Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Moving to America!

It is with great joy that we announce another of God's blessings to our life. He has provided us with a job in the grand old USA!

Not only is it in the United States of America but it will be in Tennessee!! Matthew will be working with a great school as a principal and teacher. It's a wonderful opportunity to grow and use the talents God has been equipping him with over these years.

It is a wonderful blessing that we can't even begin to express. We are excited to work for God and being in America and being closer to friends and family is a huge plus!

We've missed home so much that sometimes even our food starts to look like North America...

We have been going through our belongings here in Korea and sending some boxes home and throwing other things away. We are excited to think about having a place of our the country! The school is set in a beautiful small-ish town area and from what we can see there's more green and blue than concrete. And that's what we want to see!

Moving will be fun and exciting, even if it will be in the heat of a TN summer.

This is a picture of how Koreans move to and from apartments. There is none of this up and down the stairs nonsense, instead they put this lift thing to the window and you put your stuff on and down it goes. I told my students that I'd never seen anything like that and they were shocked. "You mean you carry it from your apartment?" they asked in horror. I explain about elevators but that yes, we carry things. It was funny.

There are a million reasons why we are glad to be going home but first and foremost is family. Family and then friends, but there are friends who are family so they all get bunched together: familyfriends. We won't be close to everyone but we'll be able to call and visit more often and that does our hearts good.

On a somewhat humorous side here are some other reasons we are happy to go home:

1) I've begun to like onions in my food. Now, don't get me wrong, I still don't like them in all things, but I like them much more than before. This tends to happen to me, every time I move somewhere I add a food item to the things I like to eat. PA: vegetables. TN: Lettuce. KR: Onions. Who'd of thought?

These pictures are to prove my sincerity of what I've said. I actually cooked these onions and used them in my baking! I want to personally thank Auntie Em for beginning this onion transition in Redbud 1. I give you full credit for this!

2) Shopping. Neither of us really love to shop but it would be nice to be able to go shopping, not get lost, and find things that fit us. We don't get lost very often but we don't shop that much either.

3)Fruit selling. Trucks like these come everyday in the afternoon. Sometimes we want to take a nap in the afternoon but the fruit selling trucks don't allow us that luxury. The trucks sell more than fruit, but usually it's fruit.

4) Cleaning of our apartment steps. So far the building has cleaned the stairways three times. Twice is like this video. One each apartment threw water out of our apartments and then we swept the water and dirt. The first time and the most recent one is where the top floor pours out tons and tons of water (from who knows where) and floods the stairwell. And then for at least a couple hours afterwards we have absolutely no water.

The following video shows what this is like, as well as a still picture. In our entry way there is about a three inch section that is lower than the rest of our house, this is for our shoes, but it was partially filled with water. This is some serious water usage.

5) Matthew has shown symptoms of becoming Korean. He has started to walk and speak like them. Observe the following video. You may not understand it but his walking has been affected.

Again on a serious note, we feel so blessed to be able to go home to a job. We ask that you pray for us as we prepare for this new season. We want to do God's will and be a blessing to others through Him.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Incheon Grand Park

On the drive back from English Village we noticed how beautiful the Cherry blossoms were and decided that since we had the rest of the day off we should go and see more at the Incheon Grand Park. We had never been there before and wanted to go. And Ruth and Cleo decided to join us!

On the way to the bus stop we passed Juin/Nameless park. It looks a lot better now doesn't it?

While we waited for the bus to come Matthew took advantage of the beautiful blossoms near the bus stop.

Soon we realized that something was wrong. We had been waiting a good while for our bus number to come, but it hadn't come.
Buses came...

And buses went.

But still ours did not arrive. So Cleo asked a lady and we were told that it no longer runs that route. Then we decided to take the subway. None of us had been there before by subway so it was a fun adventure.

As we waited for the train I was looking at the different advertisements and saw this one. I don't know what it's for, but it's creepy. Is someone dying? Are they drowning and that was their last attempt for hope? Or is it some monster coming from the sea to get us?

Either way, it was slightly disturbing and humorous.

This is our tough look. We were not about to be messed with again. The train had to come!
And it did! We took the train, got off, and then took a bus to the park. It was slightly overcast so the sky isn't that great for pictures but it was still beautiful.

Make the above picture bigger and check out the bee. It's legs are filled with pollen.

This picture reminds me of the hand ad. Scary...

There were three rocks and so we did and Olympic pose. America all the way!!

As we were leaving we saw this performance area and noticed that it was not Korean traditional music coming from the speakers and went to investigate!

We don't know what tribe they represented but it was really bizarre to see it in Korea. It felt as if I was being invaded in my Korean world by other foreigners!

Finally we went home to get much needed rest for the following day. We've taken a lot of nature pictures recently but it's been such a blessing to see.

Psalm 18:1-4
"The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.

Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they display knowledge.

There is no speech or language
where their voice is not heard.

Their voice goes out into all the earth,
their words to the ends of the world."

And truly nature speaks of the glory and majesty of God. Nature reveals God's character so magnificently. No matter where one is, nature speaks to us of its Creator. But I think, especially for us in the city, nature is speaking louder than ever.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Spring Teachers' Retreat (...workshop)

April 10th-13th was the second teachers' retreat we'd been to since coming to Korea. This one was mandatory and so there were a lot more teachers. On our way to the retreat we got to stop at Costco for lunch. This was a big deal, you see, because there they have American pizza and ice cream at a decent price and it's mmm mmm good.

