Gonna see Shinhwa tomorrow!

FRIDAY MARCH 28, 2008 @ 2:37 pm{Seoul}; 1:37 am {Toronto}Let's talk!

Mood:
Listening to:How Do I Say, ShinHwa

How do I say, I love you, baby?



I know! It's been forever since I last posted...thanks for the reminder Ams. And even then I'm late! Sorry!!!!

Okay...this has been such a busy month. I kid you not! From starting a new term, to starting to lead a Bible Study group, to having to deal with a lot of personal challenges - crazy! But, what an awesome time of blessing it has been.

Last week we (the world) got to celebrate the death and resurection of Jesus. For me, it was the first time I have not spent it with my family. The first time for a lot of other things. It was awesome in the way that there were to bunnies for Jesus to share Easter with. At the same time, I wish Easter was important here. It made me so sad to realize that it wasn't that important here - even with Korean Christians. The people I spoke with were like...Oh..it's BooHwaJeol...and that was it.

Sigh, so I learn that Christmas is a couple's day here, and Easter is just a day.

BUT, the Easter weekend was good - busy but still good. There was an AIM service (most of the English ministries in Seoul) got together at Onnuri Church for a joint Good Friday service. Then on Saturday some of the memebers from my BSF got together at one of the members' homes to bake brownies for the church gala. We made brownies, oven roaster vienna sausages and chocolate covered strawberries. It was such a good time of fellowship. And then Sunday was church and then at 7 the gala. It was awesome. And the finale was the kids singing 'My Number One,' a Hillsong Kids song. SO GOOD! I really do hope we do it at church! LOL. No, really.

Apart from that, I started my extra classes. I love them so much. They're my classes and I can style them and run them the way I want. My younger kids are awesome..but SO tiring. I have one little boy, who drives me up the wall. He talks back, or parrots - doesn't get or chooses not to listen to what I say, and frustrates not only me but every other student in our class. Yesterday I had to make the call to very sternly make it clear to him that next class if his behavior was the same he was out of my class. Sigh.

Last night was going to be my laundry night - um...did not happen. I went down but all the machines were in use. So I went back to my room and cooked the Gochujang sam gyub sal I bought from Lotte Mart.

The most ridiculously weird thing about me since I've been in Korea is my addiction to fruits. Seriously. If you know me well enough, you know I don't really eat that much fruit. AND I'm picky about how they are cut, peeled etc...etc. Here...I had a HUGE Jeju Tangerine phase. HUGE. Like 8 a day phase. Then it moved to Pineapple. Okay, at home I was perfectly fine with the canned variety (in it's own juice not in sugar syrup). Here, all I crave is fresh pineapple. So where I would ordinarily buy the precut stuff at a good grocery store... to save 3 bucks I buy the real thing! I KNOW!! I have since my previous post done it multiple times. And not to mention strawberries! I buy two packs of strawberries twice a week. Honestly...it's insane. Thankfully, there's a stall that sells them for decent prices...like 3 bucks or slightly less a box. But, earlier this week I went there and bought two boxes of strawberries and a pack of soft tofu, and the man gave me another and charged me $4.50 for it all! I'm still confused and in awe. I guess they like me now! haha. If I can say the same for the Boong Eo Bang man who only scowls, that would be something!

Sadly, the subway marshall who used to make my mornings - I would nod and wish him in the morning and he would smile with his eyes (he wore a mask) and raise his hand in hello/salute - is not there anymore. I wish I knew what his story was. I need to be bolder and start talking with people!

In other news, I have a new friend. Um...I'm taking about my students. There's this little boy in grade 3 who slides open the door and says "annyounghaseyo" in the morning and then when he is leaving school will walk to the English room (his class is way on the other end of the hall and the English class is the last class the opposite direction) just to slide open the door to say goodbye to me. It makes my heart smile. As does this other little boy who always stops me to say Rex: 'Hi, teacher. How are you?'
When I ask him how he is he says " I'm happy."
Me: Why are you happy today?
Rex: Mom is happy.
Me: (Heart melting) that's good.
Actually quite a few kids come to me and have random little chats. I dunno, these kids humble me often.

Okay, almost done - as the title of this post reveals, I'm going to see ShinHwa, in the flesh, tomorrow!!! I have loved this group for over two years...this is so exciting for me! I have almost front row seats and my awesome Unni is coming with me. I can't really believe it's happening. I'm excited, but I don't feel it yet. And then there's the part of me that is kinda nervous...sigh.

Long enough update? Sorry...it is as short and as unlike an update as I can make it! OH....Jen & Jeff, congrats on the job in Mongolia! I am TOTALLY coming to visit!

I'm off! God bless!





LEAP YEAR!

FRIDAY FEBRUARY 29, 2008 @ 8:57 pm{Seoul}; 6:57 am {Toronto}Let's talk!

Mood:
Listening to:Begin, Dong Bang Shin Ki/Tohoshinki

song in Japanese, no lyrics



Sadly, today for me is a not so good Korea day. Actually, I've been getting easily irritated with Koreans' pushing in subways or in stores. How does a simple 'excuse me' or in their case 'shiyehamnida/jamshimanyo' hurt. Do people REALLY have to stick their arms out and shove? Yes, deliberately! I normally just take it in stride, but this week...I've been visibly rolling my eyes or allowing my face to show my displeasure. It's not something I am proud of, it's a reaction that is disrespectful and rude, and yet I LET myself act on it.

This past week I also had the 'pleasure' of having to go and sit in the main office of the school - doing nothing - because apparently it is in my contract. I don't know where...but okay. All the other teachers are off, just I have to come in. The VP was there, and yes I got to leave early, but what a waste of energy and time. I still don't see the point. It is so demeaning. I feel like a recalcitrant child in detention - only I'm the teacher! It's even more disappointing, when teachers come in and see me there and ask "Why are you here?" or say "Oh, you're always here." What do I say to that? The VP said I have to come here and do nothing? Actually I do say that, not to be mean, but because it's true.

Today was probably the first time since being here that I felt like a total outsider. After the big meeting of finding out which classes the teachers are doing and then deciding which subjects they would do when, all the teachers were going to go for lunch and then a show. No idea what show. In the midst of the meeting and class organizing, I sat in my seat, reading, feeling kinda pointless. But I was supposed to go to this lunch and show, which is for all the teachers right? Then I hear the teachers saying my name - many felt bad for me because I was sitting there, obviously bored, just reading or looking around. My new co-teacher went to talk with the Head teacher (main) and she looked kinda sad...but I heard in Korean 'not going'...and then she came back and spoke with my current/old co-teacher in hushed tones and I could tell they were kinda surprised/unsure/embarassed-ish...so the new co-teacher comes and tells me that we are going to lunch but the teacher who made reservations for the show didn't reserve a seat for me 'because she thought you would not understand.' I smiled and nodded and said okay. And really, sure I may not understand, so i guess it was good that I was not forced to go - maybe. When we were on the bus headed to our lunch restaurant, the new co-teacher said that really the reason was that the teachers were all part of some friendship group or something and I wasn't so it was regretable.

I try really hard to be positive about everything here. Today, I just felt low - like I really was an outsider. Many of the teachers were surprised when I was leaving after lunch. I smiled and said goodbye. But in my head I was thinking, well the two new teachers who were introduced today aren't part of any 'friendship group' either. It wasn't very charitable was it? Today, I feel bad. Tomorrow I will be okay, because I will let it go. Right now, I`m in a "Why Korea, Why?" mood.

All I can think is, that if the situation was reversed and one of these teachers was in Canada or even the States, I'd venture - this would not even happen, it wouldn't be an issue to have to pay for one extra ticket. Makes me glad that for all the faults of systems and people at home, some things - like corporate courtesy are in place - forced or not. Why do Koreans not realize that while they want us to come here, they need to remember to treat us well? I'm not saying plate our classroom floors with diamond studded gold or anything. Just, treat us as part of the team - not an appendage. If you know that we're there - try to say something in English as opposed to having a half hour conversation in Korean and then noticing us, say one word in English, or tell everyone to say somethign English and continue in Korean. If you're not working, don't make us have to come and sit in a room and stare at walls wondering if they even really appreicaiate us at all - it's hard enough teaching the kids, trust me! Don't assume that if we do something you don't do, we are all mocking your culture or you. Most teachers (native) try to be a part of the school/group, be understanding of the culture etc - but the same courtesy is not always extended.

Now I have a good school, for the most part. But really, there are times when you just don't do things. And there are times when teachers like me get frustrated and feel disrespected, pointless and frivolous. If you want us here, why not TREAT US like you do!

That's my rant/getting stuff off my chest for today.

In other news, to make myself feel better I cut my first pineapple today. Usually I would just buy it already pre-cut, but I saved 3 bucks in buying a whole pineapple. :D And I took a nap in the sunshine. I was home for a week last week - it revived me! I love my family and friends. 'nuff said! I am blessed.







Ruminations

TUESDAY FEBRUARY 12, 2008 @ 11:20 am{Seoul}; 9:20 pm{Toronto}Let's talk!

Mood:
Listening to:Lift Me Up, Backstreet Boys

You life me up when I am upside down,
You are my favorite sound
Lift me up, like an angel
when I hit the ground



Haha...Super Junior's 'Marry U' just came on! Sorry...it's all in relation to a conversation I just had.

Hi all! I figured that since I have the time I should write. So here I am, writing.
Today, as tired as I am, is good. It's two days till I leave for home, and I am so thrilled. It's funny how much I realize I miss home now that I am about to go visit. Enough to maybe not stay another year in Korea - not really. Staying or going isn't dependent on me - for that I refer to the Big Guy (God).

So, yesterday my coT asked me if I would be able to go to dinner with her after school. Honestly, I was SO tired yesterday. One of those Mondays you just wish was Saturday all over again. But, in the interest of relationship and also spending time with her before the big switch (new semester)
The food was really good, it was an Italian restaurant with a buffet. Honestly, it was nice to eat the salads! I know I sound ridiculous right? I love ceasar salads and this place had good caesar salad! LOL...I did eat other things - really! After stuffing ourselves with food and conversation we head to the subway station. After a failed attempt at taking the bus, I wound up taking the subway home and reached at 8:20. That meant I needed to get to my room, drop my jacket and then grap my sorted laundry and take it downstairs. I HATE doing laundry. But I needed clean clothes, so I had no choice. In my super tired frame of mind I dealt with putting clothes in the wash and then turned to the other thing I dislike - packing! I had to figure out who to get things for and who I bought things for. Yeah, it seems simple - but sadly it wasn't. Ihad to leave partway because I needed to get clothes in the dryer. Which is fin, except when some unknown individual monopolizes two dryers (and the two that work well), leaving me with wet clothes after a 1500 won drying cycle (I had two loads so really it was 3000won) and had me stuffing two loads into one dryer so make that 4500 won worth of drying clothes and drying done at 11:20 p.m. Yeah, not thrilled, let me tell you. I had to really fight being angry at the person I didn't know. SIGH!

But I finished packing one suitcase. I am SO nervous about how I will cart these things now. They will not be heavy but it will be cumbersome. Oh well :)

Okay...so I will write my list of Korea-isms if you will tomorrow! Just thought I would share my craziness last night!

Actually I need to make note of a really sad incident for KOrean history. Yesterday morning I got to school and Ali sent me as message saying she thought I heard about Namdaemun - it is the city's South Gate and is Korea's number one National Treasure. I said no, and so, I went looking after she informed me about a fire. Some 50 year old guy decided it would be a specatcle (my own sarcasm) to set fire to the 600 year old structure. It is honestly terribly saddening and upsetting. The oldest structure that is such a matter of pride for Koreans was destroyed by an idiotic Korean man who should have known better. It was really sad for me to see the pictures of the fire and the gate. I wanted to post pictures but I can't get it to work here...so I will post a link tomorrow. It is sad - and the cost to rebuild is enormous.
So I'm done for today! God bless!





All for Him~

MONDAY FEBRUARY 4, 2008 @ 3:14 pm{Seoul}; 1:14 am{Toronto}Let's talk!

Mood:
Listening to:All For You, Starfield

What is it in me
That hangs on for so long
Why do I fight the tears that come?
I work so hard to
Keep in control when
All that I want is to let go

I'll take this life
And lay it down
I'm letting go
I'm letting go
My hopes and dreams
Here at Your feet
I'm letting go
I'm letting go
And I am ready for Your life
And I am ready for You now


I started writing a letter, and then realized I didn't know what I wanted to say! So I am halfway through a letter which I don't think has any substance! Go figure!

I'm not sure why I have the singing emoticon, I'm not singing right now. But, it may be that my heart is singing - and has been for the past month. It's singing a new song, one that I have missed singing. If that makes no sense, sorry. I am excited that I am finding the love that I used to have that I feel like I put on the back burner for a while - my love for Jesus.

This entry is more of a praise report - mostly because I feel compelled to write this.

Coming to Korea has changed me in so many ways, and I never even realized it! I have a newer more healthy appreciation for my family - my parents especially. In the past 5 months of being here in Korea, I have been learning to love my parents in a different way. My uncle likes to tell me that I take advantage of them - and it is true! Sometimes I still do - let's be honest here. But, things have changed some. The parent-child dynamic has taken a different turn and it's interesting to me. I think now I see what it was like, in some ways, for my grandparents when my parents left home. I see what it is like for my parents when they left home. I don't know why, but that makes a huge difference in how I see my life now.

