July 31st..............Home

The best part of every trip is to come home. It was so fun to see Mike again. He has lost 20 pounds. (I wish I had.) Aimee and Erin came and stayed the night with Leah and Noble. It was great. The house was clean and Mike bought me 4 sets of roses put around the house in different places with notes by each one. He missed me! Clean, fresh air is so refreshing. Now the only problem is trying to change around my days and night. Korea was 17 hours ahead of Anchorage, so I stayed awake all night and had the hardest time adjusting my schedule.

The day after I got home we took Leah and Nobel to the park. It was sunny and a wonderful day to play outside. I did miss my family very much.


July 30, 2008 Wednesday
Went to the DMZ today. Very interesting. I learned so much from the war memorial yesterday and from the DMZ today. It cost $46.00 but it was worth it. We got to go to several important places that were important to the war. We went down into a third tunnel discovered on October 17, 1978. Two others were discovered previous to that. These were tunnels that the North Korean soldiers built to once again invade South Korea. Our guide told us how many people have been killed since the cease fire was signed. He blames the violence totally to the North Korean government. There was an American woman who was killed by the North Korean army just two weeks ago. When they went to investigate it, the North Koreans who shot her said she was inside the DMZ without authorization. I guess it was about 4:30 AM and she was just wondering around. They claim they warned her to stop but she began to run. They said they chased her for 1 kilometer before they shot her. Our guide said that is absurd because she was wearing a dress and she is about 50. But I do wonder what she was doing there at 4:30 in the morning.
The South Koreans feel like the North Koreans are their brothers and they hate the fact that it is divided. They talk about unifications all the time. The real problem is that North Korea has one of the worst economies in the world. South Korea has one of the best. If they were to come together there would be several million uneducated people that would become a major welfare problem for South Korea. The people in North Korea are shut off from the rest of the world. They do not have TV or Internet, telephone, or other communication to the outside world. For several years the North Korean president has been voted the worst dictator in the world. Our tour guide has real strong feeling against Japan, China, and the US. I think he is among the young that do not remember the purpose of the US military in their country. I think most Koreans want us here, but there is definitely a number who want us to go.

July 29 Temple and Korean War Memorial

Got up early and went to the temple this AM. We actually did real well with the subway and made it there in plenty of time for the 10AM session. They were going to have an English session 20 minutes later, but we wanted the Korean session so they let us go with a little translator. It was all beautiful. One thing we noticed in both church and the temple is that everything is smaller. Not just shorter, but the seats are smaller and lower.

We went to the Korean War memorial across the street from the Post. It was a HUGE building and lots of little buildings around it. It was a fabulous tribute to the millions that have died in Korean War history. I was really interested in the Korean War where the US played such a huge roll. I learned so much. I had no idea how come Korea was divided, the roll Mau Tztong played in keeping it divided, the roll USSR had on the division and the way the world was involved in stopping the progress of Communisuim. When the cease fire talks were going on, one of the biggest agenda items was what to do with the prisoners of war. One serious problem is that the Prisioners from North Korea did not want to go home. They wanted to stay in South Korea. North Korea wanted to force them to come back to the north. I was glad to learn about that before we go to the DMZ zone tomorrow. That is still a very sore point for Korea. They want to be unified and for the whole country to enjoy the blessings of a democracy. In fact when the Cease Fire was finally in place, South Korea would not even show up for the signing because they refused to accept the fact that Korea would not be united. Now, 50 years later, South Korea has one of the largest economies in the world, while North Korea is still way behind.

Shopping in Korea

July 28, 2008
Today was our big shopping day in Korea. It was a lot of fun but we were very disappointed in the variety and the cost. We really thought we could get better deals on most things right in our own Alaska. We spent lots of time on the subway and walking the streets.
I don’t think we have mastered the subway system, but we now know what to look for and we keep our subway map handy. We even went way out of our way to go to Costco in Korea. It was really funny because when we got there neither of us had our Costco card. It had taken us about an hour to find it and there was no way we were going to turn around without trying to get in. We talked the man into giving us a one day pass and there we were. We went right down to the food court….had to make sure it was really a Costco….and ordered a berry smoothie. We were so hot outside and that just hit the spot. We had to go to get some TimTams. We learned about them from a guy at church yesterday. He had actually bought them for the “Linger Longer” that they had after church. He was such a funny guy. He is from Austriala and has a loud, booming voice. He waited until all of us were done eating and all had a TimTam and some hot chocolate. Then he yelled, “Strouth Crike, You little ripper” and we had to yell after him. Then we bit off one end of the cookie, turned it over and bit the other end, then sucked some hot chocolate through the TimTam, then gulped down the cookie. It was a big show, but such fun. I though I needed to get some to take home for family night.
Tonight we went to have Bulgogi. It was ok, but I can do without meat. I really liked the Kimche though. Mike hates it so much, so I was anxious to try it. I even ate some Pipimki (a spicy rice and vegitable dish) at lunch and really liked that. Much of their food is too spicy, but I can eat it as long as there is not much meat.
Tomorrow is our temple day. Looking forward to that.

