March 22nd 2009- The journey begins
Spring break is finally here! After a great 3rd quarter at school, school is pau and I am on a plane to Korea via Tokyo, Japan.
The plane is one of the newer models with an upper deck. It is interesting because all the information is in Japenese.
How it all started....
After much prayer of what to do for spring break, I contacted Titus and Steph in Ecuador. They didn't need help so I contacted Wendy in Uijongbu to see if they needed help. She invited me to come and serve with them at the International Christian School in Uijongbu.
It is only my first day in Korea and I am already behind with journaling. Due to a cargo plane blowing up at Narita airport in Japan all flights were rerouted to Haneda and then on to Gimpo, Korea. The problem was that Wendy was picking me at a different airport and trying to call her was kind of crazy. Ended up getting into Uijongbu to Wendy's house about midnight. I was feeling very tired from being up almost 20 hours. I slept like a baby only waking once wondering what time it was and then forcing myself back to sleep. Woke up at 6:45am to spend quiet time. (Read Ruth 1-4)
What seemed like an impossible situation for Naomi ended up blessing, redeeming, glorifying, and ultimately bringing our redeemer into existence. Pretty cool.
At 8am Wendy, the children and I headed to ICS where I taught chapel to ~100 children K-5th grade and the ACSI accreditation team. Wendy took me around the campus to see the elementary classes and see how I could help over the next 2 weeks.
Walked back to the apartment and talked story with Wendy while Abby and Ben took naps. The children do really well playing independently even though Abby is 2 1/2 and Ben just made 1.
Mid afternoon we went and I exchanged some $ at the military base. Once we got back to the house I emailed mom and dad and it started snowing!!! First time I had seen snow in years.
At the moment I am watching Abby and Ben while Randy and Wendy go to Outback with the accreditation team. Everybody is in their pj's watching ice skating (or ice dancing as Abby says) and playing toys.
*The houses here are only heated by the floor. No central heat! Korean's keep their houses so hot that the apartment above and below radiate heat to keep this apt. warm.
Took the subway up to Camp Casey to have Bible Study with Rebekah. Camp Casey is about 25 miles from the N. Korean border. Ate lunch at Burger King on base then rode the subway and walked back to the apartment. Once we got back Ben and Abby were asleep and I decided to lay down to rest. I ended up sleeping until 4:15pm. I think the jet lag is finally kicking in. THe evening was not very exciting... had dinner... watched tv and talked story.
Mob of children- While at the museum I came out of the bathroom and there sat Wendy surrounded by 20+ Korean school children looking at Ben and Abby!
Today was a very fun day filled with surprises. Woke up and did my devotions. Just happened to look out the window thinking it was raining but instead it was pouring down SNOW! Like a kid in a candy store, I was dancing around so excited. We bundled Abby and Ben up, hopped on the bus and went to the train station. Rode on the subway for ~45 minutes to get to the War Memorial Museum. Spent several hours there exploring. Loved learning about the history of Korea. Maybe I should have been a history major in college (or at least have taken a couple of history classes). It blows me away how far North we have gone and are still "safe". But about 38 degrees latitude it is very hostile. Wendy informed me that I could be going into the DMZ with the accreditation team tomorrow. Oh how interesting that would have been.
After leaving the War Memorial we went to Itaowan to get Starbucks. The weather by now is in the 40's and sunny. Bought 4 pairs of socks for 7,000 won. Great deal as this is where these socks are made! Had lunch at this pita place that was really yummy.
Walked and window shopped. Passes Hard Rock Cafe and the ICS school down in Seoul. Impressive!
Jumped back on the subway and headed home. We weren't home very long when we had to drop Abby and Ben off at Jennifer's and head to church. After church about 10 of us went to the meat buffet for Wendy's b-day. What a great day!!
