Friday, December 26, 2008

It's Boxing Day

It's now the day after Christmas, Boxing Day. I know many place will have their sales on today and tons of people will have been shopping for great bargains all day. Here, where I live, the stores are closed until tomorrow when the sales will begin. I'm unsure if I'll go to any of the sales. Sure, there are some fabulous bargains to find out there, but I don't particularly want to deal with the crowds. We'll see though.

Christmas was pretty quiet on the homefront. My younger brother and his family didn't get up yesterday. He had to work Christmas Eve as well as today, so he didn't want to take a chance on getting here and having bad weather to contend with. We totally understand and we don't fault him at all. My older brother and his wife were here, and my mom also invited her best friend from high school and her husband for Christmas dinner. They are a nice couple; he is quite quiet, and she can talk your ear off and then some.

Dinner was scheduled for 1:00; Mom's friends showed up at 12:00 and we didn't have much of anything prepared. We had also just begun opening presents - actually only one present was opened when the doorbell rang. So, we put that off until after they left, which was around 4:00.

I was afraid the day would be quite sad, since this was the first Christmas since Dad died. I was totally fine though. I didn't feel sad, but it did feel like someone was missing - and there was. But we got through the day. The night of Christmas Eve, I didn't sleep too good though. I had a couple of bad dreams, and woke up with my heart beating quite fast.

We've had a real mixed bag of weather lately again. The 24th had started with a light, consistant snow, changed at some point to rain, then back to snow. The 25th had strong winds (which started through the night), rain during the night, but was sunny and cold during the day. The winds kept up most of the day and into the evening. Today is sunny and cold. From my understanding, it's supposed to be quite cold over the next few to several days.

Not much else to report at this time. I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas, and that you will have a safe and happy New Year filled with the blessings of Christ!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Four Months

Today marks the four month anniversary of my dad's death. It's hard to believe four months have passed already. I don't know if I was consciously aware that today is the anniversary or not, but at work, for a short time all I could picture in my mind was my dad, sick, in the hospital. Thankfully I didn't break down.

Last night I received a couple of funny emails from a friend. My gut instinct was to forward them to Dad, knowing he'd get a kick out of them and laugh his butt off. Then reality set in. I had a brief moment of sadness at that as well.

It's hard to believe that next week is Christmas. The year has certainly gone by quickly! I was worried...ok, not really worried...that we wouldn't have a white Christmas this year, but on Wednesday we received around 20cm of snow and it's been cold, so nothing has melted. The weather is calling for some flurries tomorrow, and snow on Sunday - supposedly a storm, though I don't know how bad (or not) it will be. From my understanding, the province of Ontario is in the midst of this storm, and it will move into our region by Sunday. Hopefully if we do get it (or any snow), it will be after I get home from church and my friend Kristina's. However, if it does start snowing during church services, I will probably just come home then. If it's snowing quite a bit in the morning, I might not go to church at all. It all depends.

Ever since I had my accident in 2002, I've been skittish about driving in snow - even being a passenger. I also don't like driving in the rain, at night, or at night if it's raining/snowing. I'm trying not to be afraid though. My mom doesn't like driving in the winter, so I need to be the one who does this. I will say, however, that I drive slowly and responsibly at these times.

The last couple of days at work have just dragged by. We could go in as early as 7:00 a.m., however, on Thursday I didn't know what the roads would be like that early (after the storm), and I wanted to wait before going in. Today, I just couldn't drag myself out of bed early enough. I've been quite tired yesterday and today. I think it's just from not being used to working all day and not having a nap in the afternoon. Wow, I sound like I'm getting old, all this talk about napping!
Anyway, next week won't be a long week - just full days (going in early as well) Monday, Tuesay, and probably until 2:00 or 3:00 on Wednesday. And, of course Thursday and Friday will be holidays. I figure that since this company has a policy of having to work the day before and after a holiday in order to get paid for it, I would go in the Monday after Christmas so that I can get paid for Christmas (boxing day is unpaid). Someone did mention to me that where I haven't been consistantly working there I might not get paid anyway - when people start out and haven't worked for the company for three months, they don't get paid for any holidays in that time period. So, I need to check with the supervisor. If she tells me that I won't get paid, then I'm not going to bother going in on the Monday after Christmas; if I do get paid, then I'll go in. Regardless, I won't work the rest of the week. The reason for that is I start back to school on January 5, and I'd like to have a few days to myself to relax and do what I want - or do nothing at all.
And, on that note, I'm going to end my post for now and wish you all a Christ-filled day!

Monday, December 15, 2008

A Mixed Bag Post

We've been having a real mixed bag of weather lately - everything from snow, rain, sleet, freezing rain, very cold temps, double digits above zero temps, wind...you name it pretty much. The weather is all over the place it seems. Very odd in my opinion...

Things are going pretty well here. I've started working at my old job and will probably stop the Monday after Christmas. I'd like a few days off to relax before starting back to school on January 5. It didn't take me long to get back into the swing of things at work, so that's nice. It was good that they let me come back so I can earn a little money to help with school, etc. I'm very fortunate to have been able to rely on them all through out my university experience.

So far my mom and I are doing well with regard to Christmas. This will be the first one since Dad died (nearly four months ago). I expect that as it gets closer, and more than likely on Christmas day, there will be some sadness. But that's normal. I know that the Lord can help us get through this tough time, though. She was doing up the Christmas cards a couple of weeks ago, and she asked if she could put my name on them as well. I said it was up to her, and asked why. She said it looked strange to only have one name at the bottom. I think it made her a little sad not needing to write Dad's name there as well. I know that seeing the Christmas cards coming in the mail address with only Mom's name on the envelopes looks odd - it just doesn't seem right or something...I'm actually getting a little teary-eyed just thinking about this now.

One of my brother's and his family may not get up for Christmas. He has to work Christmas Eve and Boxing Day, and he lives about three hours away in the next province. He doesn't want to come up for just one day, especially if it were to storm and he'd be stuck here and unable to get into work. He said if they do come up it will be on the weekend, which is fine. However, I also think that part of his not wanting to come is that Dad's not here and he doesn't want to have to feel sad. I'm sure he will anyway, but somehow just being here makes it that much sadder. I totally understand, and I know Mom does too.

My other brother and his wife will be here Christmas Day. Then, the next day possibly...if not that day, then the day after for sure...they will be leaving to go on a trip to Cuba (I believe that's where they are going). I'm sure the rest of Dad's family will be up to visit during the holidays, and I'm going to try to get Mom to go visit the family as well...if she's up to it.

Again, I know the Lord will help us get through this. He's the only one who can give us the strength we need at this time.

In other news, whoever reads this, can you please pray for my friend "F". She is going through a really rough time and needs the Lord's intervention. This is the type of situation, I believe, that only He can help her to overcome. She needs to face a serious situation, and she's running from it (a natural instinct). Please pray for her.

Well, I am off to do a little reading before bed. Have a Christ-filled day!

Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that
we ask or think according to the power that works within us.
To Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations
forever and ever, Amen. (Eph. 3:20-21)

Monday, December 08, 2008

Baby, It's Cold Outside

Today is freezing! It's been somewhat chilly/cold lately, but nothing too bad. Yesterday it even rained in the late afternoon/early evening. Probably a few hours later, the rain had turned to snow. I think, though, there was still rain mixed in. When I woke up this morning it was VERY windy, more snow (roads needed to be plowed) but nothing too serious. There was also ice everywhere (the parking lot at school was nearly an ice rink and I almost slipped and fell a couple of times). It took awhile to get the car scraped off, thankfully my mom did most of it while I was getting ready for work. I told her not to, that I'd do it, but she went ahead and did it anyway. I have a fabulous mom!

Things have been going better spiritually for me. I've been reading my Bible every night since starting this Sunday school class, and praying more often too. It's amazing how your outlook and thoughts, etc. can change when you are in the Word and praying. It's so easy to loose focus when you aren't looking to the One who gives us eternal life.

As of tonight, I am officially on Christmas break. I had my last class this afternoon, and we don't have any exams in the Ed. program - which I am thankful for. However, I've decided to do some work for a couple of weeks (I'll take the week of the 29th off so that I can have somewhat of a break) so I can have a bit of money. I got ahold of my old boss and asked if it would be possible for me to come in for a couple of weeks (that is if they needed the help), and she said they'd love to have me. That was great. I'm actually kind of excited to be going in, and looking forward to starting tomorrow. However, I'm sure the novelty will wear off by around 3:00pm when I won't be able to come home and have a nap! I'll have to make sure to bring a mug with me tomorrow so I can have some coffee!!

Well, I shall close for now and go work on some knitting. It feels a little odd not having to work on homework and presentations - I can actually get back to my knitting, which I haven't had much time of late to work on. I can even work on my novel which has been extremely neglected because of school work.

Have a Christ-filled day!!

Monday, November 24, 2008

In Christ

Yesterday, Sunday, I went to Sunday school (and church) as I am prone to do every Sunday. It was the beginning of new sections so I needed to choose a new class to attend. The one I had been going to, one on archaeology and the old testament, was great. But, in all honesty, I don't think I got much sustenance for my spiritual hunger.

The new class I'm in is for beginners and those who want to brush up on things. I am not a beginner; I have been a "real" Christian for nearly nine years now. The reason I decided to take this class is because when I was in Korea, I didn't get to attend church (or Sunday school) because of the churches in my area not having any English services. There was one church about 15-20 minutes away that had an English translation, but half the time you couldn't understand it very well and I wasn't getting fed.

So, I joined this class, which is led by the pastor of my church hoping to get back in the swing of things. So far there were four other people besides me and the pastor. He asked us all to write down what we'd like to do in the class, whether it was a topic or a book in the Bible - anything. By having us do this, he said he can gear the class more to what we're looking for. He also said that if others join who are new to the church he'd readjust things - which was fine by all of us.

One of the other class members said she was interested in becoming more diligent in her Bible reading and prayer life...the rest of us also seemed to want to improve in this area too. The same woman said she was also interested in memorizing more scripture. I think the pastor will give us verses to memorize weekly as well...but that might only be if we want to. He's not going to force it down our throats or anything like that, though I have a feeling he would really encourage us to memorize. I think it's a good thing to do, so I'm going to do my best with it.

For yesterday's class, he had us take turns reading the book of Ephesians out loud. This was just a starting point. He likes to give "titles" to the books of the Bible, and for this one he chose, "In Christ." He said that most times Christians will say that Christ is in us - which is true; however, they often forget that we are in Christ as well. I had mentioned something at one point about feeling inadequate after reading Ephesians - like there was so much that we have to do as Christians (or not do as the case may be). I said we aren't perfect; he said we are if we are in Christ. I had said something about only Jesus was perfect. Anyway, his point was that if we are in Christ, we are holy. If we are in Christ, our sins are blotted away and we are perfect. I understood what he meant, and I think he understood what I meant. I'm just having a little difficulty in relating the conversation into words. It was all good though.

Also, he talked a little about knowing when a situation is a spiritual battle. There were a couple of "hints" that he said can help us clue in. The first one is that we can't stop thinking about it and that it almost hurts us to the core. The barbs sink in and we can't let go; we can't seem to get rid of it. The other "hint" is that often times Satan will hit us with situations in which we struggle. For example, if you struggle with forgiveness, we will be confronted with situations where we need to forgive. Again, I'm not doing his explanations justice. I'm going to have to learn to write these things down, or blog about it the same day so that I might be able to explain things better. I really do apologize for not being very clear in this.

Anyway, I do want to let you know - and praise the Lord - that after that class I felt fed. I walked away feeling like I was getting back into the swing of things, like everything is going to be fine. I guess I've taken the first step in getting back into a life of prayer and Bible reading. I felt better spiritually after that class than I have in a long time! Isn't that great? I'm going to have to let the pastor know about that. I'm sure he'll be happy about that for me.

I also decided that this week I am going to read through Ephesians - one chapter per day and see what I can glean from it and maybe have something to share with the class next week. Our assignment this week was to go through the first 14 or 15 verses in chapter one and underline all the "in Christ's" that we can find. I've done this for all six chapters, just because that's what I wanted to do. Maybe I'll be able to come up with some thoughts or questions or things God has taught me through my readings this week, and share them with the class.

Well, it's getting a little late now and I've got school tomorrow. I'm feeling tired as well, so hopefully it won't take me too long to fall asleep tonight. Have to do some praying before I do fall asleep though. Anyway, I'm excited that I seem to be getting back into the swing of things again. It's been a long time coming, so I hope that I can continue and improve my walk again!

Have a Christ-filled day, and may God bless and protect you all!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Winter

Winter has hit. On Wednesday we got some snow. It started with rain and some snow mixed in, but didn't accumulate on the roads, driveways, sidewalks, etc. It did stay on the grass though. It was also windy and quite cold, but it didn't seem too bad throughout the day though. At least in my area. Closer to Nova Scotia (or even in Nova Scotia) it was much worse, and one highway was hit so bad hundreds of cars had to pull over to the side and wait out the storm. A friend of mine had to do this - she was half an hour from her fiance's house from 5:00pm until around 1:00 or 1:30am. Thankfully, she is safe.


By Thursday morning, the snow had stopped. Like I said, we didn't get a whole lot where I live. We've got someone coming to plow out the driveway, which will be a great help. They didn't show up on Thursday, probably because there wasn't that much snow to plow. It did, however, freeze some and there was a little ice on the driveway. The snow that is there is packed down now, but apparently next week it's supposed to be a little milder, so hopefully that will melt.


I shovelled the front walkway for my mom before getting ready for my Thursday morning classes. When I had awaken, my back was a little stiff and sore - kind of like the way it was prior to going to South Korea last summer, only not nearly as painful (nowhere near as painful, actually). But, when I finished the shovelling, my back was a little stiffer. I had to use the computer downstairs to print an article critique off for one of my classes, and after I got up from that my back was out. It's been a little painful since then, though it hasn't been excruciating as it was last year. For that, I am thankful.


