Sunday, September 29, 2013

Fall is blowing in

The air is cooler, the leaves are slowly, slowly starting to favorite season is coming! This instrumental piece from Busker Busker's new album expresses my feelings exactly: Autumn Night.

I got some sad news this morning, that my favorite student Jack (Yoohan) will be leaving Connexus. Friday is his last day. He is switching schools so that he has the opportunity to play on a school soccer team, because he's very good at pretty much every sport ever. I've never had the pleasure of teaching a more diligent, kind, respectful or flexible student than him. Stuck in a class with three girls that are really silly and sometimes even mean to him, he has never once been a stinker. So here's to you Jack! Thanks for making my job a joy, buddy! Wow getting teary-eyed all of a sudden. It's the teacher feels.

Today me and Sunghyun made some pretty bangin' pumpkin soup, which I improvised off of this recipe: Easy Pumpkin Soup. I used less milk, and instead of chicken stock, which is hard to find here, I made a broth with lots of salt, pepper, curry and nutmeg. I also left the potatoes out of two of the pots and made the soup have a more unadulterated pumpkin taste. The one with the potato was also awesome, but I think out of the two I preferred the just pumpkin. I also WAY overshot with how much of the soup my ingredients would make. As in, two full pots of soup leftover. Not that I'm complaining...dinner tonight 주주.

Last night me and Heather and Michael and Yoonseo went to see Blue Jasmine, the new Woody Allen film. So good! It reminded me A Streetcar Named much so that I really want someone to write a comparison paper on the two of them. Again, less about plot and more about human interaction and identity and all that deep stuff. Loved the end--nice and abrupt.

Community News:

* One of the church members at Grace and Peace, Sangmin, after receiving his draft notice for the mandatory military service effective in Korea, is making the hard decision of being a conscientious objector. This means that instead of doing something that conflicts with his faith, he will serve around a year term in jail and will have a permanent criminal record, making getting a decent job very difficult. It will also be very hard on his family, particularly his mother who will most likely get a lot of flak from her in-laws and husband, who will view his decision as partly her fault as a parent. Please pray for Sangmin and his family! Mention him to your churches too. I think it will be encouraging for him to know that anabaptist churches around the world are praying for him and supporting him. His draft date is October 29.

* WIFI IS COMING TO OUR APARTMENT ON WEDNESDAY. Thank the sweet Lord and Yoonseo.

* Thursday is staff retreat! We are supposedly going to a really nice pension with some really pretty reeds nearby. It will be short, but a nice time.

* This past Friday was an awesome game day thanks to the great planning of Heather! We played rock, papers, scissors tournament, blanket name game, and animal team charades. I took some videos :-)

* The Christmas Food Document has been created. It may or may not be mostly dessert so far.

* Bye bye to the Connexus van! we handed it over last night to my host father who will drive it to KAC for us. We'll miss that bucket of bolts, especially when we have to walk to work in the winter when there aren't KOPI cars for us to ride in.

Recent Accomplishments:

* Finished The Aquariums of Pyongyang, which I highly recommend. Memoir of a man who spent 10 years in a work camp in North Korea. Think One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich only it's a decade and about three times as horrible. Now on to The Brothers K!

* I've now driven the i30 (which so far is not a lemon afterall) twice and haven't crashed. I have also turned left at a red light several times which is normal here, as is going through red lights if no one is coming. Better not keeps those habits coming back to the states....

* Successfully transferred money to the U.S. and made a budget using the EEBA app on my ipod! Hopefully I stick to it...

Short one today guys! thanks for reading!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013


Well, vacation is over and we're back to school, so how about a little Bang & Zelo with Never Give Up. Korean rap over a clock chime theme with some gospel choir too. "I'm back in the school, back back in the school!" Luuuv it.

So, on our way back from Chuseok, we got the news that instead of the end of October as we had thought, we were actually going to be moving the coming week. Welcome home, vacation is OVER.

