Tuesday, December 29, 2009

"He felt their pain."

A friend from this summer called me up today and shared the following story with me...

In short, the story is about a 28 year old Korean American missionary who has been in Seoul since June 2008. He planned on being there a month or so, but felt compelled to stay after getting involved in refugee work. Since then he has been in Seoul as well as in and out of China working to help refugees.

He knew good and well that this work in China was very dangerous, but that's not what mattered to him. So on Christmas Eve, he attempted to illegally cross into the North. He crossed over the icy river with a letter to the leader himself, crying out for peoples' freedom. He has not been heard from since. It is suspected that he is mostly likely now being detained by the government. The story also mentions that when his parents began to have feelings of what he may be up to, that they told him to keep doing what he had been in Seoul, where he was safe.

"Why in the world would he put himself in this situation?" is the question that most of us want to ask. Why would he leave this comfortable, easy life of the few?

I try to put myself in this situation (well not this situation [don't worry Mom]), and wonder what I would do. When everyone seems to be against me. The Spirit is telling me to go one way, yet everyone is telling me otherwise... even those who may seem to know better. What do I do? ...what seems to make sense or what I know I'm supposed to do even when I'm not sure why...

The following was quoted from an email Park sent to his parents on the 23rd of December:
"Know that I am the happiest in all my life... Incredible miracles are happening in the liberation of North Koreans right now.... We are going to see a big and beautiful change in Korea and in the World this year!"

Robert Park set out to raise awareness of what is really going on, and now, because of his sacrifice, their story is reaching countless masses. It is, after all, because of HIS sacrifice that any of us may receive the freedom which determines the value of it all in the end. So what will we do?

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Entertaining Angels

Before I came home for Christmas break I took a little trip up to Indiana to visit an old friend from last summer. Indiana is a lot colder than Louisiana, so there was a little blizzard that got in the way of my original travel plans home... 2 short flights turned into 4 flights and getting home four hours later!

I boarded my third flight of the day, from Baltimore to Orlando and sat in between two unsuscpecting ladies who seemed harmless enough. Neither of them really spoke to me, which, at this point, I considered a good thing. I couldn't count how many times I had already been asked that day the same string of questions you get from strangers you meet while traveling... "Where are you going...
Oh, where are you in school...
Well what are you studying...
Kinesiology? Um, that would be...
Well, what do you do with that...
Missions, huh, well-- (fillin the blank with their opinion of where that would get me)."

Maybe now it would at least be a little easier to get a good nap in, especially since it had just gotten dark outside. All three of us dozed off and on until the flight attendant came by to bring us some snacks. I ate a few Cheese Nips and then offered my Southwest honey roasted peanuts to the woman on my right in the window seat. "You don't like peanuts?" she asked. "Sure, I'll take them, thank you." I really do like peanuts, but no matter, that was unneccesary talk.

This was the extent of our conversation, until something sparked it... that string of questions. But at some point in the procession of it all, I began to feel at ease. This woman had a very comforting spirit about her. She was so easy to be around and just easy to talk to. I really felt like she was considering everything I was saying, not just speculating from her own point of view at what I, to her just some young college girl, was doing with my life.

Essentially what I ended up telling her is that I have no idea what I am doing with my life. I have ideas, and I am trying my best to follow Christ, but I'm not exactly sure where He is leading me. I shared with her my heart for culture, diversity, and language. I told her all about Korea and my plans to return. In the end she said, "He's putting it in your heart right now. Just keep following Him, and He'll show it to you. He'll take you where you need to be."

By the time our flight was done, we had traded stories and email addresses. I had told her all about Katrina, and she had shared her experiences with 9/11. But deeper than all of that, I knew that God had placed my by someone special on this flight. The connection was there.... because Mrs. D and I really are family... sister in Christ! Another of His followers to give me a little extra encouragment in my journey. Before she got off the plane (where I was to remain for the very last leg of my treck to New Orleans), we hugged and said goodbye, nice to meet you, etc... but I couldn't help but think to myself of the verse in Hebrews 13:2 which says, "Don't forget to show hospitality to strangers, for in doing so, some have entertained angels without knowing it."

