Category: bible study

Last week before October

Well, life’s clipping along at a solid pace now.  This will be my last post before the month-long insanity that is October ensues.  I’m going to be traveling every…single…weekend in October, and a few times during the week, too.  I’m already tired, just thinking about it.Anyway, I spent Saturday helping my friend Harry move across town.  That evening, we went to a dance performance called Miso II with a group of people from church.  The performance was incredible, and the company wonderful…it was very enjoyable.

The cast of Miso II

Sunday I sang again at church.  I went with a Korean named Sea-reum (Rachel) to the service.  She actually asked me if I wanted to go with her; it was really nice to spend some time with a Korean for once :).  After church we went out for lunch and, through a series of strange events, ended up in the field by the river’s edge with 2 of Anthony’s Korean students dancing the Merengue.  Such things just seem to happen in Korea, lol….

I started a Bible study within the English church.  This Wednesday was our first meeting.  We met in a cute little coffee shop near where I live; six people (including myself) showed up.  It was really nice to chill and talk about God and get to know other believers in a friendly, relaxed setting, and I’m looking forward to this addition to my schedule.

Friday night I had dance class again – this time it was East Coast Swing.  That was INSANE.  Even more so than Merengue.  You try getting over 50 giddy girls who don’t speak your language to do a rock step.  But they all had a blast – I got several hugs and lots of smiles and laughter, so I’m happy :).  Anthony helped me again, and again, I was thanking him profusely.  He’s such a good sport :).  After the dance, my teachers wanted to take us out to dinner, so the entire English department + Anthony went out to dinner.  “We will eat chicken,” my co-teacher told me.  “Lots of chicken.”  And that’s exactly what we did :).  After dinner, I was thinking that we would go home.  But no, it was time for round 2 – norebang!  All of us except Anthony went – he had somewhere else he had to go.  It was really funny seeing my outgoing and slightly inebriated co-teachers singing and dancing all over the norebang room.  So that was fun – I sang a couple of songs that I barely knew (the selection of American songs is not the largest, lol).  So after norebang, I was thinking that THEN we’d go home, right?  Wrong.  Time for round 3 – rounds of drinks at a bar!  I went along for the ride, but didn’t drink much…but my co-teachers all respect that I don’t like to drink, so they didn’t push it.  I was grateful for that.

Anyway, overall a good last week of September.  Gotta go for now – gotta finish packing for Jinju! 🙂

Life, love, archery, and exploration

Well orientation continues to clip along at an astonishing rate.  Now that Camp Fulbright is over, we’re back to workshops every afternoon.  This week’s workshops were mostly cultural workshops, although the one on Friday was a series of mini-workshops run by some of my fellow ETAs about different aspects of teaching that they have had experience in – classroom management, creating a lesson plan, incorporating games, etc.  It was very interesting; I really enjoyed hearing tips from my peers and friends.

It’s also been a rather exciting week for me physically, although not one that I particularly would want to ever repeat.  I’ve had a cough all week, but it hasn’t really affected my energy levels too much.  But then on Wednesday, I randomly lost my voice.  I felt fine, but you would have never guessed that from hearing me.  I went from sounding like a dying frog to a terrified mice to a strange mixture of the two of them.  By the end of the day, I had no voice at all.

So then on Thursday, my voice came back, but my stomach checked out.  I woke up fine and went to class at 9 like any other day.  But by 9:15, I was curled up in a fetal position on the bathroom floor.  I had chills, and cramps, and nausea, and all sorts of other fun symptoms.  Sooo….I got to experience a Korean hospital first-hand!  I have to say, they are not any more fun than American hospitals.  They ARE, however, much more affordable, and far more efficient – I got an abdominal X-ray, prescription medicine, spoke with the doctor, AND a shot of steroids, all within an hour – for about $35!!  Needless to say, I was rather impressed.  Plus, I’ve decided that steroids are AWESOME….after getting my shot, I felt like I could have run a marathon!! 🙂  It was pretty scary, though.  It wasn’t simply the fact that I got sick – I’ve been sick plenty of times before.  But it was the intensity and rapidity with which it came on that was so frightening.  But it’s now Sunday morning and I haven’t had any other strange health issues, so I’m hoping it was just a strange fluke.

Let’s see, what else happened this week….oh, my little morning Bible study is growing.  There are now 3 of us who meet together every morning.  And our new member doesn’t have a roommate, so we get to go to her room and have a pajama party every morning!  It’s been such an encouragement :).

Yesterday I went to an archery range.  I got several bull’s eyes, and almost all of the arrows on the target.  It was amazing how much my shooting improved once I learned how to hold the arrow and shoot properly, lol.  After we shot, there was a demonstration by 4 archery masters.  They used traditional Korean bows (made out of cow horns and sinews!), and shot at targets so far away we couldn’t even tell if they hit it – a light went on if they did, that’s the only way we knew.  They hit it almost every time.  It was incredible.

The whole group

Do you see the arrow in the picture??  Sweet picture…. 🙂

I shot all of the arrows in the yellow!! 🙂

One of the masters….the targets are almost 400 feet away!

Coming back to school, myself and a few other ETAs took the scenic route home.  We found this little path by the river that runs through Goesan, and then followed a trail up a little hill that looked over the entire city.  It was lovely.  At the bottom of the hill, we came across a living history museum of a traditional Korean home, so we walked through it a little bit and explored. It was really cool.

