Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Sydney - Day 6

With a bit of a lazy start to the morning, we got up and out of the hotel. We spent most of the day at Darling Harbor near the exhibition halls. There is tons to do down there. First things first, we purchased tickets for the IMAX.

We decided on the 3D movie playing as it only seemed right to see a movie on that screen in 3D. We had some time to kill so a short walk brought us to a mall area with a food court.

Back to the theater for one really awesome movie! A bit pricey, but hey, when are we going to be back in Sydney again? Similar to Korea, the tickets are assigned based on a particular seat which means you don't have to arrive early for "a good seat".

Afterward we walked around and looked at the war museum ships and other historical paraphernalia.

We split up as we entered Paddy's Market and Chare, Mylinda and I shopped while the rest went to the hotel.

The shopping lacked any great deals as the shops were closing up. I did purchase some dried fruit and nuts as they pack well and provide some good energy throughout the day. Plus they reduce hunger, which is nice because dried fruits and nuts are cheap while restaurants are pricey here.

Back at the hotel we all rested. Late that evening we were all peckish so we all walked down to Kings St. looking for a good restaurant. We settled on a Turkish to go place. Really good food!

Off to bed to prepare for the next day!

More to come...

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Sydney - Day 5

Sunday morning early we set out searching for the best route to a little church near Baffin and Parramatta.

After locating the correct cross streets, we stopped at a Hungry Jack restaurant to get a quick bite before arriving at church. Hungry Jack seems to be in some way related to Burger King (same looking sign, similar menu, same post-meal heartburn). While Hungry Jack may have been related to Burger King, it must be BK's ugly, red-headed, pot-smoking, annoying nephew-by-marriage! In a word "gross".

Anyway, The Brethren church was similar to many other churches I had been in with wonderfully warm Christian hospitality and items in the worship service designed to focus attention on Christ. What made it different though, was the format. Every male in the church was encouraged in a pre-message time to share something. This something could be a passage of Scripture, a prayer, a word of encouragement or even lead in one of the countless songs in their song book. Really interesting approach to the worship of God.

After the service and tea, we sought out Croyden station, made our way to the hotel and set up plans for the day.

We decided on Chinatown for the afternoon and stopped to lunch at a "Thai" restaurant that was decidedly more Chinese than Thai. Still, the food was extremely tasty.

One of the girls headed back to the hotel to check on the invalid while Chare, Mylinda and I walked around Paddy's market and Chinatown doing yet some more shopping.

We were going to do an IMAX movie at the "world's biggest IMAX screen, but it was going to be a late night if we did that and we all really wanted to be together for the movie.

We met up with Lisa at Darling Harbor and rode the ferry back to Circular Quay. From there we rode the bus back to the hotel and ordered pizza again (mostly because we could) and enjoyed another much needed rest.

More to come...

Sydney - Day 4

The strangest Christmas so far...

We slept in till 10am and then headed for the city central. We found a Starbucks to purchase some souvenir mugs and of course, to buy a simple cup of joe (yeah right on the simple part).

Chare and I set out on our own and the other two ladies went to find the church we would attend on Sunday.

We really had no plan as we arrived back to Circular Quay (btw, "Quay" is said "key") so the most appropriate thing to do appeared to be riding the longest ferry ride out to Manly Beach. The ride was rather hot, but we did get to see almost the entire North side of the harbor.

At Manly Harbor, we saw what at first we thought was Manly Beach and after walking its short distance, we consulted a map. Wouldn't you know it, we were only at the harbor beach! A short walk later and I saw the longest, light yellow beach I have ever seen. Perfect time to be there too, in my opinion, because it wasn't terribly hot and people were making their way back from the beach. Walking this stretch of beach was a much longer, more arduous task.

After our walk, I convinced Charity to stop and get some fish n chips. She was not overly thrilled with the idea as she has an unnatural aversion to almost any water-borne product. Once tasting that crispy white fish and amazingly fried potatoes, she was hooked! (Truly no pun intended...)

We then boarded the ferry once more and sat on the port side so we could see the south side on the return trip. After all, the south side is where the opera house is and it does look nice from the water.

Back to the hotel we went and finished our day lazily as it has been another day of walking everywhere!

More to come...

Monday, December 27, 2010

Sydney - Day 3

Our third day of travel, second day in Sydney, began rather slowly as we didn't get up early to say the least.

Once again, the day was marked for shopping, but today was Paddy's Market. Paddy's Market embodies the idea of an American flea market without all the toothless rednecks and the babies with bottles of Coke or Pepsi instead of milk.