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Blogger Revived!

I sit here pondering what to say... what to write to get back into the blog that I started just about a year ago. I first began keeping this blog because after a close friend of mine started blogging. (Thanks Mer!) I wasn't sure what exactly I would blog about, or if my life could be interesting enough for people to want to actually take time out of their day to read. So I decided to blog about a huge adventure that was awaiting me. That adventure has come and gone, but in another sense it is still such a real part of my life. It changed my life and many of my priorities. It is now what consumes much of my day to day thoughts and conversation. Now I can only wonder why it took me as long as it did to hear God calling me back to Seoul next summer.

A couple of months ago I began throwing around ideas of what I might spend my time doing next summer... knowing that if I was going to anything other than just getting a summer job, I should probably start thinking about it sooner than later. I had many mediocre ideas, none of which really holding my attention. I actually felt somewhat wary about getting too excited about any of these ideas because I hadn't really started praying about any of them, and I knew I couldn't seriously consider any of these before I had lifted it all up in prayer. So after a week of really asking God to reveal to me what He would have me do, I was offered different mission trip opportunities, which I began to think might be the right answer. Still none of these really gripped my heart. Suddenly one night, while talking on the phone to a team member from Seoul, I felt as if God was telling me that I would return to Seoul next summer. I went to my room where all I could manage to do was pray and cry.

I later explained all of this to a friend who replied, "Well wasn't it obvious?" I stopped and thought for a moment... and it did seem pretty obvious. Now that Korea took up the majority of my thoughts, why hadn't I seen that, of course, this is where God wants me to go? I think often times we can be looking so hard for what God wants us to do or where He wants us to go that we so easily miss what He's trying to tell us in those sweet, still whispers.

So now the new adventure begins... or maybe it just continues! So back to Seoul next summer, and blogging too ;)

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Language of Love

Yesterday was our last day at school. We had a mushy gushy ceremony where the students sang to us in Korean and we each got to share one last teary message with them. They gave us little gifts, and we finished with a very unsugary cake for all the summer birthdays. It was good... sweet, sentimental.. everything it should have been.

Then a few minutes later as everyone was mingling and saying more goodbyes, Leah, a student that I've gown pretty close to, pulled me and Kayla aside to talk to us alone. "Story," she said. She wanted to tell us a story, but she wanted to be able to tell it in her language so she could really express herself well. So, we found someone to translate.

Leah said that she didn't like us at the beginning of the summer. She had only been at the school for a month and barely even knew the alphabet. All we would do was speak English to her, which mad her feel sad, angry, and frustrated. But, she said we persisted to love her and so she began to want to learn so she could speak to us. Our team grew on her, but Kayla and I had a special place in her heart because of the way we had befriended her. Then with tears in her big brown eyes she said that she knew it's inevitable that we would be leaving soon, but that she wanted us to go back home, study, do well in school, and have good lives. She said she would pray for us everyday and pray that we would one day get to meet again.

Tears filled my eyes, and I could see in Leah's face one reason why God has brought me to South Korea this summer.

Leah has learned over 600 words just since we've been here and speaks to me more than any of the other students.

I remember meeting Leah and after just a few days her saying with a big frown, "I am sad. I cannot speak English." I told her we would teach her. Not long after that, I began to notice improvements in her Enligh every day. Every morning Leah would ask me, "Did you have breakfastee?" Leah's a tiny little thing with a big smile on her face every day. "Happy everyday!" she always says. She would go around saying "I piggy" after I called her a pig one day when she downed 6 pork chops at lunch. She's the only Korean I know that won't eat rice. "Rice no delicious." I think she just wanted as much room as she could for delicious foods. She would always make fun of the hair on my arms.. hair down, she calls it, like a down comforter I guess. My favorite thing about Leah was every time I would see her she would hug me so tight and say, "I miss you."

