편안한 : pronounced pyeon-anhan.
Sunday November 6
Tonight I am comfortable. Listening to Jason Mraz on a rainy night at Cafe Muse. Studying 1st Thessalonians and reading about Thessaloniki and imagining what the city was like during Paul’s journey. A city lined with pristine beaches and designed with a rich landscape of knowledge, wealth, cultural exuberance, and societal views; a type of poshness to inhibit the port travelers to see beyond the nightly entertainment. Except a church, an urban garden in the scene of seduction and destruction, a city of people longing to escape the mass loneliness the world brought, seeking fulfillment, and finding the love and faith Paul taught and shared, and exposing it for miles around witnessing to those in the luxurious city of gambles.
I can only imagine if Lonely Planet of today named Thessaloniki one of the top 5 party destinations what the atmosphere would have been like ages ago… desires haven’t changed, sin hasn’t changed… Paul was sent to witness what the world had influenced and became close with followers.. When he departed he missed them and longed to see them again, he sent notes of encouragement and love, uplifting messages from God urging them to continue in their walk of faith; to be kind, patient; to love, to help, to encourage, to hold on to good, to avoid all evil; to be joyful always, and to pray.
As I was contemplating verse 4:11; I reflected upon my life prior to Korea, I won’t be able to go back to that life; I am pressing forward, preparing my heart and mind here in SK for what is next. Teaching terrifies me, I’ve never been one for getting up in front of people to explain how to do something, I always followed instructions quietly in the front of the room, but now I’m supposed to go to the inner city and teach? I have been eased into this being placed at a lower income school’s after school program with difficulties from a cunning principal and lack of funding that I am providing materials to my kids.
Who I am, who swore she’d never be a teacher? Now I’m preparing to do just that… The verse goes like this; live a life pleasing to God: for God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life; love each other, make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your hands so that in your daily life you may win the respect of outsiders, and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.
A quiet life.
I feel like I’m here to cleanse myself of past mistakes, but He doesn’t want us to spend our lives trying prove our love to people; for it only leads to worthlessness, when in fact we have already been accepted by Him; He has already forgiven our lack of faith and works trying to prove, we can’t be saved on our good works, but only by His grace alone.
We can’t all be Paul. God isn’t asking us to be like him. He is asking us to be us and he will reveal himself in different ways. We just need to ask that we wouldn’t miss this, and we would respond as Paul did- wholeheartedly, and grow a little in faith each day. *taken from part of Pastor Justin’s prayer* I really liked the way it was put…We aren’t being asked to be Paul…but use his response as an example of the need to follow His voice.
Monday November 7th
Today the school that my after school program is held at was having a festival so many kids didn’t show up to class. My second to last class we played mafia and no one showed up in my very last class so we left early! 🙂 Happy Monday to me!
There’s something cozy about taking your shoes off and sliding around on a wooden floor to sit down on a low table and eat noodles on a chilly fall night. Then heading to Cafe Bene and getting a walnut waffle with green tea and chocolate gelato and fruit on the side. Perfection.
|walnut waffles with chocolate and green tea gelato…and fruit|
Thursday November 10th– why can’t I feel something this time? so pathetic and apathetically trying to find some feeling this time, my my doubts so melancholy are invading my mind… (Tenth Avenue North)
Yesterday I met my new student. His name is Jack Sparrow. However, he had no idea that it was from the Pirates of the Caribbean, so I haven’t the slightest idea how he picked it. When I showed him the picture of Cpt. Jack Sparrow him and his friends thought it was COOL!
I GOT A PACKAGE TODAY!!!! I am so very blessed to have amazing friends. Dark chocolate and coffee among other things= a perfect package. Ah! The postman was probably slightly overwhelmed in my English excitement when he delivered it. And I found out I have a pretty sweet doorbell ring. Like my washer when it’s done, it sings to me. HaHa.
Skype date with my two lovely sisters. I love them so much. We say the best things which usually involves fits of giggles and me falling off my chair. We are doing a bible study over 1 Thessalonians through Redemption Church in Tempe…it’s something different for all 3 of us to be able to discuss on this level and to share what’s on our hearts.