Everything from cell phone accessories to fresh foods waited around each corner. After an hour of searching for just the right souvenirs, we set out once again for the hotel to prepare for the afternoon's program.

On the way back, we stopped for Subway sandwiches to go and enjoyed our meal together at the girl's room. After a good meal like that, rest arrived on the agenda. A short nap later, we all readied ourselves for Sydney Opera House.

While the program, artistically speaking achieved a level of notoriety, I did feel like they missed the whole point! At several points during the program, I couldn't help thinking that the powerful words and music lost strength with the manner and attitudes of the singers and performers.

While I know that the celebration of Christ's birth is simply that, an opportunity to party and a rest from work, I cannot help but feel sad at the people all around that have the Message in their own mouths and fail to comprehend it!

While the program was a bit different, we did get to see quite a nice show and we did get to see that show in a beautifully odd shaped artifice.

We then walked for a little while looking for some inexpensive food and ended up at McDonald. Some terrible food and free wifi later, we headed to the hotel. One of the girls then had a horrible night, next day and even the following day which kept her in the hotel room.

Another day down Down-under.

More to come...

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Sydney - Day 2

Ok. So this post will take up from our arrival at the Sydney airpot.

After finding the subway entrance, we went purchased, what can seem, somewhat expensive week passes for the subway/ferry/bus for in and around the city center called the "MyMulti1". The reasoning behind this was with as little as 18 trips this pass paid for itself.

Anyway, we got on a very clean and well-maintained double-decker subway car. A few stops down the line we transferred to a bus to take us the rest of the way. Of course, the first time I ran my ticket through, the ticket scanner swallowed and refused to give it back! The driver, and this is a testament to both the Aussies and the Sydney transit system, said he would take my name and info and get the ticket back to me.

As we arrived at the hotel (Rydges Camperdown) I was sure I had some form of lost time ahead as I tried to get my pass back.

The hotel had only the one room available as we had arrived a bit early. That one room was still glorious as none of us had the ability to lie fully down since we left our own beds 36 hours before in Seoul. The girls were able to start getting cleaned up from the trip and I zoned out qacross the foot of one of the beds.

About an hour after we arrived, Charity went down to see about more towels and see if our room was ready. She came back with an envelope with my name on it and my pass. Yes folks, one solitary hour later I had my pass back. Way to go Mate(s)!!! (sorry had to do that somewhere...)

After a short rest we set out to see what we could see. First we walked for awhile looking for a good lunch spot and finally settled on Opoto, a chicken sandwich place with better than McDonald's food. Then we went shopping! (*note: exclamation mark placed for female readers as this does not necessarily reflect the views of the author*). After shopping we returned to the hotel to offload the bounty.

Then we backtracked to Central Station and them rode the subway to the Central Quay station to buy tickets for the following night's Christmas Eve "The Great Christmas Caper".

The harbor area was very cool and the Opera House definitely made the highlights list.

On the way home, Charity and Mylinda went for some groceries. This short trip brought a bit of a shock as the price of goods here in Sydney far exceeds those in the States and even in some cases that of Korea!

The rest of us rode on to the hotel and even ordered Dominos pizza (although the pizza left a little to be desired) before packing it off to bed.

More to come...

Friday, December 24, 2010

Sydney - Day 1

After 17+ hours of travel and about two more simply getting to the airport in Incheon, we arrived at Sydney International airport in the southern part of Sydney.

Just traveling that far took some doing so I will recount our travels in as excruciatingly precise detail now...

First, we rode the bus from Bongcheon (봉천) in Seoul (서울) to ICN. (Ok, so it isn't exactly excruciatingly precise at all.) We then boarded a China Southern plane heading for Guangzhou, China. Supposedly, all we were doing in Guangzhou was transferring to another plane, however there is a story here so I must stop to recount it:

The arrival was ordinary enough and the amenities and staff of the China Southern airlines was decent and well received. However, the transfer was simply strange and a bit idiotic.

First we stood in an immigration line for twenty minutes only for them to take some information and then direct, not just our small band of five, but every passenger not staying in country to a small "holding area". Then began the awkward eye contact communication with statements and questions like; "You look perfectly normal for a spy?"


"I wonder if this is because of the extra bag of peanuts I took on the plane..."

Even perhaps...

"I guess this will be my first experience in a Chinese prison."

Then we had what could only amount to the Losers (I suppose we were all winners, but the prize was nothing to speak of) Lottery. These officials would walk up with a stack of passports and announce the names of the people in English. Well, that is if "English" is spoken underwater and heard from the large end of a badly tuned kazoo.