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Better to Give

Over the course of the summer I feel God has been dealing with my heart about living a sacrificial life. All too often we live with only one person in mind. ME, ME, ME. We wake up every day, go to job/school with the intentions of making money/gaining knowledge in order to make money, drive our cars, entertain ourselves with TV, computer, books, friends, hobbies, or even studying. Now while none of these things in themselves are the root of selfishness, I think it is our ambitions that are... or can be.

All of this makes me ask myself... When was the last time I did something in which I would receive no benefit? When did I last do something completely for someone else's gain?

Last Friday I walked to a stationary store and came back to school with a cute new notebook with a picture of the map of Asia on the cover. I loved my new notebook, and I even told myself that every time I used it I could be reminded to pray for the 10/40 window. (Let me tell you I had big plans for this notebook!) As I was showing a teammate of mine, a student walks up and says, (in Konglish-- Korean/English mix) "I like that. Can I have it?" Everything inside of me wanted to say, "Of course not.. I just bought this cute little notebook to bring back to America so I could be reminded to pray for your country!" But instead I just gritted my teeth and said, "Sure! Of course you can have it." Then she sat me down to help her with Enlish. After about an hour of going through dissecting and explaining about 10 little sentences she opens up that notebook I just handed over and begins to fill the pages with all of the words I just helped her to understand.

I felt unmeasurably blessed (even without my new notebook) knowing that somehow, even if she never remembers who I am, something that I did, that really cost me nothing, has reached out and helped someone else. What if we all lived like this every day, with every action? We would either all have a lot of new notebooks or we could possibly reach people we have never dreamed reachable all through a never-ending chain of Christ's love flowing through us.

I then began to take notice of all the things that were done for me, just in that one day, that I paid nothing for yet only received the benefit of. I was given a free ticket to Lotte World. People tried so hard all day to communicate with me, even though I was the only one in the group that didn't know Korean. Someone shared there small umbrella with me, and another person, which resulted in everyone still getting wet. Teachers were concerned I would catch a cold because I was wet. I was given tissues, yes.. tissues.. to dry off because I was soaking wet. A teacher bought me a whole dinner, and when I got to the table to sit, I realized he was sharing his dinner already with a student. And a random 12 year old girl in a line for a ride shared candy with me! All in one little day at Lotte World.

What will I do when I go home? Will I sink back into my same old routine? Or will I remain in this challenged state I find myself in here? I pray that the Holy Spirit will continue to convict me, and that my Christian friends will hold me accountable to this great calling.


Friday, July 10, 2009


Now for some girl time.

Yesterday, our only male teammember stayed home the first half of the day for a little extra rest. This gave us girls a chance to do something that I believe is often overlooked in Christian communities. Instead of our daily Bible study, we ended up spending some time confessing to each other some of our deepest darkest sins.
In the midst of a culture (both here and in the U.S.) that feeds us the lies of all that matters is what we look like on the outside, it can be hard to really open up and be vulnerable to others, even in the church. But this time we shared together was one of the best times this summer. A loved one of mine once told me when you tell someone about a problem, it cuts it in half. When you tell someone else, it cuts it in half again. And so on. To be able to come together with these other girls and honestly open up was both releiving and refreshing. I would encourage everyone to find someone you can trust to confess to. You may find out you're not the only one struggling with that secret sin.
Then I accidently read ahead to the verse that was supposed to be for the next day in Acts 19:18,30 which says, "...many of those who were believers came, confessing...so the Lord continued to increase and prevail mightily." But maybe there are no accidents.

Later that day before I left school, one of the students that has really been on my heart lately, H, hugged me when I was telling her bye and said, "I miss you this weekend. My uhn-nee, I love you." Talk about make my heart melt. All I could do was hug this tiny girl so tight and try not to cry.

