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!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Do do dooo

Annyong hasay yo!!!

So here it is officially one week into my year sojourn in Korea. So far I must say that things are going great! The weather is absolutely delicious. Hot and humid and wonderful. It is supposed to rain this weekend which I am very excited about because if it does I plan on doing some hiking. There is a little park right outside our apartment building which has a little trail with trees, flowers and squash vines everywhere (my window over looks it too).

As far as teaching goes… well lets just say its work. I still have a lot to learn in terms of how to read a classroom and give them work that is challenging but not over their heads, and how to maintain discipline and respect while still having fun. The kids really are very sweet, and I have yet to have any major behavior problems (even though I have only been there not even quite five days so I should not be too surprised).

The school itself is very nice. It is on the 8th floor of this building (everything here is built up not out). All the teachers that I work with are really nice, both the English and Korean teachers, and they have been so helpful in getting me situated. We don’t get a lunch break, and instead we eat lunch with the kids. Each teacher is in charge of a classroom and our meals are prepared by this wonderful Korean Lady who is a stellar chef. Every day is a totally traditional Korean meal complete with Kimchi, rice and then usually two or three other dishes. Yesterday we had a dish that consisted of whole dehydrated anchovies (eyes, skin the works) in this sweet-savory chili sauce with walnuts. It was so good. I still have plenty of breaks through out the day because we don’t teach a class every period. The parents are also always bringing by treats for us.

I am pretty tired at the end of the day and my feet are starting to hurt a lot. We don’t wear shoes inside the school either. There is a shelf were you take your outside shoes off and put on slippers that you keep there at the school. Right now it’s pretty charming but I have a feeling I will be over it real soon. I need better arch support.

I am starting Korean classes this Saturday which I am very excited about. I have been able to pick up a few more vocab words since coming here but not being able to communicate with people is getting really annoying!!! So my goal is to be able to carry on a very basic exchange about food or myself with in the next 2 months or so.

Thank you all again for your prayers and good vibrations. Please continue to keep me in them. May the God of peace whose love passes all understanding be with you, and remain in you, wherever you might go.

All my love!

Miss Maggie

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Where ever you go, There He is.

Well Howdy, or Annyong hasayo!

This is a test/first entry so I am setting the bar low... there will be more to come, including pictures. I would also just like to state for the record that the word "blog" is dreadful and whoever made that word up should have to be called that forever and name their first born "blog" as well.

So I arrived in South Korea on Thursday the 31st of July. The first thing I saw were these little, perfectly formed, rounded mountains popping up out of the sea. I got there right around sunset so it was beautiful and the water was like a looking glass, all still and reflecting a pastel rubbed sky. It seems like everything here in smaller; the Mountains, the cars, even the ants are smaller (and reddish) .

My apartment is wonderful now. I should have taken pictures of what it looked like before I made friends and had my way with it, because I am pretty sure if I sent them in to "Flip-that-one-room-studio-with-nothing-but-bleach-and- determination" I would win. Its supper zen, I will try to get a photo up.

I have gone to the school that I will be working at and sort of gotten to know what everything looks like. It is called Wonderland and it is a private school that teaches English along with everything else. However we (as in the English teachers; of which there are four, two guys from England, a lovely little Aussie gal and me) only teach English. I will be in charge of the younger kids so we will see how things go! Monday I will be observing classes and then I will start teaching on Weds.

Tomorrow I am going to Church in a different part of Seoul with one of the other teachers Phil. I am quite excited and can't wait to see more of the City. Guri, which is the town I am in, is not truly part of Seoul, but it feels very urban. However there are lots of trees and we are surround by mountains. Its really beautiful... Its raining right now, and the weather is sticky hot, which I could not be more please about.

Thank you all for your prayers and please continue to keep me in them over the next couple weeks. I really want to learn the language and I am praying for an Acts 2:1-21 type of occurrence. Aside from that I want to be able to love the kids but be firm and discipline.

I Hope for wonder and joy to surround you all and go with you where ever you go (because there you are!)

All my Love