Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Oo-yoo fancy huh?

I'm pleasantly surprised to find that the number of followers on my blog has entered the double digits. Woo-hoo!

I felt like I had to share with the cyber world that my day today in my real life has been extremely good. Yes, extremely.

The sun came out to play! Yay for 56 degrees as opposed to 30!

I rearranged my furniture last night. My neighbors are probably so annoyed with me for making a lot of noise, but it's not my fault they got me a bedframe that is made of real (HEAVY) wood and fit for a queen. Literally. It's exorbitantly large and princess-like. Basically, it's hideous. Before and after pics of my place to come. Be excited.

The taxi ahjussi (senor) chatted it up with me and told me that my Korean is great. He wasn't sure if I was Korean due to the fact that he heard me speaking English on the phone. Boom baby!

The students in my new adult class pretty much love me. My kids at the hakwon tell the Korean teachers that they think I'm funny. Maybe they meant funny-looking since they think I look like a raccoon. I'm not sure how to respond to that one. Oh, how many things get lost in translation. Raccoons are kind of cute, right? I will just let myself believe they love me, too.

Never mind that my keyboard is feeling sticky right now. I'm on cloud 9.

This tropical granola I bought yesterday from Home Plus (HK Market meets the mall) is delicious! (Thanks, Jordan!) However, (YOU DON'T WANNA MISS THIS), the "Go Calcium" Milk I bought makes my tummy hurt like the milk in the States, while "Seoul Ooyoo" does not. What the heck?! Seoul Ooyoo ("ooyoo" Korean for milk) is so much tastier, too. Slightly sweeter. Mmmm...

Oh yeah! Also, I ordered a long-desired trench coat off of GMarket (Korean version of Amazon) and lo and behold...guess what is sitting on my desk when I get to work this afternoon! My trench coat. Yes, my trench coat. I ordered it less than a week ago! And get this, FREE SHIPPING! Amazon usually takes anywhere between 3 weeks and 50 years to get me my stuff. Yes, I had my trench sent to work. And yes, I kind of felt like Harper when he's told he can't have his dessert until after dinner. My entire shift was the dinner. I got home, and it was just like the picture. Ladies, don't you just love when that happens?

I learned a new Korean slang word today: "bbung!" It means "J/K." A lot K-slang as well as outburst words are really starting to grow on me. "Heol!" (oh crap) "Dae-bak" (awesome) "Ah-i-ssi)" (Aww man OR aww darn)

Two of my classes were conducted in Konglish. I taught one of my classes the word "poop" (hey, they asked) and they sang pop songs to me. What a great day.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Justice for North Korea

Saturday, March 12, 2011

My first day with JFNK has come to a bittersweet end.

The directions were pretty straightforward: Anguk Station Exit #6. I call my Facebook friend who I have never met face-to-face. His voice is pleasantly and somewhat unexpectedly optimistic. His directions are walk straight into the famous street of Insadong. I have no idea what to expect.  I suppose having no expectations serves as my ally in situations like this one. As instructed, I wait outside the corner convenient store and the insanity of the crowds make me feel somewhat at home. I figured I’d wait for my soon-to-be friend or be on the lookout for foreigners. I finally muster up the courage to ask a small eclectic group of individuals if they are here with JFNK. Sure enough, they are, and they are all extremely down-to-earth. The director, Peter, introduces himself and doesn’t even mention he is the director. He seems very sincere, curious, concerned, approachable, and it’s hard not to like him from the beginning. In fact, it’s hard not to like everyone with JFNK from the beginning! As another group (including my friend) approaches us with their awesome posters, Peter jumps into action. They briefly discuss where the campaign will take place and who will do what. Initially, I feel confused about my role and even question the necessity of my being there, but those thoughts are quickly pushed aside as we are equipped with informational handouts to pass out.
Many of us are hesitant at first because most of us know all too well just how obnoxious soliciting can be in Korea, but this was what we came for. As I start passing out the handouts, the real fun begins. In the midst of the diversity of touristy Insadong, I was a student of social anthropology for a couple hours. I can’t help noticing that many Koreans are commenting about the large number of foreign JFNK members (ones who don’t look Korean) who are involved in the campaign and some even ask each other why “they” would care about North Korea. One thing that really stands out is seeing adults so moved by the movement, adults who are accompanied by their children. Watching their parents take some time to listen to the speakers, to donate money - what a great impact that can make on young minds! Also, giving Koreans a different perspective of foreigners as not just some people who teach their children English during the week and get drunk at expat bars in Hongdae on the weekends. Another notable thing: seeing Koreans’ reaction to foreigners and native Koreans working together for a cause that we all care about.

The level of concentration and determination by the leaders (Dan and Peter) and everyone’s overall desire to help out on a chilly Saturday afternoon was a real inspiration and did not disappoint my first time working with JFNK. It was amazing to be in the midst of all sorts of people: people that cared a lot, people that had no clue what was going on in their neighbor country, older disillusioned Koreans, and even people who didn’t care at all. In fact, many Koreans seemed apathetic. Perhaps they think it’s too extreme to be affiliated with such a politically charged theme as “North Korea,” but we just see this as a human rights issue. Even the term “human rights” is politically charged. Maybe we just see “North Korea” as people, a people whose voice deserves to be heard by those with the freedom to use it.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Waking up to music

Fresh beginnings. Phil Wickham sings about God the way I feel about Him ("I wanna live, I wanna breathe, to search out Your heart and all of Your mystery.")
I need a second cup of coffee.
A lot of developments to share with you all.
I have been going to Seoul (about 45mins-1hr subway ride) every weekend to see parents, meet friends, wander, etc.
This weekend, I will go up to attend a justice campaign concerning North Korea.

I'd really like to find a group of believers, still.
Last week, I visited a church here in Ansan and was in complete shock. I got on a bus and wasn't sure where to get off, but of course more than half the bus got off. The church is HUGE. 10 stories tall and I have no clue how wide. A row of ATMs outside its doors. Its own section of bicycle racks. It was reminiscent of a mall. Nonetheless, I walked into the English service (conveniently on the 10th floor) and the first worship song was "Hosanna." I felt immediate relief, joy, overwhelming motion, and God's goodness. Oh, how I need to get connected!

Fast forward to yesterday.
I had a troublesome student. I actually have a handful of those, but this kid was really disrespectful.
Without going into too much detail, I'll have to see what's going to happen with him.
Off to work!
Praying for patience, love, and for my buddy Chris to get to Korea ASAP! (He's a really talented teacher!)

Hope everyone is being showered with blessings and continuing to ask those tough questions.