The day only continued to get better. Laura and I left school early to cook American dinner for our slumber party. We made spaghetti and peas, which everyone seemed to love. But I didn't anticipate how difficult a slumber party could be with 2 bunches of girls from completely different cultures. At first, they didn't like our games, and things seemed a little slow. But sooner or later after a round of Spoons, things loosened up and became a lot more fun. We played cards, did nails, listened to music and danced. We even got to make American brownies... in bowls in the microwave, which no one seemed all that fond of, except for us American girls who gobbled them up.

Uhn-nee is a term used by Korean girls when talking to other girls who they are close to or just friends with. Uhn-nee translated literally means sister. I'm so grateful for all of my newfound Uhn-nee here on this side of the world.

Thursday, July 9, 2009


It's at that point in the summer in which things have started to become comfortable. We have somewhat of a daily routine and know a little of what to expect, despite our still every changing schedule and plans! And I think this can be a good thing... but this can also be the most dangerous time of all.

First, our team has become somewhat of a family, which can lead to clashing and quarreling over silly little things, like any normal family. But so far we always bind together and work things out for the best with love.

But more importantly, we're at the point where it's easy to lose sight of our purpose... of His purpose. The weeks are flying by, and our time left here is growing shorter and shorter as every precious moment slips away.

Missing home is something that has also crossed my mind a time or two. As I sit here and listen to Dixie Chicks "Wide Open Spaces" I certainly long for some beautiful countryside that's not so easy to come by in Seoul.

Let's say it's easy to get distracted. Especially in the busy hustle bustle of the big city and going, going, going constantly. And although I seem to learn a little more every day just how much my life is not my own, the more I try, the more I fail. I can try and try, but it's never until I just let go and listen to the whispers of God that I truly find anything.

So what can I do now? Hold on for this ride, but let go. Be strong, yet be broken. Remain, yet keep moving. Speak yet listen... to His whispers.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Absent :(

Today could have been really bad. But God, of course, was able to use it for good.

I had been feeling kind of icky over the course of this weekend; really hot and somewhat nauseated, and of course all of the fatty American food I ate this weekend didn't help me feel any better. So early this morning I woke up and felt so awful I didn't even know what to do. I ended up semi-passed out on the bedroom floor. Next thing I know my teammate Laura gives up her bed for me (since mine is on the top bunk), and the 3 teammates staying in my room are surrounding me in prayer, despite the fact the I just woke them up at 5 am, sick. Later, another teammate gave me medicine (since I didn't bring any of my own), and Laura stayed home with me because I wasn't well enough to go to school.

When initially thinking about all of this, it's hard to see any good. But God really showed me how my team came together and trusted in Him first of all. Then everyone pulled together to do their best to make me feel better.

God made it easy to count my blessings today.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Seoul's a dance, you learn as you go.

Just a few things I've learned after living in Korea for 2 weeks...

-It's okay to smack when eating around friends.

-Always have clean feet!

-There is a different trash for food, paper, plastic, and "wastes" everywhere.

-English on -t-shirts and signs and stuff never really makes that much sense.

-Americans are too big and have too big of feet to shop in Korea... and they aren't afraid to let you know.

-Kim (keem) is your friend.

-Eat at places with pictures on the menu.

-Move fast when in the city.

-Be quiet on the subway. (but trying to make people laugh on the subway is one of the funniest things ever!)

-Deoderant is really expensive.

-Don't eat toast soaked in butter after not eating eating any butter for 2 whole weeks!

-Girls hold hands with girls, and boys hold hands with boys.

-There's a certain way to use a squatty potty.

-People clean the floors like you're gonna eat off of them or something... but then later you actually do.

-Koreans never sleep!

-Don't eat too "deliciously" because napkins aren't so common.

-Age, church, lunch, tissue, coffee= agie, churchie, lunchie, tish, coppee

-Air condition is really really really cold after going without it for 2 weeks.

-It's okay if people stare at you sometimes... or all the time... everywhere you go.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Praying for Manna

So much has happened in the past week!