I got a new camera this week, a Pentax K200. I'm still learning about it and trying to figure things out - settings and whatnot. This afternoon, I went outside to take a few test pictures to see how they would turn out. The above two pictures are from that session. The above one is the backyard, and it shows the snow we got the other day. We're supposed to get several more centimeters of snow tonight as well...but I digress.

The picutre of the shovel is the one I used when I hurt my back. I love the colouring this camera is showing. Neither of these pictures were doctored up in any way, so the blue is what showed up after I uploaded the pics from my camera. I think I am going to enjoy this new camera!

In other news, please pray for one of my good friends. She's going through a very difficult time right now and could use them. I don't want to give the details because they aren't mine to give. I will say that it is a serious situation, and she definitely needs prayer.


I will end for now, and hope that you have a wonderfully, Christ-filled weekend! God bless!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Through The Clouds

Yesterday afternoon we had a little mixed bag of precipitation, though it was mostly rain. For several minutes there was some sleet mixed in, but it was nothing too bad.

I looked out the window to see if there were storm clouds or rain clouds. Most of the sky had dark grey clouds and lit looked like there might be heavy rain or some snow. However, in the middle of the clouds was a patch of blue sky, the sun shining through and illuminating the clouds around the blue.

When I saw this, what came to mind was that during our dark times, there is Light that breaks through and shines - even if it's only a small patch. When we feel like our life is dreary and things aren't going so great, the Lord is with us and ready to shine through to give us hope. We just need to let Him.

It seems to me that when things seem to be going wrong, when times are rough we often focus on those things and don't always pay attention to the Lord's Light - at least I know I am guilty of this. What I focused on when I looked out the window was that small, bright patch of blue with the glowing sun reflecting on the white clouds around it (not the dark ones). I didn't focus much on the dark, dreary clouds that would bring rain or snow.

In my life, I need to remember to focus on the Light (Jesus) and let it shine rather than dwelling on the stormy situations.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Still Struggling

The days have been getting a little colder now. I'm ok with that, basically because I have no control over it. However, I must say that I do need to take my winter coat out and give it a wash (or dryclean - must check the label about cleaning methods for it first) so I can begin wearing it.

Not much has been happening around here lately, other than school work. I've gotten marks back from three presentations so far - an A+ and two A's. These were all group presentations by the way, so we all got the same mark. I had another group presentation last Thursday for the science class, but I don't think it went quite as well as the first one we had done.

My walk with the Lord is about the same, though there are brief moments when I can feel a little closer to Him. I had a good (somewhat) cry the other night and I told God a little of what I was feeling and confessed that I didn't feel close to Him; that is my own fault though and I know it and told Him that. I know I neeed to make changes in certain areas in my life, and I confessed that too. Anyway, the tears stopped and I felt a little less upset.

I have been trying to improve my prayer life, though it's still not the best. Mostly I will just pray little things throughout the day and then pray for a little more time at night. These prayers, also, are generalized with some specifics thrown in. It's also when I tend to ask God to direct my path and guide me...and help me to "be a better Christian" than what I have been lately.

There are so many areas in my life lately that I feel I need to change - little things and big things. I struggle to get the motivation, or if I do get motivatioin, to keep at it. I sense a lot of fear lately, so I'm sure that is what is also keeping me back. I do feel like I'm going through a growing period and changes are taking place...but still, in all honesty, I am struggling with my walk.

No one ever said the Christian walk would be easy, but I know that if I don't do something soon (or now), then I will find myself drifting further and further away from the Lord. The good thing is, though, that the Lord is always with me - even if I don't feel it. He's here, waiting for me to talk to Him and seek His guidance.

I still believe in Jesus, that He died on the cross and rose again three days later. I still believe that He is the way to Heaven, that He is the Son of God. I haven't lost my beliefs or anything like that - I'm just struggling with me.

Well, I had better get back to doing some school work. I'll try to keep everyone updated on how things are going - well if anyone is left reading this. Hope you have a great day!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Teaching Observation

I had my first day of teaching observation today. I'll be going on Fridays since the rest of the week I have classes. Anyway, I must say I enjoyed it today!

I am in a grade two classroom that has 20 students. The kids were pretty well behaved, though they do like to talk - not overly and it wasn't too loud. The teacher I'm helping, Mrs. G. is an awesome teacher! She's been teaching this grade for a couple of years, and I think for four years she taught grades 4, 5, and 6. She said she'd like to go and teach kindergarten again sometime because she did her observation and teacher training in a kindergarten class and enjoyed it.

I mostly observed today, though I did help to keep the kids quiet, walked around the room and commented on pictures they were drawing, helpping a bit with some adding during math, did spelling with a couple of them (both came in after the spelling was done and the teacher wanted to continue to do her lesson so she asked me to do the spelling). I'm not supposed to teach at this point, but I'm allowed to help out in little things around the class. I am looking forward to going back again next Friday!

I'll be quite busy this weekend as I've got two unit plans due next week - one Tuesday and the other Wednesday. I've also got to do an article critique and study for a couple of little quizzes for next week as well. I think once I get over this week things will slow down some for me. My big problem lately is procrastination. I need to get out of that habit and just sit down and do the work done and over with, rather than doing little bits and pieces here and there and spending time doing other things.

Tonight I went to dinner with an old friend I went to high school with. We went to Swiss Challet and I had my usual - quarter chicken dinner with white meat and fries. It was soooo good! It's the first time I've eaten at this restaurant since I've been back in Canada. I think it's my favourite place to eat at. It was quite busy there tonight and we had to wait 20 minutes before we could get a table. It was worth it though. I LOVE their chicken!

We also stopped at the mall on the way home and while looking around I got a Christmas gift for my nephew and some baby yarn to make a cute little hat and a rabbit toy (all knitted). I'll be making these for the mitten tree at church, so hopefully I'll have time to get them done up. If not I'll make them and donate them next year. I'm supposed to make some socks for my friend's baby girl (she's about six months old), and her son (he's about two years old). They shouldn't take too long, so I should get to work on them so she can have them when they need their snow suits. She wanted them for that specific purpose - to keep their feet warm when they are wearing their snow suits.

Well, I'd better head off for now. I'm feeling quite tired tonight, and I want to watch a few episodes of season 5 of Stargate SG-1 (from my box set) before bed.

Have a Christ-filled day/night!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Busy

Hi! I hope you are all doing well. As for me, well, I've been a little busy of late. These next two will probably be my busiest so far since the beginning of the school year. This week alone, I have two presentations (one was today, the other tomorrow), an article critique, and a little quiz (today). Besides that, I start my teacher observation this Friday. Next week I have two unit plans due, an art response paper, an article critique, and two little quizes (why does that look incorrectly spelled? It looks incorrect as "quizzes" as well.) So, yeah. I'm quite busy lately.

Today we had on of the presentations, as I mentioned above. We had a group of four and we each hard parts to do. I think it went relatively well, though there were some things we messed up with, such as using fillers (umms, ahhs, etc.), needing to walk around the room a little more...things like that. We find out next week (I think) how we did, but first we have to fill out peer evaluation forms for everyone in the group, including ourselves. That deals with rating each other with regard to taking part in the planning, attending group meetings, doing our share in the presentation, etc. What we were doing for this particular presentation was one of the chapters from our text book. I'm at least glad that we have this one over and done with.