Korea July 27

July 26, 2008 Saturday
Today was a long day saying goodbye to all our friends, off to the airport, and now in Korea. We got on the correct shuttle bus to the Capital Hotel, got a taxi, and he took us to the Dragon Lodge. We had to drag our suitcases up the hill to the gate, and then to the Lodge. What a sight we were with all our bags. You would think we were not seasoned travelers….well I guess we are not. We spent the evening trying to contact people to find our way to church in the morning. I think we have determined to take the subway. Now someone who has not traveled as much as us may shrink at the idea of being in another country, not knowing the language or our way around, and attempting to find their way in the subway. I think the Lord will honor our efforts. Tune in tomorrow for the rest of the story.

July 27, 2008 Sunday
Wehad a good Sunday here. We never heard back from Diane's contact about church so we used every way we knew to find a meeting. The only Korean branch to have an address and directions on the internet, was an English speaking one, so we decided to take a chance on the subway and just went. We had a prayer before we left. While trying to figure out where we were going we found three people dressed in Sunday clothes and finally got up the nerve to ask them if they were headed to church. It turned out they were. They were two Army dentists stationed around here. The woman was one of their wives. They were so wonderful and we just followed them around all day really. We had a wonderful meeting and afterwards the branch had what they called a "Linger Longer", and they provided us with a wonderful lunch/dinner. After that we all took the subway to the Korea temple and walked around the temple grounds. A Korean security guard came over to us and started to talk to us as we entered the grounds. His name is Brother Kim.
When he found out we were from Alaska, he asked if I knew a Brother Mahoney? (did I spell that right?) Anyway when we realized he was talking about Mont Mahoney, he was so thrilled that I knew him. He went and got his coat with an LDS pin on it. He said Mont had given him that pin. He told me he knew Mont 40 years ago and that Brother Mahoney spoke excellent Korean. We took a few pictures and then left. He followed us with his camera and wanted pictures. He was so very sweet. I told him my daughter was in the same ward with Mont and told him that I would relay his love through Aimee. It was such fun. anyway....wherever you go in the church, it seems you find connections
Our new Mormon friends actually went all the way back to the post with us and gave us exact directions for our other trips tomorrow and for our temple trip on Tuesday. I felt like the Lord had blessed us for our desires and provided us with angels to guard and protect us. To be honest, when we left, we really did not know we would ever find the church. We had this lesson on faith in Sunday School. One of the quotes by Br Packer that said faith meant taking a step or two in the dark before we would see the blessings. I felt we were honored to feel that blessing today.

We are safe and thrilled to have this opportunity.

Foot Massage

One thing I can't leave out before I quit talking about China. We could get an hour foot massage for about $10.00 American money. I did that on three different occasions. It was amazing how good it felt. I am almost embarrassed because it was a luxury I am not used to. But I did like it. Lisa, Diane, Evelyn and whoever else was there would laugh, giggle, and cry when it hurt. These guys or girls who do it train for three years to become certified. Then they make very little money. It was a lot of fun.

Leaving China

July 26, 2008
We got on the plane to Shanghai and checked into the motel here.

. We had a great time, but we all knew it would be over all too soon. The Alaska girls got together for one more picture and said our goodbyes. Jane Lister and Sue Petersen were off to Beijing. They took an overnight sleeper and then toured Beijing for two extra days.

We had one more night so we immediately went out to Nanjing Street, a famous shopping street here. We ate at McDonalds….ok, that was Diane’s fault. We were all very hungry and to be honest it was good. We then went looking for some cheap pearls and found a few gifts. It was fun. We found a taxi and found our way back safely to the hotel with only about 40 RMB to our combined total. We think we ought to save that to get out of the country tomorrow.
Tomorrow….on the plane to Korea.
There is so much beauty and wonder in China that I will miss very much. These are some girls that were dressed in traditional costumes for pictures.