With a crazy and hectic first week of school behind us, we were shown a new part of the city by two of our local friends. We rode bike by the Hang Kang River, and spent the day enjoying Seoul in the beatuiful weather. We did a little shopping too, despite the fact that we were kicked out of a few stores either because they thought we wouldn't fit the clothes or our feet were too big for their shoes!

Also in the past week, I had the opportunity to do something I've always said I would NEVER do... so I had a bowl of dog soup. And no matter what anyone says about, I'm now convinced that the rest of the world is missing out. It tasted like turkey leg! I also ate a silk worm chrysalis. Not nearly as good as the dog soup. Let's just say it was my first and last one.

Besides all the touristy stuff, though, we moved into our new apartment, with university students that we haven't yet had a chance to get to know. It was hard leaving my old roommie S, even though I was trading a flour with three other girls for my own bed. I believe that God placed me there, just to teach me. I have never known anyone with a passion for God as that of S. Every night, she would ask us to read the Bible and pray with her. And although I couldn't understand her Korean prayer, God did, and I could feel her heart for Him in every word she uttuered. Her fervor for the Lord is truly unmatchable.

A new week of school has brought a new load of challenges with it. For the first time at school over the past few days, I've begun to feel somewhat bound by the language barrier. It's been somewhat difficult for me to let go of me completely and know how to reach out. There have also been team struggles, that God is working on as well.

But there have also been great things. I recently felt a burden on my heart for a certain student, A. I just felt she hadn't been as open to our group as most of the others. I began to pray for her, and the next day, God answered my prayer. I was sitting next to A randomly, and I when I saw an opportunity. I was able to say one little thing to her. Later that day I found out that she was in my small group, and since this point she has a huge smile on her face every time I see her. I continue to pray and have faith that God placed her on my heart that day, and that He will open doors for this to be a great relationship. So so so excited to see God do more amazing things!

Pray for:
Student S
Student A
Team struggles
God to send manna

Sunday, June 7, 2009

So few words.

I don't even know where to begin... I have already been in Seoul for almost a week, and I feel so completely overwhelmed with joy.

God is good
I guess I'll start off with saying that I have an absolutely wonderful team. What an answered prayer! Everytime I prayed for this trip in the weeks and months preceeding I prayed for team unity.. God has certainly answered that prayer above and beyond. We already have been able to open up to each other in honesty and love and become each others friends, prayer warriors, and encouragement. (and have the kind of fun together that can often take lots of time to build in a relationship.) So far we have been living in an apartment but today we will be moving in with the students. It has been a great chance for us all to just get to know each other without any distractions during our orientation time.

God is great
Hanguel <-- Korean... not as hard as I was anticipating! I've already started learning a few words, and today we will start learning for an hour a day while we are at school. But it has been pretty difficult odering food and getting around since none of us really know anything that useful. Many young people do speak a little English though, and they are usually very eager to practice a little bit when speaking to us. They seem much more confident in their English than we are in our Korean. It's been really fun talking to random Koreans that we run into on our long subway journeys with their broken English and our couple of Korean words! God is good... again No one has starved yet.. though I think one of my team members is close! But seriously, I like everything I've tried, so no complaining here. My favorite is the boiled lizard eye balls.... JK. Nothing quite like that... yet ;)

God is still good
Today is our first day of school! While here we will be helping to teach beautiful refugee students to better their English skills. But more importantly we will be pouring out the love that Christ has put in our hearts onto them. We are such a blessed people, and we all have more than enough love to share with those who are hurting and need to know the healing love of Christ. It has been such a joy in the learning process so far and getting to see the hearts of my team members break for these precious students.

