Monday, December 29, 2008

Annyong to the year of the rat.

So December was a really busy month... I am sure that I don't need to tell you that! Busy for everyone me thinks it was.

We had lots of crazy special days for the kids, including a field trip and a visit from Santa. In January one of our teachers will be on vacation for the whole month so its going to be REALLY busy. But once he comes back things will be good (i hope).

This being my first Christmas away from Mum and Dad and Kiki, things went really well considering. I had about 8 friends over to my apartment and we ate good food and drank good wine (well some good wine... and few bottles of bad wine) and had a gift exchange. Between meals we took a walk around the lake and sang carols. It was really nice. Although part of me wondered if I should have spent this Christmas alone (considering that it might be my only chance to ever spend such a communal holiday by myself). But perhaps I will get another chance some other time. We shall see.

I have the next week off of work and will spend it making art, seeing some parts of Seoul that I have yet to explore, stretching, reading and relaxing. I am hoping that it will be restful enough that I will want to go back to work on the 5th.

I went snowboarding this last weekend in the North east of South Korea. It was really fun. A good reminder that I can in fact snowboard should I ever want to, but also good reminder that there are other more fun and less expensive ways to enjoy the snow ;).

I hope every ones Christmas was wonderful and I would love to hear a little bit about what has been happening with yall!

Here's to a new and exciting year of the Ox! Have a great NEW Years! And happy Holy Daze!

All my love, prayers and good vibrations!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

For the birds!

This one is for the birds.... don't ask me why. It just is.

So things are moving faster than I had thought they would. It is getting colder everyday. Thanksgiving was wonderful. We had a banquet on the Army Base so I was on American soil (technically speaking) for it which was nice.

I have been thinking a lot about death lately. Not in a morbid way but more in that it is one of the most powerful commonalities that all humans share. I feel more part of the universe when I think about the fact that some day not to long from now I will die, and so will everyone else, and so has everyone who has ever lived!!! For me, it has been a freeing exercise.

I am loving life! Excited about the winter. I am getting ready to hibernate and delve deeply into the mysteries of every moment.

Thank you all for your comments and for your thoughts and prayers! I love you and am wishing you all the very best that this time can bring you.

And by popular demand here are some pictures of Halloween, Fall and my Hair!


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Korean Monkey's sing "Kiki Kiki"

This entry is dedicated to my beloved sister and friend who is helping making the world a better place. For everyones edification and entertainment, you may like to know that in Korean Monkeys say "kiki kiki" which is interesting because Kirsten has a strange kinship with the creatures (and it happens to be the name I GAVE HER when I we were wee ones).

So its been a while.... and I have been pretty busy. Unfortunately it is not the sort of busy that is worth writing much about, other wise this entry would be quite a bit longer. So I have just been living life, going to work, walking around my lake in the mornings, teaching the kids (which I am getting better and better at every time in make a mistake, which is about ever half hour).

The weather has turned. It is Officially freezing. And I am not just using that word. I see peoples frozen spit wads all over the streets. The pond is starting to get a ring of glass around the shore, and it might snow tonight (although they said that last night too and it didn't).

I have been meeting tons of really wonderful people. I have a small group of friends who go to this little bar a few blocks away from my house every Wednesday night. People come and just get up and jam on all the instruments that are just there for people to play. We dominated the group with our tambourine skills.
I am going to a Thanksgiving dinner with my church on the 23rd. It will be held at the American army base, and should be wonderful. I cant wait to stuff myself. I feel like I have an excuse now to eat more pie and ice cream... its called survival! I will send you all more recent pictures soon but until I get those down loaded please look these over and leave me a comment about and how greco-roman architecture was based on the roman basilica!

I love you all!

Our God really is a consuming Fire. Glory be to Her name!

PS... It just started snowing!!!! YEAH!!! hehehehee!

Monday, October 20, 2008

허박 살라애요- I love Pumpkins

So it is half way though October.... and I can hardly believe how fast time flies!! I will try to get some more pictures up as soon as I can get them all uploaded.

