Monday, October 29, 2007

Another Update on Korea

I keep meaning to post here and keep everyone updated, but sadly I think of it when I'm no where near the computer. So, since today is Teacher's Day in Yesan and there is no school, I thought it would be the perfect time!

Last Friday we had a "festival" at the school and the kids played various games in the morning, had some lunch and then in the afternoon had a variety show of sorts. There were also prize give-aways but I don't have any idea what the prizes were.
Here, two students are hopping on one foot while holding the other up. The idea is to knock into your opponent and get him to lose his balance and put his foot least that's the way it seemed to me. They seemed to be enjoying this one a lot.

These are just a few of the pictures. I didn't think anyone was overly interested in seeing all my students...and not sure what the protocol is of posting their pics on here. So, I thought I'd just post some.
To the right are several of the students in the school just after lunch. They were playing around, reading and just socializing while they waited for the variety show to start. To the left are four of the students playing brass instruments. They look far away, but really they weren't. I was using my camera phone zoomed in as close as it would go, and the picture makes me look like I was very far away from the stage.
All in all, the day was pretty good. After it as all said and done the teachers (or most of them) went out for supper. That wasn't too bad, except the Korean's like to drink and they kept offering me drinks. I've told them over and over again that I do not drink. They find that concept hard
to believe I think. They keep asking me, I keep saying no. Then they'll say, how about trying just a little or just a sip...and I keep telling them, no I don't drink at all. I wish they could get it into their heads that it's pointless to keep asking me.
Well, I think I will just keep this post short and post the next time about the school trip to Seoulland and a festival in Hongseong that I went to a couple of weekends ago. I've got pictures of those as
well. I just basically wanted to update you and let you know that everying is going well. The leaves are changing colour which I was beginning to wonder about since being told that they do in fact change here. It's towards the end of October when it happens though, and not earlier like in Canada. Some of my pictures from Seoulland shows the coloured leaves, so I'll even have proof :o).
I haven't been getting to church lately. It's just so difficult to find the motivation when the service is held in Korean and sometimes the translation isn't the best, and can be hard to understand. I don't find I'm feeling any connection there, nor do I feel like I can worship because I don't understand things, nor do I feel like I'm being fed. We are thinking of trying out a church in Chonan (an hour and 20 mins away) that we've seen from our bus trips into the city. They advertise English services so we might see if we can find it from the bus stop and try that service. We're not entirely sure yet though. I'll let you know what we decide to do and how it turns out.
So, that's all for now. Have a Christ-filled day!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Feelings of Frustration

Well, I've been in Korea now nearly two months. Things are going about as well as they can I suppose. I am still trying to get used to the customs, the people, and the culture.
I have been feeling a little frustrated lately with the whole "lack of communication" thing. It's rather irksome to not be able to communicate with people. The thing is, I'm not frustrated or irked at the people who don't understand English; I'm frustrated with those who can (the Korean people that is). I think what it boils down to has to deal with translation issues. I try to explain things to one particular co-teacher and she just doesn't seem to understand. Her English is very good though. One example is just yesterday I was asking her if she could ask the computer teacher if he could change the language over on my computer at school as well as the lap top they gave me to use. Everything is in Korean and I can't understand it; therefore I can't really use the computer. I'd like to do Power Point in the classroom, but I can use it because the program is in Korean. I'm trying to install a webcam on the laptop, but it's not working because the program (cd) is in English, and the computer might not be recognizing it because of the language thing - at least that's what I'm thinking because my friend Sarah has the same computer in her apartment (from her school) and her's is in English. She also has the same web cam and her's works fine. Anyway, long story short, my co-teacher went to ask him and a couple of the other Korean teachers got in on the conversation, one of who is another of my co-teachers. This co-teacher comes over and tells me if I'm wanting an English site to just type it into the computer and it will come up English. I said I know that, and I do that. I want the whole computer changed over so I can use the programs and know what to do when the boxes pop up on the screen with errors and whatnot....aarrggghhhhh!
My last class on Thursdays are horrible. These kids, I've been told, are the worst class in the school and they also have the lowest marks. I can totally see why! They don't listen. They talk when they shouldn't be. They are smartalecky (or however you spell that). They are loud. They just don't care. My co-teacher said that all the teachers, including the Korean teachers, can't control this class. Nothing seems to work, and finally I am at my witts end - I've given them all the chances they are going to get. My co-teacher was only in the class for five minutes and she was yelling at them and hitting them (that is still allowed over here...I don't agree with it, and I refuse to hit them). She had to leave, and was gone the rest of the class. I told her afterwards that I didn't get anything done (again) with that class and that I told them next time they are getting kicked out of my class. I don't know how well the boys understood me, but I asked her if kicking them out into the hall or somewhere else was allowed. She said it was. So next week as soon as someone starts acting out, I'm kicking him, or them, out. I don't care if I'm left with the three or four or five that actually seem to try to listen and do the work.
Thankfully, my classes today aren't like that. They are pretty good, so I shouldn't have any problems with them. There is another class similar to this class I was just talking about, but they aren't nearly as bad. That class is on Mondays. I pray that my classes go well, and that I can especially handle that Thursday class.
Well, I had better go and start getting ready for work. Have a Christ-filled day!

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

A Jumble of Topics

I don't understand the postal system. I know a bit about how it works and the "behind the scenes" sort of dealings with the mail, largely in part because my father used to work at the post office sorting mail. I also did some casual work doing the same job back in the late 1980s.

My parents have sent me three small packages within the last three to four weeks. The first package, my dad was told, would take fifteen days to arrive. That coincided with the Korean thanksgiving holiday, Chuseok. For that holiday, the Koreans have three days off plus the weekend (unless the holiday lands on the weekend). The fifteenth day would have been on the Saturday before the holiday, thus no mail (there is no mail delivery here in Yesan on the weekend). So, since the next three days after the weekend were holidays, there was also no mail service. The next possible day for me to receive the package would have been the Thursday immediately following the holiday. I did not receive the package.

That Friday, I did get a package. It was not the first package (which I really wanted quickly because it contains the cord for my camera so I can download my pictures). No, the package I received was the third package (which I also needed). It has now been nearly a week and I still have not received the first or second packages. Weird. The third package only took eleven days for me to receive. This experience has left me wondering if the other two were sent surface mail (though I don't think that was how they were supposed to go, especially since my father was told the first one would only take fifteen days for me to receive). If that is the case and they were sent surface mail, then it will take about six to eight weeks before I will receive them.

In other news, last weekend Sarah and I went to visit Lorie in Hongseong where she lives. Hongseong is about a twenty minute bus ride from Yesan and is a little bigger than Yesan. The streets are also wider, and they actually have sidewalks there - Yesan doesn't have sidewalks.

We had a great time walking around the town, shopping, stopping to have some pizza (man, it was soooo good!), and of course visiting Lorie. The pictures I've scattered in this post are all from Hongseong.

One place we stopped at had the best frozen yogurt! It had a fruit taste to it, but we couldn't put our fingers on the exact taste. It might have been a mix of tropical fruits though...regardless, it was really good. I took a picture of the yogurt because the spoons they use are so cute - they are little shovels! Sarah and I both got frozen yogurts, and Lorie had some kind of latte or fancy type coffee. We aren't sure why, but Sarah and I both got two spoons with our yogurts. I can't remember the name of the shop, but it was really cute and colourful and we remember how to get there so the next time Sarah and I head up to visit with Lorie, we are going back for more frozen yogurt!