He just doesn't stop
New friends. A couple of the students have been staying with us for the past few days, and it has been nothing short of fantastic. L and R have showed around different parts of Seoul, traveledith us, laughed with us, help us order food, and have already become such great friends. L has been such a great Korean teacher and quizzes me when we are walking around and riding the subway on all of the words and phrases she has taught me. Now as we will go to school today I feel somewhat vulnerable. I know that I will fall in love with all of the rest of these students just as with L and R, but this leaves me wondering what God will ask me to do next. A couple of days ago we watched the movie the Crossing with the two Korean girls. As they cried and shared with us their stories I was amazed at how hopeful they had been in the midst of their circumstances. These students have been in situations that we as Americans can't even fathom. Yet through all of this their love has grown stronger for the Lord. I am humbled that these precious students call me friend. Chen hang chen gu

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Sunny Skies

No... I don't mean the ice cream unfortunately, for you fellow Buies Creek friends of mine. The other day I received a fortune cookie that read, "Let the sun shine on your soul." I immediately thought, being the nerd that I am deep down.. what a great pun that I can use in my blog! Over the past few weeks I have been watching the weather in South Korea, and it's been nothing but sunny skies in Seoul with highs of about 75-80 degrees. As I sit here so sleepily getting in this one last post before I take off to the N.O. airport, I can only imagine what God has in store for this summer. Keep praying.

And now I'm off... to let the SON shine through me in Seoul. <-- I'm very excited at this point that my pun has now come full circle.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

In HIS hands.

Sometimes things aren't ideal or exactly how we want them to be. Here are some verses that have been an encouragement to me in the past, that never fail to raise my spirit in any situation. Let His word speak to you...

"The Lord is my light and my salvation. Whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life. Of whom shall I be afraid?" -Psalm 27:1

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all of your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths." -Proverbs 3:5-6

"Consider the lilies of the field, they neither toil nor spin. Yet I tell you even Solomon in all of his glory was not arrayed like one of these." -Matthew 628-29

"Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will keep it."
-Luke 17:33

I think these verses challenge us to ask ourselves why we should worry about what we ultimately have no control over anyway?

Sunday, May 24, 2009


+ taste some kim chee
+ shots
+ plane ticket
+ passport
+ extra undies
+ backpack
+ last minute paperwork

check, check, check...

What is the first thing you do when you know you will be in South Korea for the entire summer? Get ready to go! But how do I spiritually prepare myself when I feel so small in light of God's big picture? This is the question I have been grappling with most over these last few weeks before I leave. I know the Sunday School answer: I am just the vessel doing the work of the Lord. I guess I've just struggled with truly grasping this concept that I am so well aware of in my mind. If I get everything on my list all checked off, yet fail to be spiritually prepared for this journey, what chance do I stand at really being prepared for what God has in store for this summer?

My "A-HA!" moment came when I was reading about the acts of the original apostles. No matter how inadequate I am, what matters is if they can see HIM through me.

"Now when they saw the BOLDNESS of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus." -Acts 4:13

Saturday, May 16, 2009

SEVENTEEN little days.

AAAAHHHH! Where has the time gone?!?! Although I have only 17 short days left to prepare for my trip to South Korea, I believe the adventure has already begun.

This week has been very helpful in getting me into the right mindset. A close friend of mine, who is very experienced in international summer mission trips, met with me and a couple of other students who are also looking forward to summers of ministry. We met in the wee hours of the morning... 8 am (crazy I know!) ...to go over some of the basic spiritual principals of ministry and other things like team unity and seeing others with God's eyes. We talked about the four seasons of ministry... Ploughing--Sowing--Reaping--Harvesting ...

We also did some prayer walking around the college campus, which I was surprised to find somewhat of a challenge. I really felt challenged to see others through the eyes of Christ. It made me wonder how my actions would change if I were to be in a continual state of prayer.

I never cease to be amazed by the personal growth I experience when serving the Lord. It's like I get back so much more than what I ever give...

Thursday, April 30, 2009

just like me...

"We are made of the same dust. We cry the same tears. No one is beyond redemption. And we are free to imagine a revolution that sets both the oppressed and the oppressors free."

Today one of my group leaders for this summer sent me a link to a youtube video. I clicked on it, thinking maybe it could shake some of the tired off and re-energize me to finish up the last of my packing. As I began to watch my heart was broken for the people in NK.

