Well I made it to and from Seoul just peachy. As you go to the escalator to leave the airport there is a big sign that says "Welcome to Paradise" (the sign's for a casino but that isn't the point.) Paradise was a pretty good description. It was warm and everything was just great there. We slept at the dormitories at the Temple which is in downtown, only two blocks from the main road in Sincheon. We spent a lot of time at the Temple, and some time shopping and seeing things too. I never realized how much I missed simple things like McDonald's and Mexican food until I found them in Seoul. We don't really have those things in Vladivostok. Sometimes the simple things in life really are the best.
One thing that I absolutely thought would not help me in Korea was my minimal knowledge of Russian. I was wrong. We were looking for a good place to buy neckties. You can get them there for $2 or $3 if you find the right place. We were trying our best to look lost (not hard) and we asked an old lady if she knew where we could find them, and just hoped that she spoke enough english to understand "Neckties...where?" As she began to point and try to explain I realized that the words she was saying was sounded a little like Russian...and matched the motions she was doing with her hands. I asked her if she spoke Russian and she just answered "where are you from?" in Russian. Russian speaking Korean grandmas...who'd of thought?
Well I was transferred this week. I am still in Vladivostok but the area in which I am now serving is famous in the mission as being the very most ghetto of all areas in the mission. It is the Churkin area. It takes about an hour usually to get to the Church from our apartment, and our area covers about half of the city. There are something like 300 inactive members in our area so we have a lot of fun work to do still. Our apartment isn't quite as nice as the last one I lived in. The hot water is permanently shut off, so we have a little heater installed in the shower....it only kind of works. We don't have beds so we both sleep on mats on the floor. The lights sometimes turn off, just for fun. It really is a sweet adventure.
My new companion lives just a little farther from home than Elder Hall did. He is from Belarus and speaks very very little english. We have a goal to speak more english together...but we always forget because it's just more easy and natural for both of us now to just communicate in Russian. Elder Papok is a great example to me. He joined the Church only just over 2 years ago and I feel like he knows the scriptures so much better than me already. He works really hard too. I am really excited to be able to serve with him. I feel really lucky to get this opportunity. Maybe I'll even learn a little bit of Russian this transfer too...I hope so.
I am just happy and enjoying every day here in Russia. It was nice to have a little break, meet some great missionaries and members of the Church from Korea and Japan (Brother Akasaka is a new friend of mine from Tokyo...he is way cool) and spend some time in the Temple, but I am excited to be back to work and to have lots of it to do. Teaching missionaries are happy missionaries.
Have a great week!