This tree was also in the shop. It's not real, but there are hundreds of little slips of paper with Korean writing on them, and these pieces of paper are literally attached everywhere to the tree. It would have been nice to have someone who knew what this was about (or someone from the shop who spoke English so we could have asked what it was about) to explain it to us.

Canadian Thanksgiving is coming up in a few days (October 8 to be exact), and Lorie is going to come visit Sarah and I in Yesan. We are going to have some kind of celebration meal, but it won't be turkey. I'm really going to miss that this year because I always enjoy turkey dinners at Thanksgiving and Christmas. I think we are going to have spaghetti and try to find some spaghetti sauce that is similar to what we get back in Canada. At least that is what we were thinking of having; it could change I suppose.

I was talking to my parents the other day and they were telling me my older brother and his wife are going away for Thanksgiving this year, and my younger brother and his family aren't going to be making it up for the holiday either. And with me on the other side of the world, they are going to be alone for Thanksgiving - the first time ever I think. Even before we were born, my grandmother was living with my parents so if no other family came for the meal (or if my mother's brothers didn't invite them over), they wouldn't have been alone. They are going to see if there are any church suppers being served for the holiday and go to that. It makes me kind of sad to think that they aren't going to have any of the kids over for the holiday. I'm sure my brothers and their families will be there for Christmas though, and that's the main thing I think - having family around for that special holiday.

Well, I've rambled on quite a bit in this post so I will end here. Have a Christ-filled day!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Annyong Haseyo

The title of my post is Korean for hello. So, annyong haseyo everyone!

Things have been better since my last post. In fact, the next morning I was much better and the feeling of homesickness was gone. I've been keeping busy with work, and I'm sure that has helped. However, I did a lot of praying that night and I know that definitely helped! God heard my cries and helped me get over my homesickness. Yay God!

This week we have had three days off from work - actually, we have one more day left to our holiday. Today, September 25 is Chuseok here in Korea, and that is their version of Thanksgiving. So, after working Saturday morning for three classes, I have had a holiday. It's great to have this time off to help relax.

Yesterday Sarah, Lorie, myself and Tiffany and Katherine (two other ESL teachers here in Yesan) went to a bigger city called Chonan (I'm never sure how to spell it because I've seen different spellings for it). We went to an English movie with Korean subtitles, and it was ok. The movie was Irish, and was called "Once". It wasn't too bad, though I didn't find there was really a plot. The best thing about the movie was the music, and that was written and performed by the two main characters from the movie. I want to see if there is a CD available with the songs on them because I quite enjoyed those.

I thought I'd include a couple of pictures here. To the right is the view up way on my street here in Yesan. It is empty today because of Chuseok. Normally the street (which is smallish) is crowded with parked cars (on both sides none the less) and many people walking about. It's not too loud and noisy though, but you can hear noise from there in the apartments at times.
For comparison, here is a street in Chonan, yesterday. I would think that things were pretty quiet there today for Chuseok...maybe not, though. I suppose they could have had a festival or something. I honestly don't know though. It doesn't look like a lot of people in that picture, but trust me, there were tons of people out on the streets in Chonan yesteday.

At any rate, I'll try to post some more pictures at another time to show you my adventures in Korea!

Monday, September 17, 2007

A Little Down

Well, aside from when my back was bothering me and I was in pain (when I first got to Korea), I think I have my first bout of wanting to be back home. I don't know if I would really call it homesickness, but there might be a touch of it at least.

I have a lesson plan for my teacher's class for tomorrow afternoon that I need to get done, and I honestly just don't feel in the mood to do it. I'm trying to tell myself that the sooner I get it done, the sooner I can go and read or knit or even just play on the computer. But, that doesn't seem to be working. I'm stumped. I don't know what to do it on. It's only 7:38 pm and I want to go to bed. That's out of the question though, otherwise I will be up at 1 or 2 in the morning and I do have to work tomorrow. I already feel like I need a holiday, though that could be because we are teaching 3 classes on Saturdays now.

Thanks for all the prayers for my back. It seems to be pretty much all better now with just a few tweaks of stiffness in the morning - not as bad as it had been. I hope I never have back pain like that any time soon - or ever again.

There isn't a whole lot going on right now, just mainly working. However, every Wednesday evening (unless it gets cancelled for some reason), the foreign English teachers and a few of the Korean English teachers all get together for supper and to catch up on how things are going. Sometimes (or often) they go out for karaoke afterwards. That's not really my thing and because of my cold, I ducked out of going this past week (two others also didn't go). I suppose I'll probably go sometimes, but not all the time - especially if they get back late. We're supposed to go this week as well, but I don't really want to...I mean, I'll go to supper with them, but I don't want to go out to karaoke, mostly because of the drinking that goes on at that time.

Well, I suppose I really should go work on my lesson plan. It does need to get done. Have a Christ-filled day!

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Note To Self

I really need to invest in a pair of indoor shoes for school. You see, the school has a policy that you don't wear the shoes you wear outside in the school. I can understand why. What I can't understand is that we have to go outside toget to and from the cafeteria and you don't change into your outside shoes. Doesn't make much sense to me, but it's not something I worry about.

Anyway, the reason I need some is that I've been using a spare pair of shoes from the school. They are more like slipper than shoes, and the bottoms make for tricky walking if the floor happen to be a little wet. Trust me, it does. I found out the hard way.

On the way back from one of my classes this morning I stepped into some water that the boys (remember, I teach at an all boy school) had spilled on the floor. I did this weird funky dance and fell flat on my butt. How embarrassing!!! My main co-teacher was with me and she felt so bad. I think she went and told the boys to clean it up. It was nice, though, that two of the boys came right over to see if I was ok and they were more than willing to help me. This little incident happened again a bit ago when, after my final class, I went into the teachers meeting room to fill my bottle with water. Someone had dripped water on the floor and I slipped again. Thankfully, though, I didn't fall this time. The only thing I'm worried about is that it might further injur my back.

My back has been getting a lot better lately, but I still wake up somewhat stiff. Today I don't think I was as stiff a I had been, but I was still stiff. I would hate to have my back almot better only to have it get hurt again. I've taken an Advil a bit ago and hope that it will help. I still have a couple of pain killers and muscle relaxers, so if it starts acting up I will take those ASAP. I'm praying that my back will be fine and that it wasn't hurt further.

In other news, our escapade to Seoul was great. Seoul is a really big city. We didn't go to a lot of places, but we walked around and bought a few souveniers from vendors. We did go into some stores, but I didn't find any yarn stores this time so couldn't feed my knitting addiction. We plan on going again (hopefully soon) - maybe in October and I hope I'll be able to find knitting/yarn stores ahead of time online so we'll know where to look for them.

So far, work is going well this week...though to be honest, it's only Monday so I have four more days to go. I found out today that they've added three classes to my nineteen. These new three are teaching conversational English to Korean elementary teachers. This will be on Tuesdays, and it will make my day even longer...longer than Monday. Monday I have five classes; Tuesday used to have three classes, but now including teaching the teachers, I will have six. As well, we are supposed to teach for about three hours on Saturday afternoons (we get extra pay for this, and I'm told it is very good money). We're not sure exactly how Saturday will work out because they've changed this program from last semester. The other ESL teachers in our building that are doing this have told us that they could tell us one thing one minute and in a five minutes change's very frustrating, and you can't really make plans.

Well, I'd better go for now. God bless and have a Christ-filled day!

Thursday, September 06, 2007

School Is In

Well, I have now finished my first week teaching Engish here in Korea! My lesson was the same for all 19 classes I teach - a basic introduction lesson where I would tell about myself and ask them questions to "test" their listening. I've been told that I can do just one lesson plan for all the classes, and just adapt it so that it will reach those who don't know very much English, and also those who would be classified as intermediate beginners.