The thing that strikes me the most about this video, even more than the awful persecution, starvation, and torture, is the isolation that these people are subjected to. I simply cannot imagine what it would be like for that sort of life to be all that I know. I just picture a girl my age, with all of the same emotions as me, trying to rationalize why life is the way it is. Does she think about education? Does she worry about if she will ever get married one day? Does she ever wonder what else is out there in the world? ... all the while having no conception of a girl like me living, living in the lap of luxury, on the other side of the same world as her. To us the world has become so small, so globalized and accessible, yet it is so easy to overlook and forget those who suffer.

I feel like there is no reason why it should be her and not me. I did not do anything to be born into this lovely life of mine, as she did nothing to deserve the punishment of the life she endures. But to her, this is life. And even if she is not aware of my existence, I feel we are the same.

A former professor was telling me today how strongly he believes that we all play our roles on earth, but that ultimately, wherever we are, as Christians our goal is the same, to help others to see the big picture of Christ's love. Although I feel so small in the scheme of things, I know God can use me to show just one person that there is so much more to life than life; that whatever life we are destined to lead on this earth is trivial in the big picture of it all.

So as tears come to my eyes while pondering this short video, I only feel more encouraged and burdened to share this unending love that has been poured into me. And while it breaks my heart to think of how anyone could ever bear treating another person so cruelly, it helps me remember that one person can make a difference.

Monday, March 30, 2009

By your powers combined, I AM SOUTH KOREA!

I happened to be looking at a website with a few countries' flags listed when I realized that if I saw the South Korea flag I wouldn't even recognize it! So since chemistry homework just wasn't cutting it tonight, I starting googleing.According to Wikipedia the flag is a symbol of our planet. The four trigrams (little black rectangular symbols) are related to the classical elements and represent the Chinese philosophical elements- harmony, symmetry, balance, and circulation. They can also be interpreted as...
-sky, sun, moon, eart
-spring, autumn, winter, summer
-east, south, north, west
-humanity, courtesy, knowledge, righteousness
-metal, fire, water, earth
-justice, wisdom, vitality, vertility
The white background symbolizes the "cleanliness of the people", and the yin-yang with the red representing negative of the universe and the blue representing the positive of the universe.

I'm gonna take that and make an American comparison...
"EARTH!" "FIRE!" "WIND!" "WATER!" "HEART!" "Go Planet!"
"By your powers combined, I am Captain Planet!" .... press play

Definitely just a tad more interesting then buffered solutions and changes in pH!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Are YOU at peace?

A common first response I've been getting when telling people that I'll be spending 8 weeks in South Korea next summer is, "Oh, wow, so are you going to learn Korean?" I usually just smile and avoid the question, but what I'm really thinking is, "Haha... yeah right!" While this is what I keep telling people, and even telling myself, there's that little voice in the back of my mind telling me that I really should make an effort. I don't know why I so often let that little voice rule my life, but again today, I gave in.

Somehow, despite the fact that I've been up since 7, running around all day and doing homework for the past three hours, I now find myself in bed, not sleeping, but you-tubing Korean lessons. I found a really great series of lessons of travel phrases all by this one same guy. He's pretty thorough. On the screen appears the English word, the Korean symbols for the word, and the Korean pronunciation of the word. The teacher explains the word, breaks it down into syllables, and then repeats it about 42 times, which seems like it would be enough to remember one word, but I've already managed to forget them all. But have no fear! Like the nerd I truly am, I took good notes...

Hello/Good morning; afternoon; evening/How are you?/etc.--- Annyeonghaseyo (literally "Are you at peace?")

Yes--- Ye

No--- Ani-yo

Excuse me--- Silllyehamnida

I'm sorry--- Mianhamnida

Thank you--- Gamsahamnida

That's all right--- Gwaenchansseumnida

Thanks you--- Gomapseumnida

I read on another website that Korean was "remarkably easy to learn" because of all the consistencies. Personally, I'm not thinking that a language that has 18 letter long words is going to be a walk in the park, but I sure do hope I'm wrong.