My first Korean lesson with my co-teachers went great! I am actually really glad I am being taught rather than teaching myself. It’s definitely giving me a new perspective on teaching the younger kids. 🙂 I mean really how fair is it for me to expect them to know how to pronounce certain words, when I can barely say their alphabet. I am taking a step back and evaluate my patience.
The kids were naughty today. They made each other cry. Especially the boys. Sobbing tears and mean faces. I just stand there while my Korean co-teacher yells at them. It’s slightly awkward and uncomfortable. However, once the lesson begins it’s amusing to see them bond together while playing a game. But on this particular day, they didn’t want to do any of the work or say any of the words. Then it came time for them to repeat the chant and they couldn’t do it…so irritating when everything is explained to them, but they are too busy fooling around, then it comes time for homework and recitation and they can’t do it.
Yoga tonight and a glass of wine.
In a friend’s letter she challenged me with the following two questions…Has HE (God) led you astray elsewhere? Has it somehow always worked out?
I think it was my own desires leading me astray, it was my ignorance; not listening to God in the first place, but doing what I wanted to do. Knowing that I wanted to live and work abroad led me to South Korea. Before I knew it, it was too late to change my mind and I realized that I was going to have to trust Him if I was actually going to go through with this experience. Maybe deep down I knew I wasn’t strong enough to go abroad, but thought there was something I had to prove, to myself and to those I had told my dream to…I couldn’t back out…as I came across challenges and disappointments, God continued to love me and bring me back to him. Through all the trials He was the only thing that remained the same. It was then I fully knew He had an ultimate plan for me. He had placed the desire to go abroad in me; he knew I was originally pursuing it after personal gain; but instead brought me to a place that would glorify Him and use me to show love to the people I would encounter. Maybe not through words, but through my character-my actions-to show my heart.
I’m learning I don’t have anything to prove to anyone. God isn’t even looking for me to prove my love to Him. I wouldn’t be able to measure up. God is looking for my heart. He wants me to let him be my everything…with nothing to prove.
Friday November 11th— the lovely smell of Dunkin Donuts Pumpkin Spice Coffee fills my room.
In Korea, children are very important. Almost idolized according to my co-teacher. Decorated in the most fashionable clothes, given the best education to the point of sacrificing paychecks and occupying all the child’s free time, updated with the latest technology,and adorned in the marketing techniques to any excuse to celebrate them. And today is Pepero Day (빼빼로). A day for children. A candied cracker stick. 11/11- the sticks make the numbers…boxes and boxes of this candy were stacked high in Lotte Mart and the candy boxes themselves were placed in heart shapes, while banners advertising this hung from the ceiling. Each child is supposed to receive one box. I guess you can’t just pass out the sticks individually. But we did anyway.
|Pepero displays at Lotte Mart|
Part of me really wants to post this at 11/11/11 11:11. Make a wish! 🙂
Pepero Day is a Children’s version of Valentine’s Day- so we played games and watched movies. All day. Happy Friday. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pepero
The study today probed the question: What is it that receives your worship, drives your choices, and stirs your affections more than the one true God who saves you unto eternal life?
Sometimes I don’t pray before making choices and I make them for personal gain- to make myself look good, but usually when that happens I fail. My ideas are rejected or I exit the situation feeling empty or drained.
Do I make choices based on seeking approval from others. Do I make choices based on what will look good on paper? Do I make choices to attract certain people to me? Do I make choices that, according to the world, will bring me happiness and status? Do I say eloquent words to make my words sound better than the thought put into them? Do I crave my personal time for selfish reasons rather than using it to please God or to grow in my faith? Does spending time working on myself get more credit than worshiping the one who is already working through me? Does savoring deep moments bring me more satisfaction than worshiping God while in that mindset? Do I worship Him in every moment? Do I give thanks to Him? Do my affections towards others please Him or are they purely out of vanity? Does my genuine care towards people come out of love? Is it out of God’s love? Is my focus on wanting to learn more come out of wanting to be deserving of someone’s affections or is it to advance my knowledge to pursue God’s plan for my life?