Just kidding, it’s actually a really great thing, because our new living arrangements are sooo nice. We’re now living five people to a large and spacious three-bedroom apartment, with actual counters in the kitchen and two bathrooms! We are spread among three different floors instead of all being on the same one, which will be different and mean we have to work harder to visit each other, but I think it’s going to be sweet overall. That’s the main update, really. Needless to say, we have been super pooped, doing heavy moving and cleaning before work every morning and evening so far this week. We have to be completely out by Wednesday night. Actually, it’s only the single female teachers who are moving now. Heather and Michael and the KOPI men will follow at the end of the month as planned. The landowner needs to rent our rooms sooner while there are people looking for places in the fall, so he asked if we could free up a few rooms as soon as possible, since we were planning on leaving anyway.

Other Community News:
  • Juhee is here training as the new Korean teacher and manager. We chatted yesterday all together in the office about how we can improve the kids’ experience and make the most of the curriculum. I think she is going to be an awesome fit for Connexus. She also will be my new cooking partner along with Sunghyun.
  • We don’t have internet at the new apartment yet. I am surviving by drafting blog posts on Microsoft Word and playing Candy Crush.
  • Hyunho’s last day as driver is Saturday, and Sunny’s last day as Korean teacher is Monday. Sarah Jill also will be starting her new teaching job at another hagwon soon, so she won't be around as much. We’re going to miss them!
  • Thursday is Sunghyun’s first lecture for KOPI. Say a prayer for him!
  • Yoonseo’s beloved i30 is possibly a lemon? Say it ain’t so! The mirror started smoking of all things, and now the horn doesn’t work. Greatest of sympathies, 부원장님.
  • Kate and I fixed a drawer using glue and exacto knives and hammers and nails. I think we are maybe grown-ups now.
Recent Community Quotes:
  • “I’m really into mom blogs!” –Michael
  • 조지오! 화장실 하나 주세요!” –Heather
  • “When almond dies…then it is diamond.”—Myeongseo
  • “Good job. 좋은 직업.” –Yoonseo.
  • “I’m having PMS. Is that the right way to say it?” –Yoonseo.
  • Kaia: “I like your swiping motion." Sarah: “Thank you. Is it pretty sexy?”
  • On McDonalds food: “It’s sitting heavy, but it’s sitting good.” –Heather.
  • “Can you help me? Nevermind, I’m strong.” –Michael
  • “Sometimes I feel like certain types of garbage on my desk makes me look cool.” –Anna
  • "I'm crushing on Mamma Mia these days." --Yoonseo
What I'm listening to lately:
* Busker Busker's NEW ALBUM!!!! So freaking good.
* Frank Sinatra still

Recently Heard in the classroom:
Susan: "Abby, would you rather live with five Eileens or with five cats?"
Abby: "I think...Five cats definitely."
Jack: "But teacher....Poop!"

Cindy:" Jack would you rather live with a thousand centipedes, or a thousand snails on your body?"
Jack: "I would rather live with centipedes.
Cindy: "Why?"
Jack: "Because not on body and I can kill.
Cindy: "They are in your room."
Jack: "I can kill."
Susan: "A thousand?"
Jack: "Dynamite."

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Chuseok Part 2 and Poem

This time the blog music is yet again Frank Sinatra, because who ever gets enough of that guy? have a listen to If You Go Away.

We left our hostel to go to a 민박 (Minbak) closer to the mountain. It's kind of like a cheapy bring everything but there are beds and dishes and things. They were going to charge us extra for hot water, actually (Thenardier style, anyone?) but then were nice and turned on the boiler for and hour in the evening for us after we came back from our little hike at Soraksan.

We headed to the mountain by taxi actually, because the bus drove off without us even though we banged on the side of it. Seriously jerk move, bus driver. But it was fine, because the taxi turned out to be the same cost as it would have taken to go by bus and we all got a seat!

We decided to just do a short hike to the waterfall while we were waiting for our timeslot for the cablecar, and it was totally worth it. We climbed/walked for around an hour to the water fall and then put out feet in the felt awesome. The sights on the way were just lovely...pools in the rock that got darker and darker blue as they got progressively deeper. Not to mention how nice it was outside. This weather is just amazing...when I think back to July and how miserable it felt, it's kind of wild how much it's changed in just a few months.

Our cable car ride was short but a great view of the mountain. The whole system was actually given as a gift from Switzerland. Good job Switzerland! Talk about a useful present.