I have to admit that I have had quite a few hard times here - more personally than anything. Some that I have spoken to people about, and most that only God knows about. I am quite good at hiding in my room and letting my sadness fester for a period. Strangely enough, I haven't had that much time to do that here! So the rounds of hard emotionaly draining and physically exhausting brokenness has been either on weeknights when I want to be in bed sleeping or weekends when I want to be in bed sleeping! As always, I am thankful for it. Now I'm not completely masochistic - I just take those times and make them God times.

I decided that I needed some major, minor changes in my life. Now, for someone who is preparing to go into Seminary you'd think it would be easy for me to sit with my Bible everyday. Or be the most prolific (or someone who thinks she is) speaker, to be someone who would be comfortable with speaking out loud in a Bible study group - or for that matter, praying out loud. Yeah, I'm not! Sometimes when I am super moved to pray for someone I will go up to them, but otherwise it's always silent. And there, the comfort zone thing comes into play...or rather...stepping out of it. I actually do go to a Bible study...well, two now. I needed perspective with some of my challenges, so I wrote out verses that are relevant to me, encourging to me and ones that remind me of what God needs me to know - and put them up in my room. I have started forcing myself to read my Bible everyday. This I have God and Chip Ingram for. I am currently reading a book witten by the latter and he talks about how he made his motto " No Bible, No Bread" because he like to eat,and that's how he got into the habit of reading the Bible.

I needed to get into the Word because I really want to, I desire it. But I get so caught up in my living, that I get tired and say a short prayer and sleep sometimes. I don't want a stagnant faith - I need it to be living and breathing. So I thought about what was more important to me - food or sleep. And to be perfectly honest, while yes I get hunrgry and like food...sleep is more important. I made a sign that says "No Bible, No Bed" and put it up in my room. Consciously I don't often notice the sign, but I see it. However, the heart of me is desperate to read the Word. Sure, I don't always understand it all. But, understanding comes through diligence and faith. I don't worry about it all - I just have faith that He will make it all come together in His time, as He has done countless times. And I have now discovered a joy in reading the book of Deuteronomy! (I digress).

Even though it hasn't been very long...I've been seeing a change in my life, my heart. It's kinda cool how that happens. There are so many amazing things happening, answered prayers, and even just me being able to pray more joyfully. I remember when, a few years ago I would ernestly say, Lord change me, even if I have to be broken. Somewhere along the way I got to where I didn't really want to be broken or even have the difficult situations. I get angry easily, or let my mouth run before I can think about it. I'm learning to not let anger get me, to bless the people who make situations difficult. So really, I'm being humbled. And you know what? It's not a bad place to be in. He is doing awesome things and I am grateful.

That's all...sorry, I had to finish the latter part of this at home.

God bless! (it's 12:36 a.m. and I need to get into my prayer time)



Happy New Year!!~

TUESDAY JANUARY 29, 2008 @ 3:42 pm{Seoul}; 1:42 am{Toronto}Let's talk!

Mood:
Listening to:Solid Rock, Avalon

My hope is built on nothing less,
than Jesus' blood and righteousness
I dare not trust the sweetest frame
But wholly lean on Jesus' name


I want to not get too lazy to update...and I have for the most part been. So now, Hola!!

On Friday night I had a pizza and movie night in my little abode. Ali, B, Karin and I watched 'She's the Man'. It was actually quite funny and cute. I would watch it again! Then on Saturday, Ali, B and I met up with Jen and Jeff and Sue (Jen's former Co-teacher) at the CoEx mall. It was a lot of fun...even though the day was exhausting. There's a large aquarium at the CoEx...it just kept going and going. Quite fascinating though. AND I saw a toucan for the first time ever! Yes, I am excited about the toucan! It was tres pretty!

After the aquarium we went in search of lunch...it was a long day..and we were all starving. Eventually we got food, and then poor Sue was coerced into giving us a mini-Korean lesson. Coersion by all of us. We then went to the bookstore at the mall...and there was a book in the phrasebooks section called 'Making Out in Korean'. Now you'd think this was a witty title for a book...except the book...as much as we saw of it...and it was a lot (this book is not thick either)...was full of sexual phrases. It was hilarious, surprising and kinda stupid. Sue was telling us the book was very controversial in Korea...we could see why. We were laughing so hard at what was translated that they shushed us! Seriously, who shushes in a bookstore!? Library I understand, but bookstore? Only in Korea. I think that is like THE phrase for most of us English teachers. Only in Korea.

So, school started, except, I'm not entirely sure why! We don't teach classes, and the kids come for a half day. I dunno...I am glad to see them though. I really do enjoy my students...they are great people. I have to say that camp time helped me to get to know the other teachers at my school, I feel like I'm more... involved now.

I am officially a member of the church I go to here...it's a huge step for me. But I'm happy. This church has truly blessed me - and still is.

This seems really abrupt huh? Yeah, I guess it is. Sorry...I am just updating just cuz!

Oh...and for those who don't already know, I am going home for a week! I'm really excited...the familiar really appeals to me now. Though I wonder about how familiar it will all be after living here in Korea... even if it has only been 5 months.

I'm off! God bless :)



Happy New Year!!~

WEDNESDAY JANUARY 23, 2008 @ 9:13 am{Seoul}; 7:13 pm{Toronto}Let's talk!

Mood:
Listening to:I Will Worship, Hillsongs Kids

I will worship, with all of my heart
I will praise You,with all of my strength
I will seek You, all of my days
I will follow, follow all of Your ways



Happy New Year everyone! Yeah, I know it's almost a month in, I've been lazy! That's the truth! Well...I was very busy for two weeks too...Winter Camp!

Let me start with New Year's...it was awesome. The service at church was honestly annointed - no other way for me to express how much I was blessed by it. Ali, Unni and I went to church around 9-ish and we played a Korean game called yut nori...it's the one with the sticks that you throw. Okay, I get it a little, but I am still baffled by it. Was fun though. Then around 11 p.m. we all went to the main sanctuary for worship...and then we prayed in the New Year. It was amazing. We left around 1-1:30 a.m...thinking okay, we will have to take a cab ...but no, busses were running! So we were able to catch it and head home without paying a taxi fare! WOOT.

Now we were very tired...but we decided to meet up in my room for a bit and then we'd be in bed by 3 max! We searched for the songs that we loved during service and just talked..and talked...and we were like...okay we should sleep...and we looked at the clock...it was 6 a.m! Ali went to her room and Unni (as was planned) spent the night. Then at around 12 I got a text message from with Jen, Jeff or Kelly asking if I'd be up to meeting them at around 2..( may be confused about the times, but they are roughly correct...no way, it's right). Unni had to talk to her family so she coulsn't come. We went the 63 Building in Seoul. We had hoped to go to the aquarium but it was super packed so we just walked a bit and went home. It was nice though...I was glad to be able to see them New Year's. There was this really nice bakery there, Ali and I bought this yummy bread with olives and cheese and so after we both went home and took naps, I made some vegetable cream soup (yes, from a package) and Ali came over and we put the bread in my toaster oven for a bit..and put on 'You've Got Mail' ...it was a nice way to spend New year's day without family.

So after that, I had winter camp, it ran from the 7th to the 18th. I loved it! Teaching my students and getting to know them is one of my biggest joys. These children has SO much potential...I see it all the time and I am so prayerful that they will overcome whatever their circumstances and do awesome in their lives. They have good hearts. I have the 'difficult' ones too...but I just see the kid in them. It's VERY hard to handle children who don't speak a language that you do and you have to teach them. But I found it to be so rewarding to teach and talk with them. Even the ones that are a lower levels... I was able to MAKE them speak...force them to think and figure things out, and that made all the difference. I'm a little sad that it's over, but I am glad I had that experience. It helped me too, in terms of loosening up with the students to teach. So it makes me feel like I am now/can be a better teacher for them.

So, this past weekend, Jen, Jeff, Kelly, Sara, Ali and B and I went to Dr.Fish in Hongdae. It was a lot of fun! Well...knowing how much I hate things on my feet I am shocked that I was able to put both feet in and have thise little fish come and eat my feet basically. It both tickled and was like having the prickly sensation when your foot is waking up from falling asleep. We were going to go to a Noraebang after getting some food and drinks at the Garten Bier but it got too late for Sara and Kelly so they went home. The rest of us went to et gelato and hit up a Noraebang...but there was a half hour wait time and we didn't want to miss the subway home. So, Jen got her beer, and we took our gelato (safely hidden in our bags) and went to Starbucks..A and I ordered a Rooibos Tea Latte (a grande...so everyone could share) and went up and sat there, talked, had our gelato and drinks and went home. It was good times:)

Presently, I'm in the middle of a vacation issue. I am trying to go home but have run into some problems that should be easily resolved. God willing, and trusting...it will all work out.

K, that's all folks! God bless!


Christmas! ...and now New Year's Eve!

MONDAY DECEMBER 31, 2007 @ 12:12 am{Seoul}; 10:12 am{Toronto}Let's talk!

Mood:
Listening to:My Will, DC Talk

It's my will, and I'm not moving
'Cuz if it's Your will,
then nothing can shake me.
It's my will, to bow and praise You
It's my will to praise my God.


I have in all honesty been trying to get myself to post an entry for Christmas. Actually I had planned to write on the 25th...but I never got to it - obviously. So...now I say - MERRY CHRISTMAS!! This entry will go through my week and some things for this new year that is coming up. I hope that it won't be too long - but who believes me? I don't! It's going to be long folks! So if you decide to read this - get comfortable, grad a cup of something hot and get ready to read this novel of a post!

December 21st, my friends and I were supposed to go to the Nutcracker...and quite interestingly...(and eventfully) there was a fire at the Arts Center that the play was to be performed and so it was cancelled. We were all quite disappointed, but decided that we could go to dinner instead. So we went to the Buddha's Belly for dinner. It was good food - and since I had received my package from home the previous day I thought it would be nice to share some Kara kaddi and Thukkudi(Diamond cuts) with my friends. Turned out they liked it - yay! Karra Kaddi and Thukudi are true Christmastime traditions and I really wanted that this Christmas. So my awesome Mummy made some and sent them, with Christmas cake and Nevris (I have one left!).

After dinner, after almost going down the stairs to get on the subway train to head home, Sara and I decided to go back for one more drink with the others. Really, I wasn't really planning on drinking, but meh...I figured it would be interesting. And yes it was! It was fine when we were sitting around (and Richard bought a pitcher of beer - thanks Rich!) but then there was an unfortunate and uncomfortable situation when an overly drunk friend was overly comfortable with a friend. But that passed. After that people wanted to go dance...now me, I have two left feet. But because I was cabbing it back home with Sara and Becky I figured it would be interesting to see what it was like. Mostly it broke my heart (apart from being uncomfortable). For the first time in my life I passed a man haggling with a woman for a prostitute for the night. I was with people so I was okay, but hearing that, seeing it, bothered me a lot. Sure people will say that it happens...but it's not okay! I always wonder about the circumstances of women who have to prostitute themselves. There are different stories for each woman I am sure. It just makes my heart sad - how much more does it hurt my Father?

We wound up going to another club - it was ridiculously packed. But there was this guy, with his arms around a girl...and he was yelling at her. And then it seemed like he wasn't but he kept trying to kiss her. What got to me were her eyes...they looked like they were defeated, crying on the inside...just pure sadness. I couldn't tell if she was a hooker or his girlfriend...but it was not a happy scene. Another girl who worked there noticed and tried to get a waiter to help out, but the two had left by the time. However, that scene has haunted me for a while. The girls face, her eyes...they got to me. I hope she's okay. I will be praying for her.

That wasn't so Christmassy at all was it? Well the next day was!! It was the Christmas party at Brent and Tammy's. We had a White Elephant Christmas gift exchange. There were two babies, Cohen and William and thirteen adults...it was a full house! But it was honestly lovely. I think that gathering was what made it start to feel like Christmas. Not so much the presents even though those were awesome - it was the group. Being with friends, chatting, laughing - just being together. Without family around, these people have become like family. And I am grateful for them.

THE gift of the evening was Unni's painting. Haha..that thing was stolen and stolen back very many times! And eventually using some very sneaky 'couple' strategy (LOL)...Jen and Jeff gained possession of the painting. Good times!

The next day was I'm not sure what! I feel like there was something that I did - but oh well! Christmas eve I was very very busy. It was pay day and so that meant that I got to lose half my pay cheque *cries* But it aslo meant that I was not a pauper anymore. After the bank I bought some margarine and flour and came home to bake like a maniac! So, baked until 7 when I ran out the door with my clothes and cookies and gifts to Rachel and Trevor's, dropped my stuff off, ran out to the subway to catch the train to go to church with Unni. After church we were delayed for about half an hour or more waiting for the train (which was delayed) and then the next three trains were so packe we couldn't get on! In the meantime, the reality of Christmas as a 'couple's day' in Korea was revealed to me. It was so ridiculous! I was not impressed but looking everywhere and seeing couples or couple's things in the stores. I got kinda angry actually. Poor Unni...had to hear me rant most of the time there. I just could not believe it! I should not have been so upset, but all I kept thinking was, 'it's Christmas! Christmas! It's aboue Jesus! Jesus' birthday! Jesus wasn't cupid! He wasn't a naked baby with wings and arrows with hearts at the ends of them!'. Yeah, I felt like broken record, but such was my frustration. I wanted to feel like Christmas and all I felt was blah...couples this and that. It made me sad.

