Friday, January 16, 2009


The classroom. I sat there in watching my wonderful wife teach one of her classes and was noticing both similarities and differences between here in Korea and schools back home.

First, let me show you our classroom:

The first picture here is just the entrance to our shares classroom.

One of two views from our window

The left-front of the classroom.

And the back-right...

All those to give you an idea of the place I spend my eight hours a day....

Anyway, several things about the students are the same. The girls sit in groups and laugh as all slightly uncomfortable, young teenagers do. Subjects such as who is cute, best sales in the area and noticing clothes and new accessories.

The boys display the testosterone that now pumps through their unsteady veins by bumping into each other in the halls and punching each others arms. Some of them verbally spar in and out of the classroom to release their minor aggressive tendencies.

The main difference I have noticed is that they desire the common good though. While they do vie and compete for grades and the top of the class, they will also look to help each other out and improve all the grades for everyone else.

Lastly, they are just like every other person on this planet: The Path of Least Resistance is the most desirable choice. Taking the easy road is exactly what they want. No surprise that sin and human nature reach all the way across cultures and language! It is sad to notice all at once that my students share the same sickness that make me as human as they are.

Lastly, while I never expected teaching to be an easy job. It is a sacred trust between school, teacher and student. It has shown to b and e more and more difficult. Maybe it is because I have been teaching such subjects and Algebra, Pre-calculus and Geometry that I am realizing a very interesting new concept. People are not variables but huge banks of equations with hundreds of variables. To make it even more interesting, I think the variables are in a constant state of change. To me this means that I have to continually adapt to the people especially if I hope to mold them into something usable to the King. It is what someone had to do for me so it has to be something I learn to do for others.

On a more personal note, please be praying and thinking of my mother. She has gone through a terribly operation that is going to have her in and out of the hospital for physical therapy over the next 6 weeks.

Also, I am feeling much better now that the bronchitis has tapered off and the jet-lag is almost non-existent.

Till next time...

Monday, January 12, 2009

The Lords Day in a New Land

Well, I know that I just posted, but I thought I would add one more for the day to complete out the prior weekend.

After a somewhat more restful night Saturday, Charity and I awoke to a very cold Sunday morning. The temp didn't hit 25 Fahrenheit all day! Thankfully we only had to walk our usual 2 blocks to Seoul Christian and down to the basement.

Now, I have been to services where there were some people singing off key. I have even been in services where people were singing the wrong song or wrong verse of the same song. But I have never been to a church where those who speak Korean sing the Korean language and those who speak English sing the English language. It really works out extremely well, except at the end of every stanza the vowel or consonant sound would be different.

Notwithstanding, the fellowship with the Korean people and the other American natives was very sweet. People had been praying for us and let us know how glad they were that we made it.

So the service starts with the basic movements of worship with Bible reading, memory verse, songs, announcements, introductions and good morning handshakes, the message (English with Korean translation) and finally a time of commitment and reflection. A very complete example of the true means of worship.

After the morning service, there is a time of fellowship and "breaking of bread"--rather Moon Pie types of cakes, sweet breads and from one of the Air Force Americans Double Stuff Oreros! There is a Bible study and although I would have like to have stayed, my lingering sickness coupled with, I am sure, the lack of sleep and the Korean medication, had me almost lying down during fellowship in an attempt to sleep. I will have to go next week and report. :o)

After several hours of sleep-which I hear is a cardinal sin for those suffering from jet-lag-Charity and I spent the evening playing cards and visiting with Lisa and Mylinda at their apartment.

All in all, a wonderful Lord's Day.

On a more personal note. I am sure that I am not setting any records on the alacrity of keeping this updated. Nor am I winning a Pulitzer for my writing skills. And more than likely Blogger is not amazed at the 16 followers this blog has in its short existence, but I would like to say both how grateful and truely blessed to know that you all are reading these short snippets of life. Knowing that you are disappointed when there are no new updates and eagerly taking in my humble writings as they hit the page. Charity and I have felt the warmth of your company even these many miles away and have appreciated you attention.

Good night from Seoul.

I thought I only had a head cold...

...but if you don't take care of that quickly enough it turns into bronchitis. Which is really just a terrible segway into my next little story.

Friday night was not good. While we had some fun hanging out with the other teachers and enjoying good company, as I tried to go to bed that night, I was coughing almost uncontrollable. When I got up to use the restroom, I could not stop shaking. This little fact I have withheld from my wife till this point as she tends to worry about such minor things.

Saturday though, enough was enough and with Mylinda's help we went to the doctor. Wouldn't you know it, that was an experience too! It was basically a walk-in clinic, not too different from the urgent care clinics in the States. The receptionist could hardly communicate with me and had me write down ALL the pertinent information-date of birth and name-on a little slip of paper which she gave to the doctor. The doctor was very kind and attempted in his only somewhat broken English to explain procedure and diagnosis. I wish I had the capacity to explain the entirety of the the experience, I will simply say that it is a very fast and efficient system. I was given a prescription that was also filled in less than 5 minutes.

The cost was probably the most amazing part. The office visit for me was only 14,800
and the medicine was only 9,600and that was without any insurance! (If you would like to have some idea of how much that is, check the converter at the top of the page! I like using it to compare different items and even salaries. If you make more than $1,000.00USD a year, you are a Millionaire in ).

Also on Saturday we went to iPark. It is basically building after building, shop after shop of electronics. There is literally everything that could possibly be attributed to use with electronics. From appliances to small cell phones and everything in between. Charity and I both found cords to use with our laptops that allow us to plug into the Korean outlets. In fact that should be tip #1. Most electronics, especially laptops, are made to handle both the US standard of 110 volts and the standard in many foreign countries of 240 volts. In most cases you can simply buy an adapter and a transformer is not necessary.

While we were at iPark I also bought a wireless hub so that both Charity and I could get onto the Internet at the same time. YEAH!

On a final note, I think one of the things that is the hardest to get used to is the smells. Everything from the smells of cooking (esp. silkworm larva) to the perfumes (some used a little too liberally in the malls) come as a bit of shock to the Western nose.

Goodbye for now,
Daniel and Charity