After receiving our passports back, we then went through "customs" (hello! WE AREN'T EVEN STAYING IN YOUR COUNTRY!!!) where an older lady checked me for weapons and drugs via a pat-down--awkward!

We then boarded another plane for the 9 hour flight to Sydney which passed reasonably uneventful.

The contrast between Giangzhou and Sydney's security experience were night and day. While China was curt and rude, Australia was pleasant and hospitable. China's nearly two hours of immigration and customs dwarfed the twenty minutes of wait time in Sydney--and that was with us picking up checked luggage!

Quite technically this concludes day 1 of the Sydney trip as a 24 hour period has expired. Day 2 will be on the shorter side as I will only cover it from the hotel to bed time so as to follow a diurnal framework from here on out.

If you are reading this before the new year, you may only be seeing these pop up in groups every couple of days as finding wireless Internet is difficult at times.

Mote to come...

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A Time to Live, A Time to Die…

…and A Time to Attempt to Start Blogging Again…


Looking Back

Summer came and went in a blurry hurry and after another looooong flight, we arrived back in our Korean home once more.  Well, actually we arrived in a new apartment.  We love the new apartment but there have been a few…issues…


Seeing as it has been 4+ months since the last blog post I will attempt to hit on some highlights to catch up to the present.


Spending time with so many of our friends and family this summer blessed us in so many ways.  While we didn’t see nearly everyone we wished to, we were thankful to simply spend time with those we did see.  After a good visit with April and the kids in Kentucky as well as seeing Grandma, family and friends in Greenville, Charity and I took to the road again in mom’s Trailblazer, a vehicle for which I am so thankful for, setting our sights on Lake Martin in Alabama.  With the Bacon family’s large pop-up trailer dragging behind us, we started our short trip.  No sooner were we heading out of Greenville than our plans were waylaid for several hours! 


Realizing that I was driving my mom’s “car”, which she loves, and pulling the camper behind us, my driving became very cautious.  After changing lanes to avoid proximity to a truck parked on the shoulder, I checked for a clear right lane, signaled the move and merged.  Five seconds after merging, a small black car sped up behind us and, with what seemed like no application of the brakes on the driver’s part, swerved to the right and then back into the trailer and up the right side of the Trailblazer.  My wife saw the fear-filled eyes of the stranger as he “rode” the rear quarter panel and doors on the right-hand side. 


After pulling onto the shoulder, my first concern was Charity which led me to visual and vocal confirmations that Charity was ok.  Next I preceded to walk back to check on the other driver.  He was out of his car and moving, if strangely, but seemed to be ok as well.  At this point chronologically I noticed his hurry to gather things in his now totaled car, but only in passing as I started to asses the damage.  I was unhurt.  Charity, although shaken, was fine as well.  Although something wasn’t right about the other driver, he seemed “fine.”  His car, was a mess.  The entire left side was mangled  wheels and tires, twisted sheet metal and broken glass.  I turned to the trailer and noticed broken lights and some bent metal, but the framed and axle appeared fine.  The car had major damage along the right side, but functionally, both car and trailer seemed useable. 


Although I knew it wasn’t my fault, I felt terrible!  The police came and after getting our statements he spent a little more time giving the other a driver a sobriety test, which he I am guessing failed due to the handcuffs and escort to the rear of the officer’s vehicle.  At it turns out, prescription drugs and driving are a bad combination!


Amazingly, after several hours, we were back on the road to the Lake! 


After yet another amazing, relaxing trip on the lake, we made the mad dash back to KC.  Charity, Mia and I then made the trip back to our home in Korea. 


Then one evening, about two weeks after we returned, a very upset Korean man followed Mia and I back from our evening walk and kept yelling at me in phrases I didn’t completely understand.  I know it had something to do with the dog and our apartment and he kept repeating 고 목사님 (Pastor Goh).  Turns out there was a bit of a misunderstanding about who was living in this apartment, the fact there was a dog here and some issue last year this man, the landlord, had with SCS or something.  I still don’t think I understand completely.  However, it seems that things are smoothed over for now. 


The school year’s first quarter passed swiftly and we are now looking at the middle of the second quarter coming soon.  This year Charity teaches the 4th grade and has 14 students which overwhelms her at times, but with Christ’s help she does well.  I teach two sections of Writing, one section of Geography and one section of Pre-Algebra.  Also, I am overseeing , although at times only marginally well, the network, computers and other electronic equipment on campus.  While fun, there seems to be too many problems and not enough time some days.  Also, I will direct the play this year and already am very excited about the students who are interested!