So then I reached Rachel and Trevor's by 11:15 p.m...and snacked on veggies and then we all went in to the Christmas tree room for our White elephant, gag gift exchange. It was fun! I got a magnetic board! hehe. It was nice being with the people there, I am truly blessed. While some watched Home Alone, I sat in the kitchen and chatted with Rachel, Trevor and Jessica. I was so exhausted...but it was a good exhaustion. I was glad to be in the company of such wonderful people and friends. We finally went to sleep at 3 a.m.

And...I woke up 8:04 a.m. because Ali called me ( I was supposed to be up at 7:30!) and I was a little out of it. So after that, as quietly and quickly as I could I got changed and packed and crept out of R&T's place and walked to the subway train and then to my place to brush my teeth, change my clothes and then go to the orphanage with Ali. We grabbed something to drink and eat (not the most amazing things) and got on the train for our hour long commute. But it was nice - as tired as we both were, we decided we should read the Bible...so we read the Christmas passage in Luke and then continued to read other passages as we looked through the Bible. Yes folks we read aloud. It was awesome! We then decided we should sing Christmas carols...so we did. By the time we got to the carols we were alone in our car save for one poor guy who was sleeping. We were singing 'Go Tell it on the Mountain' when we got to our stop.

Walking to the Orphanage my bag broke *cries* the strap just gave way - so courtesy of my brilliant plan to take knitting for the long subway ride, I had a sack under my arm for the rest of the day (we got home at about 6-ish). But the orphanage was good. We got to hear Brian Kim and Last perform some songs and Pastor Dave spoke a little for the kids and then prayed and we handed out presents. I learned that as nervous as I was, the kids were more so. So I helped give out presents when I had given my angel his gift. That little boy, Jung Ho is sooo cute, and little! Well he is 3, but yeah...it made my heart happy. Ali and I relinquished our cameras to the two girls sitting in the pew in front of ours, and they took pictures to their hearts' content until the batteries in our cameras died. Honestly, being with the kids, being there was more Christmas than anything. I am glad I went. The kids had to leave soon after the gifts were disperesed for lunch so we didn't get too much time with them. BUT...we got to go to the baby room. There was a 5 month old there and of course, I gravitated to her. She is SO beautiful. I got to hold her for a while - haha...my wish to hold a baby came true! Thank You God! And Rachel reminded me of that when I told her about the little one later that day - because we had been talking about babies and missing holding them. There was another little one, she stole my heart, she is very likely just under 2...but she had an eye patch. I was told that her condition will get better, so thank God. All the kids looked after her...it was so cute to see. She just walked around wherever she wanted and all the kids... older and younger would try to get her to come to them. It was awesome. I loved seeing how gelled the kids were...they cared for each other - the older ones would look out for the younger ones and the younger ones almost doted on the older, they looked up to them. It made my heart smile.

After the orphanage a bunch of us decided to have dinner and then head over to Myeong dong for the joint Christmas service (all or most of the English ministires got together). Because of the number of people we had to split up our group based on what people wanted...so we did that, ate and then got on the train to Myeongdong. It was really good, but after the service - Ali and I were just plain exhausted.

I came to my room and was in a bit of a funk. I missed home terribly. I missed sining to Jo and Nate and then putting them to bed. I spoke to the kids earlier in the day and it hit me how much they are growing. Jo sounds like a little girl now. I missed my brother and the girls I lived with the past three years. I almost didn't want to be alone but I needed to be. So I turned on the music, got on my knees and had an amazing time of worship. Which made it Christmas for me. In the middle of that I got a phone call from the music teacher, who is someone I truly enjoy. She called me while she was taking a walk with her family and wished me for Christmas and had every one in her family wish me. That made me cry a little - that was Christmas! It was so simple and thoughtful, I doubt she will know how much it meant to me.

Today is New Year's Eve. I can't believe it! God has been amazing this past year...it hasn't been easy but it has been good! I hope I will post tomorrow...but just in case I don't get to it...Happy New Year everyone! I hope that it is AMAZING and BLESSED. God bless, always!

p.s. yup...this was a novel alright!




A Week to Christmas!

TUESDAY DECEMBER 18, 2007 @ 10:45 am{Seoul}; 8:45 pm{Toronto}Let's talk!

Mood:
Listening to: Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing, Mark Schulz

Here's my heart, Oh take and seal it
Seal it for Thy courts above
Oh Holy Night, Mariah Carey

I love this carol, and since it came on I have to give it some props hehe.

Fall on your knees
Oh hear the Angels' voices
Oh night, divine
Oh night when Christ was born


The past week has been eventful - I'm sure of it and yet I remember nothing! Actually no I do...but I am only going to go into the weekend!

Friday my district had all the elementary school teachers go see an open class and then we were taken to a show and Chang Dong Theatre and then to dinner. All of which was good. I cannot say enough how much I love children - yes, even the difficult ones. There are days that I get frustrated, but then there is so much potential in them. Every kid in my classes I look at and pray for more for them. I see the apathetic ones and I search for ways to light a spark of interest in them...I guess that's where this job doesn't get boring. It is disheartening often times, but then there's the one child that raises his/her hand or asks me a question and then I feel like something is happening. Okay, I am digressing. Sorry!!


So anyway, I got to talk on Friday with Mike, who I met during training but haven't talked with since (not that I can remember). And somehow I wound up telling him about seminary and how my staying in Korea depended on where God was taking me and finding an English seminary. And he told me that he had a friend who found a seminary a month and a half before he was going to leave Korea - and it is the same one that the pastor at my church was talking about. Okay this may not be significant to many of you, but to me it's like an answered prayer. This whole situation is very big for me. So now I am prayign harder about what to do. That's the short version of this story - yes there is a long one which I will not bore anyone with. But please pray for me for these choices.

After the dinner a bunch of us walked to Lotte Mart where we met up with Unni who was there to get baking supplies for Sunday. It was a good night:) I had started to get my voice back over the course of the night which made me very happy, and after Unni and I went to a pharmacy and got some medication for my cold and throat.

Saturday Unni came over and we made cookie dough together. It was quite fun - and unni was awesome and she helped me with dishes. I hate doing dishes - really HATE doing dishes. Usually when I bake I was as I go, because then i don't have to look at a pile in the sink or on my counter. But Unni helped do them so I was a very happy Ness.

And then for some inexplicable reason I decided that I needed to bake biscotti (which I have never in my life made before). And to do it, I needed eggs, which I ran out of. So what did I do, put on my jacket, grabbed my wallet purse and walked out my door... yes, I forgot my key card. I was so embarassed...I realized when I readed the first floor and what was the point in going back up. So I bought my eggs and then went to front desk and as sheepishly as ever said..."I left my key in my room..." Strangely...or not so much really, I was about to tell her which room I was in but she already knew! Guess, the whole episode earlier this month branded my room number in her mind. Oh well, I got into my room and proceeded to make biscotti. Now I only have a toaster oven - so this biscotti making endeavor took a while. It started around 8-ish and was done at 1 a.m. While I was super sleepy on account of the medication. Okay..the medication...they gave me this absolutely disgusting tea that I had to take the pills with...oh my gosh, really, the only way it got down my throat was because I was desperate to be well again. That and the first night Unni made me Yooja cha to chase the grossness that was that tea. Thanks Unni! You're the best!

Sunday was awesome - and tiring, but in a good way. I took the bag with my Angel's Christmas presents, plus the container with biscotti in it to church - I two big bags! And then at church I got the pther bag with dough in it from unni. Yes, I was quite a sight with my bags. I head over to Jen and Jeff's after church, that took about an hour...and I had a bit of trouble getting in the door due to the bags. Jen had a good laugh about that. LOL

And so we baked. I didn't mention we had a baking party did I? Yes we did and it was wonderful. Christmas time and togetherness and baking - brought back memories of when I was little and mom baked the cake and made Christmas goodies. Let's see....Kelly made pumpkin spice cookies, Sara made Chocolate chip cookies, Becky made the peanut butter cookies with a kiss in the center, Tammy made these macaroon-type chocolate oat cookies, Richard made sugar cookies, Unni made Almond sugar cookies, I made Danish Christmas cookies and Jen and Jeff made Cinnamon Sugar cookies (or will have at the time of this posting?). It was a cookie bonanza and it was awesome. We were tired by the end of it - that poor oven and Jen and Jeff's bill. Thanks guys, for opening your home to us and the baking!

All in all a very good time. So, I decided to go to the orphanage Christmas morning to be with the kids while they open their Christmas presents...it should be an awesome time. I have no clue why I am nervous about it. But, I am really excited about it. What an experience it will be to be with children on Christmas day!

Get excited folks! Christmas is coming!! God bless :)






God smacked!

TUESDAY DECEMBER 11, 2007 @ 12:37 pm{Seoul}; 10:37 am{Toronto}Let's talk!

Mood:
Listening to: Nails in Your Hands, WOW Worship ( I think it's by Six Pence None the Richer)

Nails in Your hands
nails in Your feet
They tell me how much You love me
The thorns on your brow
They tell me how
You bore so much pain to love me
When the heavens pass away
All Your scars will still remain
And forever they will say, just how much you love me
So I long to say
Forever my heart, Forever my love
Forever my life, is Yours


First, I have to say I am super happy to have found this song. I had it years ago, and with re-formatting computers and getting a whole new arsenal of worship songs, this song disappeared. But this month I have been singing it and wanting to hear it- but this particular version of the song. Today, I found it! As you can see since I am listening to it. >.>

What I love about this song is that it challenges me and reminds me; too often we get caught up in saying thank You to God but don't connect with why. And this song reminds me - and it also reminds me of my commitment to Him.

That said, this past weekend I have felt completely God smacked - in a good way. I felt God shaking me up - and it's been a long time since I've felt that way. It's something that I have missed, and at the same time it is something I needed. So at the newcomers' meeting at the church I have decided to make my church home I was listening to the pastor talk about te church and I felt that quickening in my heart. There were times when I was on the verge of tears, and I can't fully explain why - his story wasn't a crier. Then he started talking about the church - and if I have spoken to any of you about what my heart is for the church (here I mean the believers, not a building) then you know what I am talking about. Seriously what he was saying about the division that people propagate based on small doctrinal differences is what I have said often when talking about this. And my thoughts and prayers about what to do - stay or go (in/from Korea) came to a head, because I found out that there is an English seminary here in Seoul.

What this means, I am not sure yet. But there are many things that started coming together. I explained it to Unni as if I know that there's this puzzle, and I know I have some missing pieces that are important. And now those pieces have shown up. I don't know where they go yet, but now they're here. And it's daunting and exhilerating. So folks, I ask for prayer - to go and do where and what He is leading me to.

I was freaked out for most of Sunday and yesterday - but now I'm just awed. God smacked - in a good way!

Today is Trevor's birthday, so Happy Birthday Trevor! Again, I don't even know if he knows about this blog - but the wishes and prayers are extended nonetheless.

It's 15 days to Christmas - so so so excited! God bless, everyone!!




Tired but happy :)

FRIDAY DECEMBER 7, 2007 @ 1:31 pm{Seoul}; 11:31 pm{Toronto}Let's talk!

Mood:
Listening to: You Needed Me, Boyzone

You gave me hope, when I was at the end
You turned my life back into truth again
You gave me strength, to stand alone again,
To face the world out on my own again
... You needed me
I can't believe it's true, I can't believe it's you
You were there when I needed You.


It has been SUCH a long time since I have listened to Boyzone. Seriously, I am a huge fan...or I was. My first major crush was Ronan Keating lol. It was known by almost my entire school at the time...and when he got married people were very careful...and they brought me the newspaper clipping very solemnly. HAHA...that was so hilarious. I was like, oh yeah...okay. They didn't know how to take it. Renu, do you remember that? In the assembly?

Oh the song that just came on is awesome. "Hallelujah, for all You've done!" That's not the title, it's a lyric from the song...I love Hillsongs.

So...this is gonna be a majorly long post...this past week has been eventful- very! Brace yourself.

Saturday December 1, 2007: Because Richard's birthday on the 2nd and Jeff's on the 5th, we decided to do a joint birthday celebration for the boys. We went to Lotte World (almost like Disney Land but not)...and I had to be very prepared because Jen, who was appalled that I had never ice skated in my life, said she would teach me. Let me tell you, there was a lot of trepidation within me - for good reason. I am not good with things when I feel like I have no control of my being. Unfortunately Kelly was ill so she couldn't make Lotte World. But okay, there were 13 of us - all at Lotte World's skating rink...and Unni and I were the newbies to the world of ice skating. It was so scary, but still lots of fun! I actually did it...no, I never was on my own - I had to hold on to someone all the time. For which this is a HUGE thank you - Jen, Jeff, Becky and Lara (who does not know about this blog- but that's okay) I am SO GRATEFUL. Especially Jen and Jeff - I worried for your arms. I had such a death grip on them, thanks guys - you're awesome!
After ice skating, we went lookign for the rides. Um..okay, so Unni had a gift voucher for four people which she used for myself and the birthday boys. And we were supposed to be together - so guess what the other three wanted to do? Gyro drop - for the folks in Canada - think worse than Drop Zone *cries*...yes I was on it - and half my life left me! haha...not quite but close enough. Then we went for bumper cars...best game ever! It was a loooooong wait...about 40-ish mins would you say? But then we got to play...for what? 10 mins? It was good though. There was an interesting donkey there...mechanical...that pooped chocolate? Guys help me out here!
After, we all made our way to Itaewon for dinner at Toque, a restaurant with really nice ambience. After dinner we went to this bar-type place...The Bungalow. This place is seriously cool...everytime we go we get a different room, and always, it's a good time. This time we got a room with low chair-types. Anyway, Becky and I went and got the cake and surprised the boys. I don't know if they were expecting it though? LOL...I'm skeptical, but we all had fun. I must say that my legs were so sore I don't know how I walked at all then and for the subsequent 4 days!

