25.8.04

Aside from being a good place to babble, waste time, and journal, this blog might also be a good way to keep my vocabulary up. Teaching English, I have realized (through the help of a friend, who, upon reading my last mass email, informed me that basically the only adjective I used was the word 'nice'), can severely limit your vocabulary. Half of my classes I am teaching kindergarten children who have only been learning English since last March. Considering this fact it is remarkable how much they have learned. Still, as much as they know, they don't know words like 'great', 'spectacular', 'stupendous', 'excellent', 'terrible', 'horrible', and so on. They know 'nice', 'good', 'bad', and maybe a few more. Learning the multiple similar meaning adjectives in English might be 'nice' but its just not as important as learning so many other things. Also, though they have learned a lot, they have still only been learning since last March.

22.8.04

On sunday my wife and I went to a church here in Daejeon. The church was at a christian school, and it was really good. It wasn't to big, though I suspect that might change after the school semester starts up again. The sermon was excellent, very deep, and the pastor was not afraid to explain some hard theology, while at the same time making it understandable and even applicable.

I also noticed that, without any harping on community or meeting new people, there really did seem to be a sense of community there. They gave newcomers a chance to introduce themselves if they wanted to, a chance for prayer requests to be shared, and after the service we talked with/met several different people. Then a newly married older couple (not old, just older) took us, and several other people our age, out for lunch. It was a lot of fun. Its probably just that we were all in an uncomfortable place, outside of the church that is, being in a foreign culture, not knowing the language, etc. but there was actually some push to form a community in the church, instead of being comfortable just coming and leaving. Its obviously not neccesary, but perhaps being a little bit more uncomfortable with our lives would be a good thing, since it would open us up more towards giving and recieving love.

19.8.04

Well, the edge of typhoon Magi just finished passing over Daejeon today. It wasn't much to speak of, except a lot of rain. I am sure that isn't true everywhere though, and I am glad we just got the edge. One of the other teachers here described to me an experience with a typhoon he had a few years ago in Daejeon. Apparently the wind was strong enough that it took 4 ppl to open the door. Why they were bothering, I don't know.

Trying to find things in Korea is quite fun/frustrating. All the signs are in Korean (naturally, though many have a word or two of English), and even though I can read Korean, I can't read fast, and I don't have much of a vocabulary at all. Add to that the fact that in Korea stores can take up every floor of a large building, so the signs just go up and up and up, and it can be just a touch difficult. I asked for instructions on finding a gym, and all the other teachers just told me to look up at the windows until I see treadmills in them. I found 3 gyms, a laundromat, a really fancy restaurant (I walk in with shorts and a T-shirt, the waiter is standing there in a tuxedo shirt with a bowtie), and a storage room that way (and that was only in about 3 blocks). Like I said, I did find three gyms though.

I sometimes find it hard to believe that Koreans look at these signs and read them as fast as I would read them in English . I know its true though. I really wish I could do that.

18.8.04

I changed my blog around, and who knows, I might even write here more than once every 2 months. I have said that many times though, so don't count on it.

I have been in Korea for nearly a month now. I started out teaching for 3 weeks at a summer camp in Sokcho. It was a lot of fun, if somewhat tiring. Now I am in Daejeon, getting my on the job training. I still have to make a visa trip to Japan in the next week or two, but other than that, I am almost settled in. My wife and I are staying in a small apartment temporarily, which is why I say almost settled in. We move into our own place this weekend.

Teaching so far has been a lot of fun. It demands a lot of patience, but more often than not I really enjoy helping children learn. As well, we have been lucky, and have no horror stories to tell of our teaching experience so far. Admittedly, we are just getting started here, so maybe I shouldn't speak to soon. But I know the Lord has been taking care of us.

Korea is a country very much like Canada, where I am from. The food is different, as is the language, it is cleaner here, and the architecture is different. But mostly, it is very much like any other city. The most noticeable difference is that I can't read, or understand, any of the advertising. Its kind of nice. Also, they have "Sauna's" here which I really like. They are places where you can go and enjoy 3 or more different temperature baths (in big tubs which fit many people) ranging from almost unbearably hot to very cold, several wet and dry sauna rooms (sometimes only one or two, other times many more), massages and scrubs (if you want to pay for them), showers, and anything else related to getting clean. The food, on the other hand, isn't always to my liking. I am not a fan of fish paste, or processed fish cakes, or fish soup for breakfast. Nor do I enjoy KimChi. I think I like about as much as I don't like though, so its alright.

While we are here, we want to travel to Japan, and some other places in southeast Asia (thailand, singapore, malaysia, or somewhere like that), as well as see more of S. Korea itself. It can be overwhelming at times, but I am looking forward to the upcoming year.