Tomorrow's presentation is on an author who holds a particular behaviourist attitude with regard to classroom management. The prof picked four or five authors and each group got assigned to one author. I don't feel well prepared for this one at all, so hopefully it will go well. It's to be 20-25 minutes in length and we have to present the author's view.

The weather is getting cooler here lately, as it is in many places since it's fall. There have been only two mornings so far that I've had to scrape some frost off the car windows, but it's not been anything major. It hasn't been too cold, and for the last few weeks it's been gorgeous weather with only a bit of rain. It was perfect weather last week to go and take some pictures in a local park with my best friend and her eight year old daughter.

My walk with the Lord is still not that great. I do find myself praying most nights - usally it ends up with me falling asleep before I'm finished, or even dozing off part way through. I don't like that and I know I should do my praying before getting into bed to prevent it from happening - but I don't. I've only read the Bible a couple of times lately, and again I know I should be doing that too. I feel such a struggle often to commune with the Lord so I think there must be some sort of spiritual battle going on. I will overcome this (with God's help of course)...I just don't know when. Maybe I need to push myself a little more and get over this hump and then I'll get back on track.

I was looking back through my blog (well, two of them anyway), and compared my posts from then and now. For this blog (the other one I was parousing was my knitting blog), I seemed to relate things more to the Bible, to God and Jesus more than I've been doing in the last while. I guess the change has mostly to do with getting away from church and praying and Bible studies, etc., from when I was in Korea...maybe even a little before that. I want to try and get my posts looking and sounding more like they used to - not that they were anything great, but I think they were at least a little more glorifying to the Lord than these ones over the last year or so. Of course, part of the reason is that I wasn't posting as much during that time either...

I've included, as you can see, a couple of pictures from my trip to the park with my best friend and her daughter. Our primary reason for going was to take pictures of the beautiful changing leaves. It never ceases to amaze me how God designed and created the trees - not all of them have leaves that change colours, and of those that do change, the colours aren't all the same. Isn't God amazing?! Such beautiful and wounderous creations!
Well, I must be off and finish my article critique and presentation for tomorrow! Have a Christ-filled day!!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Back In The Saddle

Thank you for your condolences on the death of my father. It's been a month now since he passed away, and time has flown by. It doesn't seem like it's been a month. I still miss my dad, and no doubt will for the rest of my life. I'm doing pretty good, but there are times when the grief seems to hit me all of a sudden.

The other night I had a dream about my dad. He walked in the front door and was taking off his jacket (like he'd always do) and was going to either head down to his computer, or up to the living room. Anyway, in the dream I remember feeling such happiness and said something to the effect of, "Oh, Dad, you're alive! You're not dead afterall!" When I woke up, I had this happy feeling but then the realization hit that I had just dreamt all of that.

Aside from that, I've started back to university and am getting into things now. This year is definitely going to be busy! I'm in the Bachelor of Education program (finally) and can be finished by next August if I do part of my practice teaching in Australia (with a new program they started up this past year)! I am really interested in doing that, and I'm hoping and praying that I'll be able to go. I'd have to pay to go, however. It's not part of tuition and the school doesn't pay for you to go either. It would definitely be an awesome experience, for sure!

Well, I'd better be heading off for now. I just wanted to pop on long enough to give a quick update on how things are going. My spiritual life hasn't been good for awhile now - since I spent the last year in Korea and couldn't go to church. I'm attending services (and Sunday school) now that I'm back home, but I have having a hard time reading my Bible and praying...though I do get some praying in when I go to bed (it's not the best though). I find it difficult lately, for reasons I don't know. It feels like (at least when I'm at church) that when we are praying or the pastor is preaching, I just feel so sad and can't focus or concentrate. It seems to be since Dad died that I've felt like this. It's just like no matter how hard I try, I can't seem to do it. I suppose it's still part of the grieving process and will get better as time goes on...though I really don't know if that's what it is or not.

It's not that I don't want to pray or focus on God or even read my Bible, it's just like I can't seem to do it. I guess I'm in a "valley" and having difficulty. I know I'll come out, though, and I won't be along - I'm not alone now, I know. I just feel like I'm struggling to get back on track and on the right path again.

Anyhow, I hope you all have a Christ-filled day and enjoy your time at church tomorrow! God bless!!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Grieving

I won't be posting for a little while due to my father's death. It was eventually expected, but not quite so soon. At the end, it seemed to come on quickly and he passed away with family at his side.

I will be back some time soon.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Heading Home!

I'm leaving Korea tomorrow. After some struggle (which I'll try to remember to discuss here at a later time), I will be leaving Sunday, August 10th around 11am, Korea time. I arrive in my hometown about 11:10pm, Sunday, August 10th. However, I will be in transit nearly 24 hours. Gotta love those time zones!

My dad doesn't know I'm heading home yet; however, my mom and brothers and some other know. We are going to surprise my dad...but I think Mom is going to wait til I arrive in Toronto and let him know I was able to get an earlier flight so that it won't be too much of a shock on him. We don't want him to have a heart attack or something.

Dad's doing better with his kidneys. They've put a couple of stents in and so far his kidneys are working again. The nurse thought part of the reason he couldn't keep food down was because of the fluid build-up. He's on a liquid diet right now, but even before he couldn't always keep liquids down either. Now he seems to be, so that is good at least.

Not sure how I'm going to react when I walk into the hospital for the first time and see him there. I just don't want to break down and cry in front of him or anything - though I know he'll understand. I want to be strong when I'm around him - and then cry when I'm alone. I'll be praying that God will give me strength and that this will be the way I am.

Anyway, I have to go get ready. I'm leaving in awhile to go to Seoul to do some last minute shopping. I'm staying there over night because it's close to the airport and I wouldn't be able to get transportation to get there on time if I wait and leave from the town I'm in tomorrow morning.

The next time I write, I'll be back home in Canada. Talk to you then!

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

In A Fog

I've been in somewhat of a fog these last 22 hours or so. I talked to my mom last night and found out things with my father are far more worse than we had thought or known.

He's been in the hospital again for a week now. He went in because he was having some difficulty breathing. Also, his hands and feet were swelled up again. They've been monitoring him and doing more tests, giving him meds intravenously to help with his heart (it was beating a little fast), and to bring down the swelling. They also scheduled an endoscopy for yesterday, and wanted to check his stomach to see if there was something causing him not to be able to keep his food down too well.

Well, yesterday when I talked to mom, she said that the reason he had been retaining water (the swelling) was because the tube running from his kidney to his bladder was bent. It's supposed to be straight. They operated that night to put in a couple of stents to straighten it and it looked promising. They had managed to drain about 3 liters of fluid from around his lungs. The nurse said that was probably why he was having difficulty breathing. However, since then, there hasn't been much drainage - little if any really.

They said Dad's kidney (not sure if it's one or both of them) was working when he went in last Wednesday, but somewhere along the way it stopped working. They said the kidney is the problem and the only option is dialysis. However, before they put him on dialysis, they want to do a CT scan or something to see if there is cancer in his stomach. If there is and the oncologist decides that he can't or won't operate, then they will not put Dad on dialysis. The doctor said that dialysis would only prolong any pain and suffering Dad has.