While not exhaustive, I think that brings my meager readership up to the present. 



Not much else happening currently.  Charity made some wonderful cookies tonight in preparation for Thanksgiving and I can hear the dog whining for her evening stroll.  *sigh* back to it.


More to come…

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

To the Love of My Life

This is for my wife Charity.

I should have had this up two days ago, but some activities took my attention away. I hope you will forgive me.


Can you believe how much our lives have changed in the last 2 years? We were married, we moved to new jobs in a new country, we got a little mongrel puppy...and so many other amazing events to make the last two years memorable.

What an adventure our lives together have been to date. When you sat down next to me in class that day four and a half years ago, I never thought someone like you would ever agree to marry someone like me. Cute, self-confident, friendly, devoted and...did I already say cute? were and continue to this day to be wonderfully hard not to love.

Oh and our first date...I was so nervous to ask you out. Funny, I don't remember being that nervous around other girls. But, then again, I never before had so much at stake. Our long talks over equally long walks never seemed to be long enough.

Does it seem like-with the exception of the engagement and wedding- that we never really had those "BIG MOMENTS" in our relationship? I guess I see only two people who have continually moved closer and closer together. So instead of a list of time-stamped events establishing with each check to mark our "coupleness", we have a simple building which reinforces itself a little more each day, building upon a foundation of love and reaching towards the simple goal of complete unity of the "one flesh."

The year between our engagement and marriage seemed at the time to take forever to pass and now seem like it sped by. The day we took that next step of being married wasn't a nervous day for me. I was at peace with everything that day because it was only natural to marry my best friend and that helper made perfectly for me.

It hasn't always been perfect-yes I would at some point have to use that overly cliched sentiment and then continue it with-and it wasn't all a bed of roses, but those trying times have made us what we are. Those times when we have been reminded of our glaring inadequacies and have been made to view sin full in the face, turned out to be also the times when we have patched that part of our relationship in such a way as to make it stronger then it ever was before.

It has been hard and it has been easy. It has been scary and it has been peaceful. It has been full of laughter and it has had some times of sadness. But above all else, it has been my honor and privilege to call you "my girl" wife. You are my blessing and my love.

Happy Anniversary Charity Faith!

I look forward to saying that to you every year God allows us through the grace of Jesus to dwell together here below.


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPod Touch

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Summer Plans

With summer vacation quickly approaching at school, I thought it would be a good time to let all those who are interested know our summer travel plans.

June 10th we will be heading back to KC from Seoul and should arrive late on the 10th in Kansas City

From the 10th-16th of June we will be recovering from jet-lag and enjoying almost a week in KC.

On the 16th we will be flying to Penn. till the 30th and catching up with all those in Quakertown.

From the 30th of June till the first week of August, we will be in Kansas City.

Our final tour will start the first week of August and take us Greenville, SC for a few days. Then we are going to Alabama to G-pa’s lake house and finally on the 18th heading back to KC to catch our flight out on the 20th.


(6/10) – Fly into KC

(6/10-6/16) - KC “recovery from jetlag”

(6/16-6/30) - Penn. Pritt Family visiting

(6/30-First Week of August) - Kansas City and smaller, shorter trips

(First Week of August-8/18) - Greenville,SC; Lake in Alabama

(8/20) - Heading back to Seoul

So for anyone that would like to, we would love to see any friends or family along the way! Talk to you all (and hopefully see some of you all) soon!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

What was that?

So I was sitting in my classroom around six a couple of nights ago grading homework and setting up for the next day when what sounded like the largest rice krispy *CRACKLE POP* ever rang out and my laptop screen fluttered and my desk rattled. Funny enoungh, my first thought was earthquake, but with the news in Haiti I just thought I was being paranoid. Dismissing at as well as I could with thoughts that it must be something to do with all the construction going on in the area, I went back to grading and prep.

The next morning, one of the other teachers informed us that there was a minor earthquake and asked if we had felt it. Now it was only about a 3.0 in magnitude or for my California friends "no big deal" but it was my first. I suppose it is yet another thin I can check off my list of experiences. Although, I would have thought most of my experiences would be cultural, I guess you can never really tell.

I am writing this on Friday late afternoon as Charity, our wonderful local guide and I are heading down to 원지 (Wonji) for Lunar New Year weekend rest. If you have read past posts you would know how nice the buses are here and how comfortable the ride is.