Sunday, Dec 2, 2007 - I went to church, and Unni came too! It was awesome. It was the first sermon for me, with the senior Pastor. It was good, and Unni liked the church too. After church we wanted to go to the Newcomers' Meeting, but it was full. However I met some people, also Canadian who made me promise I'd come back - and said they'd look for me to make sure. It was funny...but good. I met the pastor's wife, who is also Canadian. I am meeting a lot of Canadians here!
Also, the church is doing an angel sponsor with an Orphanage near Incheon (sponsor a child for Christmas - buy them a gift and pray for them) and I got a little boy. His name is Jung Ho and he's a cutie...at least from what I could make out from the pic of him that I saw. I'd say he's a cutie anyways! LOL. I'm excited for this.
After church, I hung around Gangnam with Karin and Xavier (her little boy) who I love! It's so fun teasing him and just talking to him. I miss the child-like nature of children. I know I'm a teacher but getting to spend time with kids outside of school settings is something else. I made a bet with Xav and I lost! So now I owe him ice cream. He's a smartie - he made up a contract which he made his mom and I sign. And then proceeded to add to it after - so I told him it was void. He figured since mom signed it, that meant either one of us would have to buy him ice cream! Anyway, we went to a worship service that night...it was awesome. The worship leader, Brian Kim - that is some annointing! His voice is amazing, and more than that his passion is inspiring. I loved the service because it broke me. I cannot say enough how much I love being in a church where the passion for God is everywhere...and infectious. This worship service was at a different one from the one I go to, but it is somehow connected with the church I go to. Either way, all I can say is God is amazing!
Poor Xavier though, I know he was tired by the end of the day - as were Karin and I. But we popped into a toy store on the way home and I became the new owner of a hula hoop - after Xavier made me hula by the roadside so he could take a picture which he said he hadn't taken!! So I was hulaing for a bit there feeling like a geek with Karin laughing. Good times, good times.

So now, Monday rolls along...and it begins with drama lol. I'm such a storyteller!
Monday Dec 3, 2007: Halfway through the day my co-teacher asked me if I checked whether I got paid for my extra classes...and I said yes. But then I checked to see if it was right. Considering that the teacher in charged made a mistake last month I didn't think it was possible this month - but no, I was short a good chunk this time. Not as much as last time but nonetheless - it was short. And when we told the teacher in charge, she said (to cover herself so she would not have to pass the paper to the VP & Principal which would say she made a mistake) "tell Ness to skip the extra classes to make up for that amount of time." Okay, I was not impressed and so I sent her a message telling her that I didn't think it was fair to the kids or myself and I didn't want to skip the classes. Anyway...to make a long story short, she ended up cancelling my extra classes for this term entirely - so it's the most abrupt ending ever! And I am not getting paid for the classes I should have had this week. THEN the woman had the gall to stand up during the staff meeting and dis my co-teacher who did nothing wrong. I was not - and am still not impressed or very happy with her or the situation.
Anyway...for the rest of the week I have been trying hard and praying hard to forgive her and to not go through major rants in my mind about her where I say some choice and not so nice things about her. So those of you who do pray - please pray for grace for me. I need to forgive and let it go. But on Monday, in my pique, I made Banana bread because baking calms me.
The hardest thing for me is that it is my kids who are really shafted. What sort of teacher goes on the logic of, 'it doesn't matter if the class is cancelled, the kids would rather go home anyway'???

Anyway - on account of Kimchi Making season, my principal let all the teachers go home early on Wednesday and Thursday. So, on Wednesday, I head home with a heavy heart (literally) because it was the first extra class and I had to tell the kids that it was over. And I had some time so I made some Strawberry Bread before heading over to Jen & Jeff's for Jeff's birthday surprise! :D It made me happy...I actually took the bread right out of the oven, put it into a gift bag and head out! But the surprise for Jeff is more interesting! lol. Kelly, Sara, Becky, Rich and I went to Eungam with all the fixings for a pesto pasta meal, and Kelly with yummy pecan tarts (sooo good) and with Jen's help were able to get to Jen & Jeff's and surprise him. Sara covered the peep hole and we all sang "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" and ended it with Happy Birthday! LOL...it was good. Kelly cooked the food (thanks again Kelly)...and we all sat on the floor...or most of us...and had dinner with only Christmas lights on. It was great. I hope you had a good birthday Jeff!

Then yesterday (Thursday) Ali, Bridgette and I went to Lotte Mart to shop for our sponsor children. Seriously, it is so awesome to do this. I've never done it before, but we were all so excited to buy the gifts. Picking them out, debating over them, how to bend the price limit, the gift wrap, cards...it was really good. And we were starving by the time we got to the Youngpoong at Jongak to meet Karin and Xavier. Ah, I love that kid! As soon as we got to the food area, we spotted him with ice cream. The first thing he said was, "you just got here?...really, just now?" When I said yes, he was like..."Man! I just bought my ice cream!" And then I remembered that I owe him ice cream. I had to check myself before saying I'd get him ice cream after church and amended it to "if mom says okay, then I'll get it for you after church". And then he proceeded to tell me he didn't think I knew my times tables and quiz me. Good times :)

Today was really good...I didn't sleep well last night so I expected to be tired today. But the grade 4's were much better today... I can't complain about them at all! YAY! And I got to do "All I Want for Christmas (is my two front teeth)" with them - it was fun! They enjoyed it and me more I think. Oh well...it fit with the lesson so that worked out well :) And I was kinda sad this morning knowing it was my second extra class today, my 5th and 6th graders. I really love this class - the girls are awesome. So I was having a hard time within myself to have to tell them. I told the girls today that class was over, they didn't have to stay. But if they wanted, they could stay and we'd make Christmas decorations. All of them chose to stay and we had a blast!I had them draw stockings and make a garland and stars and snow flakes. Then, in the middle of class they said "Teacher, next week we have class?" I was really having a hard time internally, but my co-teacher explained to them that they were done and there would be no class next week. So after ten minutes they said, "Teacher, can we come and help you next week?" I told them they didn't have to come to class - they could go home, but they said "teacher, can we come?" so I asked if they wanted to, and they said yes. So they are coming to brighten up my Friday afternoon next week as well. Seriously, it made my heart happy. It was the first inkling Christmas-y-ness that I have been able to experience here. I decorated my tree, am decorating my room, but being with the kids, with Christmas music in the background, just talking and gluing paper/cutting paper/drawing and coloring with smiles made it feel like there was some Christmas spirit in Korea after all.
The lack thereof has been really upsetting to me. Everytime I try to ask the kids something I feel like there is nothing, apart from the times I see them in the washroom or the hallways and ask, "are you excited for Christmas?"...and then proceed to have to explain 'excited'...and then they get all happy.

Today at lunch some of the teachers were talking about taxi's and one of my friend teacher heard 'date'...yeah, even in Korean the two sound nothing alike. So they were teasing her saying that's what's on your mind. And honestly she does have it on the brain. Then they turned to me because just before I was talking with her about Christmas and my sponsor child and had a huge smile on my face. And the teacher said, "Ness do (also)" ...and I said, "yeah, well...maybe.." and he said "oh, it's because Christmas is coming," knowingly...and I said "No. Not for a man! Christmas is for family and friends." That surprised him, and the other teachers. And they were asking..."just for you or in America and Canada?" So I said, in Canada and America. So they were telling me it's not like that in Korea, and then started talking about how that was good - the family and friends thing - and then turned to me and told me it was different. So I said, "yeah, that's why it makes me sad." It was interesting, because of how differently they thought, and more so that they were surprised by it. Well...like I have been saying...it's all about Jesus. If He could come humble Himself enough to come to the earth and die for me, I am not going to give His birthday to stupid cupid! 'Nuff said.

After school, I went and got some Christmas gifts and came home and immediately started rearranging my room. So now, my space is different and I like it - thanks to Ali! And then I was washing my dishes just now and broke my only plate *sigh*

Okay, that's all...like it isn't enough!Be blessed:)

P.S. I got Jen & Jeff's Christmas card in the mail! YAY...Thanks guys:))


Oh, Happy Day!

FRIDAY NOVEMBER 30, 2007 @ 4:04 pm{Seoul}; 2:04 am{Toronto}Let's talk!

Mood:
Listening to: Saving Grace, Hillsongs

Night and Day, I seek Your face
Long for You in the secret place
All I want in this life is to truly know You more
As the waters, cover the sea
So Your love covers me.
Guiding me on roads unknown,
...deeper and deeper I'm falling in love with You
and I will rise on wings of eagles
soaring high above all my fears


Here I am at the end of my day and really really pleased! I think if I have the time, I might be able to blog every day or every other day for a little bit at the end of my classes. There are people who will be glad that I'm finally getting back to it and being regular about it, I'm sure.

What is new? Well...I found some books last night at Kyobo for my students to buy for the camp. It is kinda scary to me how much work I have in terms of planning and getting the files ready for camp. I am still so ambiuous on how I am going to implement stuff. I want to have themed days... the 5th and 6th grades are definitely the grades I will be doing much more practical things with. I am thinking for grade 3...I will have a cooking day..with no real food. So they can cut out the food and 'pretend' cook it. What say you?

Hmm...last night, Unni and I had Shyabeu for dinner...it was yummy. But I can't help feeling like we were jypped on the meat that we should have gotten for two people. Oh well. It was a long day. Kyobo was awesome as usual, but now I want to check out the Youngpoong at Jongnak (which is almost as cool as Kyobo...)

Today honestly surprised me - in a good way! I usually have the hardest time with my grade 4's. But today I enjoyed them immensely. I love my students. They are so interesting and so smart (I believe that they are anyway - positive reinforcement and all that). I really want them all to do really well. I sometimes see highschool kids or that age abouts and I always pray that my students will be the good ones. Whenever I see a kid in my class who doesn't try because they feel like they do anything I focus on making them see that they can. Which is hard, because when you have a class of 35-40 students it is challenging to get each one to feel like you believe in them. Anyway, my grade 4's were awesome:)

It also helped that I realized that I can do "All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth". I found the Chipmunks version of the song, cuz it's funny, and Jen helped me to get the clip of them singing. We didn't get to do it today, but it's on the cards for next class - YAY. I *heart* Christmas. My co-teacher said, but Chrismtas is so far away, haha...I said, well the lesson is about Christmas, and in my mind (NOOOOO, Christmas is just around the corner!).

Also, my extra class went well. I really enjoy my students in this class. I on a whim made up a board game on the board - and it worked out well, I was surprised, but it got them moving and talking. It was fun!

Tonight I'm going to Karin's place with Ali and Brigitte and we're going to be watching Love Actually! I should probably stay home and rest...which was what I thought I might do, but a movie night sounds nice :)

K...gotta jet! Take care all :)




I'm back!...and Christmas is not a Couples' Day!

THURSDAY NOVEMBER 29, 2007 @ 3:43 pm{Seoul}; 1:43 am{Toronto}Let's talk!

Mood:
Listening to: Huweihaji anhaseyo, Tim

Korean song, sorry no lyrics


Well...here I am again. Not sure why, I started this entry. Today has been interesting. Well let me start by saying that for a while now I have been unsure if one of my students has a crush on me. For the most part...I wonder why anyone would but whatever. Yesterday in class, I was asking the kids which subject they liked best of the four they have for their exam tomorrow. And one kid said he liked science, so we asked him why and he was having a hard time with telling us so my co-teacher asked him if he liked the science teacher - very innocently. But the whole class went..."ooooo" and he was like "no! no, no!!" Pretty funny...but as soon as that happened the kid that I think has a crush on me, did this really quick turn and burst out, "I LOVE ENGLISH!! Teacher, I love you!"

It was hilarious...the whole situation was kinda funny...strange but funny. And then the kid was asking me to change their seats.."teacher, change sheet. Please, for me. Please ******* teacher, please. It's my dream." Um...that's a very small dream! Then he was like "you, me, bus together, please teacher" What he meant was that we were on the bust together twice, and that gives us some solidarity in his mind I guess. The first time he was on the bus with me, he said it to his friend and class mate "****** teacher and I were on the bus together." And the bratty friend was like "Oh, was it a date?" I chose to ignore them, but yeah. Interesting eh?