When I got up this morning, I called because mom had left me a message about an update on my dad. It's not good. My brother had been talking to one of the nurses (they didn't get to the hospital in time to talk to the doctor I guess) said that they are going to put another stent in to see if they can get Dad's kidney working. However, they have now found the reason why Dad wasn't, and isn't, breathing too well. The cancer has spread to his lungs - and it's a fast spreading cancer.

I'm praying for my dad, and for my family. We've got lots of people praying. I'd appreciate any more prayers I can get. It's difficult for me being so far away, even though there is nothing I can do even if I was there. Right now, I'm praying - actually begging - that my dad can and will hold on til I get home from Korea.

So, that's what I'm dealing with now. I'm working away at packing up some more boxes to send home, and I'm starting to clean up the apartment and get it spotless and whatnot...especially if I have to end up leaving sooner than expected. It's definitely not a fun time. I never thought a year ago that when I would leave to come back to Canada, it would be under such circumstances.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Free Time

Whew! I finally have some free time to myself. I'm on vacation!

This past week we had summer English camp, and there were 80 students registered. It went pretty well, though the days were long. We started at 9:00 in the morning and ended at 9:00 at night. My friend Sarah and I decided to come home each night to our apartments, because we felt more comfortable doing that. The rest of the teachers stayed on campus (the camp was held at a university about 20 minutes from where we are) all week.

Thursday evening the kids had a performance for the parents, followed by a little snack time. The kids in my homeroom class did a great job. One of the boys really didn't want to go on stage (each kid had to have some kind of part in the performance), but he finally did. He was really nervous though. I made sure to let him know he did a great job, and I think that helped to boost his self-esteem some. They all seemed to enjoy the practices and actual performance, and they did a great job.

In other news, my dad is back in the hosptial. He's been there two or three days now because he was having trouble with his breathing. His feet, legs, and hands have been swollen lately and he wasn't sure why. We all seemed to think it might have been from the heat or something like that, but after doing some tests, the doctor came in yesterday and said that there was some kind of blockage between his bladder and kidneys. They performed surgery (after 10pm) to place a couple of stents to open up the passage and help drain the buildup of liquid. He also has a catheter, which is/was supposed to come off after a day or so. My mom left me a message this morning on MSN saying that they've already got about 3 liters of liquid drained, and all or most of it was from his lungs. The nurse said that no wonder he was having difficulty breathing! She said that should help with that now. My dad's heart rate had also dropped during surgery (and his breathing was difficult) so I guess they put him in the ICU to keep an eye on him. His heart rate is up (he's been having some issues since the 2nd chemo treatment where his heart will beat too fast), so they're giving him some kind of injection to help get it normal.

I guess my big fear is that something bad is going to happen before I have a chance to get home. I've been praying for my dad and his health, and I know it's all in the hands of the Lord. But, to be honest, the fear is still there...

As of today, there are only 27 more days until I leave Korea. I'm getting antsy - I want to go home! Yes, I will miss some of the people and some of the places/things from Korea, but I will be really happy to get back home. I'm thankful for this experience and I'm glad I had the opportunity and came here.

I'll be packing up a few boxes over the next few days and sending some of my things home - souvenirs, clothes, etc., so my suitcases won't be so heavy. A few weeks ago I went to Seoul to pick up some more souvenirs to take back with me, and I think I'll probably go back again at least once more to pick up a few more things - especially for myself. After spending a year here, I would like to have something to remember my time spent here.

The weather has been getting a little more hotter and hotter (and humid) as the days go by. Rainy season is over now, and the really hot days are setting in. I have to wonder if I'll find them quite as hot as I did upon my first arrival here. Back then, as soon as we stepped out of the air conditioned airport into the heat of Seoul, it felt like I was going to melt right away. I didn't have to stand outside too long before being drenched by sweat! Now, however, we've been slowly exposed to the heat so it isn't quite as shocking...I know it will be (as it is now) HOT, but I really don't think it will compare to the first exposure of it last year...we'll see.

Well, must be off now and go talk to my mom to find out how my dad is doing since I talked to her last night. And, I do have to get a box or two packed up as I plan on heading out to the post office tomorrow...

Have a Christ filled day!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

A Little Odd...

I'm feeling a little odd lately. I can't quite put my finger on it. I'm sure part of the feeling stems from the fact that it will be soon time for me to leave South Korea and head home. While I am not particularly sad at having to leave (I don't feel I've grown attached to this country), there are some people and things I'll miss. However, I am getting more and more excited and anxious to go home again.

I think that part of this odd feeling is stemming from being sick yet again. Oh, it's just a cold that I have, but once again I am sick. So far, since I have been in Korea, I have had a cold in August, September, October, November, December, February, March, April, May, and July. Since I wasn't sick last month, I had hoped that maybe I had finally grown accustomed to the viruses and germs here and that I wouldn't be sick for the duration of my stay. I guess I was wrong. However, maybe August will be different and I won't be sick for my last month. Only time will tell. I'm glad, however, that this doesn't seem to be too bad of a cold.

I had thought yesterday that it was going away because it didn't bother me too much. But, today it seems to be back a little more. That could be from spending Saturday in Seoul, in the rain hunting for souvenirs to take back home to Canada when I go. Also, it was pouring out yesterday and I went with my friends Sarah and Tamara to go get smoothies in the evening. It was raining harder than we had thought, and when we got part way down the street, the wind seemed to pick up as well. We're not sure, but we think maybe it could have been from a typhoon or something (though in this area we tend to not get them badly or maybe just the bit of the tailend of them). As we drew several feet away from the building we'd be going to (actually, I was just inside the doorway and they were a few feet outside), there was a loud crack and crash. Tamara said a tree had broken and fell onto part of the building. We were safe though, and there wasn't anything wrong inside.

On the way back, it was only raining lightly, but we stopped into a store for no more than 5 minutes, and when we got back out it was down pouring again. So, needless to say that even with our umbrellas, we got drenched.

The last couple of days I've been watching season 3 of Grey's Anatomy, and I think this may be contributing to my mood as well. You see, on the show, George's father is admitted to the hospital with the same kind of cancer my father has. The only difference is that George's father is worse off and his cancer had spread.

My dad had a couple of biopsies taken a few weeks ago when he was in for his last chemo treatment (the final one actually) and the doctor told him a few days ago that they came back fine, that there were no problems. Also, when he had his endoscopy done at the same time, that doctor said he didn't see any cancer above or below the 'lump', and that's good news (I think). Dad has an appointment to see the oncologist tomorrow (Tuesday) so he will hopefully be able to find out more - like what the next step is, if they will do surgery like they said at the beginning (they wanted to try and shrink the lump and then possibly remove it surgically). As of this moment, dad doesn't even have a prognosis so that is a little frustrating and scary. He's had many prayers said for him, so we are holding out for good news and that maybe there won't be any cancer left at all.