Okay, now after all that I am definitely ready for some sleep.


Saturday, February 28, 2009

Green Pinwheels

Today has been a great day all alone here at school. I got to do all kinds of things I usually just wish I had the time to do, like waste time taking pictures of things like food.

This semester I've made friends with a girl named Trang, whose family comes from Vietnam. It seems like every time I see Trang, she has some new tasty Asian snack for me to try. Since I love trying new foods, I love getting to see Trang :) Yesterday I stopped by her dorm room, and as custom, she loaded me down with all kinds of new goodies from the Asian market. I like most of the Asian food that I've tried so far, but some of the things she gave me this time... well they weren't my favorite.

There was one thing that she gave me, though that was quite tasty. I can't remember what she called it, but I woud call it a green pinwheel. It was about the size of a giant Subway cookie, and it was shaped like an American jelly roll. But instead of jelly rolled into cake this was made of a very lightly sweet and spongey bread filled with a light cream. This is an Asian sweet that I could certainly get used to!

Romeo and Juliet

Spring Break is here! and so am I... stuck at school for the first few days of spring break, I have nothing better to do than laundry, homework, and Korean Drama...

I was informed just yesterday by my friend Jamie, from Malaysia, that I must start watching Korean Drama. Korean Drama is equivalent to an American mini-series. On you-tube they're shown in 10 minute segments with about 7 or 8 segments per episode. I decided to devote an hour of my afternoon to watching some Korean Drama. So I You-tubed Korean Drama, and as I ate my leftover Chinese that Flora cooked last night at Encounter Bible study, I watched my first Korean Drama ever. The one I watched today reminded me of a cross between a day-time soap opera and Lizzie McGuire.

Today I watched Delightful Girl Episode 3. This drama is about newlyweds Mong-ryong and Choon-hyang who are both still in high school together. They really don't even seem to like each other all that much in the beginning. Choon-hyang thinks that Mong-ryong is simple-minded. Mong-ryong even regrets the marriage at points as he still seems to have a thing for his old girl friend Chae-rin. Over the course of the episode Mong-ryong and Choon-hyang each do different things to trick or embarass the other. By the end of the episode they both seem to have developed a care for the other. Choon-hyang becomes jealous of Mong-ryong's obvious feelings he still has for Chae-rin. And later, when Choon-hyang is cast as Juliet in the school play and has an onstage kiss, Mong-ryong gets his fair share of jealousy. Only time will tell... or maybe just a few more hours of Delightful Girl... if Mong-ryong and Choon-hyang truly do love each other.

I posted this link to my favorite segment of this episode, segment (6/7), definitely the climactic segment of the episode. In this segment Choon-hyang is cast as Juliet, and Mong-ryong decides to be in the play since he is so apprehensive about the kiss. In this scene we also see that Chae-rin, Mong-ryong's former love, shows up to watch his performance. And, there is a renowned producer of some sort that's really interested in Choon-hyang, but Da-ni (I can't tell if this is her sister or just her friend) is really the one who wants to be a star. I guess that's why Choon-hyang is the Delightful Girl. This Korean DRAMA certainly lives up to its name!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Culture Shock 101.

I guess this blog has somewhat of a corny title, but then again, we can't all perfect the art of being corny quite as well as I! Nonetheless, the trip is quickly approaching, and everyday I am feeling more and more unprepared! So, instead of sitting around and allowing it to sneak up on my any longer, I've decided to start this blog. Every day... or as often as I get around to it... I will post something new that I can learn about South Korea.

I also hope for this blog to be a way for me to journal my thoughts, questions, and comments mostly regarding my summer trip, but also just for everyday life. I hope that sharing how I learn and grow can help to encourage those around me. So.. for whoever actually takes the time to read this, other than my own mom (which I very much appreciate mom!), I will try my best to be open and honest. Hope you enjoy it and learn much along the way with me!

As a side note... this blog was also inspired by my great friend Meredith Brunson, who recently started her own blog.