Took the subway down to Gyeongbokgung Palace. Got there just in time to see the changing of the guard. Walked around there. God gave us an absolutely amazing day filled with blue skys and warm weather (still in the low 40's). When we finished at the palace, Abby and I walked around the Folk Museum while Wendy and Ben sat in the lobby letting Ben get wiggles out. From there we walked to get lunch at McDonalds. 5,000 won for a chicken sandwich, fries, drink, and sundae! Took lunch with us while Abby and Ben slept and headed to the subway. While there we had to wait for the train so I went in the book store and got "Love you forever" in Korean for 7500 won. Caught the subway back to Wendy's. While Wendy was to have tutoring I took the kids to get strawberries (10,000 won) for ~ 2.5 kilos. Fresh from the field. And then went to watch the middle school volleyball team practice. Came back with the kids. Had speghetti pie for dinner. Ben had his first haircut. Cleaned the house. Watched some volleyball. And now I am headed to bed. Early day tomorrow!
Today was a super early morning that started at 6am. We caught the school bus with the volley ball team to Suwan. After 1.5hours on the bus we got to GSIS where the kids were going to play ball. Wendy and I caught a cab to the Korean Folk village. Kinda like the Old Salem of Korea.
Seeing how the different classes of people lived is amazing. Very interesting way of life. The farmer's dance was my favorite by far. Loved the colors and the hats!
After the performance we left to find a cab to take us back to GSIS. Explaining it to the cab driver took us awhile but eventually figured it out. Got to see the last game. The middle school teams won all their games today which was great. Hopped back on the bus and travelled back to school. Once we walked back to the apartment, I rested to get rid of my headache. Then Wendy had to print something off at school so we started walking down when we ran into Annalisa, Lydia, and Dawn. We ended up going to eat dinner with them at the Chinese resteraunt. Great evening filled with fellowship and food!
I wonder.... It seems like there are so many single women here on the mission field. Many of whom desire to be married. I know I am in that same boat but it just seems like there are so many women serving on the mission field. Where are all the single men??? Maybe all the single women don't have the desire to be married but all of these ladies have hearts for you and they have the desire to be married. I wonder sometimes what is the reason!
Caught the van to church. Wendy taught Sunday school from the Tabernacle by Beth Moore. Church was great. It is amazing how God's people are truly all over the world. After church the women of the church had their secret sister lunch. I really enjoyed getting to knoww Minnie (the Pastor's wife) and several of the ICS teachers that I hadn't met earlier. One lady, Libby, from Floriday travels around with ACSI teaching classes to help seniors transition from high school overseas to a US university. She has been to Christian schools all over the world. Enjoy chatting with her and she encouraged me to become an adminstrator at an international school. Hmmmm... something to pray about. After the lunch, Libby, Wendy, and I dropped the children off with Jennifer and headed to Inacdong to do some shopping. Did most of my souvenier shoppoing. Lots of little shops on both sides of the road. I was amazed at all the tea sets. Some of the prices weren't too bad... others were outrageous! Ate McDonalds for dinner... got 1/2 way through my chicken sandwich and realized the middle was pink! Argh! I really pray that I don't get food poisoning on top of the head cold I am coming down with. Took the subway home and got home around 10pm! Long day!
Monday, March 30th
Got up today feeling very yucky. This is the beginning of a not fun Korean cold... went to the National History Museum. Everybody is moving slow. I think we might have overdone it last night. Saw the entire museum in under 2 hours. We weren't reading everything! Took a taxi with 2 sleeping children to Itaewon for Pita's at the Greek restaurant. Then Wendy had to get a water bottle for Randy and headed back to Noyong station cutting our time very close! We had to call Randy to come get us from the subway and drop me off at school. I got to school at 1:30 and had to start teaching hula to the 4th and 5th graders at 2pm. After a rambunctious group of 4th and 5th graders. I taught a Hawaiian themed CLAP... Hula, leis, picture. The 40 children we had were so full of energy and I was running out of energy. Walked home at 4:15pm. Wendy was cutting up strawberries to make a strawberry pie. Wendy gave me the job of making a strawberry crumble as the strawberries were a little over ripe. Had enchiladas for dinner. Randy and Kristin had Korean lessons while Wendy and I watched Biggest Loser... then ate strawberry crumble! Very yummy!
Tuesday, March 31st
I had to go do chapel for the elementary children. I was running a fever and feeling pretty yucky but managed to go through the resurrection eggs and old Makana. The kids and staff seemed to really enjoy it.
I learned today that living in Seoul is like smoking 4 packs of cigarettes a day. No wonder I am so not feeling well.
Came home from chapel and laid down and besides getting up 2 times to use the bathroom and get water I didn't get out of bed until 10 the next morning.