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!


wfi said...

I'm looking forward to those pictures you promise. It is delightful to read about your doings. The picture with this post is great!

But what's the meaning of fire and fluid? Did I miss something? Sorry.

Kiki said...

I just love that you have this connection with catfish! That is sooo cool! Is there anything like that for Kiki or Kirsten?
Love you!!!