Monday is my busiest day with five classes in a row. My easier days are Tuesdays and Thursdays (so far), with only three in a row. I teach at Yesan Middle School for boys. That's right, I teach all boys all the time! The grades I have would work out to grade seven and eight in our school system. Here, though, they go by levels and I have all the level ones and twos - each class (there are 9 classes in each level) is 45 minutes long and has roughly 30ish boy in each.

The heat has pretty much disappeared, thankfully. We had several days of rain in a row, which brought welcomed coolness. Today is sunny and cloudy and very warm (though I'm not sure of the exact temperature). Those first days were so unbearably hot, so I am enjoying today's weather.

I'm pretty well settled into my apartment. I'm just waiting for my stove to be hooked up and my chair to be delivered. The apartment is a bachelor/studio type - just one room; two people could comfortably live in it though.

On Tuesday, Sarah and I were taken to one of the main cities that is about two hours away so that we could apply for our alien registration cards and a multiple entry visa. The visa is so that if we want to travel while we are in Korea, we can do so and still be able to get back in (our work visa only allow for one entry, which was when we landed in Korea two week ago). We were told that it would take two weeks for us to get but one of the ESL teachers in our building said she got hers in ten days, and another one told us she got hers in seven days. We need the alien registration cards before we can open a bank account, and have internet and phone and cable hooked up. Thankfully I have access to the net at school! Not to worry though, during school hours I use it to check email and surf for ideas to use in class. The only time I do anything personal is at lunch or after classes. All the ESL teachers have told us the schools don't care what we do at our desk just so long as we look busy. One teacher told us she reads a lot of books and another has said she has observed other ESL teachers playing computer games...

Tomorrow Sarah, Lorie, and myself are heading to Seoul with two other ESL teachers that live in our building. Sarah and I are in the same town and her apartment is above mine, but Lorie ended up getting placed about 15 minutes from us (she's coming in tonight on the bus to go with us in the morning to Seoul).

Latest prayer requests would include that my back continues to get better (it is now more stiff and a little sore rather than the excruciating pain I was having), that I do well with my teaching, that I can handle the boys, that I get along well with all my co-teachers and develop good relationships with my co-workers (I'm the only foreigner here - everyone else is Korean). Also, please pray that Sarah and I can find a church that speaks English. There are none in the town we ended up in (the town is called Yesan).

God bless, and have a Christ-filled day!

Monday, August 27, 2007

Day Four - Or Is It Five?

Well, we have been in orientation now for three days and so far it's not going too bad. We've had some lectures on things such as how to teach English in Korean schools, Conversatonal English, Co-teaching, being an ESL's been interesting but nothing too exciting.

On Sunday we went to a Korean Folk Village. That was pretty interesting. It is a village done up to show and tell about the Korean history and culture, with replicas of the types of houses the Korean's lived in, their lifestyles, etc. It is fully a working village and has actual people planting and raising crops, taking care of animals, etc. As I said, it was pretty interesting. There was only one thing that really ruined this trip for me and that was the heat. It was so uncomfortably hot! I don't normally do well in heat, so I'm surprised I didn't totally faint or anything. I had about 4 bottles of water during the course of our stay there (about 5 hours), and a slushie which was really refreshing! My stomach was turned from the smells of the food being cooked in the eating area so I didn't have anything to eat. I was also not really hungry because of the heat but I had a couple of cookies to help me get by.

I've actually not been eating a lot - not because I don't like the food or anything, but because of the heat. I just haven't felt like eating. I've tried a little of the Korean food - Kim Chi, which was too spicy for my liking, and some kind of vegetable dumpling things (don't know what they are called). There was a couple of other things, but can't remember what they were. Today was special, food wise. For supper they served spaghetti and french fries, among other items to choose from. I was so excited to eat "real" food - not that I haven't eaten it already this week. They have salads of different kinds, lots of fruit, cereal and scrambled eggs at breakfast, chicken wings, and some other items I can't recall offhand.

Tonight we're going to a movie they are showing in the auditorium in one of the university buildings. It's a Korean movie with Englih subtitles, and I hope it will be good. We went to one last Friday night as well, and that was rather enjoyable.

I've had an answer to prayer today. We met a couple of other Christians at orientation, and they informed us that they've met other Christians here too. I was beginning to think that we were the only Christians here. Two of the Christians are assigned to the same province we are assigned to, but I don't know about the others. We don't know if we'll be in the same city or not though because we only find that out at the end of the orientation.

Please keep praying for my back as it is still bothering me. It is getting better, and is generally the most stiff and painful when I wake up in the morning or if I've been sitting any length of time. I'm getting better walking without the muscles clenching up and can also walk a little faster. I'm still praying for healing, and I know that God can heal me.

Well, we'll probably be heading to the movie very soon so I'm going to sign off for now. Have a blessed and Christ-filled day!

Friday, August 24, 2007


Well, we made it safe and sound to Korea. We left my hometown and arrived in Toronto and had no problem finding our gate where we had to board our flight to Korea. After a roughly two hour wait, we left Toronto and arrived in Korea about 4:00 pm, Korean time.

We are staying in a dorm at a university where we have our orientation, and it took us about four or so hours to get here from the Inchon airport. We had to go through customs, get our luggage, get some money changed to Korean Won, and finally make our way to the counter of the organization we signed on with.

On Friday, we didn't have anything to do because orientation only started today. It's been extremely HOT and humid here and thankfully we have air conditioning in the dorm rooms. Sarah, Lorie and I didn't do much of anything because we were feeling the effects of jet lag, so we stuck around campus and ended up having a three hour nap which helped a little.

I've been suffering from back pain - muscle spasms it looks like to me. It's rather painful at times and I've been taking some muscle relaxers that help a little. Unfortunately I hadn't planned on it lasting this long (I had it a day or so before leaving for Korea) so I only brought a few. I've got 3 left. I spoke with some of the women who are coordinating the orientation and asked them if they could tell me where the nearest pharmacy is. They asked what I needed, so I told them I wanted something for the muscles in my lower back. They got one of their co-workers (she was on her way to the university we are at) to stop and pick up something for me. It is some kind of medicinal patch type thing that you peel off one side and stick it to the area you need the relief. This has helped quite a bit as I have longer periods of time when I'm not in pain (or very little). It doesn't help, though, that we are sitting a lot and that is when I get stiff and find it hard to move because of the stiffness and pain (it also happens after I wake up).

I've been praying about this, my back, and have got others praying too and I am trusting that God, the Great Physician and Healer, will take care of things. The pain is affecting me here, in that I feel frustrated at limitations I have and that I have to be slow. I just want this pain to go away - now!

Other than sticking around the campus the last two days, we haven't gotten out to explore the area. We're hoping to do this some evening before we leave to our schools. We don't find out where we are going until the end. This, I have found out, is because they have had problems in the past of people finding out where they are going and then for whatever reason tearing up their contracts and not honouring them.

I've only taken a couple of pictures, but not of anything really important or noteworthy. Unfortunately I forgot to bring the cable to hook up to my computer so I can download them so it will be a little while before I am able to share them. We also found out that it's going to take a little while before we can get internet hookup in our apartments...just the red tape that needs to be dealt with first. So until then, I'll probably have to use a computer at whatever school I am placed with. At the moment, I'm using one that is on my floor of the dorm.

That's all for now. Time is running out and our lunch break is almost over. We have to go back for more orientation this afternoon, and then this evening they are having a welcoming get together for us so I'm not sure if I'll have time to update later. I will try to update as often as I can.

