Monday, April 23, 2012

Chile, po~!

The past 5 weeks have FLOWN by! (I love the Spanish word "volar" for this: "Las ultimas 5 semanas han pasado volando!")

Santiago - 4 weeks
Enjoyed: Amazingly unique teachers. Very high level of español. Great jogs in great parks. Daily (depressing) news from El Mercurio. The streets of Merced/Lastarria area with their colonial architecture, cafes, antiques vendors, and used bookstores. The locura that is Vega and Persa Bio-Bio. The students in Bellavista. Band of Horses live. Seeing documentaries come alive at La Moneda and Bella Vista. The de vez en cuando good eatery like vegan Indian food or Peruvian sandwiches. Chilean warmth and hospitality. Chilean acquaintances and amigos. Chilean slang.

Will NOT be missing: The metro. The smog. The horns. Ugh, the horns. Latin American machismo. PDA. Chilean TV (as bad as American TV). Nescafe. Chilean slang ("po"). Escudo aka Escupo. In your face social disparity and xenofobia.

Weekend trips: Valparaiso & Viña del mar
-I LOVE Valpo. Gorgeous, gorgeous architecture with so much personality!

Pichilemu - 2 weeks
-It's only been a week, but Pichilemu has already made it to my list of favorite places in the world. Sure, it's small and relatively uneventful, but you won't meet kinder people or more consistent waves. (Or tastier empanadas). I wake up to the sound and smell of ocean¡ Eat, surf, eat, Spanish, yoga, eat, study. Yup, that's pretty much a typical day.

Lessons learned:
1) It pays to travel light. One of everything, avoid liquids.
2) The best makeup really is none. (A good tan helps :)
3) Being honest about your shortcomings renders greater results.
4) Xenophobia toughens a traveler's skin.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Lesson(s) Learned

As I'm wrapping up my experience living and teaching in the country where my parents and their parents were born and raised, I walk away with countless lessons, experiences, memories, and relationships. I remember thinking a year ago that I might be a very different person after this year was over. Perhaps I've become stranger, even more opinionated, and more certain about who I am and who I am not. I definitely have a more comprehensive understanding of my cultural heritage as well as my parents' personalities and how the two go hand-in-hand.

Actually, maybe all that does make me a whole lot different from Joyhanna 9 months ago.

I've realized that I have big eyes (figuratively, of course). I want to accomplish great things in whatever new endeavor I embark on. However (and it took many months for me to admit this), I have a weak heart. I know that my heart quickly becomes involved in these new passions and I am unable to differentiate between the two. So, when I walk away, I inevitably leave a piece of my heart.

So it is with you, Korea 2011, that I leave a piece of my heart.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

I see God in you.

The last couple of weeks have been some of the most physically, emotionally, and academically-challenging weeks I've had in Korea. Physically, battling sickness and hormonal rage is not easy while simultaneously managing to isolate yourself from those you care about most because you have to study for a four hour-long exam that may determine who gives you the "yes" and who will give me the thumbs down. All week, I've been wishing I had dedicated myself to a few more all-nighters during my undergraduate years. Maybe then, this stupid test wouldn't mean so much. Whatever, it is what it is. Good news is I managed to make health a priority (with the occasional late night Twizzlers) and start my days off with some Psalms. I've really been experiencing firsthand the emotional consequences of a consistent prayer life and reading the Word with actual intent on LISTENING to what the Lord has to say. Times like these, I realize a lot about myself and those around me. It's an amazing thing when you can actually see God in people.

Test day is tomorrow! Next week is my last week of work! Next month is my last in Korea!

Absolutely loving and enjoying fall for the first time in my life:

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Screaming into Pillows

I can't be the only one feeling this. Even as I type, someone out there is feeling this.
That there is something inherently wrong with us. Yes, INHERENTLY.

And no amount of advice, airports, destinations, work, journal entries, food&drink can pacify my desire to scream into pillows 24/7. No, no love, lust, even laughter, can satisfy our desire for more.

Only you, God. Yes, GOD. Up close and personal, not abstract. Physical and emotional elevation. An extremely bright light at the end of this mystical and elusive tunnel.

I just want to crawl into that nook under God's arm. That must be what David had in mind when he implored God to "hide me in the shadow of your wings." Actually, probably not, but that's what I mean. My spirit always feels at ease there.


It's quite an interesting transformation when you forget the fear attached to falling in love again.

Ah, Love. How I avoided anything of you for a very long time. When you love yourself really hard and really selfishly for long enough, a numbing effect soon takes place.

His gaze instills me with a strange fear (yes, fear) that this man may actually love me as I am and not as a projection of his own inadequacies.

"Your biggest fear will be the rescue of you."

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

2 books that are changing my life

...other than the Bible.

These 2 books that are forcing me to grapple with very tough questions.
I'm finding a new respect for DOUBT. and FAITH-based action.

The Reason for God by Timothy Keller


Erasing Hell by Francis Chan

Thank God when complacency is out the window.
Learning to surrender every day.
Thank God for internet, a support system, prayer, and the Word.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

The Reins of Time

I haven't felt this much like myself since I was 18 and lost in Paris or the times I used to sit and read in that hidden cafe on the loft of a used bookstore in DF or even those awkward rides home from Retiro to Belgrano. If today was a photography exhibit, its title would be "Remnants of Europe." Think El Zocalo (DF), Buenos Aires, old Catholic churches in major Latin American cities, Pelourinho (Bahia).

Don't misunderstand. There is nothing European about Korea.

Today just feels different. It's probably the fact that it's Sunday, all the walking, solitude, no concept of time. That's it!!! No concept of time! What a beautiful thing: time to walk, time to smell, time to stop and watch children play, time to wait for the bus or to just keep walking to the next bus stop, time to give solicitors the time of day, time to write, time to listen to music, voices, footsteps, traffic, time to think about the very next step/moment and not tomorrow. I've become such a mess that I actually find comfort in writing about tomorrow. That's why lists of any form, ranging from To Do and Grocery lists, bring me so much comfort. That's sad. Thinking about the past, namely my grandma, conversely brings about pain and all its intensity.

I was born into a culture that praises work, money, status, security, retirement. Yes, both cultures.

That is why this today-the enjoyment of the now-is so nice. Paulo Coelho once wrote that we control time. While on a practical level, it's difficult to agree with him, I think I'm starting to get it.

In Korea and finally settling into my apartment, my life here, and my own skin.