Last weekend we went to the DMZ (demilitarized zone, between North and South Korea). It was beautiful and untouched but a little odd at the same time. There were these big cartoon signs warning people of boobie traps and stuff... and all these military men with machine guns all smiles and waving.

I have been doing really well and am really happy here. I have been meeting lots of really nice people and feel quite at home in my apartment... even though I miss everyone somethin awful. Please email me and let me know how yall are doing!

Here are a few more pictures from the field trip and one of the weird cartoon characters at the DMZ.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

<3 <3 <3

Here are some pictures!

I am not sure how to put text next to the picture....hehe I feel stupid! But here is a little "key" for the above photos:

1) Field trip day with the kids.
2) Bathroom at the tea house we went to! CRAZY!
3) More Field trip day!
4) Really cool band we saw which combineds traditional Korean instruments and rockinroll!
5) The kids on Chusoek.
6)" "

Saturday, September 27, 2008

For my Mummy part II

Here is the second instalment of my blog dedicated to my dearest, devoted Mummy! Why? Because she is my mother, I love her ;).

So it is nearing the end of September and Autumn is definitely aknockin at the door. The weather turned COLD literally overnight. Twenty four hours ago I was wearing shorts and a singlet. I am wearing a black sweater right now.

I think that I am ready for the cold though. Its just part of the reality of the way things are and I am going to have to learn how to like, nay, love it.

So any way lots to catch up on.

I have recently started tutoring for two lovely ladies and their children. The Mother of one of the boys i teach (her name is Mi Jin which means beautiful truth) is helping me learn Korean for about an hour before i start to tutor. It has been wonderful getting to know them and hanging out with them and their kids. After tutoring we went to this area about an hour north of Seoul. It is a small artist community with all these galleries and little cafes. All the buildings are done in this earthy, modern, constructivist style with wood and concrete and angles. It was really beautiful. Clara (one of the women I tutor for) her son had a piece of art displayed at this one gallery for a kids art show thing. The show was dedicated to the Dok Doo Island controversy. This Island is still being fought over by Japan and Korea. Korea says its their land... Japan says its theirs.... why do they both want it? Good question, probably because the other country does too. Any way there was a bunch of food and playdo and you do printmaking if you wanted. They also had a bunch of drummers there doing a great drumming performance. It was really fun. I got stared at a lot....

Then the week went by pretty quickly. We are going to be putting on a little concert for the parents in the next few months. I am in charge of the 4/5 year olds which will be .... interesting. I am not sure what we to do but it will have to be at least 30 mins long. I have been enjoying teaching more and more. The School I am at, Guri Wonderland, is great! I am really happy there, they have been taking great care of me. One of the Korean teachers, Yuri, is going to stay late after school on Tuesdays to help me with my Korean which is so so nice.

Yesterday was Saturday and after language class Alicia and I went to Insadong (the old town of Seoul) and met up with a friend of hers from Australia. We had tea at this place called "The Old Tea Shop" and i nearly cried the place was so beautiful. It was all ornate wood furniture and little cushions the tables were big porcelain bowls filled with gold fish and covered in glass. The best part was the birds the just flew free around the room. A little canary came and sang to us for a long time.

I continue to look forward to fall, and am learning every day. My schedule here has almost become monastic in some ways. I wake up at 5:45, walk around the lake for a bit, have breakfast read the bible, meditate, go to work, come home, study Korean, read the bible and meditate and go to bed. I had no intention of things being so... I don't know... devotional in nature, but I have the time and its really the only thing that I feel like doing. I have been making sure that I go out and met with people at least part of the time. And if there is a day I don't feel like doing my monastic thing, i don't. But most of the time I want to which is such a blessing. I have been praying for God to teach me to pray. I feel really healthy and happy, and know that I will learn in time.

Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers! I love you all so so much. Here is a quote compliments of my dearest devoted Mother:

'When you love somebody, your eyelashes go up and down and little stars come
out of you.'
Karen - age 7

I am all eyelashes and stars for yall!