So, until the next time I post, have a blessed and Christ-filled day!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

T Minus 10 1/2 Hours

Well, it's down to the wire. In less than 12 hours I leave for Korea. My back is still hurting, so please be in prayer about that.

I think I'm all packed..."think" being the key word. I've got two bags to check, and hopefully they aren't over the 50 lb weight limit (or else I have to pay extra). I also have my laptop to take as a carry-on, plus one other bag. If it wasn't for taking my laptop, I could have taken another piece of luggage for carryon, and I might have gotten everything packed. I know there are things I couldn't get packed, and that disappoints me. I don't think I'll have them shipped to me because mailing things from here in Canada (at least from the east coast) to South Korea is EXPENSIVE! Alas, but my knitting items will have to come from Korea...though I did get a little bit of yarn packed and some double pointed needles to knit socks. Otherwise, I'll have to make a special trip to Seoul to get knitting things. Somehow, that doesn't disappoint me, LOL!

I still don't feel as though this is really happening. I still feel like I'm not scheduled to leave for a few more months. I had a little bout of fear/panic earlier this week, but that has passed. Maybe that's an answer to prayer. I'm not as excited as I thought I would be, but that just might be because I'm still feeling like I'm not all packed.

Please pray that the flight goes well, that Sarah, Lorie and I have all our necessary documents with us - that we don't forget them. Pray that everything goes well for us.

I'm off to bed now, and hope that I'll be able to sleep. The next time I'll write will probably be in Korea...unless I can get a connection on the plane for a little update!

Have a blessed and Christ-filled day!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Two More Sleeps!

It's Monday. That means in two days I will be leaving Canada for a year, and heading off to South Korea. Things are starting to come together, but at the same time there still seems to be a ton of things to do - pack, call the bank with regard to banking matters (of course), getting a few more small items to take (sheets, towels, pantyhose, makeup - things like that), getting my hair cut...I've got my list started of what to pack (quite a bit on it so far), so that will be a help.

Last week we got our Korean money that we had ordered. We didn't get a whole lot, just enough to get by on until we get there. Apparently there is a place at the airport in Korea where you can exchange money. It was actually suggested to us by the company we were hired by to only take a little bit of Korean money with us, and then exchange the rest when we get to the airport; that's what we're going to do.

I've had my dentist appointments to get my teeth out. They weren't hurting or bothering me in any way, but I thought it might be a good idea to get them out while I'm still in Canada. I didn't want to get to Korea and end up having them start aching or something. I don't know what the dental system is like over there, though I'm sure they are good. Still, I didn't want to take chances - especially since I am really, really, really phobic of going to the dentist!

My face was a little swollen after the first appointment (looked a little like a chipmunk), but I haven't noticed any swelling after yesterday's appointment. My mouth is healing nicely, but I'm still taking it easy on what I eat so that I don't accidentally jab the wound with something sharp (like chips or the crust off a pizza). I'm also taking antibiotics so that the wounds don't get infected, and those will be done on Thursday.

I ran into a bit of a problem yesterday morning. My lower back got wrenched or something and it's been bothering me since. It feels like it's the muscles acting up (spasms or something), and I've taken some muscle relaxers which seem to be helping. For awhile yesterday afternoon it was rather excruciating...well, it was when I would try to get up off my bed (I had taken a little nap after my dentist appointment because the pills I had taken to relax had really made me relax - they pretty much knocked me out for a few hours) and try to walk for a bit. I was in tears. By the evening it was a little better, and I took some muscle relaxers then. It's better today, but I am still slow in standing up and walking for a bit. I hope this is all better by Wednesday - after being on a plane for nearly 24 hours, I'm sure my back would really be hurting!

This whole experience still doesn't seem "real" to me. I'm leaving in two days, but it still feels like the trip is going to happen sometime in the distant in a couple of months. I've had moments of feeling a little anxious, and even scared; I've had a few moments of feeling a little excited, but it still doesn't seem like the trip is taking place in only a matter of days. I'm sure once Wednesday morning dawns and I'm putting my luggage in the car and heading to the airport...and even moreso when I'm at the airport...the excitement (and/or the fear) will really set in.

I'm trusting God in all of this, and I've been praying a lot as well. I know that He will protect me, guide me, and is going ahead of me. A lady at church told me yesterday that this is a perfect opportunity in which to trust God. I don't know anyone there (aside from the Sarah and Lorie who are going with me), I don't know the culture, customs, etc. I'll be doing a lot of leaning on God - especially when I get homesick.

Well, I must head off now and go do some packing, shopping, etc. I'm not sure if I'll get to post here again before I leave or not, but I'll try to. Until my next post, have a blessed and Christ-filled day!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

One Week Left

In roughly exactly one week (by roughly, I am meaning the time as it is 10:00am now and I leave at 10:05am) from this moment, I will be on the plane that will take me to Toronto where I will wait for an hour or two (can't recall the exact waiting time offhand), and then board the plane that will take me on to South Korea!

Lorie, Sarah, and I got together for a little while yesterday to talk. We haven't been able to do that in a long time. Usually it was only two of us at a time, or we'd send messages on Facebook or email between the three of us. This was because our schedules were never the same for all three of us to meet up at the same time. Anyway, yesterday we got together for coffee and just talked about what to expect, what we need to get before going over...that sort of thing. I think the next time we'll all be together will be when we get to the airport.

I have to pick up more little things to take - makeup, toiletries, maybe another pair of jeans or dress pants or a skirt. I also haven't started packing yet. I've started the thought process of what to take, but haven't actually started to pack. I'm afraid that if I start too early and get it all done, I will worry that I forgot to pack something and have to dig through everything to see if I packed it. I also don't want to wait too late to pack (like the night before) because then I'll get frustrated and wish I'd started earlier...and then might forget something. I think I'll start by making a list of what I need to take, and what I want and go from there. I need to pack for a year, but at the same time the luggage has weight restrictions (70 lbs each for checked, and 10 lbs total for carry on).

I still have other running around to do as well. I have to go to the dentist tomorrow afternoon to get a couple of teeth pulled, and then I have another dentist appointment on Saturday to get another tooth pulled (and possibly a second one that day...the dentist recommends it because he thinks it's going to get abscessed). This is an unexpected expense - an expensive one at that. My teeth aren't bothering me, but I thought I'd get them pulled (they had old fillings in them that fell out and parts of the teeth broke off so they are beyond fixing - according to the dentist) before heading over to Korea and have them end up aching over there. I have no idea what dentists are like over there, or if they even use freezing. I detest going to the dentist so much that I don't want to chance having to get them pulled without freezing. I'd probably pass out or scream loud enough that everyone at home would hear me from way over in Korea. Nope, I'll swallow my pride and fear and take my prescription for the pills (from the dentist) to knock me out and get them pulled here.

Anyway, I'm off to do a little relaxing and write up my list. I'm going to try to get some knitting done today too because I haven't done any for a little while now. Have a blessed Christ-filled day!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

God Is Good

You know how God comes through on prayers, often times at the last possible minute? You pray and pray and then as the last of the sand slips through the hour glass, you begins to wonder if everything will work out or if you'll have to change your plans. Then, everything falls into place - God has answered your prayers!

Well, God has answered my prayers (and the prayers from others who've been praying for our situation)! Sarah, Lorie and I got our visas yesterday! We were also able to book our flights for Korea - the one we wanted with the departer and arrival times being half-decent and not at terrible hours (like leaving at 6:00 in the morning or arriving at 4:00 in the morning).