Anyway, yesterday my co-teacher totally came to my aid and called the Co-op and dealt with them for me- with regard to the money issue. They kept telling me to come back and she said they were just trying to get rid of me. She is not very impressed with the Co-op now, she said the lady she spoke to was lying a little or something. She's not a good woman in my co-teacher's estimation. And after when I was at home I got a text message from my teacher and she said "don't worry, as long as you are in Korea I will always help you." Honestly, that touched me, a lot. I am grateful for everything that she has done for me. Truly. Today she is going to a TV station to be a part of a Variety Show that will air in Jan. I hope she gets it, she's really excited :)

So, today I asked one class, who's excited for Christmas? Many raised their hands and they shouted "Couples' Day!" Um...CHRISTMAS IS NOT A COUPLES' HOLIDAY!!! Sorry...that will become a rant of sorts in an upcoming blog entry I am sure. Right now it's festering. Honestly, it breaks my heart that celebrating Jesus is an event where couples are celebrated and singles are relegated to sitting at home watching Macaulay Culikin in Home Alone, and families are not together or celebrated. I can see why it is sadder for my teacher friends that I am single than that I am away from home. Unfortunately, that is what makes me sad!

K...gtg...almost home time. God bless All!

p.s. No I am not sitting in a tub with angel wings...it would be nice though. Right now I am sitting at my desk, finishing up my day. See ya!


Bored...

TUESDAY NOVEMBER 27, 2007 @ 4:07 pm{Seoul}; 6:07 am{Toronto}Let's talk!

Mood:
Listening to:Beautiful Today, Park Jung Ah

Can't type in Korean using HTML-Kit....Sorry. But this is a good song...and the title is about the only English in it...sorry!


I am super tired right now. And it's only 4! Well...that means it is almost home time- yay! Today we (my co-teacher and I) did not teach our first two classes because they had exams today, s so we go to do whatever we wanted until the 3rd class. Now this would be okay, except, one of the teachers asked us to teach one of the classes that was writing the exam in the 6th period. SO TIRING.

I don't blame the kids for being so hyper and tired at the same time. But they zapped my energy like nothing else. Normally I can feed off of their energy but wow...it was crazy tiring. I figure it's this cold that is still bothering me. Now it's mostly a cough and stuffy nose but I hope to be rid of it by the end of this week. I'm just happy that I can sing - somewhat, if I keep it to lower ranges. But what's the fun in that! LOL...at least I can sing.

Yesterday I went dollar store or rather cheon won store shopping for some extra Christmas and organizational supplies with Alison. We got mallets for our classes - the plastic toy kind! Before we headed out I went down to reception to ask them about this money issue, nd they have no computer record of the money I paid! WTH...yeah, not so impressed with them. And I am still refusing to pay the full amount...so the girl asked me to come back today. SIGH...so much drama! AND the bums still refuse to give me a remote. Oh well...I have other sources! Thanks Will!

I decorated some last night, or I tried to. I intend to do more today...I fear my room will not look as pretty as I want it to. Sniff. But I defintiely want to make a fireplace! For which I may take the long way home and get construction paper...or colored paper. The Dollar store didn't have what I wanted.

So, I went to church on Sunday and I made a discovery. Which surprised me, but was interesting. Anyways, someone that I really like - in terms of singing talent - goes to the same church. I did a couple of double and triple takes when I saw this person, or thought I did, and then I heard said individual sing and I knew! But yeah, I think it's kinda cool. What really got me was that it was nice to see that this person is my fellow sibling in Christ. And at the end of the day just like you and me. I liked that.

So I am 10 mins away from wrapping up here in school so I will end now. Take care all...


Sick, tired and other things lol...

SATURDAY NOVEMBER 24, 2007 @ 11:14 pm{Seoul}; 9:14 am{Toronto}Let's talk!

Mood:
Listening to:Always, Dong Bang Shin Ki

Can't type in Korean using HTML-Kit....Sorry. But this is a good song...OH...there's and English part:
Don't you know that I, I will never cry...
I know that we are meant to be
LOL....yup...that's it! All else is in Korean


Ah, what an eventful couple of days. And yes, it has been with me bing sick...boo. I hate being sick...especially when it messes with my voice so I can't sing. I feel like I sound like a pre-pubescent boy...yeah, I squeak at times. So annoying.

OH...FIRST - I have finally fixed the comment boxes...so comment away folks! The problem was that I didn't sign in to my account for about three months, and so haloscan disabled it because they thought I went awol. All is well now :)...and on to more interesting (or not) things... lol

Anyway...I came home on Thursday to find a note on my door saying I hadn't paid the previous month's fee. I was really confused because I knew that I DID pay...I'm not one for keeping bills waiting. So, yeah...I new Friday was pay day so I waited and got the money for the next month's fee...it's due every 24th. Anyhoo, I went down and talked to this girl at reception and she said that the computer said I didn't pay and then proceeded to explain to me that what I pay every 24th is a pre-paid amount for the next month...(it was more complicated)...and it's all a computer set thing, so it has to be correct (right, like computers are infallible...) so I said okay, but I paid every month so I don't know what is going on. Because I was supposed to pay the same amount that I paid yesterday again today (twice the maintenance fee)...WTH...I didn't and still don't get it.

Then I said, "look I don't know what's going on, but I know I have come and paid every month. One month I came and said it was the maintenance fee and was told after you looking at the computer that I should pay 26-something. I asked again and I was shown that amount with the calculator, and so I paid it. Maybe it's from that time, and if that's the case I would only pay the dividend." Then she tells me that the computer has no record of the 26,000 won I paid! Yeah, I'm not impressed...and I refuse to pay that amount when really it's not my fault.

And it's really stupid because the lady I was talking to was the one who I paid the amount to, but in the interest of not being accusatory and making the situation more difficult I didn't say "it was you"...I just said it was one of the women (and there are only two...the other one I found more reliable anyway so I try to deal with her only when I can). So I'm in the process of battling that out. They asked me to come back on Monday, so we'll see how that goes.

Other than that, they took my air conditioner remote control...I am not impressed with that. The heater makes the room REALLY hot...so it is now off and the window is open. Let me tell you, it isn't that much better. SO frustrating, because when I'm sick I get really cranky. And sick or not, I cannot sleep in a hot room - I am not a heat person.

But Laina unni was awesome, she went with me yesterday to buy a shelf for my room and sha said she'd talk to them to figure it out so she did and she started getting angry with them because it didn't make sense. Thanks Unni! We got Bo Ssam take out (Korean barbeque-esque) and came back to my room, which was like a sauna, so we had the one night light on and the window open and had dinner in the dark while watching the Thailand Special of X-man...that is one of the best X-man episodes ever!

But, on the positive side, I went to a free Korean class with Richard, Dan, Kelly, Jen, Jeff and Becky...but Richard, Dan and I were in the level two class. I enjoyed it...apart from feeling really tired (my head was heavy). I'm excited to get my Korean better. I didn't go out to dinner with the gang cuz I needed to deal with this fee issue...sigh. So being cranky and annoyed I got productive. I made the shelf, and cleaned up some and had dinner. Doesn't really sound that productive does it? LOL...I should get to bed now anyway. I may knit a little...it doesn't look super wonderful (I've messed up a few times) but Jen, you'd be proud! lol.. I like to think anywayz. Now, I'm really looking forward to going to church tomorrow. It is awesome to know that I have finally found the one for me :D

That's it for me. Be blessed!!

Smiling and annoyed...hmmm

TUESDAY NOVEMBER 20, 2007 @ 8:56 pm{Seoul}; 6:56 am{Toronto}Let's talk!

Mood:
Listening to:I want the Joy, Rita Springer

I want the joy of the Lord to come down
Want the joy of the Lord to fall down,
want the joy of the Lord in my life
...want the joy to lift me
want the joy to change me
It's time I started dancing over all these graves,
time I gave you Oh, my God the highest praise
It's time to lift my voice
and wait for this blessing to fall


People should be SO proud of me! I'm posting again...Maki are you shocked? Frankly everyone may be...:S

I took my co-teacher out for dinner today. It was nice, we just talked about random things and I asked her if she had any issues with me - she said she didn't. She was happy that she had me. Anyway, we were able to talk and she told me that if there were things I wanted to change I was always welcome to talk with her about it. Also, there were things going on in her life that she was very preoccupied with last week...this week she's been happier-ish. Anyway, things are good.

So, today when I got to school I realized the thing I was trying to ignore (namely my sinus irritation) was something that was actually signalling a cold and not a morning wind issue. SIGH. Throughout the day I was plying myself with tea (I am not the biggest fan of tea...which my kitchen cabinet might argue, but 'tis fact). And then I was looking for the one thing I always ALWAYS have on hand for when I get sick...Vicks...and they don't have it here in Korea!?! Does that make sense?? Okay, I say Korea when I mean everywhere that I have checked, and when I asked my co-teacher about where I could find it she said, "We don't have that or use that here". Can I cry now?? How can I sleep at night without my Vicks? (Yes, I'm being excessively dramatic, but seriously!) I went to Lotte Mart to get honey and see if the pharmacy there had Vicks or anything of that ilk; Unni came to help me out, thanks Unni!. And they were like...nooo. They said they had tablet types...but I am not a tablet person. Really...give me some eucalyptus oil and I will be happy at this point...but no. SIGH...thus spells my annoyance.

Unni asked me why I didn't bring some from home... my answer - I was going to buy it here >.>

In other news, I am now winner of two Dunkin Donuts doughnut cushions...the chocolate dipped one and the heart one...yay! Next, I really, REALLY want the camera! hehe...I'm an overachiever...and the most work I do in this is get the coffee and drink it then roll up the rim of the cup!

Okay, I am going to bed now...it's sooo early...but I am plying myself with whatever traditional Korean tea I found at Lotte Mart (it's the closest to Cashaya and is my consolation since I can't find Vicks and I do not want to be sicker!). Sigh...I only like the Cashaya that they make in Mangalore in the mornings...this Cashaya is along the lines of what mom makes at home (which is pretty yucky...prob'ly cuz it's healthy and is all Ginger and cinnammon and pepper corn, cloves and something else...I have no recollection of). Strangely talking about the ingredients of Cashaya makes me want to make Jeera water. For those who don't know, Jeera is Cumin. And Jeera water is yummy...and simple and healthy...boil cumin seeds in water until yellow...don't over boil cuz then it's plain nasty!

Oki, I'm really going now. God bless!!

[edit @ 9:36] I forgot to mention - it snowed here last night...the First snow!! I missed it, while I was down in the basement doing laundry. But got a call from the music teacher telling me that it was snowing...and that it was sad cuz she was lonely. Here, the first snow is something meant to be shared with a significant other. And she and I have none. But she broke up with her boyfriend recently. As did my co-teacher with hers recently...but both are lookign for someone new now. And along those lines, I was told today by my co-teacher that Christmas time is for couples here in Korea, and they say that if you are a single, you have to stay home and watch Home Alone (which is apparently on TV at the same time every year). So to remedy that I need to "make a boyfriend at church". Hmm... lol

Anyway, when I got to school this morning there was ice everywhere, now while this a treacherous walking situation makes, and usually I would be grumpy and annoyed...it made me happy this morning. It made me think of home...and I was happy. Really going to bed now! Night!!! [/end edit]

Lessons in trusting

MONDAY NOVEMBER 19, 2007 @ 1:52 pm{Seoul}; 11:52 pm{Toronto}Let's talk!

Mood:
Listening to:The Potter's Hand, Hillsongs

You gently call me into Your presense
Guiding me by Your Holy Spirit
Teach me dear Lord,
To live all of my life, through your eyes
...Make me, and mold me
Use me, fill me
I give my life to
the Potter's Hand
..Lead me, walk beside me
I give my life to the Potter's Hand


I can report that I think I have finally found the church for me here in Korea. It has taken me over two months and honestly, it's been hard. I made a committment to God about looking, and there were times I got scared/nervous/unsure. Sometimes it's easy to get caught up in fear...for me atleast. So I went to this church it's funny, because for the month since I'd heard about it, it has been the one I felt I had to keep until last. And I had a conversation with God about how I felt that maybe this church was the one, but I needed to wait. I did a lot of waiting, and hesitating - but God is faithful. I walked in and knew...it wasn't a lightbulb moment, but the feeling of having His arms wrapped around me. I've missed that so much.

Okay, for me the worship (and here I mean the musical worship) is important. It doesn't matter the size of the church...the heart of worship is what I want - and it was there. I didn't know most of the songs...but there was worship there. I was blessed by the service. So we'll see.

Okay, my week...the past week has been a nasty emotional one. I let myself get discouraged by a lot of things, let a lot of fears and frustrations take over me. I hated that. But I am grateful for the friends that lent me their time, ears and support. They did more than I can express. So, Jen, Jeff, Unni, Becky, Megsie (we may not share a wall, but definitely psychic connection lol), Rachel, Jess and Chantale - I am grateful!

Even though there were the issues, I had some significant successes in school - this little boy, who I would say is either autistic or has some similar ailment started talking in class. As in, he raises his hand to speak, answer questions and tries to talk to me. It's hard because he hardly uses English when he wants to tell me something - about his pens, or what he is going to do later in the day...so I have to make sense of it with my limited Korean knowledge and by observing his expressions and movements - but I do it. And I rejoice in my heart. This child never really talked before...he would do his own thing, write or stare at the little colored balls in his pencil case. He never actively TRIED...and now he does.