View of Goesan from above

The entrance to the traditional Korean home

I love the architectural lines!!
Kimchi pots

Saturday night my whole class took our teachers out to dinner.  We had samgyeopsal and patbingsu and went out for drinks afterward.  I’m assuming they probably went to sing karaoke after that, but myself and another classmate of mine who also doesn’t drink bowed out midway through the visit to the bar.  But it was a very fun night – my teachers are AMAZING!!! – and a great end to a hard week.  I also came home to find a care package on my door from a fellow ETA.  She heard I had been sick, and so she gave me oatmeal and medicine and a sweet little note to make me feel better.  It completely made my night – I felt so loved!! 🙂

Teacher #1

Teacher #2

My teachers are AWESOME! 🙂

Well, all work and no play may make Jack a dull boy, but all play and no work makes Lauren fail her final.  It’s hard to believe that I’ve learned enough Korean to have a final in it, but I do – this Wednesday!  Today’s going to be a solid studying day….wish me luck!!

Korean lesson 101 – Daejun, Patbingsu, and Cheonan

I have so many stories to tell you!  They’ve been running us ragged these past few days; I’ve barely had time to think, let along write.  But the craziness seems to have finally quieted down a bit, so it’s time to pick up my metaphorical pen again 🙂

Friday was a very interesting day.  We separated into several different groups and then went to different schools all over Korea.  We got to sit in and observe 2 different classes of a current Fulbright ETA (English Teaching Assistant – what I will be! :]).  We had lunch with the other teachers of the school, got to talk to some of the students in the class, and asked Rachael (the ETA) questions about what it’s like to teach in a Korean classroom.  It was very informative.  I went to a co-ed high school in 대적 (Daejun), so I got to observe an advanced all-boys class, and a beginner all-girls class.  Although I got the impression that what I witnessed was not a very representative example of what I can expect to see in my own classroom – Rachael was in a brand new school, she had her own classroom, the school administrators were very flexible, and her students’ English level was very high, all of which is atypical for a Korean school – it was still very informative to see.  This is the first year that future ETAs have had the opportunity to go and visit school before they actually started teaching, and I’m really glad that I got the opportunity to do so.

Friday night there was a 팥빙수 (Patbingsu) party!  The winning team of the photo scavenger hunt was treated by the orientation coordinators to Patbingsu, a traditional Korean dessert.  Well, my team happened to win (I showed you some of my team’s pictures from the hunt in my blog post called “Adjusting to my new life”), so I got to experience this first hand.  I had no idea what to expect, but I had heard many many people rave about it, so I went with high expectations.  

Would you like to know what Patbingsu is?  It is a large cup full of shaved ice, which is then topped by a variety of different toppings.  Mine had ice cream, mandarin oranges, watermelon, apples, something the approximate consistency of corn flakes, a type of mini marshmallows made out of rice paste, and red beans.  Yes, red beans.  It was a very, very strange combination, but surprisingly, very good.  I enjoyed it thoroughly.  Especially because it was free :).

My first taste of patbingsu 🙂

Saturday was just as filled as the rest of our week with classes and workshops.  I’m already soooo sick of sitting – and I’ve still got 5 more weeks to endure!!  I sit for at least 8 hours every day.  I’m always using my brain, and never using my muscles.  It’s completely draining.  I’ve been playing alot of ping-pong in my infrequent spare time to release all of that pent-up energy.  I now have a target on my back – I haven’t been beaten yet, and all of the boys find that simply unacceptable.  It’s awesome :).  I was also really glad when Taekwondo started yesterday (Monday).  I get to release all my pent-up energy and frustrations by yelling and punching and kicking things.  It’s great, I’m really enjoying it :). 
Sunday I went on an excursion with a group of other ETAs to 천안 (Cheonan).  We took 2 different buses to get there (I love public transportation!! :]), and then spent the afternoon either shopping or just hanging out and exploring the city.  I decided to go to Cheonan because I was thinking that I would like to be placed there, and I wanted to go and scope out the city before I requested it.  Turns out…I love it!  It’s a great sized city – not totally overwhelming, but big enough to be entertaining.  It’s also really close to Seoul – it’s actually on the Seoul subway line, in fact – which would be awesome for dancing! 🙂  I’m trying not to get my hopes up, because we’re not guaranteed to get the places that we request….but teaching in Cheonan would be awesome :).

Monday was super busy.  I had Korean class (and my first test!), teaching workshops, GLEE club, Taekwondo, Calligraphy, studying, a lesson plan to prepare, and a Bible study.  Deciding to go to the Bible study meant that I did not get to bed until after midnight – and I was paying for that the next day – but I’m SOOO glad that I went.  There were about a dozen of us, and it was just so encouraging to be able to share and read the Bible and pray and encouraged and be encouraged with other believers.  I just love that God never fails to send Christian fellowship my way when I need it, wherever I am.  God is not limited by national boundaries.  Bible study is definitely going to become a regular in my schedule during orientation :).

Speaking of schedules, I also decided to drop Calligraphy.  As much as I would like to take it, there’s simply not enough of me to go around.  Between all of my other obligations, and trying to study Korean as much as possible, 2 hours of Calligraphy every week was just too much.  The second after I made that decision, I felt such relief.  It’s like my body knew that it was going to get a rest.  I like to keep myself busy, but I also know my limits.  See, I AM taking care of myself over here!! 🙂

Well, I’ve got to draw this post to a close.  The US Embassy is visiting tomorrow, so classes are starting even earlier than usual so that we can be done by the time they show up.  It should be way cool!