Because we were only tentatively reserved for the flight, we had to have payment into the travel counsellor by closing time yesterday. We could only actually get our flight once we had our visa (or at least knew that we were getting it and it was on its way to us). So, in order for us to confirm our flight and make sure we were on it was to get our visa yesterday at the latest (with enough time so we could get to the travel agency).

My dad had called me at work to let me know that the envelope from the Korean Consulate had arrived, so I got him to open it for me to see if the visa was in it. After figuring out that it was IN the passport, I got him to give me Lorie's phone number so I could let her know and to find out which travel agency she had booked us with. When I called her she said she was finally able to get through to the consulate (prior to that she couldn't get an actual human on the phone and the extention number she was given was wrong) and they told her we were getting our visas. I told her I already had mine and she should check her mail when it comes in. From there I got the travel agency info and got my mom and dad to go down and make the transaction complete for me since I was at work and I didn't have a definite time that we'd be finished (we are finished when the work is complete, even if we have only been there 6 hours. They are actually able to do a count and figure out an approximate end time). My parents were great and went down and took care of things for me and now all I have to wait for the departure date - and pack and spend time with family and friends.

Praise God for answered prayers!

Just wanted to post a little update on the visa/flight situation. I'll try to get something more about the preparations and whatenot posted as I get closer to my departure date. I'll probably be using this blog to talk about my experiences over in Korea and post some pictures here (and on Facebook as well). Unless I create a blog that is simply for my Korean adventures...I haven't figured that out yet...but I'll probably use this one.

Have a Christ-filled and blessed day!

Sunday, August 05, 2007

A Little Setback

We've had a little setback with our visa applications. We were required to send our diplomas, official transcripts, 2 passport size photos, and a couple of other things to the Ministry of Education in Korea back in June. These were to be used for our visas, and the people in Korea were going to be helping us get the visas.

Well, the three of us (Lorie, Sarah, and I) sent off our contracts, visa applications, the "certificate" of notification that we have our jobs, and an application fee to the nearest Korean Embassy/Consulate to us; for us, the nearest is in Montreal, Quebec. I think Sarah and Lorie may have included a copy of their diplomas as well but I had read over the note that came in our packages with the contracts and certificate of notification, and I included what they had put there.

To make a long story short (if that is even possible with me!), Lorie received a phone call from a woman in the Korean Consulate in Montreal saying that she wasn't going to put her application through because she needed a picture and her official transcripts! Lorie told the woman that we sent all of those items to Korea back in June, but the lady wouldn't budge. She said that the person who would be issuing the visas wouldn't pass the application. She told Lorie that she would hold on to her application (and mine and Sarah's once Lorie mentioned that ours were on the way as well minus the pictures, etc.) and wait for the pictures and official transcripts and then pass it on.

We've since called our contact in Vancouver and told her what was going on. We're miffed because we spent a LOT of money in getting everything together and in sending it via courier (which is what we were supposed to do) and now we'll have to spend even more money we don't really have to go through this all again! Our contact, Jenny, is going to call the people in Korea and explain the situation and find out what we should do and then email us back to let us know. We should hear something by tomorrow (Monday). We were told that because we sent everything to Korea that we wouldn't need to send it to Montreal.

We still need to get our airlines tickets booked, and we aren't supposed to do that until we get our visas. Our time is running out. We need to leave by August 21/22, and we won't have our tickets by August 7th, which is what the Ministry of Education in Korea requested to be notified by with the details of our flights. Jenny will also be informing them of this.

When Lorie called to tell me of this new setback (regarding the pictures and transcripts), I was rather angry. After I cooled down, I prayed and told the Lord that I am giving the entire situation to Him to handle. He's in control, and only He can make things smooth from this "storm". Since I did this, I haven't worried about anything regarding the situation, and I haven't taken it back from Him - which is something I normally do. Hmm, maybe I'm doing some growing in my faith!

So, prayers regarding this situation are most welcome. I know God is in control of it and He can handle it, but prayers are still good!

Have a blessed and Christ-filled day!

Edited on Monday, Aug. 6 to add: Our contact in Vancouver has emailed us to say the woman she was talking to from the office in Korea will be personally in touch with the woman who had called Lorie from the Montreal office of the Korean Consulate. The contact in Vancouver will keep up on the progress, etc. and let us know what's going on with our situation. I do hope it gets resolved very quickly...time is ticking away and we need to get our airline tickets very soon!

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

The Countdown Is On

In twenty-three days I will be in Korea...maybe even twenty-two (depending if we leave on August 21 or 22)!

For the entire month of July we waited and waited and waited to get our contracts and what we need for our visas. Finally, on Monday (July 30) we got our packages. Inside the envelope was two copies of our contract, a letter explaining things, and our notice of appointment - no visa application or anything like that. Turns out, we have to get the application online, print it off and fill it out to send in along with the application fee (which is $65).

Reading over the information, we are told that we need to have the contract signed and taken to the nearest Korean Embassy/Consulate by August 3 - that is this coming Friday. Needless to say, we were very stressed and worried about that. You see, the nearest Korean Consulate to us in in Montreal - a 10 hour drive (and much cheaper than flying). We can't really afford to spend money to go up and get things taken care of as it would cut into the funds we'd be taking with us to Korea. This was causing some major stress, big time!

I fired off an email to our contact in Vancouver, and she replied back not to get stressed as things would be fine and she'd get in contact with the company over in Korea to find out the answers to our questions (including the whole August 3rd cut off date). We have been informed that the August 3rd date doesn't apply to us, but to those who applied for an ESL job through the Korean Consulate directly. We basically have until we leave to get our visas. So now I need to fill in the form, sign the contract and send it and the application fee and the passport to Montreal and wait. According to the Korean Consulate's website, it should only take 5 days.

The next "big" thing we need to do is book our flights. One of the girls contacted a couple of travel agencies to inquire about flights, when we'd need to book them, and if we can do so without getting the visas first (since we only have 3 weeks). I was told that international flights need to be booked at least 2 weeks in advance of traveling, but my friend was told by the travel agent that it is ok if it is less than 2 weeks (people book last minute all the time). Our problem is that the flights we were looking at are booking quickly so we'll have to at least have them hold our seats for a few days...but one agency said they can only hold them until Friday. So, we should have our flights booked by Friday. We aren't sure if we have to pay for them on Friday, or if we can pay next week or some time before we go. If we have to pay by Friday, I may have to leave work a little early to get to the agency in time before they close (they aren't open on the weekends during the summer). That shouldn't be a problem though because the supervisors are well aware that I'm heading to Korea for a year.

Other than all of this, my big task is getting packed - what to take, what not to take, what I can take in my carry on bags or what has to be packed in the checked bags - all that sort of stuff. I've been told that it might be good to check with the airline we end up flying with to see if we can actally take extra luggage - apparently some airlines allow you to take more luggage (like maybe another suitcase or two, thought I'm not entirely sure) if you are going to be gone longer than two months - a year is definately longer, so we might be able to take a little more. I've been getting hints and tips on things to take, things to not bother bringing over, things to take into consideration, weather tips, etc. I think what I'll do is create a list of what I want/need to take so that I hopefully won't forget anything...oh, and I will definitely be taking my laptop with me, that's a given!

So, please pray that the visa thing gets done and returned to us quickly, that there are no problems with booking our flights, and that things in general run smoothly. I appreciate all the prayers I can get! God bless, and have a Christ-filled day!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

I find it Irksome...

I admit it. I listen to the CBC in the mornings when I'm at work. They can have very interesting topics of discussion, interviews, etc. Sometimes it's as boring as all get out, but other times I find it informative and interesting.