 Once we got there, it was time to climb to the highest point. Something you should know about Korea is that many things that would never fly safety wise in the U.S. are perfectly ok here. Such as complete access to cliffs and very steep paths and encouragement to climb them with the help of a few cemented footholds and rope. Mom, you would have died if you saw what I climbed. But it's ok, because I am alive. I was pretty nervous going up, but the view from the top of the highest point was totally worth it. The only thing close to how awesome it was is maybe the view form Mulanje in Malawi.

After a climb down and a quick walk through the buddhist temple area, we taxied back to the minbak for some much needed rest. I think I fell asleep earlier than I have in weeks. Unfortunately, our fellow minbak stayers were less than courteous in the noise department, so most of us didn't get a lot of sleep. I had some earplugs, so I did ok, but apparently it was rather loud.

Then we met Heather and Michael and Yoonseo near the bus stop in Sokcho and made our journey back home!

It was a fantastic vacation, and so I wrote a little rinky-dink poem. It's not very good...but it kind says a little of my feelings about the whole time:


For the pieces of it hiding in
the clatter of wooden sticks

wrapped in rice dough
pinched tight with the 콩

in an old finger tracing
crosses onto a sleeping boy's shoulder,
praying him awake

in beach fireworks, sandcastles 
and 씨름 battles, planned and unplanned

in generosity to strangers and
forgiveness for forgotten gifts

In seaside communions of Hite and poundcake
(날마다 우리에게...give us this day)

in the path iced in the waves by a
round coin moon

in apologies for awkward 분위기 
and thankfulness towards fish

in shared bibimbap and in
not asking 5명 타도 돼요?

in stories told and in being quiet all
together and in laughing laughing laughing
(Can you hear it....?)

For every piece, gracious God,
정말, 정말 감사합니다.

Thanks for reading!

Chuseok vacay part 1

This was an awesome vacation, so it's hard to pick some music to fit the bill. But let's go with some some Moon River sung by Audrey Hepburn and then some Frank Sinatra: The Way You Look Tonight.

So what did we do for Chuseok? Yoonseo invited all of us teachers to come to his parent's home in Gangneung for Chuseok and celebrate with him and his family. Sarah did some extra planning for us and we had an awesome trip in the bag. Get ready for a little Captain's Log Style blogging to start (We did this and then we did that, sorry boring!)

After arriving in Gangneung (강릉) late at night, we slept in a bit and had a fantastic brunch, and then made some songpyeon (송편), little dumpling-esque things made with a rice flour dough with beans inside. It was a lot of fun, and something I had really wanted to try doing. Bucket list check! Yoonseo's dad gave us some lessons on how to do it, and then rated our efforts. I think I got a 7 out of ten on one of mine, so...try not to be jealous of my skills.

Later in the day we visited a sheep farm. It reminded me so much of Pennsylvania! The hills with fewer trees on them, the wide sky. Gangneung in general felt more like the U.S. than some of the other places in Korea. It felt like there was more room to breath there. I guess being near the sea helps with that. The sheep were so adorable! The experience was great, barring the speakers blaring music like "Because of You" by Kelly Clarkson...because everyone knows that's what you really want when taking a walk outside in beautiful weather. We fed some sheeps and gave them some head scratches...then went outside and had a mutton kebab. Delicious :-) I also ate a silk worm which was not so great, but worth trying, I suppose. It wasn't terrible actually, just kind of tasted like a weird bean. Hard to get past the fast that it was a bug though.

After resting at home a bit and eating dinner, we played some yootnori (윷놀이) which is this game (click the link for a video explanation). The board was missing, so Yoonseo's dad just drew one for us. People, it was too much fun! Try it some time. It would be easy to make your own version of it. My team was victorious. Huzzah!

That evening we went back to the beach after having gone for a few minutes when we first arrived in Gangneung, and took along some Hite beer and poundcake that Yoonseo's parent's bought us. It was beautiful. The smell of the air took me right back to childhood trips to Cape Henlopen. Strange how smells can do that. Yoonseo bought us all sparklers and fireworks and we set them off after wading in the water and building a sandcastle. We even found a jellyfish!