So, I think a lot of my odd feeling is thinking about my dad's situation. While it's different that the character of George's father on Grey's, it still got me thinking about my dad's situation and the fact that I'm so far away during this time. I'm sure, though, this feeling will pass and I'll be fine again in a day or so (maybe even sooner).

In other news, I've been working again (off and on) on my novel. I have roughly eight or nine thousand words so far (maybe even more), which is only a drop in the bucket since I'll need about one hundred thousand, roughly. But, it's more than I've written for a story in the past, and I'm really wanting to finish this novel. My main problems seems to be procrastination. That is definitely NOT something you want when you are trying to write. Not sure where the procrastination stems from, but I'm sure there is a cause for it...such as some kind of fear. It may also be the enemy trying to stop me from writing it - especially since it's a novel dealing with spiritual warfare. It's hard to say, but I have been doing some writing and I am proud that I've accomplished more with this novel than I have on novels in the past. Usually I stick to short stories and find them much easier to complete.

Well, I'd best sign off for now and go work some more on my writing. Have a Christ filled day!

Monday, July 07, 2008

I'm Meeelllltttttiinnngggg!!

It's so hot here in Yesan, South Korea. It's about 32C (90F roughly) but it feels like 37 C (or 99F) with a humidity of 60%. So yes, it's hot out there. And, it's only going to get hotter as the summer goes on.

Today I had to get some errands done so Tamara and Sarah came along with me. I needed to go to the post office to mail home a couple of boxes filled with some winter clothes, knick knacks (or is it nick nacks...I never know how to spell that), and souvenirs from my trip to Egypt. I figure it's better to do this (and probably cheaper in the long run) than to try and stuff everything in my alotted two suit cases and end up going over the weight and being charged extra for that - and who knows how much that would cost. So, we headed out in the heat, Tamara and I carrying two large boxes. Sarah would be the one to flag a cab to get us to the post office. The boxes weren't overly heavy. Mostly, they were just awkward to carry because of their size.

I also had to go to the bank to transfer some money home to my account in Canada. I went to a new teller this time (I think they have two who can do this now, but before there was only one). He seemed really nice and his English was very good. He made conversation and told me he was scared to speak English - but then he laughed. I told him he was doing good, and I wasn't lying either.

So, I'm glad I have those two things taken care of now. It'll be that much less that I have to do before I head home at the end of August. I'll probably pack another couple of boxes to ship home during the summer as well, so I'll have another trip to the post office to make. Sarah's going to do this as well, so we'll probably go together and mail them over the next few weeks - definitely before we leave.

After the bank, Tamara wanted to stop at the outdoor market (it's market day today) to get some veggies. Sarah didn't want to go so she headed home, but I tagged along with Tamara. I bought a zucchini for 500 won (about 50 cents). I've never really had zucchini until I came to Korea and I find it to be pretty decent. I also got some plums - Peter (the Korean English teachers who heads up our Wednesday weekly get together dinner) had brought some to our little party we had last Friday and said they are sour plums. I tried one, and while I didn't find it sour in the least, it was tasty. These cost me 3,000 won (about 3 dollars) for a dozen or so (to be honest, I didn't count them but I didn't mind since it was cheaper than buying them at the grocery store). I also got some rice cakes - similar to what we refer to as rice cakes in Canada, only thinner. The bag was big and packed full and I only paid 2,000 won (about 2 dollars). Then on the way back we spotted watermelon. Actually we saw several stalls with watermelon, but they were big ones. These ones were a lot smaller and half the price (5,000 won/5 dollars). I bought one of those too, and I plan on cutting it up and putting the pieces in ziplock type containers or maybe even just cutting it in half and giving one half to one of the other foreign teachers.

So, the day was quite productful even though it doesn't seem like I got a lot done. It only took a couple of hours as well, which is nice. The rest of the day I just plan on staying in the apartment where I will keep the air conditioning running at regular intervals so I don't melt. I'll also probably read, watch tv, surf the net (or go on Facebook), and go over my lesson plans for summer camp. Those need to be in by Friday the 11th. I am using a lesson from one of the ESL sites, so I just have to go through it and divide it up in to 4-5 lessons, add some games/activities, and make the lesson plans up. Really, I just have to get the information they need to make up the work books in by the 11th - I can actually do the lesson plans, etc. a a little later. We'll see. I have tomorrow off as well, so I can work on it then.

Speaking of having tomorrow off, I have not had to go into work yesterday or today either. The schools are in the middle of final exams for the first semester (their school year starts in March whereas ours starts in September). I don't have to go to school while they write the exams because there is nothing for me to do. I go back Thursday and Friday and all next week, and I am going to show a movie since the kids won't be interested in working at this point (school ends for summer break on Friday the 18th). After that, I have a week off, then a week of summer camp (with the other foreign English teachers as well), then nothing so far...unless the school plans on having me teach a week or so in August (really, the never seem to let the kids have much of a break - it's all work, work, work). But, as it stands, I don't have anything after the summer camp. School also starts back up for the next semester on August 20. I leave August 31 and will more than likely have to teach that week and a bit...though it really makes no sense to me since they'll be getting a new teacher when I leave. I don't see the point of having to teach, but if I have to I will; not much I can do about it. Besides, I'll be leaving shortly after that anyway, so it's not a big deal.

Well, this has ended up being a much larger post than I had intended. Hope your summer is going well so far!

Have a Christ filled day!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

A Sunday/Monday Update

There is no real news here in South Korea lately. It's been cool and rainy this weekend, which is fine by me. I know that very, very soon the weather will turn quite hot and humid. We've had a lot of hot weather already, but not the unbearable kind we will have within the next couple of months. I'm not exactly sure when this extrememe heat and high humidity will begin, but it's soon.

Today, well tomorrow in my hometown (there is a 12 hour time difference between there and here, with Korea being 12 hours ahead), is supposedly my dad's last chemo treatment. That will be nice, and I'm sure he's thankful for that. I don't know what happens next though. The original plan was to try and shrink the lump in his esophagus and then remove it. I guess once these chemo and radiation treatments are finished (he has already finished the radiation), they will do whatever tests are necessary to check on the results and take it from there.

It's frustrating for my dad and mom, no doubt. It seems that they don't know much about what's going on. As far as I know, my dad hasn't even been given a prognosis yet. I don't know if that is something they can only decide once his treatments are finished, or what. A few months ago - well, after the chemo treatment two months ago - my dad had problems with his heart. It was beating erratically, which caused him to feel weak and dizzy. They've put him on a pill to help regulate his pulse, and it seemed to help. After the last chemo treatment, they kept him in the hospital (he was actually in the hospital before that as well - about a month in total) to try to get this new pill and his blood pressure pill regulated so that they would work together. He's since been discharged from the hospital, and has been out a couple of weeks now.

While he was in the hospital for that month, they put a heart monitor on him, but never told him any results. Finally, one of the doctors who helps the cancer doctor (the proper name escapes me at the moment) told him it was ok. They had also stuck a tube down his throat, again the name is escaping me (it's early in the morning and my brain isn't awake yet), to check his esophagus and why he wasn't keeping his food down again. They had thought that around Easter his stent had dislodged and he threw it up, but apparently it's still there. However, what is frustrating about this is that this same doctor told him that the stent was blocked, and that is why he was throwing up. However, within a week, the doctor who had performed this procedure and had put the stent in, came in to see him and said the stent wasn't blocked. Talk about being confused. But, no, it is not blocked, so I am led to believe that it's quite possible that he has been throwing up from his chemo treatments.