One thing about the morning show, The Current, drives me bonkers. Ok, it's a little thing but none the less it's something I've picked up and has annoyed me ever since. When it comes to giving the various means of contacting the show, they will give a toll-free phone number you can call to leave your message on a machine, they give their email address, and they give a mailing address in case anyone wants to send a comment or whatnot via snail mail.

Canada's postal code system has an order to it. It goes: letter number letter (a space) number letter number. In other words it would look like this: M5W 1E6. This is the actual postal code they CBC has. Now, when they give it, they also say a little sentence to help listeners know what the letters are and not mistake them for similar sounding ones. The sentence used by the announcers of The Curent use this sentence: Mangle five words, I'll enunciate six.

It took me awhile to figure just what the heck they were talking about with that sentence because I wasn't paying close enough attention. Then, one day a little over a month ago, it dawned on me what they were using the sentence for: the postal code. Here's what bugs me...the "I'll" is wrong. Why you ask? Well, remember a few minutes ago I stated that the postal code order is letter number letter, number letter number? Well, the word "I'll" starts with the letter "I" and not a number 1. Their sentence is inaccurate! You can not associate the number 1 with a word beginning with "i"'s impossible.

In my opinion, the CBC - or at least the program The Current needs to come up with a different sentence. They need one that accurately reflects what they are trying to accomplish. If not, and people not knowing the order of the postal code just might use a letter "i" instead of the number "1"...and then that would affect the machines at the post offices used to sort the mail according to postal code. That causes problems for the post office (ok maybe not really, but it might) and we all know not to cause problems for post office employees...otherwise they'll go postal...

Ok...bad joke at the end. I apologize to all postal employees, and members of their families if they are offended (heck, my own father used to sort mail at the post office). But, I will not apologize for stating that the CBC is wrong with their word association for the postal code and the fact they need to fix it to accurately reflect their postal code.

'Nuff said.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Missions Or Not?

As you may recall, in my last post I somewhat complained about people assuming that my trip to Korea is missions oriented. I don't know why this "bothers" me, but it does a little.

I've been praying to God, telling Him about my concerns and thoughts. I've told Him that should He want me to do some kind of missions work while I'm there, then I would - even if I'm not overly keen on it. Does that make me a bad Christian? Jesus tells us to go into the world and make disciples of all men, yet I don't want to do that. I'm 100% certain that is because of a little 4-letter word that starts with "f" -- fear.

Now, keep in mind that Christianity is very popular over in Korea, and I think the top two religions are Christianity and Buddhism. It's not like the Korean people have never heard of Jesus, but still there are those who need to know Jesus and see His love in action, and receive His love. It's just the same in North America. Missions is not limited to the jungles of Africa or other third-world countries. Missions can be done in our own backyards!

So, to get to my point, this past Sunday the pastor was preaching about doing missions because a group of youth and young adults is going to Toronto for a week on a missions trip. It was a very good sermon, and at the end he said that if we felt the Lord nudging us about doing mission work (he strongly believes that all Christians should go on at least one mission trip in their lifetime), to stand so he could pray for us. Well, guess who felt the nudge. Yeah, me.

I have no clue what kind of mission work I'd even do over in Korea, but I suppose any little bit is fine. I will, as I have mentioned before, do my knitting over there to donate to charities or underprivledged kids who might need a hat or socks or mittens or something, and I'll likely help out at the church I end up attending in Korea - providing they have areas of ministry that are done in English so communication would be easy. Whatever it is, I'm praying that the Lord will direct my steps and let me know what it is He wants me to do.

But first, I need to get myself into His Word more often and pray better than I've been doing. I need to be able to hear Him when He speaks to me and tells me in what direction I need to go. I will be honest and say that I've fallen behind in these areas (though the praying is getting better) and definately need improvement. I need the power of God to keep Satan from preventing me from doing the Lord's work, because I can't stop him (Satan) with my own power.

So, it just may be that one reason the door has been opened for me to go to Korea is to do some missionary work. To me that is scary. It shouldn't be, but in all honesty it is. It's something I'll have to work out with God.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

A Little Closer To Lift-Off

This is the last day of June, and in a little over a month and a half I will be heading to South Korea. Slowly, I have been getting things together - though nothing is packed yet. What I have been gathering is what I've needed for documentation.

I've gotten a another diploma (we had to pay for it, but it was worth it so that we wouldn't have to send our originals - especially since I got mine framed rather nicely) - it's not a copy per se, but is official and signed by the registrar and president of the university. I also got two copies of my TESL certificate and sent one to Korea. I had to get two passport sized photos (probably for the visa and/or Ministry of Education records), two reference/recommendation letters, sealed transcripts, copy of the picture page of my passport, a criminal record check (sealed, and a medical report. I've yet to get the medical report as I can only get into the doctor for July 24. I received an email from the Ministry asking for me to fax a copy of the signed report when I get that; I'll also take the original with me in case they would like that over the faxed copy.

Within the next couple of weeks I should be getting the contract an official letter of acceptance and the documents for the working visa. We are to go to the nearest Korean Consulate and get those documents signed. The only problem is the nearest Korean Consulate is in Montreal! Neither my two friends nor I can afford to take a weekend trip up to Montreal to do this, so one of the girls contacted the woman from Vancouver that we've been in contact with throughout this process. She's been the middle person, so to speak, between applicants from Canada and the Ministry of Education in South Korea. She told us to mail the documents and our passport (which is needed for this) to the consulate. That bothers me somewhat.

You see, information that was included with the passport says not to let your passport out of your possession. Now, you don't have to keep it on your person at all times, but you shouldn't give it away or lend it to someone or anything of the sort. However, the only option we have is to mail it to the Consulate...I'll definately be using Registered Mail or something of the sort which means they'll have to sign for the envelope (and thus I'll know they received it), and I think I am going to request that they send it back in a similar way. I will be praying that my passport doesn't get lost or stolen in that process - otherwise I could be in trouble (not for sending it to them, but for not having it when I need it to go to Korea). I'm sure that things will be fine in this area, though.

Also, something I've been running into a lot lately is that a lot of people are assuming that my trip to Korea is for missions. That is not the case. Yes, God can use me over there should He so choose; but my reasons for going to Korea are not mission oriented. I'm simply going over there to teach English and hopefully earn enough money to pay off a significant chunk (if not the whole thing, which would be nice) of my student loan.

Yes, I will be looking for a church when I get there, and I plan on using my God-given talent of knitting to make items for homeless/less-fortunate/orphans, etc. as I do here. I don't know if I will get involved in the church I attend as I've been involved here at my own church (such as teaching Sunday school and helping with the mid-week program), or if I will take a "break" and rest and replenish myself from such things for the year, so that I don't get burnt out. That way, when I come back I will be rested up and can start fresh in at my own church again. I know I'll be busy with the teaching, and if I volunteer at a church there (doing Sunday school or some other program or whatnot), I know I will run myself ragged and get burnt out - and I don't want that to happen while I'm in Korea. But, I shall have to wait and see what the direction that God will lead me in while I'm in Korea.

So comes the end of another updated post on my journey to South Korea. God bless, and have a Christ-filled day!

Saturday, June 23, 2007

A Couple of Fun Quizzes!

Your Eyes Should Be Brown

Your eyes reflect: Depth and wisdom

What's hidden behind your eyes: A tender heart


You Are: 50% Dog, 50% Cat

You are a nice blend of cat and dog.

You're playful but not too needy. And you're friendly but careful.

