Saturday, February 1, 2014

Lunar New Year

Have a listen to this song by Rooftop Moonlight. It's been stuck in my head for a few days, so hopefully it gets stuck in yours! 정말 고마워서 만든 노래 (Thank You So Much).

February 1! A new year again, this time according to the moon. I suppose since I forgot to make any New Year;s resolutions on January 1, I can make them now. I don't have many:

1. Get to know my best friend better. That's right, some serious Jesus time.
2. Learn. to. speak. Korean. gosh . darnit.
3. Have some marvelous adventures with marvelous people.

I've started on number three already, actually! This past weekend I visited Ganghwado, an island to the west that is only a few kilometers from North Korea. Kate and I went with Sarah, who graciously organized the whole thing. We didn't have a packed schedule, mostly going to the Peace Observatory and checking out some other things as we felt like it.

Visiting the Peace Observatory was both a really neat and an odd experience. It has a fantastic view of a the North Korean village...some of which is fake, but there are people who live there too. We could see them through binoculars, on their bicycles, a family or friends gathered in front of a house. Just normal things. On a holiday like Seollal when Koreans usually are with family, it was sad to think that there were some families that were still divided, on either side of a river that was only a few kilometers wide physically, but much further in reality.

While looking at the village, I thought how strange it was...there was a probably a bird somewhere who lived in North Korea and flew across the river to South Korea whenever she liked to get some food or look for sticks in a new place, going and coming freely. How many older Koreans with siblings and cousins across the divide can only dream of that for themselves and their families. May God grant it in their lifetimes.

Our pension was on the other side of the island, so it took a little while by bus to get there, but it was very quaint and comfy, in the slightly tacky way of every pension-y place I've been to here so far. We played Dutch Blitz, and Phase 10 and Banagrams, which I lost, but was pretty pumped to be able to play the words "pidgeons" and "prenatal." We slept in pretty late the next morning, which was of course glorious, and then the pension owner gave us a ride to the rocky beach area next to the bus stop we were headed to. The weather was very overcast, and it was a little windy, so the rocky beach was putting me in mind of visit to Cramond island in Scotland. Wild places everywhere have a taste of each other.

While on the rock beach just enjoying some nature without frills or loudspeakers, we were talking about how it was being a kid and how we feel nostaligic for it. Sarah mentioned that she wished she could experience life like a child does, which is to simply do and not think about experiencing it. So many times as adults, we have marvelous moments, just as marvelous as ones that we had as children, but unlike our childhood moments, we are aware of how special they are. We make a mental note to treasure them, to savor them. Not that doing that is wrong or not important, but sometimes it can seem like you're taking pictures all the time and forgetting to look out from behind the camera and just see it as it is. I hope I can do that more this year.

We arrived at the old Anglican church just as the rain started to come down hard. It was built in 1900 and is one of the oldest in Korea. It is also one of the only churches I have seen so far built in a traditional Korean style, with the beautiful red and turquoise wood and concave roof. I was talking with Karen later about it, and she mentioned how it seemed that older church traditions, like Anglicanism and Catholocism seem to often times do a better job of taking on the architecture of the countries and areas where they are present. Probably because those faith styles traditionally have taken the space or building used for services into account as an important part of the worship experience, thus building in such a way as to communicate the importance of the place to the people who will worship there. We weren't able to go inside the church at the time we visited, but someday I would like to go there on a Sunday morning.

So, it was a fantastic vacation! I feel very refreshed, ready to finish off the Connexus month well.

Community News:

* This month is our first month of doing the report cards on the computer! huzzah to digitalization.

* We're also hoping to begin discussions about adding an enrichment month into the curriculum year to help the kids who are struggling have a time for review and give the kids who are doing well a chance to do some new and fun projects.

* We are starting the process of interviewing new teachers! Only problem is...there aren't many applicants. If you know anyone interested, or you are interested yourself, contact me!

Quotes from the Community:

"My face is so close to my face."--Kate experiences the last-elevator-down squish next to the mirror.

Yoonseo: "Did you finish that Uptown Girl thing?"
Me: "Downton Abbey?"

Yoonseo: "I think Yongjin got more handsome after drinking American water."
Yongjin: "I did drink a lot of water."

Thanks for reading!


  1. These community quotes never cease to bring me the giggles :) Miss you B'yabs!

  2. Okay, so I was watching Downton yesterday and I thought, on several occasions throughout, that I want to take a picture of you downtown somewhere and then label it DownTown Abby. hahaha...yes I did crack myself up every time.