Miss Maggie Iba

Monday, September 15, 2008

For my Mummy

Here is a truly quick one, just to let yall know that there are more pictures on the way. This last weekend was Chuseok, which is a combination of Thanksgiving and Christmas here in Korea. It was wonderful and I climbed a Mountain... that was the high point I would say. Thank you all so much for your thoughts and prayers. Please continue to keep me in them over the next few weeks. I love and miss you all soo soo much!

Here is a wonderful quote compliments of my dear friend Clementine.

"A man needs to travel. By his own means, not by stories, images,books or TV. By his own, with his eyes and feet, to understand what he is. To some day plant his own trees and give them some value. To know the cold to enjoy the heat. To feel the distance and lack of shelter to be well under his own ceiling. A man needs to travel to places he doesn't know to break this arrogance that makes us see the world as we imagine it, and not simply as it is or may be. That makes us teachers and doctors of what we have never seen, when we should just be learners, and simply go see it." - Amyr Klink

God be always with you.

Miss Mags

Thursday, September 4, 2008

For My Dear Pappa.


Here is a quickish post because my Pa said that he checks my blog everyday even though there has been nothing new for weeks. I love you Mum and Daddio and miss you so so much.

So today I have been in Korea for 5 weeks exactly. It seems like its been exactly that long too. I have been working on the language a little bit everyday and am feeling more and more confident that I will not suffer the same fate as countless other English teachers who end their year in Korea with not much of a handle on Korean.

We started a new semester in September which is really good because I needed a fresh start just to get myself oriented. We have gotten new books and new materials which is nice and I am in charge of "Arts and Crafts". I am starting to feel like the two things that I thought I would never do, teaching and art, could actually be a fun way to make a living (like I might actually enjoy teaching art!!! go figure). Granted I would need students who understand a little more of what I am saying. I find myself wanting to discuss things like asymmetry and how contrast can draw the eye towards the most essential aspect of a composition.... and then I remember I lost the lot of them at "Today we are going to learn..."

I have been reading a lot (I am running out of books by the by so please if you want to send me something hint*hint* send me a really good book). So thats been great and there is a beautiful little lake and park 5 mins away from my apartment. I have been taking walks around it every morning and It has been such a gift. There are always heaps of older ladies and gents taking their little baby grandchildren around and its just about the cutest thing ever. I am starting to recognize some of the ladies and I try to say hello to them ever time I see them. Once I get a little more Korean down I will try to start some conversations.

One thing that I have noticed here is that Senior citizens are much more involved in the raising of children. I often see Grandparents and Fathers with babies more than I do Moms. Also, people here are much much more comfortable with physical contact, and I mean that in the best possible way. Ladies will walk down the street with their friends holding hands and it is very natural and there is not even a question as to whether they are homosexual or not. Its just the way it is. I will constantly see business men in these grey suits, arm in arm, or with their fingers interlaced, and I think, "Golly, Americans really should get more comfortable with friendly physical contact". Its not good for a persons physical contact to be almost strictly romantic in my opinion. I think in America, business men should start holding hands more....

I am going to start meeting with a Korean fellow that I meet through this language exchange website. I am excited to start sitting down with someone and learning some more applicable things. I am a little worried that this is also kind of like an unspoken-possible-dating-thing too... so be praying for me that things with be educational, fun, friendly and strictly platonic... ya know?!

I love you all so so much am thinking of you. Please shoot me a email if you have the time, and let me know how life is faring.

May God shower you with every blessing and may She give you the strength to receive them all. May His love enfold you and ignite you. Our God is a consuming fire.

All my love,


That is my name in Korean!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

All good things...

So here is just a quick one with some more pictures. My computer has decided to crap out on me... and while this bites the big one no doubt about it, my wonderful friend Alicia has graciously allowed me to use her machine until I can get things sorted.

Teaching has been getting better and better. I feel like I am starting to really connect with the kids and get them excited about what we are learning. I am falling in love with 100 Korean children and its wonderful.