The escalators here are great. They are made for people and carts. Since Costco is built on several floors the escalators are extra long. The sped up video above gives you an idea of how long.

This time for the retreat Matthew and I didn't have to sleep on bunk beds! Last teachers' retreat we had a room with four bunk beds and were supposed to share it with another couple. Luckily we didn't have another couple that time. However, this time we were to share an apartment with another couple, but we got our own bedroom, and no bunk beds! Instead we had "yo"s. I don't know how it's spelled but it sounds like "yo".

The "yo"s are the colorful mats and then they gave us tons of comforters and pillows. Much more than we needed.

The spring blossoms were opening up and we felt our lungs expand as we drank in the fresher air. This picture is of the apartments we stayed at during the retreat. They were very nice.

Here Matthew is taking advantage of all the cushion and relaxin'.

I made the bed and we sunk into the thick layers of bedding. It was really nice.

The apartments are named after birds, at least where we stayed. Other places have flower names, etc. In the following pictures Matthew will help you to understand the names by acting out.

We stayed in Turkey Vulture.

Our neighbors were in Laughing Gull. They probably got funnier over the weekend.

Most of our weekend was spent in meetings and seminars. The main speaker, Pastor Jim Park was a huge blessing. He is teaching at AIIS in the Philippines currently but is from the USA. This website Disciple Tree has more information about his ministry.

The seminars were to help unify and reorient us to different aspects of our program here. I think it was a good idea to have the seminars, but I still have to admit that I didn't want to sit through them all. =)

But there were a few spots where we could hang out and enjoy being with other teachers.

This is Kelly Ann and I Sabbath afternoon, just chillin' around waiting for supper.

There was this old Ford and just because its old and America I took a picture with it. I'm still partial to my beautiful Hyundai Elantra (made in Korea) back at home.

Saturday night a bunch of our orientation group, plus some new friends, got together to play games. The other couple that we stayed with, Daria and Bill, were from our orientation group and they'd brought Cranium and decided to invite people over.

We had so much fun. We stayed up late humming, drawing, molding clay, and guess random trivia.

These are some of our Term 5 orientation group. Term 5 was the best. Not that I'm biased or anything. Left to Right: Bill, Daria, Matt, Beth-Anne, Mary, Sarah, Will, Andy, Jazz, Makeeya, Zach, and Moises.

Sunday was the day that we had the largest time off. They were going to take a group hiking (the place we had hiked up part-way the first time) but we hadn't signed up. I was sad but thought it'd be okay. But God knew best and things were changed and so we got to go! The second best part was that instead of making us hike UP the trail, they drove us up so we could have more time at the top and let us walk down.

Matthew and I laughed when we recognized the spot we had stopped. We had been about 10 minutes walk from the top last time.

At the top is a Buddhist Temple. So on Easter Sunday most people went to church and we went to a Buddhist Temple.

There was actually an English (from England) monk there. He explain a few things about Buddhism and I found it interesting and yet very sad. He said that last time he spoke English was when the SDA group had been there six months ago. It's a very secluded and quiet lifestyle from what we saw.

Buddha's birthday is May 2nd so that's what the colorful lanterns are about.

One of the teachers asked the monk if when the people bow down to Buddha if they are worshiping or what exactly they are doing. The monk told us that they are meditating and that it's not so much bowing down to Buddha as bowing down to yourself. Buddhists believe each person can attain that high status of perfection and so in a sense they are bowing to themselves.

We were asked if we had any religion and so we said that we were Seventh-day Adventists. He said, "Ah, you are Christians." Then he said, "Jesus said, 'I am the way, the truth, and the life.' What we are trying to find out is, who is the 'I'. " Basically, the "I" could be you or me.

The quietness of the place, with the wind blowing the chimes attached to the temple made it seem surreal.

It was incredibly sad to think that all you have is yourself to become perfect. I praise God that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life.

On our walk down we were able to walk with Harry and Connie, the teachers who use to teach at Incheon before we did. We had some really great spiritual talks with them. We talked about nature, our students, home, city/country life and all types of things.

Cleopatra, our coordinator says that we are a younger version of Harry and Connie. =) So it's no surprise when Harry saw a pool of water and commented about jumping in it. Matthew too eagerly looked at the water

As Matthew says, "We only live once

Don't worry mothers, he did check the depth with a long stick before he jumped in.

I love Matthew's adventurous spirit.

As we continued to walk and talk we were inspired and blessed to see spring: God's handiwork.

We new that being in the city wasn't what we wanted but being out in the mountain and seeing the beauty of nature and speaking about how amazing God is filled our souls in indescribable ways.

All too soon we were at the end of the trail and had to wait to be picked up to go back to English Village.

These rocks and others like them are made from people building up wishes. Each rock is a wish. You pile them up as you wish for things. These were fairly small but some are much taller, as you saw in the pictures above.

This is the statue at the beginning of the trail.

I want to write the feeling we had as we arrived back at English Village but I am sure I won't do it justice. It was as if we had been through detox and all the toxins were out of our body. We felt free, light, euphoria, blissful, if we had experienced God. It was God's gift to us.

The hike was the best part of the weekend but soon we had to prepare to leave.

This is our blue van that we go places in and us packing ourselves in.

On the way back we stopped by Costco again for lunch =) and Matthew, still in the jumping mood, jumped over the road block.

And so concludes our last visit to English Village.