In other news - well, ok, there really isn't much in the way of news. I just needed something to say to show I was finished talking about my dad...anyway, I have been getting antsy to go home. The time draws near when I will actually leave, and I will be on the plane heading home in 9 more Sundays!

It's hard to explain, but the feeling I have is like my "release" is being dangled in front of me, just out of my reach. It's just out of my reach, and I feel a little frustrated - like I can't get to it. I know that it's just a matter of time before I will be packed up and heading back home to Canada, but it's so close I can almost taste it. At the same time, it still seems to be far off and this is what is causing the frustration.

I want to be home. In Canada. Back among my family and friends. Back among the familiarity and convenience of my hometown. Korea has been good; it's been an experience for sure. It's had some good things and bad things, but I'm at the point where I want to move on with the next chapter in my life (going back to university to get my bachelor of education), and I'm getting antsy. It's just a matter of waiting now.

Two months. That's all I have left of my time in Korea. There are times I can close my eyes and it feels that when I open them, I'll be home. Like I've only been dreaming. But, the reality is, I'm still in Korea. I'm just getting anxious. There will be so much to do - packing and whatnot. I'm going to attempt to pack some things and mail them home so my suitcases won't be so heavy and go over the weight restrictions. I'll be doing this soon. I just don't know when - hopefully this coming weekend.

Anyway, it's time for me to get ready for work now. I'm hoping today will go well without any problems. Have a Christ filled day!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

I Can't Sleep

At the moment, it is 5:26 AM. I can't sleep. I've been awake since a little after 4:30 and I don't know why. The last couple of nights haven't been too bad, sleep wise, aside from waking up several times during the night. Tonight I only woke up two or three times, the last time being around 4:30.

I was aware that I had an odd dream, but it wasn't disturbing or anything that would keep me awake. It was simply walking down a road with a couple of ladies I used to work with. Then a few more of the ladies I used to work with were there as well, and one of them had her grandson with her. He was only about two years old, very cute, and had extremely long hairy legs - which we were commenting on. Then I woke up with somewhat of a "jolt", as though I had just remembered something. I haven't been able to sleep since.

I have been quite tired during the days for sometime now - maybe since last fall. I know it was a few months after I arrived here in South Korea, but moreso since the new year. I think it has something to do with not eating properly here, and not getting enough vitamins and eating nourishing foods. I do take a vitamin every day - well, most every day. I have missed some.

It's not that I'm trying to starve myself or anything like that. It's just that I don't like a lot of the food here, for one reason or another, and my options are somewhat limited. I will admit that I've been eating a lot of fried foods (once in awhile actually getting to a Burger King or McDonalds in the city that is over an hour away), which seems to be how they serve a lot of the "western" type foods. I know that's not healthy, eating a lot of food like that. And, the result is that I'm probably low in iron and who knows what else.

I had been going to the gym with a friend for a little bit. I got sick though and couldn't go for nearly a week. Then I had a muscle problem in my neck/shoulder area. It was really tense or something, so I didn't want to hurt that area (I did go a couple of times hoping the weight machines would help stretch it out), so I didn't go. As well, it was really hot in the gym. They had a fan on, but it was in one area only. They have air conditioning but tend not to use it since it costs a lot. The window were open, but no breeze. Anyway, to make a long story short, I didn't want to pass out from heat exhaustion from working out. So, my friend and I decided not to go anymore since it gets extremely hot here in the summer and it wouldn't be good working out in conditions like that. I will say, however, that I did enjoy going and was seeing some results, even in the short amount of time I went. If I can afford it when I get back home (since I'll be going to school and probably won't be working), I might consider joining a gym there.

Well, it is now 5:40 and I still don't feel the least bit tired. I'm probably up for the day, and I know that later this morning or afternoon I'll get dreadfully tired and want to sleep. But, that won't be possible until between 4:30 and 5:00 this afternoon, when I get home.

Dear Lord, please give me strength the make it through my day, and please help me not to be tired while I'm at work. Amen.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

A Little Bit of This and That

Well, first up is that I have confirmation on my ticket home to Canada! I have a copy of the e-ticket and the receipt, and I'm booked to go home August 31! I can't wait! I hadn't heard back from the travel agent since last week, but we had a school field trip on Thursday, and there was a holiday on Friday. Also, they only deal with walk in customers on Saturdays and aren't open on Sundays. Yesterday morning I called to find out what was going on and was told the agent had sent me an email. I, however, didn't get one. The lady I talked with said that payment for the ticket was due then and I told her I didn't know that. Thankfully I was able to get the money transferred after work, and Sarah gave her credit card info - so we're all set! One good thing about this - we get reimbursed for the airfare. The company we are working for pays for our flight back home so I'll be getting the money back, hopefully sometime soon.

We thought there was going to be a problem with the district supervisor. He was telling our coteachers that we couldn't leave before midnight on the 31st because our contract runs out that day. I promptly told my coteacher that that's not possible since our flight leaves at noon and the flights for that time are pretty well booked now. The only other solution would be to leave earlier in the week before the 31st (which is on a Sunday). I am starting school the first week of September, so waiting later is not an option for me. After explaining about having to pay a higher fare (if we went later) or leaving before the 31st, the supervisor finally agreed to let us leave on this flight.

We will fly from Incheon (the international airport in Seoul) to Tokyo to switch flights, then from Tokyo to Toronto, and finally from Toronto to home! I'm excited - I want to go now...

For the past ten days my shoulder/neck have been bothering me. It started out as a kink or something in my shoulder, just below my neck and seemed to progress worse for the next while. For a few days I could run my hand over my shoulder area and feel a bump where the muscle was tensed. That's gone, but the ache/pain still remained. It was difficult to get to sleep at night because no matter what way I would lay, I had some pain/aching.

Yesterday I had my coteacher take me to an accupuncturist to see if that would help. I had taken muscle relaxers, Advil, used heat and massaged the area and that would only help for short amounts of time. I figured nine days was long enough and the accupuncture was worth a shot. I had some for my lower back when I first got here last year so I knew what to expect.

My coteacher had talked to the doctor and said that if I didn't feel better after this session I might need another one or two, and if that didn't work then they might send me for an x-ray in case there is something else wrong. When I finished the session yesterday, my neck and shoulder seemed stiff but didn't hurt much at all. The doctor was in the elevator when I got in and she asked me how I was, so I told her. She said to come in again on Wednesday (which will now be tomorrow) before 6:00 because she's finished work then. So, I will go there again after work, and hopefully it will help.

I managed to sleep pretty good last night and only had minimal aching/pain when I went to bed - nothing that would make it difficult to get to sleep. Today, however, I have had some pain quite a bit and it seems like it might be muscle spasms. that's the only thing I can think it feels like. I'm going to make sure to let the doctor know tomorrow about this. Not sure if I should be taking anything (like a muscle relaxer or some Advil) so I don't want to, just in case. I just hope I'll be able to get to sleep tonight.