This Friday we had a teachers meeting followed by a huge Korean BBQ style dinner, after which we went to something called a Jin Jill Bang. This is basically a huge spa that is opened to anyone who wants to come, for only 5,000 won (5 $) and there are all these different rooms, each with a different theme. Some are covered in rose quartz and heated to 100 degrees, others have various degrees of hotness and have different therapeutic roots and barks in them. There are also ice rooms with crystal stalactites hanging from the ceiling. You can buy drinks or snacks (steamed and smoked eggs that are cooked using the rooms themselves) and it is opened 24 hours a day. So you can sleep there if you don't want to pay for a hotel room (that is of course if you can sleep because there are a lot of people and families with kids... and well its not the most conducive environment for a good nights rest, but super cheap).

Please keep me in your prayers this coming week as I am feeling a little tired and bleeehhhh.....
May God place his hand on you and encircle you in the coming weeks.

Love and Peace and Strength to you.


Saturday, August 16, 2008

Fluid and Fire


So I am now nearing three weeks into my sojourn here in Korea. I am having an excellent time. Alicia, the other teacher from Australia, has become a wonderful friend and great traveling companion. I have not had any intense culture shock, and I feel extremely safe and at home here already.

The 15th is Korean Independence Day from the oppression of the Japanese in the early 1900s. So on Thursday after school one of the Korea teachers took us to this free out door music concert at Seoul station, which is right in the middle of the city. There was a full orchestra, a beautiful opera singer and then some traditional Korean drummers that came out near the end and played with the orchestra. The result was this wonderful refined, tribal-fusion-thing. At the end they had a fireworks show that was amazing because we got to sit right near the front.

Then on Friday, our day off, Alicia and I went to Myeng-Dong. This is the site of the Myeng-Dong Cathedral, which is the first redbrick building built in Korea (c.1898). It is an Anglican Cathedral and is Gothic in its architecture, but the grounds and ornamentation have a minimal-Zen-type feel to it. It was lovely. It also happened that this part of the city had a ton of really high end stores and shops and was absolutely PACKED with people.

Once we were able to swim/fight our way out of the crowds we saw this green mountainous area ahead and I was like let’s head for that. And so it happened that we stumbled upon Seoul Park. This is the most beautiful, lush, and totally undeveloped area that I have ever seen in the middle of a city. We hiked around the paths, which are dotted with shrines and monuments, amidst the maples and chestnut trees. These beautiful green and blue birds where making nests and singing and an oil painted butterfly came and kissed me on the shoulder and the forehead. It was magic. I felt like I could breathe deep for the first time in weeks.

After that we made our way to Haongik University, which is a very chic, college hipster area. There is an Art Fringe festival happening in Seoul for the next week so we tried to find it… but alas, we were unsuccessful in that department. Instead we got to see all the hipsters in their coffee shops and groovy bars, and also a little trio band playing in the subway underground.

Saturday was our language class…. Pluggin away at that still, I need to find someone to do a language exchange with.

Teaching has been going well. I feel more confident with the kids and have been laying the law down big time over the past week (just so they know who is boss) but they are really cute even when they are brats. A few of the kids has started calling me Oma (mummy) and will not leave me alone. They are climbing all over me kissing me, grabbing at me all day. It is worse than a night club…but way more fun and endearing. Another funny aside I am not sure I included in my last post; my name, Maggie, sounds quite similar to the Korean word Megi, which means Catfish. The kids get such a kick out of it. I have sort of embraced it as my symbol. I draw a little cat face with fins and a long fish tail on the board and the kids just love it. It’s an interesting metaphor as well for what I am attempting here, to be both feline and fire and fluid all at once. Go me!

There will be more pictures to come! Please email me and let me know how you all have been doing. I am starting to feel like I am just sending these posts out into outer space. I would love to hear about how life is going for you wherever you might be. Thank you for your prayers and please continue to keep me in them, specifically about the language...

And so to Him who is able to do more that we can ask or even imagine, through His spirit and power which is at work within us, to Him be glory and honor, and may He bless you and keep you, both now and forever.

All my love

Catfish teacher!