There is another girl who is in my extra class who always says in Korean "I don't know English" and s never really got what we were doing in class...which is hard to deal with but..last week she answered a question about the previous lesson. She actually remembered the phrase "take care" and was able to define it (in Korean) but she did it...and she said the English word...without any prompting. And I enjoyed my 3-4 extra class for the first time last week...it went awesome! Things are changing...in a positive way. I'm excited for the classes now :)

So...the creepy situation last week, happened Thursday. Unni and I were going to Gangnam to go to Kyobo Bookstore. We (as do all the public school teachers) have to do a winter camps so we were going to do some research, checking out books etc. So I got on the subway and had to transfer at Chungmuro. I was switching from my line to line 3 (you have to go down a set of stairs)...at 5:40-ish it's pretty crowded. I was walkign down the stairs with the masses of ppl...until this hand came in front of my face along with a weird 'hello'. I ignored it the first time and kept walking, until the hand stopped me again. I turned, didn't really look at the person and just said hello and kept walking. Another two steps...and in the middle of the stairs, the guy did it again...only this time he was a lot closer to me and forced me to shake his hand. If I didn't I would have been stuck on the stairs. I shook the hand and he wouldn't let go...I managed to push him away and rn down the stairs...little did I know the guy was still behind me.

I had stopped to look at the line route near a bit of a nook...and he was behind me when I turned around...with the same ...'hello' and hand extended. CREEPY...mostly because I was stuck between him and a wall. I refused to shake his hand...missed the train...and tried to get away..when his arms came around me. I caught him by the arms and pushed him away and said 'No'...and he became more forceful so shoved harder and started speed walking away...looking for an area where there were people standing. The guy was still behind me...everytime I thought he was gone, he would appear in front of me. At one point he blocked me from going left or right. I kept walking away, and passed by these two Korean guys. I think the tall guy started talking to the guy who was after me after he saw me speed walk to the other side...I dunno. All I know is I saw this guy stop the creepy guy and sent him a mental thanks and found a machine which I hid behind until the next train came. I should mention I was on the phone with Unni, who I called as soon as I managed to shove the guy when he tried to hug me. She was at the station after mine so she waited until it was my train to get on.

I was really, really freaked. Unfortunately it made me think of my stalker...which made the whole thing more uncomfortable. For those of you who know about that situation, I think you will understand it better. Thankfully, this was a one-off situation (I hope) but yeah, thank God Unni was close. I think I would have been really nervous the whole ride to Gangnam otherwise. Thanks Unni!!

And then the next day, when I was at Lotte Mart, I was stopped by a few people asking for help. It's funny cuz Unni was right there...they could have asked her. One guy asked me about bread, and another asked me about what card to get his 5 year old who was going to a little girl's birthday party. There was another one, but the card one was pretty funny. Oh well...they made Unni and I laugh anyway..it was my help people day.

Yesterday, I attempted to walk from Gangnam to Express Bus Terminal...if anyone ever decides to try it - don't! While I got close, being stuck at the beginning of a highway-like area with no one around is pretty uncomfortable. I managed to get a cab and get to the ShinSeGae and meet with Jen and Unni. So yeah, that is my week in a nutshell...(ok, maybe not a nutshell..but as close to it as I can get!). Eventful eh?

Gotta figure out some activities for my classes...catch y'all later! God bless :)




Re-charging in the sunlight streaming from my window

MONDAY NOVEMBER 12, 2007 @ 3:09 pm{Seoul}; 1:09 am{Toronto}Let's talk!

Mood:
Listening to:Effortless, Rita Springer

Let my praise, be effortless
Let my song, come easily
And let my worship be pleasing to you
Let my heart be softened, Lord
And my mind be transformed
And let me worship be pleasing to You


Have a day off, a holiday - and what do I do? Sit at home!

At this point on a regular Monday I would still be in school, looking on my computer for lesson ideas or trying to figure out what kind of activity to do with my classes for the next two days. But since today was a school holiday, I am home.

I have no idea why I went to bed at 8:37 p.m. last night...yeah, don't ask. And then I was disgusted with myself so I decided to watch a drama, on my laptop...lying in bed with the lights off. By 9:40-something I was out! I don't remember much except I must have turned off the computer...but I was up at 8! To me, that is just ridiculous. Sleeping in does not mean getting up at 8 a.m. I guess that's what I get for going to sleep before 10 p.m.

How did I spend my day? Well...I was feeling really lazy...not sleep lazy but I wanted to be a hermit. However, because being a hermit is not a good idea, I got out of bed, brushed my teeth and took the plunge. Well...I'm a big chicken, but a haircut has been long in coming so I called the hair salon, prepared to get it done today (And that would get me out of the house/room). They are closed on Mondays...so it's happening tomorrow. Appointment made and everything.

Then I decided that I would bake...YAY...only to realize I didn't have all the ingredients I needed for the most basic cookie. Boo. I wanted to make lemon cookies. I guess it isn't meant to be today. Oh wel.

After that, I just looked at my bed, then looked at my room, realized it was only 10 so I could actually have breakfast. Usually I would just wait until lunchtime. Today, I made eggs for the first time. I had an actual breakfast - scrambled eggs, sausages, toast and yogurt. I looked at my plate and almost wanted to cry - in a good way. It made me feel...grounded. I have no clue why. It made me happy to be able to have a meal. A real meal that did not come straight out of a package and tell me to heat for 3 mins.

To top it off, I had my blinds up. It has been a while since I've seen my room bathed in sunlight. It did wonders for my mood. I may not like summer, but the sun in the mornings makes me happy. And usually it's this particular kind of sunlight...I call it happy sunlight. Yeah, I know, I'm weird. But some days, it's the one thing I need to make me feel like all is well.

So...I got on my stepper,and stepped away for 32 minutes...hoping that all the extra fat on my body would melt away. Yep, as much as anyone knows, as do I, it doesn't work that way. I've been having a fat week and a half. So now I am just irritated with myself. It's very hard to keep doing WW in Korea. And knowing that and watching what I consume is still not helping. But, it felt good to be on my stepper today. I neglected it for a few days. The only issue I have now is that it squeeks. It annoys me, and I cannot find the allen key (which I kept oh, so safe). I took out almost everything in my drawers looking for it...and now my floor is a mess. SIGH. I will have a clean room this week! I will!

Right, I was going to talk about hiking with Jen, Jeff and Becky yesterday. I really have to focus my thoughts!
So yesterday, I went up to Jen and Jeff's area to go hiking near some mountains. I can't fully say we were in mountains, but close enough. It was gorgeous. The area was Seoorueng (HTML-Kit will not allow me to use Korean characters - Noops, help!!) and it had tombs of various royals. It was interesting to see...and a pretty good 'hike'. We were at one of the burial sites for a King and his wife when a park guy came to us and asked if any of us were Korean. When we said no, he started speaking to us in English. He explained quite a bit to us about the memorial stone, and house and then asked if we wanted to go up to the tombs (which were fenced off). Of course we said yes, and got to see up close how the tomb sites were set up. He explained what all the statues were as well. That was a really cool experience - I'm sure all of us agree. It made it more meaningful as opposed to just seeing it - because the tombs to people who don't know anything just look the same. I *blush* many times thought we were at the first tomb that we saw only to be told it was a new one. Sorry Jeff, I am sure that got annoying.

Anyway, on the way back home Becky and I stopped off at the E-mart near Jen and Jeff's place (which is huge)..but got out of there very quickly. And then I got some kkul ddeok (Honey Rice cake). I really like ddeok now for some crazy reason - which I conveniently blame Becky for, but in all honestly is all me! It wasn't as good as some I've had, but it was still yummy. So that's my story - bye!!!


Lessons in humility

MONDAY NOVEMBER 10, 2007 @ 8:20 am{Seoul}; 06:20 pm{Toronto}Let's talk!

Mood:
Listening to:In the Light, DC Talk

What's going on inside of me?
I despise my own behavior
This only serves to confirm my suspicions,
That I'm still a man in need of a Savior
...
Lord be my Light, and be my Salvation,
All I want is to be in the Light


What am I doing up so early? I have no idea, but I will likely be sleeping again soon!

It has been a while since I heard this song (and the one before it - What if I stumble) But it is a song that I love. If you know me, music is probably in some form a DNA strand of mine - it's part of me. (To this I am sure Maki, Ams, Meg and Sar have had a mega-dose for the past 3 years) I have to connect everything that I see or hear to a song, or I'm singing it or thinking it. It's really very vital for me. I usually know that things are going badly if I have no music in me or around me.

So this song reflects a lot of the struggle inside of me. There are people in my life who I love dearly but am always on edge when they say something. Not necessarily about me, but about others or their thoughts and I automatically take a stance that is opposite to theirs. Or I think that they are the ones causing the issue as opposed to trying to think of why they feel that way.

It bothers me more than I can explain. I know that there is a lot of history there, but I need to move past the lingering feelings of hurt and frustration. It's in this that I learn about the depth of forgiveness. I say I have forgiven people, and I believe I have; I've let go of the past. But I bring it back, in my mind, in situations and continue in unforgiveness. I hate that. And I hate that I let it into my life.

It's been bugging me for a while...and to those of you (most probably never even read this - but whatever) who this applies to, I'm sorry. I love you regardless.

This has been burning in me for a while, so here I let go of it. Take care and God bless.


Lessons in humility

SATURDAY NOVEMBER 10, 2007 @ 8:20 am{Seoul}; 06:20 pm{Toronto}Let's talk!

Mood:
Listening to:In the Light, DC Talk

What's going on inside of me?
I despise my own behavior
This only serves to confirm my suspicions,
That I'm still a man in need of a Savior
...
Lord be my Light, and be my Salvation,
All I want is to be in the Light


What am I doing up so early? I have no idea, but I will likely be sleeping again soon!

It has been a while since I heard this song (and the one before it - What if I stumble) But it is a song that I love. If you know me, music is probably in some form a DNA strand of mine - it's part of me. (To this I am sure Maki, Ams, Meg and Sar have had a mega-dose for the past 3 years) I have to connect everything that I see or hear to a song, or I'm singing it or thinking it. It's really very vital for me. I usually know that things are going badly if I have no music in me or around me.

So this song reflects a lot of the struggle inside of me. There are people in my life who I love dearly but am always on edge when they say something. Not necessarily about me, but about others or their thoughts and I automatically take a stance that is opposite to theirs. Or I think that they are the ones causing the issue as opposed to trying to think of why they feel that way.

It bothers me more than I can explain. I know that there is a lot of history there, but I need to move past the lingering feelings of hurt and frustration. It's in this that I learn about the depth of forgiveness. I say I have forgiven people, and I believe I have; I've let go of the past. But I bring it back, in my mind, in situations and continue in unforgiveness. I hate that. And I hate that I let it into my life.

It's been bugging me for a while...and to those of you (most probably never even read this - but whatever) who this applies to, I'm sorry. I love you regardless.

This has been burning in me for a while, so here I let go of it. Take care and God bless.


What I love about teaching

SATURDAY NOVEMBER 10, 2007 @ 8:20 am{Seoul}; 06:20 pm{Toronto}Let's talk!

Mood:
Listening to:In the Light, DC Talk

What's going on inside of me?
I despise my own behavior
This only serves to confirm my suspicions,
That I'm still a man in need of a Savior
...
Lord be my Light, and be my Salvation,
All I want is to be in the Light


What am I doing up so early? I have no idea, but I will likely be sleeping again soon!

It has been a while since I heard this song (and the one before it - What if I stumble) But it is a song that I love. If you know me, music is probably in some form a DNA strand of mine - it's part of me. (To this I am sure Maki, Ams, Meg and Sar have had a mega-dose for the past 3 years) I have to connect everything that I see or hear to a song, or I'm singing it or thinking it. It's really very vital for me. I usually know that things are going badly if I have no music in me or around me.

So this song reflects a lot of the struggle inside of me. There are people in my life who I love dearly but am always on edge when they say something. Not necessarily about me, but about others or their thoughts and I automatically take a stance that is opposite to theirs. Or I think that they are the ones causing the issue as opposed to trying to think of why they feel that way.

It bothers me more than I can explain. I know that there is a lot of history there, but I need to move past the lingering feelings of hurt and frustration. It's in this that I learn about the depth of forgiveness. I say I have forgiven people, and I believe I have; I've let go of the past. But I bring it back, in my mind, in situations and continue in unforgiveness. I hate that. And I hate that I let it into my life.

It's been bugging me for a while...and to those of you (most probably never even read this - but whatever) who this applies to, I'm sorry. I love you regardless.

This has been burning in me for a while, so here I let go of it. Take care and God bless.


What I love about teaching

WEDNESDAY NOVEMBER 08, 2007 @ 07:09 pm{Seoul}; 05:09 am{Toronto}Let's talk!

Mood:
Listening to: MCountdown (J-Walk singing)

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Are you shocked that I am writing another post so soon? You should be! LOL. I am going to try hard to be more regular about posting but I cannot guarantee anything. I feel like I have much more to say about North Korea and at the same time I was moved to talk about something else entirely which is why I'm here.

Teaching. I am learning more about me in this job. Granted it is not the job I have always envisioned myself doing - but I have always wanted to work with children. God took care of the Child Psychologist path that I had started university with so I never really expected this. Actually even being here in Korea is a surprise to me. Anyway - I care a lot for my kids (students). The are so different and there are those I sometimes wish I didn't have to deal with because of how challenging they are. But then I stop and look at them and see children. I forget about the student part and see the child. Is there any way I can explain that better? Not really, so I'll move on.

