Tuesday, February 12, 2008

My Little Corner of the World

So, this is really for the benefit of a friend who wants to know what my apt. looks like (you know who you are) but you all can enjoy it. There are inside jokes, zoom-ins and points because I was videoing with this person in mind. But, anyway, here you have it...my apartment in South Korea...

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Time for Lunar

I'm soon discovering how different holidays over here truly are. Take Christmas for example. On Christmas day, me and my friends could walk down the street and eat at pretty much any restaurant along the way...they were all open, regular hours, no biggie. But now we're in the midst of the Lunar holiday. Yup, just 3 weeks after having Christmas break, we have another break for this holiday. We are leaving the year of the pig and entering the year of the rat. As a result of this immensely celebrated holiday, pretty much everything will be closed this Thursday. Is this just because the New Year is more popular and Christmas isn't. Well I have to remember that I'm in a society where Christianity isn't the religion of the majority or even close to it. We have Buddhism to contend with and plenty other beliefs. It's only natural that New Year, a completely secular, traditional and deep-rooted holiday would be a bigger deal than Christmas, the day of our Lord's birth...

While I won't be participating in any Lunar celebrations (goodness knows I wouldn't even know how to celebrate ushering in the Year of the Rat) I do appreciate the week off of work I'm getting. So far it's consisted of partaking in American food at Bennigan's, a Mexican fiesta night with friends, waffle fest, Gilmore Girls, movies and best of all...a trip to Seoul.

Seoul has a population of over 10 million people. Needless to say, it's a big place. We took the 50 minute train ride to the city and visited an area around the US Military base which had, hold your breath, a COLDSTONE CREAMERY!!! I was simply on cloud 9. From there we went to an artsy, cultural shopping center so we could buy a bunch of Korean stuff. I was surrounded by American tourists who couldn't communicate at all with the Korean shop owners at all. I helped out a few with some Korean language hurdles and found myself not feeling like a tourist at all...I felt like I belonged there. It was truly a strange feeling. After that, we headed to a downtown area with tons of shopping, a GAP (which was super expensive thanks to import taxes) and, you ready, another COLDSTONE. Those who truly know me should know that it wouldn't be past me to visit that beloved ice cream place twice in one day. And that's just what I did. All in all, I'm a fan of Seoul. The fast-paced city, the sights, the sounds, it was a great place to visit.

Then we went back to good, ole' Daejeon, population 1.5 million. It felt like a small town in comparison. I felt like I was (dare I say) back home. When talking to the foreign staff here at TCIS, they always refer to their native country as their "home". I have several friends who went "home" to the states over Lunar break. But if the old adage is true, if home really is where the heart is then where would that place my heart? I want to pour all I have into these kids, into this culture, into this ministry. If my heart isn't here, what will I have to give (sorry, Mom and Dad if you're reading this. It has no affect on how I feel about old Green Bay or being with you...it's just part of growing up). I still haven't been able to call this place home (not out loud at least) but I know that it's a necessary step into fully "being present" in this ministry.

One final note: I'll be back in the states from June 8th through August 1st. I'm pretty excited...I hope you are too! Thanks for reading.