On Thursday, the actual day of Chuseok, we had family devos in the morning along with an amazing meal (seriously Yoonseo's mom is a champion for cooking all that food for a bunch a foreigners). Afterwards we went biking around Gangpo lake. It was sort of like rail biking in that it was a four-person pedaled bike, but you weren't on a rail so you had to steer. I guess it was kind of like a Flintstone car :-) Me and Sarah and Kate and Anna all rode on one of those, while Heather and Michael rode a tandem bike and Kaia went on a single one. Yoonseo just walked. The lake was gorgeous and there were lotus and cosmo gardens to stop by on our way around. It was small, but really reminded me of Longwood. The leaves were starting to change, and though it was warm, the wind was cool. Fall is coming!

I wish I could really capture moments like that, biking along with good people in beautiful weather. I can't explain it.....just that it was a little piece of what's real.

We played some Settlers in the evening, and then after dinner, me, Sarah, Anna, and Kate said farewell to Yoonseo's family, as we were going to Sokcho (속초) for the night and doing some light hiking at Soraksan the next weekend.
I wished then so much that I had the language skills to say how grateful I was. I wanted to say that they were fantastic hosts, that they made us feel right at home and we really felt their care, that it felt like members of a big family getting along together though we'd never met before. But all I could say was 정말 감사합니다. 그런 때는 아주 답답하다. I want to be able to speak but I can't.

We drove to Sokcho and dropped our luggage off at James Blue, the hostel we were staying at, and then went to look at the sea a bit and see the full moon. And because it's a famous dish in Gangneung and Sokcho, we had Hwe (회), which is basically sashimi. It's rather expensive, but it is really good. I think I prefer it when it's sliced pretty thin because otherwise the texture distracts me from the good flavor, but still delicious.

Well, that's all for now.....look for part 2 coming soon!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Yarn, Haircuts, Hangul museum

Today's blog music is a little Bon Iver because the fall weather is coming and Bon Iver is autumn-y to me. Just a little cover of an Adele song: I Can't Make You Love Me/Nick of Time.

Saturday Kate, Heather and I made a maiden voyage to the sewing/yarn/whatever you could possible want to make anything place in Dongdaemun. It was surprisingly easy to find the place, but finding what you needed inside was another story. It felt a bit like like On the Road Books in Waynesboro, but instead of the shelves of books, it was tiny little booths squished together with walls of yarn and fabric. It was a fiber art fantasy world. I even felt an urge to weave.

We bought some super yarn for Christmas projects, and one ahjumma gave us two pairs of circular needles as free service. What a dealio.

We came home for a movie tent party on the roof (too wet by the river) where we drank some Cass and rolled all our yarn into balls and watched half of Before Midnight. So impressed by the one shot takes for the the conversation scenes in the movie. I have seen few films with conversation scenes that feel as natural.

We went back into Seoul that evening to meet Yuko for dinner and walk along the lit canal path which of course I forget the name's close to the King Sejong statue. So chill and pretty, even with hoards of couples perched on every surface. I suppose when there are few "romantic spots" in a city, they get filled up quickly.

Community News:
*Kate got a haircut and became even cuter if that was even possible.
*We started watching Sherlock all together and it is too good. How did I go so long without seeing it?
*Tuesday Kipper and Veronica are buying us pizza for lunch. Perfect. Students.
*We rearranged the cooking schedule, so today Sarah and I will be cooking partners for the last time. You might think we would cook something special but no, it's spaghetti. Keeping the lazy Monday cooking alive.

Recent Achievements:
*Beat level 65. Yes, I used one of the lollipop helper things. I wasn't about to be stuck on it for 2 months like Mom.
*Kept my planned hangout time with people from my group at the retreat! Hangul museum and Jjim Dak (찜 닭) for dinner. Too delicious. The museum was small, but was really fascinating. I came to the conclusion that King Sejong is the bomb.

Coming week plans:
* Last dinner with Yuko tonight :-(
* Tuesday night leaving for Gangneung, Yoonseo (윤서)'s hometown for Chuseok.
* Sherlock is happening sometime during the weekend.

In reading news, The Man Who Was Thursday is starting to suck me in...It was taking a little bit to get into it but now it's going in full throttle...just like Luke Skywalker.

Happy Monday everyone!
Thanks for reading!

Thursday, September 12, 2013


Today's music is a little ABBA because we were listening to the Mamma Mia soundtrack in Yoonseo's car last night: The Winner Takes it All.