Lunar New Year is quite the affair here. Evedently it is customary to bow in respect to your elders and especially showing great honor to your own grandparents. In return, the grandparents give their grandchildren money and gifts for these actions. All in all, it is a very big family holiday and EVERYONE TRAVELS!!!

As I write this, we are stuck in a massive traffic jam. I would guess we are not going to see the end of this four hour trip for another six hours. Traveling in and around Korea is made much nicer by the fact that Korea is relativley small and Seoul is so set in the country that travel can be easily had by many different means from Seoul to almost anywhere.

School has been going well and we are in full swing for the semester. I enjoy the students so much even though I feel overwhelmed with the responsibility I have been given. It is comforting to know that God has put us here for a reason and that He always gives the grace to accomplish what He has given. my fraility I feel responsible to get the results. I have to often remind myself (more likely it is God reminding me) that it is only my steadfast commitment to serve (something I still need His help to accomplish) and it is His to move and make the result. How sobering!

For those that would, please pray for the school. Nothing in particular really, I just know the day in day out strain that living the high example that is needed by the teachers and administration can be taxing. I have said it many times before, but I will say it again, getting married was a wonderful event, but it also showed me how evil I am at heart. Being a teacher is like being on display or being observed through a microscope. Every flaw and shortcoming is seen. There is a very natural (as in the "natural man") desire to shirk the life of high standards and to live in non-accountability. Also, students today have all the same problems as every other generation before it but they also have more ease and even less accountability today than even five years ago.

I don't consider myself an old man nor do I believe myself to have achieved, but every year that passes leads me to desire His return more and more. I will stand with Paul when he sakes that still desire to remain and fulfill the purpose the God puts before me.

Well, I would continue, but sleep is pulling at a pair of weary eyes and I am afraid sleep will win soon.

More to come.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPod Touch.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Shorter posts...and maybe more of them...

Ok, so now that I have an iPod touch I probably will be able to post more often. For instance, it is about 11:16pm and I am posting from bed with Charity asleep next to me.

Topic for tonight is the equivalent to the DMV in Korea. My international driver's license from the US expired on the fifth so I needed to get it renewed or go and get my Korean driver's license. The slightly more permanent option of a Korean license appealed to me so Mr. Goh, one of the other teachers and I set out to obtain these two Americans their local license.

First we had to ride the subway to the Samsung subway stop and walk to our destination about three blocks away. Done.

Then we stood in the first of what would end up being many different lines for the day. This first lady curtly informed us that we would have to get more pictures for the other teacher and that we needed to go to the physical exam. Done.

We took our increasing stack of papers with us from the main building to a low-slung building in the complex and proceeded to take the "physical."

Now this was no run of the mill physical. No way. First, you walk right by the eye exam boards that you will have to stand much further away to read a few characters that a busy Korean woman pointed to with a…pointer scant minutes later. I was little nervous about having to do it Korean but luckily she knew 영오 (English) and I passed simply and quickly.

While I was standing in this line I was lucky enough to take, what I am affectionately calling, the "squat-stand-honk-honk test.". Basically I had to squat down Korean style, stand up and with my hands facing forward at shoulder level had to make a "twinkle-twinkle" with my hand. Hence my name for it: the "squat-stand-honk-honk test."

From there we paid at another line, stood in another to have another document signed off on and on to take our test.

The test consisted of twenty random questions on a computer. I don't know what was worse, the English on the test or the fact that on some questions I only had a vague notion of what the question was asking. For instance, one of the question began "what mind should you have as you approach a cross-street:" and the rest were way worse...

From there we proceeded to the last two lines. The first of which we surrended our American licenses and the last where we were issued our Korean licenses.

In total we only spent…3+ hours in this process from leaving school to returning.

Another one for the memories!

Hope all who read this are doing well and if you are facebook jump on out to and leave a comment including additions, subtractions and comments about this or any other posts that you might see.

Thanks for reading and as always More to come...

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Hi I know it has been awhile…

Who are those two sitting there about a year ago? They look and act like tourists! Don't they understand what is coming?

One year later we sit looking both forward and backwards (don't worry, not at the same time… that would be painful) and realize that God has been good to us this past year.

We have enjoyed our students immensly, we travelled around Korea and out the Philippines and back. We added to our household through a little dog Mia, gained new friends and experienced untold new things. We lost a bit of money through a robbery and all our debt through some hard work and God's grace.

I have grown closer to my wife and to my God.

We have enjoyed new foods and new favorite dishes.

All in all it has been a great year and it will be fun to see where this year will take us in location, spiritual walk and mental knowledge.

Love to all and have a wonderful new year from Charity and Daniel

As always “More to come”