This teaching thing is humbling. I have to learn from so much, observe so much and be so much. When my kids walk by me and stop to say "Hi Nessa teacher" it makes me smile. But it's even better when the kids who don't seem to like being in class or who avoid me say hi. The hi's make me smile in the morning, but what gets me is knowing that a kid is trying. There are a few kids who are not so good at English, and don't fully participate in class. Recently I did a few activities that made the kids have to work in smaller groups or do work on their own. I got to walk around and observe. I stopped to work with some of the kids, especially the ones who don't do anything in class. It was awesome, to have them trying - probably because I was there. But after, the kids had smiles on their faces. And came to ask me for words and...just to try to talk. That is awesome. They always say they can't...and they are trying. The always avoid me, and now they are coming up to my desk to say hi. I take the opportunities to encourage them to be more confident about learning, speaking. I think this is something that my co-teacher doesn't understand. It's honestly not favoritism. It's giving the children that push, the encouragement so they know they can do it, that it's not hard or a lost cause.

So...abrupt change of topic, I saw something that freaked me out this Monday. I got on the bus to get to school, and I was pulling out my book when I noticed some people were looking out my window and others gasping. There were three boys, I'd say high school - but not wearing their uniforms. Maybe they were university, btu I would stick with HS. There was one guy, who I want to think was drunk. But they were fighting with the bus driver. Now the bus driver was an older man - late 50's? But the two friends were trying to hold the one in the middle back. I could tell the boy (who I think was drunk) was swearing at the bus driver - very verbally abusive. And then he started to raise his legs to kick the bus driver. I think at one point he sorta tried to spit at the bus driver. He actually did kick the bus driver and then shoved one of his friends so hard tha his friend was on the ground for a while. I think something happened to his knee. The other friend managed to push the guy out of the way and motioned for the bus driver to get on the bus...while apologizing (head bowing). But as the driver was getting on the bus, the drunk kid charged at the bus driver, after shoving his friend. That was very scary. It was hard to control this guy...his friend ran and caught him before he caused too much damage...and both he and the friend who was on the ground (who was pushing him back, one legged) moved the guy away...and then the friend collapsed because of the pain in his knee. I was so worried about that kid - still am. Anyway, the drunk friend shoved him and then charged to the bus again...the bus driver was already on and in his seat. The drunk guy almost got on the bus, but there was another man on the bus who pushed him off and the bus driver shut the doors immediately. Then the drunk guy started kicking the door in...and damaged it pretty badly. It may not sound that scary here...but it was a freaky experience. I wanted to share that.

So yeah, no NK info in this post. I'm off to use my stepper. God bless :)


I was in North Korea!

WEDNESDAY NOVEMBER 07, 2007 @ 10:23 pm{Seoul}; 8:23 am{Toronto}Let's talk!

Mood:
Listening to: Whatever is on TV - currently commercials

-


So this update is long overdue. I really hope I get through it all. I also hope that I will not bore anyone with this post...it is bound to be long...I'll try to break it down as much as I can.

On October 27th I went to the De-Militarized Zone between the two Koreas. It was an awesome opportuinity to get to experience and see the tension between the two countries. It was a very early morning for me, I was super tired...but made it to the site of the pick-up for the trip. Becky, Jeff, Jen and I went.

We got to see the Joint Security Area which was cool. I forget the names of most of the places, but we were at the JSA, the Dora Observatory, this other place where we were directly facing the North (and were not allowed to gesture at all - in case the soldiers who were watching us - who we could not see - misinterpreted our intentions as some signal to the ROK (Republic of Korea - South Korea) soldiers. Here we got to see the 'tourism' building of North Korea which is enormous and go into the bulding/room where talks are held between the two Koreas and the countries that help with it. On the far side of the room we were standing in the North (and didn't need a visa or anything LOL).

I left there thinking about this war, and the situation. How these people must feel...they want unification and yet there is this situation that makes them have to be on two fences fighting or protecting themselves from the other. It is very sad. We saw the Bridge of No Return...that was heartbreaking.
After the DMZ we went to Richard's for a party - the Get Lei'd party. Kelly decorated his place in theme with a nice palm tree on the wall...and we definitely had leis, lol. It was a good time. We ended the night around 8:30 or so I think. Trust me, I was exhausted! But had fun :) Good friends, good times. And Richard's apartment is amazingly cool!

____________________

The next weekend, which was this past weekend I was IN North Korea. I guess I make it sound more exciting than it is...nah, it was pretty cool. I was in a country - granted, only in the area that we were allowed - that many will not get to be in.
It was kinda crazy how careful we had to be about everything. No pointing, no gesturing, only take pictures in designated areas, no pics of North Koreans or of the guides, if you want a pic of the gigantic mosaic of the two Kims only the bell boy of the hotel near it is allowed to take the photo. Oh yeah, don't say Kim Jong Il, say Mr. Kim. There were NK soldiers at every gate and outside of the Keunkang Mountain square, there were soldiers every 200 meters.
One thing that I noticed was the 'welcome' song that plays when we cross NK immigration - it sounded trot-like but then it would have this chant, that sounded very similar to the South Korean chant for 'Dae Han Min Guk jak jak jak jak jak' and there's another one that is sorta in the 'Reds Go Together' song. I found that very very interesting...I was thinking...subliminal messaging?
...And then our hotel room (the hotel itself was pretty awesome) had these alarm clock/radio things that most do. Only even when the volume was all the way down there was this one song that played over and over at a very low frequency that you almost didn't hear it. Laina unni and I thought it was pretty spooky.
We hiked a Mamulsan moutain and around the Samil Lake. It was gorgeous. But let me just say going up the mountain ( I did not make it to the peak...but pretty darned close...like 15 mins) was painful and scary. It was worse coming down! Steep, steep, steep. The lake was gorgeous.
AND THEN...Ness did what she never thought she would be able to do...she went to a hot springs spa...um...like a Korean sauna place. SO freaking nervous...that's what I was. But then the friends I went with were also so I guess it helped. It was kinda weird (having to get...but naked and seeing naked women just standing there blow drying their hair or walking around)... it was a good experience anyway..and fun. And now I definitely plan to go in, still will be nervous though. lol. Already we're planning to go again.

___________________________

Yesterday this 2nd grade teacher took me with her to show me a shorter way to get to school and back. She was really cute, she held my hand and walked me to the subway exits that I needed to know. And I left a bag with my Bible, teaching notes/plans, North Korean post cards and some other stuff on the bus before. I was so upset...but this morning she brought it back for me. I am so so so grateful. She is awesome.

Today I went to a Bible study with some friends who are also public school teachers. It was really nice to be able to do it finally. I have to confess that there are times I am very nervous but I really wanted to get hooked up to a group and these people are awesome. I was blessed by it.

Okay so I think I need to end now...this is long and I am tired. I forced myself to type this out. It's a little hard when I get so lazy and tired by the end of the day.

God bless, all!
p.s. sorry about the weird symbols in the other posts...that came up from the computer at school...no time to fix it.


Another bunch of firsts?

MONDAY OCTOBER 22, 2007 @ 2:08 pm{Seoul}; 1:08 am{Toronto}Let's talk!

Mood:
Listening to: There is a Fountain, Selah

There is a fountain filled with blood
Drawn from Emmanuel…s veins
And sinners quenched beneath that flood
Lose all their guilty stains


Now I am sitting in school, working on lessons and taking a break. I haven…t updated in a while?or rather, I haven…t posted the updates I have written. So you will find some new posts?not just this one.

How have I been? I…ve been tired. In a good way I guess, and then in a not so good way. I need a holiday, vacation, day off lol.

On Tuesday night I went and had dinner with Becky?it was yummy. We had Ssam with bulgogi-type meat. And then we went to this baker and bought a small cake to split between the two of us! We intend to do it again! Hehe. Then on Thursday I went out to dinner for Bo Ssam with teachers from my teachers?class. I had duck for the first time. It…s good. I should explain that ssam is the leaves?usually to wrap rice and meat and smaller veggies. It is delicious. It is my favorite thing.

On Friday, Unni came over and I cooked some meat and we bought ddukbokki (my new addiction) and had ssam?I bought leaves on my way home from work. We also got a small cake?which was good but it was too frosting creamy. I like whipped frosting, but this was more buttercreamy. SIGH. Oh well?it was a good meal

Then on Saturday, I stepped out of my comfort zone and met a stranger-ish. He…s a friend of a friend of mine ? and I went to another city, Incheon, to meet him. He was very hospitable so it was good. And he brought his girlfriend, who is super cute. Having her there made the meeting comfortable.

Incheon is a completely different experience from Seoul?it reminded me of Canada and Europe at the same time. I dunno?it was nice. There was so much green there ? I couldn…t believe it. I missed home, my mom and the girls then. I kept thinking of things I would turn around and say to Meg or Ams or Maki. And on Sunday, Unni and I went to church, got some ?breakfast?and coffee after?and then I went to Insadong to meet another friend of this friend from home. This meeting was weird?a little more awkward and not at the same time. It was over in about an hour and fifty minutes and after that I got to come home. I was glad! LOL?I wanted to sleep.

AND?I got to watch Inkigayo on TV. It made me happy.

So yeah, that…s my run down. I am blessed in many, many ways. *Thank You God, for being my Rock and my Friend and my Life.*


Celebrate Momma!

THURSDAY OCTOBER 14, 2007 @ 10:52 pm{Seoul}; 9:52 am{Toronto}Let's talk!

Mood:
Listening to: Story has just begun, DBSK



It's my mommy's birthday (tomorrow). Yay Momma...a new year. It's an amazing blessing. :) Thank You Lord, for my Momma.

SO what has been happening...a lot actually. Things happen too fast for me to have the memory to type it up and update often.

I finally have a working cell phone YAY!! Thanks to my awesome co-teacher. She is a blessing! *Thank You Lord*

On Saturday I went to Kelly…s apartment for a party?it was a very good time. She lucked out with her place ? the apartment is gorgeous. It…s loft-style, so she has an amazing living/kitchen area and a loft bedroom area. The only downside is that the ceiling is low on the loft so I cracked my head a few times on it ?. We had drinks and veggies and dip and cheese and crackers and played ?…naughty?pictionary. I should mention that it was a theme party lol?…Ho…s and CEO…s.?My innocence!! LOL..it was okay?and then we went to a noraebang (Singing room/ Korean karaoke) and sang out hearts out?and our energy too. We were done at 3 a.m?.I got home around 3:40 a.m. That was a long and interesting night!

Then on Monday I went out for dinner with some teachers (who had had an open class in the previous week) and the VP. Um?so, I had two things for the first time ever ? soju and live octopus. I didn…t mind the soju?but the live octopus ? that was a new experience for me. I don…t think I would like to repeat it, but at least I can say I did it. And yes?they were moving on the plate!




Many firsts...

THURSDAY OCTOBER 04, 2007 @ 12:40am{Seoul}; 11:40 am{Toronto}Let's talk!

Mood:
Listening to: Story has just begun, DBSK



So I am sitting here when I should be sleeping, with a guy in my room.

Haha...did that get your attention? It should have been the title of this post don't you think? All of what I said is true, but that's because my air conditioner is leaking water onto my bed and yeah...I wanted to be able to sleep without water dripping on my head. I have no clue how I didn't notice it before!

Anyway...about my week...last week...still Chuseok, unni and I went to a Noraebang. It was initially a little weird. I couldn't think of any songs to sing and I was a little bit inhibited. But after, it was pretty fun - And then the time ended. That was sad. But I have to say, Hongdae is a really fun area...just to wal around...it's not like the 'Loo in terms of it being a university area...but it's busier. Interesting is all I can say - in a good way.

And during this week...I had some pretty sweet thigns happen. At least I think they're sweet. First, I was walking to school and a parent passed by me and she said: "Are you the new English teacher?"
Me: Yes, hello.
Parent: I am the mother of one in the 4th and 6th and 1st. You have two of my children in your class.
Me: Oh, really...:)
Parent: How do you like the students?
Me: I really like the kids, they're very good.
Parent: I saw you when you were greeting everyone, and I had a good impression from you. I like you.
Me: Thank you (internally...gulp...wow...tear)

That actually happened! And yes it made me happy...mostly because it's not often that you get parental approval and more so, this parent chose to stop and talk to me. I dunno, it made me feel good about what I was doing.

Then later in the week...I got to name my first kid...um not biologically. I named a little boy in one of my classes who didn't have an English name. He's really cute too - I'm not just saying that.
So, on Sunday on my way back from lunch with Unni I was stopped by some girls. *Do I have a sign on my head that says "target"?* I have had many 'chance encounters' with JW's and this was a bunch of girls from the "Church of God". I have no problems talking with them, but at the same time sometimes it is a little frustrating. They were really nice, which is common, but this was significant for me, because it got to a point where they were telling me the Bible talked about 'God the Mother'...and were showing me passages. The thing is, the passages talk about 'the Bride of Christ' and they said that the Bride is the Mother...um....the body of Christ is the Bride...believers are the Bride. It didn't get heated, but I was firm about what I believed. I had to defend my faith in a different way...and it really struck me. Not the most significant story for most ppl reading this, sorry. It was a significant for me.

K...that's it. Night!!!




Chang Deok Palace, Leewan Samsung Museum...so begins the Chuseok Holiday

SUNDAY September 23, 2007 @ 10:14pm{Seoul}; 9:14 am{Toronto}Let's talk!