It's a really rainy Friday here today. We're making deviled eggs as the cooking activity, but we're changing the name to picnic eggs so that we can talk about different picnic customs. We're kind of thinking that the kids might not like them, but who cares, I am so pumped to eat deviled eggs today!

Naturally we had to buy a stinkload of eggs this morning, and naturally we forgot a 100 won piece for the shopping cart and had to carry them all. Also naturally, it began to rain hard as we were walking back with arms full of eggs and no way to carry an umbrella. Five stars for us in the "Prepared and Thinking Ahead" department. But now we're inside and dry so it's ok.

I am feeling sleepy today.

Good news: Luca won Master Chef. Now we need a new cooking show to watch.

Weekend plans:
Buying Yarn in Dongdaemun
Possible Tent Party By Han River Depending on Weather
Some Kind of Delicious Dinner
First Episode of Downtown Abbey While Knitting
Kate's Haircut On Sunday
Organizing My Shelf

If I write those all in caps they sound like possible book titles. Sure to be bestsellers.
That reminds me of my

To Read Book List
The Aquariums of Pyongyang by Kang Chol-Hwan, Pierre Rigoulot 
The Brothers K by David James Duncan
This is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger (yes don't judge I haven't read it yet...the movie coming out about him looks fantastic)

I'm also still reading through that little book on restorative's actually really interesting and kind of makes me want to write a paper. That's the residual English major flaring up...whenever I read something that is thought provoking or intriguing I get the itch to write a paper, but I'm long enough out of college that I never follow through. Thank goodness. Wouldn't want to be too industrious or anything.

Just kidding one of these days I'm going to do it.

Anyway, reading it I was reminded of the civics course my mom often teaches in highschool (Whatever Happened to Justice) and the flaws the current system has, especially when it comes to victims. I'm not sure any sort of system is going to ever perfectly address the needs of victims and offenders, because that's a job for Jesus, but I'm really resonating with the ideas brought up in this book. It's really short, like 74 pages, so would be an easy read for anyone curious.

Recently Read in Student Journals:

From Cindy's August 30 journal:
"Today was a class president election day. And my class mate is said ' I think Cindy is can do a good class president!' and I do a election. So I do a class president! I'm so happy. I want to do a good class president. Today is a happy day!"[sic]

Today's lunch was made by Kate and Anna and was a ginger pork bulgogi served with rice and gently grilled tofu. Please be jealous because it was out of this world delicious. I didn't take a picture of it though, what a mistake.

And there is sangria in the fridge at home.

Happy Weekend!
Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Some more of daily life

Today's music is a song that Heather shared with us and I like a lot! The Wind by Cat Stevens.

Here are just some little daily somethings.

Thursday in devotions we all shared about things that give us was a great time to learn more about each other and also hear ways to help people recharge when they need too. Mine were reading and listening to music. Karen made awesome raisin muffins with honey, which were also a source of energy!

Music I've been listening to lately:
Jon Foreman
Rooftop Moonlight (옥상달빛)
Simon and Garfunkel
Kim Kwang Suk
Big Bang
The Weepies

Books I've been reading lately:
The Man Who Was Thursday by G.K. Chesterton
The Little Book of Restorative Justice by Howard Zehr
The Little Red Hen, Lownu Mends the Sky, The Shoemaker and Elves, The Princess and the Frog. (ㅋㅋㅋ Storybook class reads).

Recent acheivements: 
I am on level 63 of Candy Crush.
I now finally have a bank account.
I got a 93% on the reading section of a practice TOPIK beginner level test.

News in the community:
We put tp holders in in the 5th floor/4th floor bathroom and are stocking it, so no more bringing a handful with you from the office. (so exciting right??? but for real. It is. Don't judge.) I know I'm going miss zinging out a length of it from the roll in the lobby in front of the students during breaks... NOT.

The teacher's office, now vacated by KOPI staff is so quiet and sometimes lonely. KOPI staff if you're are reading, please come and visit us! Feel free to bring presents too.

The Toybox is still on my desk. It currenty contains all my change, handfuls of candy from the bank that Yoonseo took, a wooden block that came from who knows where, and a blue dry erase marker.

Anna's peanutbutter container is still on the shelf. Also we found those japanese dolls you left there too. Maybe I will put them in the toybox.

Recent Photos:
What happens when Kate and I comb our hair when it's dry. BEAUTY GODDESSES.