And while you have your moody moments, you're too happy to stay upset for long.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Another Step Towards Korea

I still haven't gotten everything together to send to Korea to get the visa. I do have most of the required documents/information, however.

I was able to take one day off a little over a week ago. I was able to go to the police station and submit the form to get a police check done. I also included a self-addressed stamped envelope so they could send it to me. I got that back last Wednesday - less than a week later. We have to submit that in a sealed envelope, so naturally I did not open it. I will send it as is when I send out my documents.

I've also been able to get my two reference letters, one from my TESL teacher, and one from my employer. Those, too, have to be sealed. My TESL teacher is sending his letter directly to Korea, but my employer gave me her reference in a sealed envelope and I'll send it as is.

One of the girls who is going to South Korea with me stopped into the university last week and she and the third girl (who happens to work at the university) spoke with the registrar about our diplomas and TESL certificates. You see, we are supposed to submit our originals but we don't want to do that in case they get lost or ripped or damaged in some other way. The school's policy is that you can't get a replacement unless you submit the original first. However, since our situation is somewhat unique, they told the girls that they will get us copies of the diplomas and certificates. The only thing is, we have to pay - which I suppose is fair.

I emailed the woman in the registrar's office who is responsible for getting these documents for us. She said that they were waiting for the paper to print them on, as well the president of the university had to sign them. We should get them at the beginning of this week (I checked my email tonight and there was no word on them yet). I also inquired about my transcripts and those are ready, but this same woman in the registrar's office said she thought maybe I'd want to get everything at the same time, and save a trip into the school. That is fine with me. I just need these documents very soon.

As for the passport, Sarah and I drove up to the provincial capital to the passport office there. We went on a Tuesday morning and submitted our applications. We were told it would take three weeks for us to get our passports. Two weeks and a couple of days later, we got them. Had we sent them to Ottawa (actually I think the passport office is in Gatineau, Quebec which is just across the border from Ottawa I think), we would have had a minimum of 10 weeks to wait before getting the passports. The reason is because very soon (unless it is required now), Canadians will need passports to enter the US via air. As well, in the not too distant future, you will be required to have a passport the enter the US via car as well (right now you only need a birth certificate). I think people are preparing for that, especially with the summer season upon us and many people will be travelling.

Anyway, if you are a Canadian citizen and wish to avoid the long wait when sending your passport application into Ottawa/Gatineau, take it to your provincial office if it is at all possible. You'll have a shorter wait.

So, I am mostly waiting on the diploma and TESL certificates and then I can get those and what I've gathered so far, documentation wise, to send to Korea so they can work on getting the visa. Once I send in, at least, the three important items (diploma, transcripts, and two passport size photos), they can begin the process. I think the rest of the documents are for the Ministry of Education's (in Korea) office files, though to be honest, I am not totally sure about that.

The days and weeks are passing by quickly; June is half over already. I don't know exactly when we'll leave yet, but the orientation starts August 24. I would expect we will leave Canada no later than August 22 (it takes about 24 hours to get there, including stops/layovers or whatnot from what I read).

Two months (approximately) from now, and I head to Korea. I don't think it has really hit me yet. I have a lot to do before then, and I know the time is going to fly by. I'll keep you updated on how things are going prior to leaving. I'll be taking my laptop with me, and we are told that we will have internet access at the schools, and we can have it set up in our apartments; I will be able to blog from there and update on what is going on with me in Korea.

Until then, I'll try to come up with other things to post about as well so I won't be too boring...

Have a Christ-filled day!

Sunday, June 03, 2007

I'm Leaving On A Jet Plane

Well, not for a little while yet. A couple of friends (from my TESL class) and I had applied for jobs teaching English in South Korea. We had to send in our resumes, photos, a medical form (a simple general self-evaluation type), then if we got through that we would have to take part in an interview via phone from South Korea. Thursday night we had our interviews (mine was at 11pm my time, one girl was before me but I don't know what time hers was, and the other one didn't have her interview until 1am our time). We waited all weekend to find out whether or not we passed the interview.

This evening we found out. I haven't talked to the other girls yet, but I passed the interview!

Now I have to gather together two reference letters, a medical report from the doctor, a police check, my diploma, copy of my TESL certificate, transcripts of my marks, and some other items. All of this is needed to optain the visa. We need to get this done this month. In July we'll receive an official acceptance letter, our contracts, and something else that I forget at this moment...oh, probably the visa.

Next comes the airline ticket (though I wonder if that can be obtained prior to getting the visa), and flying to South Korea to take part in an orientation, after which we will begin teaching.

Whew! That's a lot to get done between now and then. I'm going to have to take a day or two off work so I can do the running around I need in order to get my transcripts, police check, etc., because all of these places will be closed by the time I get off work (which is typically 4:30). Taking the time from work doesn't bother me. I even have to ask my boss for a reference letter, and I'm sure she'll give me a good reference; that doesn't bother me.

I'm excited but at the same time, I'm scared. I've never been out of the country (except to visit in Maine a couple of times several years ago), and have never been that far away from my family and friends before. That will take getting used to, and I'm sure I'll suffer home sickness some as well.

Anyway, just wanted to update the blog and let you know what's been going on. I can definately use prayer for this - getting all the documentation done up, and on time; saving money; safe travel and safety in South Korea...and so much more. I'll keep you all updated on how things are progressing, so until then, have a Christ-filled day!

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Wisdom Hairs

Well, I guess it's been a little while since I've posted here. Things are going well, and I've started back to work at my summer job (the same one I've been going to since starting school). I've been there for two weeks now, and I still don't think I've gotten used to the early hours.

For school, my earliest class was close to noon, and I was usually up no later than 10:00. For work, I am up about 6:45. I've been going to bed earlier than usual, but it still takes me awhile to wake up...definately need the coffee; and even then sometimes it takes two cups before I feel awake. By evening, I'm back to feeling somewhat tired.

I am busy looking into finding work in the TESL field, because I don't want my course to go to waste, and also, I don't want to go back to my old job (the one I do in the summer) because I didn't quit to go to university and get in debt just to go back and do data entry. Also, I don't want the carpal tunnel to affect me again like it was. As it is, I have to cut back on my knitting so that my wrists won't become aggrivated from typing all day and knitting in the evenings.

Now, you may be wondering about the title of this post. Well, the other day I got my hair cut, and the lady at the salon told me that I am too young to have all this "wisdom hair". She was, of course, referring to the grey hair that I have been getting since I started school - well, ok, it started before that but seems like the stress I had caused it to turn grey faster. However, she did tell me that I am lucky because it can pass for blonde somewhat. Yeah, she was basically hinting that I should dye my hair...which I want/need to do and just haven't gotten around to it yet. I've been wanting to do it since at least Christmas, but just never did it. That's the procrastinator in me. Anyway, I told her that I'm a lot older than she thought I was, and that everyone (who doesn't know my true age) thinks I'm at least 10 years younger than I am.

Anyway, there really isn't much in the way of news. I haven't been working at my writing for awhile because of school. I'm hoping that now school is over, I'll sit down and do some more writing again. I've been thinking about changing a situation in one of the novels I'm working on (I have two in progress) because I think it would add more conflict to the story, and conflict in a story is always good.

I've been posting some book reviews (not all are my own reviews, but just reviews posted by others through the CFBA). The last couple have some of my own reviews tagged onto the end of the post, and I always note which is my opinion. If you want to check those out, head on over to my writing blog, Ink Scrawls, and see if there are any new books you'd like to read. They are Christian books, just to let you know.

