I know I've already been here for almost 2 months, but I figured better late than never. I want this first entry to be about my first impressions and what I've learned so far.
When I first got off the plane there was a cute little man holding a sign with my name misspelled on it. I smiled took a deep breath and said to myself, "this is home". The man turned out to be a taxi driver that spoke no English. I followed him to the curb where he promptly lit a cigarette and kindly offered me one. I declined. Once we were on our way I noticed the beautiful landscapes. The mountains here are green and beautiful. I liken them to Hawaiian mountains. I offered the driver a piece of gum and he accepted... my first Korean friend. :-) It took about 45 minutes to get to Seoul and I thoroughly enjoyed the ride. There was quite a bit of traffic in the city, but I didn't mind. Once I got to my school I met my director, Mike, and he and I went to my temporary residence called Coco Residence. I was on the 4th floor and there was no elevator so Mike and I got a real workout moving my stuff up the stairs. I lived in a shoebox of a room that had a bed, desk and bathroom in a room about the size of a walk-in closet. It was also very hot and humid. After I dropped my stuff off I went back to my school to meet the other teachers and observe a class. I expected to have a little more training than I did. I literally observed one class and then the next day I taught 5 on my own. Pretty scary. But it worked out. I wasn't very good at it for about the first 2 weeks, but I like to think I've gotten much better. I mentioned that I was living in a temporary residence. It was because the teacher who's position I took over was living there for the remainder of the month, so I had to wait for him to leave before I could move in. After work some of the other foreign teachers took me to eat at a Korean restaurant. This was fun! I had to take my shoes off and we sat on the floor to eat. Also, they don't really use knives to cut meat with here, they use scissors. So they brought out the meat and cooked it on a small grill like thing in the middle of our table and then we ate. I'm still getting used to the food, it's spicy and pickled, it might take a while. But I did try most everything except kimchi. It looked like bloody gauze which I'm sorry if that's graphic, but just picture it and let me know if it's something you wanna bite right into. Also, I was not good at chopsticks, but I'm getting much better. Since my first day here, I've found an amazing church that loves Jesus and loves missions and loves people. I've visited a palace and a museum. I've gone to two protests, not always intentionally. I've navigated subways and buses, not as hard as you would think. I've located Outback Steakhouse, Hard Rock Cafe, TGI Friday's McDonalds, Subway, Popeyes, KFC, Burger King, Baskin Robbins, Coldstone Creamery and 2 Mexican Restaurants. I've walked miles and miles around this city just enjoying city life and I've played with beautiful children at an orphanage. God has shown me His faithfulness when I'm lonely and homesick. He's built friendships that are proving to be a comfort and He's provided a church where I truly feel at home. I am confidant that there is more growth and experience to come and I eagerly await the adventure. I know this post is long, and the rest won't be so if you made it this far, good job. Thank you so much everyone for your prayers. I know that the Lord has heard them and responded. I see His work here and I'm so honored to be a part of it.
I want to include some ways to be praying for this country at the end of each blog.
Pray for the young women of Korea. They are obsessed with their bodies and being thin. They will starve themselves to fit into an image of beauty that is empty. They are constantly worried about their hair and make up and they only wear name brand clothes. Pray that they will find truth in what beauty really is and that they will be secure in the bodies that were created for them.