                                   Guess which desk is mine? My college roommates know......

Recently heard in the classroom:

Susan: Teacher when I heard Lomie will be half Korean half American I thought her face would be like this *mimes splitting her face like Two-Face.*

Me: You must have been surprised to see her for real then.

Eileen: Cindy, would you rather swim in a giraffe's stomach or in the ugly queen's stomach?

Cindy: I would rather swim in a giraffe's stomach, because it is big and I can swim well.


Thanks for reading!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Church retreat!

Today's music is some good old Korean Hillsong, a song we sang at the retreat and happens to be the Korean version of one of my favorite worship tunes: Still (주 품에).

This weekend, four of us teachers decided to join Grace and Peace's church retreat. Grace and Peace is the church that I go to most regularly here, and I wanted a chance to get to know the members a little better. If you go to a church where you both can't understand much of what is going on language-wise and also don't know the people, it makes it hard to want to keep going. So, my thought was though it would take a lot of study and years of practice to be able to function without a translator, I could at least work harder at connecting with the people.

Yeah, I know, connecting with people is clearly one of my strengths...That's another great/difficult thing about spending time away from your home country. God usually likes to make sure you get practice working on the things you suck at. Calvin's father would be amazed at how much character I'm building.

But, at least at a retreat, interactions are mostly planned and you can skip the small talk that is like pulling teeth for me.

So let's talk about some hard things about the retreat first:

People, I am an introvert to the max. So being on this retreat was so much fun, but also completely draining. Every evening I just wanted to go somewhere by myself and not talk for a while...activities were plannned until around 11 every night though, so "refuel time" wasn't really available. That was pretty rough. I kind of feel like I still haven't quite recovered yet, though as soon as we all got back we headed to our beds and just didn't talk to each other for like two hours, which was like sweet manna from heaven. So while the retreat was really so much fun, I wouldn't say it was a restful experience.

I also had a big reality check with the fact that I really don't know Korean. Or at least I don't know it when people speak at a normal speed. For the first half of the day, not being able to pick up scarcely anything anyone was saying was really discouraging. So many times the whole circle would erupt into laughter...all except four people kind of doing that awkward "obviously there was a joke and we'll just pretend we're in on it" fake chuckle. I love laughing so much and there are few things that bother me more than not being able to share in it when it's happening around me. I felt a little like my studying had all been pointless because who cares if I can write a sentence using a certain grammar pattern, If I can't use it in the real world, it isn't accomplishing language's purpose. But, in the the second half of the day though I still wasn't picking up much, I was able to feel more driven to work harder at learning instead of just being discouraged, so that was both a hard and good thing.

So those were some struggles, but really, small beans compared to the good stuff:

Minji (민지) and Eun Young (은영) prepared SO MUCH. The food during the whole retreat was incredible and the games were so fun. We began our Saturday with a little devotion time, singing together and then some personal reflection on Philippians 1 and how to bring each other joy. I had some good thinking about that, and realized that words in writing and spoke words of affirmation are my most comfortable and natural ways of showing people love and joy, but I am not really able to do either of those things in Korean right now. It made me start thinking of how I need to look for different ways to bring people joy.

After devotions, we started games by getting into groups and drawing group pictures of each other, each person drawing one part of each picture. Believe me, hilarity ensued. Be sure to check out the photos from that one.

Another favorite of mine was the Sticky Note activity. We had three people at a time sit in the center of the circle while the rest of us wrote a nice note to each of them, and then on the count of three we all rushed the middle and stuck our notes onto them. For many of the members, I didn't really know them really at all, so it made me have to think about what I knew about them and how I could express appreciation for them. It was a great exercise I thought, and I'll probably keep my own notes from that for quite a while.

We then did a marshmallow and spaghetti challenge, which I assumed would be like the ones we used to do at afterschool, but it was actually using 20 pieces of spaghetti and tape to build a tower as tall as we could to hold one big marshmallow. My team kind of failed badly, but it was still fun.