Mood:
Listening to: Now Behold the Lamb, Kirk Frankin

Now behold the Lamb, the precious Lamb of God
Born into sin, that I may live again
The precious Lamb of God.
Why You love me so, Lord I shall never know
The precious Lamb of God


It has been a super full day today. First of all, my alarm clock has gone crazy! somehow it decided to speed up because it was set for 9 a.m. today. It went off, I hit snooze repeatedly for about 45 minutes...I get up, turn on my computer and it says they time is 7:49 a.m. Sigh...I wanted sleep today.

So, I went to Chongdeok Gung today with some friends...it was gorgeous. The architecture, the interior (even though we didn't get to see much of interior) the grounds. It was insane. I took a ton of pictures. And it was a LOT of walking.

Then we went to Itaewon for lunch and then head to the Leewan Samsung Museum which was pretty cool. There were traditional Korean artifacts, Contemporary Korean art and Contemporary art from outside Korea. It was pretty neat. But it was a lot of feet time.

Originally the plan was to head to World Cup Stadium to go to the festival that was going on there, today was the last day. It was in preparation for Chuseok - Korean Thansgiving. After the Museum we decided to go get coffee first, and then decide if we were up to going to the festival. We had coffee but not everyone was up to the festival. Especially considering that for some of us it would mean over an hour's subway ride to get home. So we decided to go to the Foreign Food Market and then wound up going to What the Book, an used English bookstore. After Jen, Kelly and I decided to wander the streets of Itaewon for a bit and then head home. It was about 9 hours of outside time, but it was good:)

Yesterday, I went to the Seoul Museum of Art with Becky and Laina unni. There's a Monet exhibit there now. I thought of Maki when we were there. It was pretty neat. After, Unni and I went to Apgujeong. I don't know, it actually feels a bit different there. Maybe because it's not as crowded as Central Seoul. There was space to walk, that was awesome. I could breathe there. LOL. Unni and I tried to make our way to Rodoeo Street, we sorta got there, but were too tired to keep going. However, we walked into this one tea store, and because they were celebrating an anniversary, we got free tea. And actually a good sized take out cup of tea! One thing that was sad to see was how many "aesthetics" places there were and the plastic surgery places. That was pretty crazy. *sigh*

So, we have almost a week off because of Chuseok. Unni and I are planning to go to Noraebangs around Seoul. And watch a movie. The other thing that may happen is hiking on Tuesday. We'll see. This month and next month are busy, busy, busy. The happy thing is that Friday was pay day. The sad thing is that it is also very expensive, so I won't be able to send money home this month I don't think. SIGH. *gotta tell mom!*

So, Korea is good. :) I am blessed. Thank You Lord, even when I am an idiot, You are always with me. Thank You. God bless everyone!


Okay, so...WOW

MONDAY September 20, 2007 @ 11:35pm{Seoul}; 10:35 am{Toronto}Let's talk!

Mood:
Listening to: EeRulGuhMyun, Ivy

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Everytime something blog-worthy happens I am never able to write about it. But there is so much that I could talk about. I'm sorry if my posts are lacklustre, I'm usually really tired by the end of the day.

So today, as usual I got a little lost. Not really lost because I knew my way back. But I got off at the wrong subway stop. The good thing is that it is pretty close to where I live anyway. The bad thing is that I took the exit what was the polar opposite direaction that I was suppsosed to head so it took me half an hour to get back to my place. I was tired.

I made plans to meet Becky today so she came down and we went to the big department store/shopping mall. First we tried this street food - it's like a corn dog except it's got french fries on it. Um, I like a lot of Korean food. But I have this one comment...they need salt! Many things are undersalted here...really. AND if it's supposed to be salty - it's not, and usually it's got sugar. Now, I like sugar. I like sweet things, but I like my salt too. Cheetos was sweet! That's just not right. SIGH

So yes, when I walked back and got close to my building...I got confused. This big Lotteria is being set up... I mean, the sign wasn't there yesterday. I leave at 7:30 a.m. every morning and I got back at 6 p.m. today. In that time, this Lotteria sprang up...literally! Wow! That's Korea for you.

AND...speaking of things Korea-like...the driving. I don't know if I mentioned how Naples was terrifying because it was like ther were no traffic rules. Yup, it's sorta like that here. It is insane...traffic lights are merely a suggestion...and so is the green light for pedestrians. Oh and then there are the random mini-vans and trucks and motor bikes on the sidewalk. And there's the shoving...people don't wait politely, they force their way through and give you a look if you are not moving so they can run you over. I really hate crossing streets here.

So, there are these stages for singing or dancing and Becky and I got our free concert today. Um...dance performance. It's cool how much is in my area. I am lucky..or not if you think of the fact that I have too much shopping around me and have to try to save my money.

In other news, I finally spoke with my mommy the day before yesterday. And my poor dad called me at around midnight or something last night but I was fast asleep so I couldn't talk. I was super tired. I had been out for dinner with Jen, Jeff, Richard, Sara, Kelly, Becky, Laina and Eric and it was not the most pleasant station. The layout was crazy...so many exits and entrances and it also had the entrance for Korail, most confusing station yet! Anyway, I was completely out of it when I answered the phone.

I'm working on a bunch of lesson plans at work now. I miss my kids (who are away at camp this week). I think I must be a masochist, I should be happy for the break. But no, I enjoy the kids. OH...I don't know if I mentioned that some of my students gave me a Korean name...Kim Ji Eun. She said it's common but it sounds nice and it means smart and beautiful. Haha...I like the meaning! If it's true, I guess we'll have to see.

Oki...night night. God bless :)




So much to catch up on

MONDAY September 15, 2007 @ 11:00pm{Seoul}; 10:00 am{Toronto}Let's talk!

Mood:
Listening to: Renew Me, Avalon

I need Your power to renew me Lord...,
I need You as my refuge, My first and last resort
Be the river always running through my deepest thoughts,
Hold me in Your arms, cuz even when I drift,
I wanna love You better than this


Ah...this post has been long overdue. I can see people shaking their heads at me. BUT, I will persevere. I will be better about blogging.

This is going to be a long post...be forewarned...I am going to attempt to encapsulate the last three weeks in my life.

WEEK ONE: Training & Training Center

This place was gorgeous. It was interesting walking into the Dining room every day to see new faces. One of the perks of being among the first there was getting to know most of the people I came with. After that, we got to get to know the people who came after. It was nice.

A bunch of us went into town one day, little did I know that it was actually Bojeon, where Susie lives. I could have met up with her - if I had a working phone! But it was interesting, I cannot express to you how swanky the food court we went to was. It looked like a place for super celebs or something...I should take a picture the next time I'm in that department store. It was interesting to see how many brand stores there were and at the same time it was a little frustrating becaue I hadn't been able to exchange money yet. Eric, a fellow teacher, gave me 20,000 won and I gave him $20 so that I would have some cash. Thanks Eric! (which is how I was able to go into the city). During training we learned this traditional Korean dance with instruments called Salmunori...it was fun. After we had a crash TEFL course. It was pretty good I have to say. One of the days we were taken to the National Museum of Korea...this place is huge and it was a lovely area. At the end of the week we were taken in a bus to a meeting place where we got to meet with our co-teachers and find out about our schools. My co-teacher is young, close to my age and was super helpful. She and the Vice Principal came to pick me up. I was taken to the school first, to meet the Principal and I had to introduce myself to the teachers he was in a meeting with. After that I was taken to my "apartment," and my co-teacher took me to dinner the first day and then came over the weekend to help me shop for things that I would need.

Mood:
Listening to: Nan Nul Sarang Hae Nuh Man Sarang Hae II, Shim Tae Yoon

WEEK TWO:

This was my first week in Seoul, and also fully of firsts. My first subway ride, meeting my students for the first time on Monday, introducing myself and teaching(ish). I went out with some teachers to Namasan Mountain (first time on a cable car), after we went to the Outback Steakhouse (first time there - yes, I know that it exists at home, I just never went there). And they served bread...which I think was rye (with sugar)...but they called it "bushman bread". It was my first time being in the company of all Koreans in a restaurant...most of the conversation was in Korean, but they would talk to me as well. It worked out. Also, this was the first time in my life I have felt as social as I have been. It's a good thing though. I have been meeting up with the friends I made during orientation in various locations - definitely getting used to the subway system. On Sunday I went to Rachel and Trevor's chruch with Laina unnie (yes, I have an unnie here). She's a New Zealander...or rather a Kiwi-Korean. And, that's it for what I have to say about my second week lol. I'm being lazy, sorry.

Mood:
Listening to: Try Smiling, Big Bang

WEEK THREE:

Okay, I don't even really remember what I have to say now. This past week has been interesting. Again, I have been meeting with friends, but it's more low-key. I found out that I will be teaching teachers to get the 22 hours of classes I should be teaching. So I met with my teachers group on Thursday. They are mostly young 20-somethings. So it will be interesting, and it's all women so lol. I'm looking forward to it. And on Wednesday I actually became existent in Korea...i.e. I got my Alien Registration Card. I have not been having too much luck with getting my cell phone set up - I went twice this week for it, so now I have to wait on getting a credit card. It's a bit of a pain. I'll let you know how that goes.

And after the whole ARC and telephone issue, I went to Nowon to meet with Becky and Noreen. We walked around a bit and looked for dinner. We wound up going into this really small, Jeon (Korean pancake) place. The old lady whose store it was tried to get us to go in a few times, she was super cute. It was pretty good food. She spoke pretty decent English too. It's a plus here...spoken like a true Anglophile huh? After, we went to this "bookstore" which was really a stationary store... my dream store. It had music and stationary...with some amazing Engrish/Konglish. We entertained ourselves there for a while before we all left for our respective homes. Then Thursday, one of the homeroom teachers invited me to join some of the other teachers for dinner her treat. We had Vietnamese food...I love the rice wraps. And then we went to a coffee shop for coffee..and after the other homeroom teacher gave me a gift or two coffee mugs. I can tell you I'm a little overwhelmed by it all. I am waiting for my mom to send me stuff from home so I can give them gifts. I brought a box of chocolates with me, but I can't just give it to one person and not the others. My school has been really good to be, I am blessed.

So, on Friday, I got home and decided I would cook some of the meat I bought the previous weekend. As I was cooking I notice something small, white and pink-ish on my counter...and then I see another one on the wall...and some other friends. I HATE BUGS. Somehow I wound up with maggots! I went into search and kill mode, threw out some food and cleared out cabinets and such. I am not excited. Then on Saturday, I bought food, and went to Lotte Mart and got cleaning supplies and came back and cleaned. I thought it was all gone, but then I found some in my microwave - barf! Those who know me should be proud of me, as much as I wish I could scream, I'm killing them.

END OF REPORT

So, I will update properly from now on, or I will try not to be lazy. I hope everyone is doing okay. I miss home but I am happy here too. I am blessed with good people around me and I have friends to share things with. I'm grateful for Becky! She and I get together often, which is nice. So yeah, that's all. I had much to say for today, but I will save it now. I'm not up to doing another post.

God bless everyone!




New Beginning

FRIDAY August 24, 2007 @ 5:48pm{Seoul}; 4:48 am{Toronto} // Leave a note!

Mood:
Listening to: You were there, Avalon

You would rather die than leave us in the dark,
Every moment, every planned coincidence,
just all makes sense,
With every last breath.
You were there, You were there,
..You were the calm in Abraham, You are the strength when we have none,
You were, You are and You will always be
The Living Lamb of God


I know it has been forever since I last updated - but I have a good reason for it. I have been purposefully keeping myself from writing here because I was going though a big transition. I was blessed to be able to work with my first real employers and friends for the time that I needed to work. It was awesome to see how the Irie Music Festival has changed and grown. It was busy, tiring but also wonderful and fun. No complaints, I had a blast!

During the period that I was working I was also looking for my other job - teaching in Korea. And I can honestly say that God has been amazing. AMAZING.

I have been through such a rollercoaster of emotions and just getting things done, interviews, contracts and then visa. Oh the visa...I will not go into it but it was such a stressful period. One thing I know is that I have never been more aware of God working in my life and situations as well as just having prayer after prayer answered...in positive and negative ways. By that I mean yes and no answers from God. Throughout He has given me so much joy and peace, even when I was frustrated and worried.

Today I am sitting here writing to you all from South Korea, at the training center and I'm feeling blessed.

I got the job I wanted and so far I have been relaxing. I got into Korea yesterday at 2:30 a.m. and I didn't have to feel lonely or lost because 1, I met two people who were with the same company at the Consulate before I even left Canada and 2, they and some others who were hired by the same company and I were sitting together on the plane. And we have been hanging out ever since. It was quite the 'adventure' when we got here...I can't go into it now, maybe at a later date.

Our training center is amazing...it's brand new and gorgeous- almost like being in Florence again, literally! The food is alright, I can't complain, except it is hard to keep up with my food program when most of the meals have rice - no EVERY meal. Ah, it will be fine.

Today I was finally able to exchange money so I am not cash-less so I am feeling tons better than yesterday when we went out and I had absolutely no Korean won on me. The group and I decided to go into the more populated part of town so we went to Bundang today. It was awesome, I saw some Konglish and the streets are busy! We shopped some...more for essentials and just looked around and had lunch. Definitely a good time.

I am getting to put my paltry knowledge of Korean to use, which makes me happy.

K...I have to go to dinner. The meals are served in hour blocks...breakfast 7-8 am, lunch 12-1 pm, dinner 6-7 pm. It's 6:08 p.m. no so I have to run.

God bless! I miss you everyone. Thanks for everything, and Sar for coming to the airport. It meant a lot.