I think about these questions I have posed to myself and find that though I pray for God’s direction and guidance in my life; many of my plans have been out of selfish desire rather than worshiping him and giving him the praise for the opportunities I have been presented. For rather than seeking the world’s affirmations I should instead give God all the glory and humble myself when praise is given or the world approves; that God’s will, not mine is done. That the idols I have placed on the desires of my heart will tumble down and my thoughts become pure- filled with love and devotion solely for the Father in heaven.
Saturday November 12th: clean socks and panties currently carpet my floor…gotta “love” not having a dryer, but love having heated floors!
What a gorgeous fall afternoon! Perfect for a lovely hike in Changwon. My co-teachers brought their two kids along. It was nice to be able to spend time outside of school with them and to enjoy the beautiful fall colors and fresh air!
|My co-teachers Sunny and Ashley, their adorable kids, and I|
Koreans are very into hiking. It’s like an event for them. Outfitted in the brightest stylish clothes, pants, shoes, and even walking sticks. Once down the mountain, there was this air hose to blow all the leaves and sticks off. I guess they use it in the winter too, to dry and dust the snow off their clothes. Such a fantastic idea. Brilliant. But you would have thought we would have gone miles on unpaved back roads… this hike was more of a quaint walk through the trees…nothing strenuous at all…maybe a few stepping stones up a slight incline and bridges to cross…leaves and a bit of mud…nothing like the horror of Camelback Mountain in AZ. 😉
When I arrived back to Jangyu I decided to take a walk by myself along the river. I saw the lights on of this restaurant that I had been wanting to try, so I ventured over. Ustavo- Asian Street Cuisine. Looked at the menu and it was in English. This makes me so happy- sometimes it’s awkward pointing to the food I want because they can’t understand my pronunciation or I don’t know the word. It was *probably* the best chicken curry and garlic naan I have ever had! So delicious. I had walked in on their opening night so they were offering complementary wine service. Happy 2 months to me in Korea- 2 months arriving is the 9th and 2 months teaching is the 15th. Then headed into Cafe Duomo to continue reading my new Nicholas Sparks book over hot chocolate. It was a lovely evening.
|yummy chicken curry and garlic naan|
Sunday November 13th
It’s strange to think of passing time. In brief moments time passes too quickly, or I find myself wishing time away. When I calculate time out I break my time in SK down into 3 month increments. My bible study with a friends end at my 6 month mark. The series study ends about Christmastime. How do you break down time? Do you live each day without looking ahead? Or do you look too far ahead knowing the time in between isn’t even guaranteed?
On to the horse park! A lady in my yoga class invited my yoga buddy and I to go with her and her family to a traditional Korean-style lunch and then spend the afternoon at the horse park. The food was delicious and the park, fun! It’s special to be able to spend time with a family. They made me feel so welcome. The daughter goes to boarding school (7th grade) in Busan, and both her and her brother speak English well! In their mother’s words- They are my masterpieces!
The horse park here is a family affair…little children everywhere! One of the cleanest places I have ever seen with horses. We moseyed around the “horsestory land”, a place of all countries, their horses, and entertainment. In the U.S. section it was a Saloon type building and Seabiscuit information displayed. I found a Nebraska sign! 🙂 See pictures below.
It’s definitely not like that in the U.S.! Almost a dangerous place for children…drinking, gambling…and dirt everywhere…
|at the Horse Park|
|My NEBRASKA SIGN!!!|
Tonight a group of us girls ventured to a Bean Curd Bar…we couldn’t really read the menu, but did our best to decipher a tofu salads and tofu soups…I just wish I knew the word for hot! What is it with me ordering cold noodle soup? It was really nice to hang out in a big group, another is going to join me for yoga and they want to start traveling together too; they have been here about the same time as me so it should be fun to explore!
|“So Megan, what did you take pictures of when you were in South Korea?” “Oh you know, just of all the food I ate and people’s hands. See those hands, that’s so and so from Texas, and the other’s are from New York.”|