree - of everyone he could think of, and that was helpful beyond belief. He taught me how to call everyone, title wise, and what was ok, and what was not. Great guy. I learned well! Then, we sat down for meal number 1. This was "Breakfast" at 10am. Maybe 11? Whenever it was, we ate ALL homemade food that was just ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS! My littlest nephew dubbed me as "Uncle Spiderman" the minute I walked in the door because he's obsessed with superheroes (He's 4, Korean age -- so think 3, and Iron Man is his favorite. I got a few repulsor blasts to the face, mind you, haha) and thinks I look just like Peter Parker from "The Amazing Spiderman" movie that came out (just barely for me, a while ago for you). ..So, that was awesome. He'd shoot me with web and lasers, and had my try all sorts of different foods, and kept asking me "Does Spiderman eat a lot?" Hahah. Too good. Haha and they dubbed Elder Miller "Uncle DiCaprio" -- it was hilarious, and the food was amazing, and it was crazy to think that it was really all just for me. like…..WOW.After having a great time eating, we rounded up the kids, and started talking again. We showed everyone the pictures I brought, and Uncle YG started to explain the family tree again to me. Then, my Grandma Kim from back home called! We talked for a while, and I told her who I had met and who did what, and how great everything was, and ..man, it was awesome. Then, later my Uncle YK in Australia told my mom to call, and when she did -- everyone in the house freaked out because no one can speak English! Haha! So, of course, I had to answer the phone, and be just as confused as my mother. ..Both of us didn't really know why the other was calling, hahaha. But hey! It's always good to hear from my mom. Later on, we took a tour of the old house, which was just a kilometer or so away.After that, I came back to the house for meal number 2. ...This one having so much meat I was gonna pass out. ..Not only was this meat delicious, but it too was homemade, and THE BEST MEAT I'VE HAD IN KOREA. ..Probably in my life, to be honest, hahah. It was great. We set up a picnic outside in the backyard, and cooked all the meat, and sat down for a rad little meal. I ate SO much, and couldn't finish all the meat. ..I know, right? Me + Meat = nothing left and a starving belly.After we ate, we sat around some more and just had some solid family time. I got to talk a lot with my oldest Grandpa Kim, who just lost all of his teeth because he got really sick. But, he seems to be doing a lot better, and we hope he hangs in there longer. They thought he was going to pass away a few months ago, and when he heard that they found me, he said he wanted to see me before he died. ..Mission accomplished. And man, even that guy knows a bit of english!Other highlights.. Man, I really don't know what else to say. It's still all in my head, I'm just going through the situations and experiences over and over and over in my head, and I'm just so happy about how it all played out. ..The fact that we could even communicate is just so beyond me.. but man, I'm so thankful things worked out the way they did. So, I'm sure there are tons of questions, as I know I have a bunch too -- but I don't have the time to write down every single thing haha. There will be stories for days about these cute little nephews and niece of mine, and so much to ask my cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents. It feels amazing to be a part of such a big family...So, I'll keep you posted, and can't wait to meet them again.
Sorry if I didn't email you back, this and the 400+ pictures I had to upload took some time!