I think the best games of all though was the set of teams games. We were divided into teams and had to come up with the best name we could think of. My team decided on Three Musketeers, but as we kept getting latecomers added to our team, it ended up in the end being The Five Musketeers. Though our team didn't win that challenge, we did win some others, like the "guess the five syllable word" game. Eash member said one syllable of a five syllable word/phrase all at the same time and the other teams had to try to guess the word/phrase. The teachers couldn't help guess, of course, since it was in Korean, but we helped yell the words! We then played two more guessing games, one like taboo where one member had to get the other members of the team to guess a word without daying it, and a charades type game of the same sort. I liked the charades one the best because we could all laugh together then. Physical humor speaks all languages. Do I feel a paper coming on.....?

Last favorite part of the weekend wasn't anything officially planned, but came a result of us teachers needing a little time away from the cloud of Korean. We brought a Settlers of Cataan game with us and played three games during the course of the weekend. It was the It reminded me a little bit of the times playing Settlers at Oxford in the evenings. I love when little things connect memories like that.

So what were some things I took away?

1. Humility big time. Having to rely on people to translate for you, tell you what to do, how do eat something etc, makes you realize that the high horse of being "intelligent" or a "voracious reader" can't ford the river of not understanding a language or a culture fully for you. I'm learning to rely on people...and trying not to be grumps about it.

2. I need to be intentional about finding ways to refuel that are quick and effective. Floating by will be unhealthy I think in the long run. Nightly music listening/blog or journaling time coming soon? yes please.

3. God's family is big. Even if you only share one common thing, if you're sharing God you're sharing the biggest, most important and deepest thing of all. Everything else is just side dishes.

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013


So, because I'm still listening to Simon and Garfunkel (they are so good for changing seasons I feel, just the right amount of wistful) here's my current favorite of their: April Come She Will.

Guys...I decided to skip the hike and the NARPI field trip. It's just going to take too long, and I will always be writing really old news if I try to catch up with it. The pictures really say it all, anyway. So, let's just have a post about the recent happenings here.

A few days ago, Anna left for the U.S.A...the last of 2012-2013 Three Musketeers. I can really feel the spot she left. Anna, if you're reading, you are missed! She was a mover and shaker and a great friend too.

Now, except for Sarah ( thank goodness she is here!) I am the teacher that has been here the longest. a.k.a, I am someone who (supposedly) has some of the most knowledge about how do this teaching thing, and so someone to maybe go to for advice. That is scarier than teaching, I think. I feel like I'm getting a feel for what I need to do for my own classes, but I really know nothing outside of them, so I feel like I don't have a lot of theoretical knowledge.

That's kind of a change for me, actually. I love to read, so I feel that usually it's the other way around: I have a lot of theoretical knowledge and not very much experiential knowledge. Strange that I always feel confident to tell people about what I've read, but not about what I've experienced. I guess because I don't have to own it if I read it....

Tonight was a great night. We came home and all cooked a great big mess of fried rice with peppers and zucchini and onions and carrots and eggs, and it was so delicious! It was so nice to do a little work other than teaching, without too much pressure. Cooking day at the office can be fun too, but sometimes you feel a little burdened to please everyone's palates.

After dinner we went to the Paldang Dam(mit...joke time with Yoonseo) and had some beer and talked about funny things and also serious things. Take away word of wisdom from Yoonseo: we are wounded healers. Need to think about that one some's good stuff.

Then came home and tried to unpack a bit. I moved into the Connexus house on Sunday, which was awkward sauce city because my host family somehow missed me telling them I was leaving on that day. So, basically it seemed like I was trying to sneak out without really saying goodbye, when really, I was kind of wondering why my family seemed so chill on Sunday. My host father was like "Oh, so that's why you got up for breakfast on a Sunday...I thought it was strange." SO AWKWARD. But actually, it turned out ok because of mediator extraordinaire Yoonseo. He deserved a trophy for his interpersonal skills.

I found out today also that the card I wrote in Korean for my host family might not have been as meaningful as I would have liked either...I addressed it to my 사랑하는 민박 가족, which I thought meant, according to, "Beloved/My dear host family." Turns out 민박 가족 translates to mean something closer to "innkeeper family." So yeah, I'm sure they really appreciated that nuance. "Thanks for letting me freeload at your inn...err house, beloved innkeeper family!" Epic fail. Oh well, it was actually pretty funny. Minji almost peed her pants when I told her that the ice cream in the freezer was from my 민박 가족.

Well, it is time to shuffle off to buffalo. Goodnight!
Thanks for reading!