Sunday, July 12, 2009

I Could Keep Apologizing…

…for my long absences from these postings, but I think I will simply post and be done with it!

As I was thinking of writing this post, I was struck with the concept of how much Charity and I have changed in the last 6 months.

They say that so much changes in your first year of marriage. Let’s see how true that is. I am writing the first rough draft of this post as we head to 속조 (Soekcho being the best translation), a little city on the eastern coast of Korea. The specter of Seoul shrouded in the mid-morning fog mutes and blurs the sharpness of the building lines as we slowly leave it behind.

I sit next to my traveling companion and best friend. She sits quietly, sweetly listening to her iPod and passively soaking in yet another hundred new sights a minute. My biggest blessing is in human female form.

What’s more I sit in a wonderful seat. The seats on this bus are ample, comfortable and—compared to those in the US—worth three times the price we paid of 20,000 won (about $17). I will say that the seats are quite necessary as the roads are nothing to speak of…

How have things changed, you may ask. Thanks for your question. First—and most obviously—I am winding my way through mountains 7,500 miles from the Lower 48. I am constantly surrounded by a spoken and written language which I only understand the most basic, rudimentary aspects of…forget speaking fluently!

Second, I am in a new job which is both challenging and wonderful. However, teaching is completely different from the Financial Services industry I was in only about 6 months ago.

Third, I have been eating food that I would have never thought to even try. What is more, some foods that I didn’t enjoy at home, I now find myself yearning and craving. We were invited to Chinese food by one of the students last week. As strange dish after dish was placed before us, I hesitated several times. Amazingly though, the food, although foreign to my taste-buds, was a delicious and wonderful experience.

I guess fourth would be the addition of a dog to our duo. She barks in Korean so I really have no idea what she is saying. Also we have to put 김치(Kimchi) on her dog food or she won’t eat it… In all seriousness, Mia has become Charity’s favorite new distraction. I have never seen a person go from “dogs are gross” to “ISN’T SHE THE CUTEST THING EVER!!!." *Gross!*

All this and more has changed since we have been here. But I won’t lie, there are times when I thought “Are we crazy?” and “What are we doing here"?” I also would be ready and willing to admit that our lives have become both harder and easier in different ways. There are moments when I desperately want to be home among those I know and love. Times when I think of SSBC back home and long for that local assembly. Then there are times on holidays that I really wish I were home.

On a separate note, Charity and I have been plugging away at the Korean Language classes (한국어 for those who can read it). Both of us wish we could speak as well as we are starting to understand and write. To give you an idea of some of out complications, let me bring a small dawn of light on some of our struggles. The most confusing aspect to date has been the number system. In order from 0-10 is 공, 하나, 둘, 셋, 넷, 다섯, 여섯, 일곱, 여덟, 아홉, 열 in the native Korean system. The problem is there is a use of the Chinese system as follows: 공, 일, 이, 삼, 사, 오, 욕, 칠, 구, 십. Now don’t worry about the pronunciation, the simple fact that the numbers have different symbols will tell you that they sound differently. The native Korean is used to count things like meals and other small things. The Chinese numbers are used to count money amounts and phone numbers to name a few uses.

Here is where it gets confusing! To say 3:33 (a time) you have to say 세시(시 meaning “Hours”) 삼십삼분 (분 meaning minutes). So for those that have taken the time to read this far, you can see that there is a use of one number system for the hours and another for minutes. Let me just say: “AAAAAAAaaaaahhhhhhh!”

Well, there is more to say, but it will have to wait…

More to come…