As I'm typing this, I seriously can't believe how fast the time has gone. 2013 has been the fastest year I can remember, is it really already over? The weird thing is yes, yes it is. So, in order to end this year well, I figured I would make a classic list of pros and cons, or more specifically, things lost and things gained since I came on my mission.
- A bed. Since the very first night coming here, I have been sleeping on the floor and will continue to do so until I return home.
- My iPhone. Oh my precious, wonderful iPhone. The hardest thing for me to give up has been my constant access to information. No, not information from the social world of Facebook and Twitter, but from the real world of news, history, science, and fact. Too many times have we been lost, had a question, needed additional help, and had no solutions when I've made this comment to my companion: "Well.... you know.... if we had my iPhone...."
- Dairy. Did you ever think there might be a world where you can go to the store and not be able to find butter, a block of cheese, or vanilla yogurt? Well, that world exists.
- A car. When I go back home, I'm not sure if I'll remember how to rive. And if I do, I sure hope I won't have acquired any driving habits from the Koreans..... that would be a bad thing.
- Weather knowledge. Gone are the days of forecasts. As missionaries, we have no TV, internet, or radio. Our knowledge about the weather is just as good as the pioneer's who lived 150 years ago. And yes, we often times go out umbrella-less in the morning because it is perfectly clear and sunny and then come back home at night completely drenched because the weather decided to turn into a torrential downpour.
- Holidays. I'm a sentimental person, I like sentimental things. Holidays, however, are just simply not that big in Korea. Christmas here felt just like Labor Day does in America. Their independence day (the day the bomb was dropped on Japan) came and went without much fanfare. Their two big holidays are huge for them, but as missionaries we can't really take part in the festivities. I'm excited for when I'll be able to participate in holiday traditions again.
- Friends and Family. Of course, this is the biggest and most important thing lost. While it might be hard some days, and I might sometimes wonder what life at home with people I love is like, It's all worth it because.....
- KOREA. Every morning when I wake up, I'm still in awe that I'm on the other side of the world in such an incredible country. The history is ancient, the culture is rich, the food is delicious, the people are wonderful, the land is beautiful, etc. I love the fact that I've had the opportunity to come to such an amazing country and have this experience. Normal 20 year olds in the world are just in school, at work, or doing other boring or possibly wasteful things. Meanwhile, I'm here. I'm so grateful that at my young age, I'm able to be spending my time towards something so productive. I'm in a foreign country serving other people and learning along the way - it's simply the best thing I possibly could be doing right now. How awesome is that!?
- New friends. While I may have left friends and family behind, I've met so many wonderful people during my time here. These people include (but are not limited to) other missionaries, members, investigators, English class attendees, regulars we see at the store/ post office/ bus station, and people we meet everywhere we go. Through meeting and forming relationships with these people, I have come to understand so many different lifestyles, viewpoints, cultures, and beliefs. I'm so excited to continue these friendships for the rest of my time as a missionary and afterwards.
- Myself. I've always been a confident person, anyone who knows me understands that, haha. However, since coming out on the mission, I have experienced highs and lows I never thought I was capable of experiencing. However, through these experiences, I have come to understand who I truly am, what I truly believe, and what I need to do in order to find happiness and success in this life. The mission is hard - harder than I EVER could have imagined (and for completely different reasons than I ever thought it would be), but I am SO GRATEFUL that I came here. If it weren't for the mission, I never would've, well, grown up. And I never would've come to understand who I truly am deep down. So the mission has been a really good thing for me!
I'm out of time, so I have to go. Of course, I can go on and on and on about all the wonderful things, but I think you can see that the pros (even though the list is shorter) are definitely greater than the cons. Yay for 2013! Yay for the mission! And onto another year!