I've been doing some knitting, though the last couple of weeks since starting back to work I've slackened off (as I said before). If you want to check out the things I've been working on, or see the gifts I've received from my Secret Pal, head on over to my knitting blog, Kitten Knits Yarn.

Not too much going on, so I'll sign off for now and wish you all a Christ-filled day!

Friday, May 04, 2007

Whew...Time For A Little Breather!

Well, finally a day to relax...well I'll be relaxing the whole weekend mind you, but none the less, I will be relaxing!

Exams are finally over, yay! I don't know how I have done; we haven't received our marks yet. The only one I really care about is the TESL course, and I know I did pretty good because the prof told me. I think I messed up on the history exam, but I'm not overly concerned about it. As for the Post Exilic Writings class, I think I did not too badly in it. But, we'll see when I get the marks - not sure when that is though; probably in the next week or two I think.

I finished up my TESL practicum this week - the actual teaching part of it. Monday morning I taught in the low beginner/beginner class and it went not too badly. I was VERY nervous, not just in teaching, but because my prof was there the entire time to observe. He was good about it though and gave some positive feedback, things that I should work at, etc. He said a lot of the mistakes I was making was just because I was new to teaching ESL, and that all new teachers of ESL fall into the same "traps". These are things that would come with time, though. As well, he knew I was nervous and that would contribute to some of it.

There were about 8 in the class that morning, and it was a little harder because of having just come off the weekend when the students hadn't spoken English since their class on Friday - it is hard to get them back into the swing of things. Actually, even their teacher said that is the worst possible day for a student teacher to teach the class, and my prof agreed and said that in the future they would probably not have a student teacher teach on mondays (at least in the mornings). The students were good though, and I didn't run into any real problems.

On Tuesday afternoon I taught the low intermediate level, and it was a LOT easier to teach them. With this level you can at least talk and they understand you. With the beginner class you are limited to what you can say because of the lack of understanding. The low intermediate class had about 7 students that day, and they were all friendly, understanding of me being new, etc. We had a lot of laughs as well, and that is always helps you relax some (or at least I found it did).

Wednesday morning I was back in the beginner class and it was, once again, a little difficult to adjust back to being limited. It wasn't so bad though, and this time there were 9 in the class. We reviewed more of what we had done in Monday's class, and started a new topic after that. We ran short of time, though, so I mentioned to their teacher what we had done and that it might be a good idea to go over it with them again because I don't think they had really grasped it yet. Also, I gave them a little handout and they hadn't finished that. I mentioned that to their teacher and said she might want to go over it with them as well.

Yesterday, Thursday, afternoon I was back to the low intermediate class and there were 10 - the biggest class I had taught to that point. It was a lot of fun again, and lots of laughs. They seemed to grasp what I was teaching, and that's always good. Their regular teacher said she thought I was doing an excellent job, and asked them what they thought...they agreed. That felt good.

Over the summer, I may be going to the same place (the multicultural association) to do some one on one teaching for an hour or so. The woman (actually the one who teaches the beginner class) I talked to said that would be a great welcome because there are some students who could really benefit from the extra help. She mentioned one of the ladies in her class and that they were going to get someone to translate to Spanish (this woman's mother tongue) and ask her if she would be willing to come in for some extra help. It's totally up to her, though. I'm just waiting for an email back about it. I'm not sure when I'd start - probably as early as next week. I figured that not only could the association use the extra help (they really need more people there but they don't have the funds to pay for additional staff), but also I could get some practice in teaching as well.

Anyway, that's all for now. I'm off to catch up on a few blogs and do some knitting. Have a Christ filled day!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Been Awhile...

It's definately been awhile since I've posted here. School has now finished - well, all except for exams and the rest of my TESL practicum.

I had the TESL exam this evening, and I think I did ok on it. I have one more class of observation for the TESL practicum, then I can start the teaching part of it. We have to do 10 hours of observation and 10 hours of teaching, and where we go to do the practicum, the classes are 2 1/2 hours in total (they are there for 3 hours, but there is a 1/2 hour break which isn't counted in the hours we have to do).

I've enjoyed the observation part of the practicum, and have been in the beginner class and the high intermediate class. The students are from all over the world, but it seems like the bulk of them are from South Korea (at least from what I've seen so far). Most of the students seem to be anxious and desire to learn English, which is nice. The levels of learning are varried with ones who know no English (or very, very little) to ones who have a great grasp of the language. Of course, they are divided into their appropriate classes.

My next exam is in Post Exilic Writings, and that is this coming Monday. The exam will have one major essay question and about 30-odd short answer questions. He has already given us these questions, we just have to study the answers (for the short answer, which are pretty easy anyway), and prepare the answer for the essay question. I'm not overly worried for this exam, but I do still need to prepare the essay question (which I'll just cut and paste from my notes to form my answer and study that).

The last exam I have, on Tuesday, is for Maritime History. Now that one there is a TON of notes to study. We have class notes, articles we've had to read for discussion classes, and the text book. Most of the exam is going to come from the text book, which I need to go over and highlight. I haven't read all of it so that is freaking me out some. The good thing, though, is that our notes contain a good deal of what is from the text book, so that helps.

Other than school, there hasn't been a whole lot going on. I did improve somewhat on my spiritual life, but still feel stagnant. I've been doing more prayer, though they aren't all that great, and usually just little ones tossed up here and there. My Bible reading has been coming along nicely; I've been reading every morning. I haven't been doing indepth or meditative studying from it, but I have been reading. I know that I need to improve in this area of my life - I've been lazy in my walk. Prayer for me in this area is always welcome :o).

Anyway, I'm feeling quite tired tonight, so I'm going to go do a little knitting before bed. Have to get up and do more studying tomorrow (tonight I'm taking a little break from it) - I'm sick of studying...but it needs to be done. I'll be glad when it's all said and done with Tuesday afternoon!

Have a Christ filled day!

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

The Cross

"At the heart of the story stands the cross of Christ where evil did its worst and met its match."~ John Wenham ~

The cross was a form of Roman torture. So bad was this style of punishment, that it eventually became eradicated. The one who was nailed to the cross did not die of pain nor loss of blood. The means of death was suffocation. Gravity pulled the body downward, but with no means of supporting ones self, the pressure on the lungs would cause the person to suffocate because of the lack of air reaching the lungs.

This is the form of torture and punishment our Lord suffered. So many people pin this crime on the Jews. In reality, it wasn't just the Jews - it was us. Each and every single person, past, present and future, is responsible for putting Jesus on the cross. We drove those nails in His hands. We drove those nails in His feet.

Thankfully, Jesus was willing to suffer all of that, and more, for us. He wanted us to have freedom. He wanted us to have eternal life. He wanted us to have forgiveness of sins. And He still wants that for everyone today. Over 2000 years later, Jesus longs to have a relationship with each and every person walking the face of the earth. That means you; that means me.

I have to disagree with John Wenham when he states in the above quote, "...where evil did its worst...". I don't think evil did its worst with sending Jesus to the cross. Yes, the whole act was painful and tortureous, but it wasn't the worst thing evil (Satan) could have done. No, the worst think that evil could have done, was to prevent Jesus from dying. The worst thing would have been for Jesus to have not become the sacrifice needed for forgiveness of sins and eternal life.

Am I happy that Jesus suffered the way He did? Of course not. I am not happy He had to suffer such pain, humiliation, mocking, etc. But, I am happy that He was willing to give up His life for me; I am happy that He loved me so much that He chose death so that I could have life.

And you know what? He did that for you too! Come to Him; accept His offer of eternal life and forgiveness of sins. He loves you, and longs to have a relationship with you.