In other news, my dad has started his third round of chemo yesterday. He was diagnosed with cancer of the esophagus in March and has undergone his radiation treatment and some chemo. He has one more round of chemo after this one, and that will come in July.

After the last two treatments of chemo, his heart seemed to beat irregularly...like his pulse wasn't regulated or something. He's been in the hospital since his last chemo treatment, so it must be a month now. They are trying to adjust the medications he is on to get a balance between the heart pill they've been giving him, and his blood pressure medication. Also, he hasn't been keeping food down again and they did an endoscopy last week and discovered the stent in his esophagus is blocked. Not sure if they are going to remove it and put a new one in or if they will just try to unblock this one, or what. I guess all we can do is wait and see.

Anyway, I'd appreciate if you'd keep my dad (and mom) in your prayers.

Well, off to surf the net and try to catch up on blog reading. God bless!

Monday, June 02, 2008

Happy June 2nd!

Wow, it's already June. Hard to believe! I don't know where the time is going. I suppose being busy with work helps the time go. But then maybe I'm just getting old and find that the time doesn't seem to drag as much as it used to when I was young.

Right now, my friend Sarah and I are looking into booking our flights back home to Canada. We are supposedly leaving the 31st, but our co-teachers are trying to see if the office of education will let us go the last week since we probably won't be working.

Our flights are supposed to be paid for us (the company we are working through, or rather our schools...who might get reimbursed by the company we work for, but the exact particulars I'm not entirely sure of), but we have to pay for it first and then get reimbursed...at least that is the way it is seeming. That is the way it was when we came over, too.

I also have to check into how this will take place. A lot of travel companies over here give you a bank account (theirs) to deposit your money in for your airfare...if that's the case with this flight, then I'm ok. If I need a credit card, then I'm a little stuck...my credit card only has a limit of $500, and the flight is definitely more than that! So, I will need to do that. Not sure what I'll do if I can't transfer the money...but I will pray about this, and trust the Lord to work in the situation to get me home in time for school!

This week will be short at work. On Thursday the school has a field trip so there are no classes, though I'll be going on the trip with them too. On Friday there is a national holiday so there are no classes. I also have this Saturday off, so I'll have a nice three day weekend! I can't wait! I don't have any plans, but that's ok. Sometimes all you need is just time off to relax and do nothing. I am hoping, however, that I'll be wise and get some work on my writing done.

Well, off to check flights and whatnot to go home at the end of August.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

It's Been A Long Time...

...since I've written in this blog. I have been writing a little more often in my knitting blog, Kitten Knits Yarn and a bit in my writing blog, Ink Scrawls (plenty of CFBA book reviews posted in that one too).

I am now about three months away from returning back to Canada from here in South Korea. In some ways the time has sped by, and in others, it has dragged on and on.

Let's see if I can update you since my last post of nearly five months ago. In January we had to work at winter camps. Basically, winter camp is just extra classes during the winter break. Not every kid takes these though. We taught four classes per day, Monday to Friday, and it lasted pretty much the entire month.

On January 31, I left Korea with three of my friends from here (one Korean, one American, and one Canadian) on a 24/25 day trip to Egypt. What a blast that was! I am so glad I went! We started our trip in Alexandria and visited Pomp's pillar, the Catacomb tombs, Quaetbay Forte, the Aquarium (which in my opinion was a waste of money because there isn't much there at all), the Roman Amphitheatre, the Alexandria Library and Montzna Palace & Gardens.

Next we drove to Cairo. While there we journied to Dahsur, Memphis and Sakkara. We went inside two pyramids which was pretty cool...and no, there were no mummies or treasure, etc. to be found. They had been emptied out long ago. We also went to the pyramids and the Sphinx in Giza. We got to ride on camels to go to the pyramids and Sphinx - totally cool!

Next came the Baharya Oasis with a drive to the black desert, crystal mountain, the Salt lake in the Bedouin village, the old and the new white deserts and we also camped out in the desert overnight. That was an experience. The vastness of the stars in the sky that night was incredible! I have never seen the sky so full of stars like that (probably because I'm from the city). It was amazing to see God's creation hovering over me like that. We were even lucky enough to see a few shooting stars that night. While camping, we were under the stars the entire time (glad there was no rain) and not in a tent. We had little mattresses under us and about 4 or 5 thick camel hair blankets over us. We also had several layers of clothes on, plus our winter coats so we were nice and warm.

From there we made or way to Aswan and had a feluccca boat ride to visit the botanical gardens and the Elephantine islands. We also went to the High Dam, drove to Abu Simble and went to St Simeon Monastery and the Philae Temple.

From Aswan we boarded a ship and cruised to Kom Ombo to visit the city and temple there, sailed and visted Edfu city and temple then sailed to Luxor. When we got to Luxor we visited the Karnak Temples, went to the Valley of Kings, Valley of Queens, Queen Hatshipsut's temple and the Colossi of Memnon.

From Luxor we flew to Sharm where we got to go to the beach (it was actually hot, beach-like weather there, a change from the rest of the country which was cooler) and I waded into the Red Sea. I didn't actually go swimming though and I ended up with a sunburn. After we were in Sharm for a couple of days we drove to St Catharine where I got to go to the top of Mount Sinai! Only one of the other girls went with me. One had a bit of an injury (she had the injury before but now it was just bothering her), and one decided she didn't think she'd be able to make it up the mountain. We went half way up on camel, but the last half we had to walk because it was comprised of a bazillion stone steps of odd shapes and sizes. I think we were told the whole trek up was something like six or six and a half kilometers (we walked the entire way back down though, no camels that time). When we got to the top it was FREEZING!! I had on knee high length tights, wool hand knit socks (that I made), a pair of leggings, my jeans, 2 tshirts, a sweater, my winter coat, a scarf around my neck, ear muffs, two scarves around my head and gloves...oh and we borrowed a thick blanket from the hotel (and yes we did return it afterwards). Even with all that it was FREEZING - probably from the wind and high altitude.

We left the hotel about 2:30 in the morning to get to the top of Mount Sinai to watch the sun rise. What an event that was. There were tons of people, many Christians who were singing and praising the Lord. It was definitely an experience! We also visited The monastery of St Catherine and got to see the burning bush...or what they claim is the "descendent" of the burning bush.

From there we drove back to Cairo to tour Islamic Cairo, the citadel, Old Cairo, the church that is on the site they claim the Holy Family stayed at while in Egypt, and we went to the bazaar there twice. We then made our way back to Alexandria and flew back to South Korea, with an eight hour layover in Dubai.

In March, we started a new school year. Over here their school year begins in March, and not in September like back home. This semester I teach the first and third grades of the same middle school. That would be like grades six and eight back home. Some of the boys are great, but many aren't - not just because of their lack of English skills, but their attitude, lack of respect, etc. But there is nothing that can be done about that. No matter how much we tell the coteachers, nothing is ever done. Their way of discipline here involved corporal punishment - physical beating in many cases. I don't agree with that, but these kids need to learn to respect their elders. It's driving me insane - that and the fact that they don't do their work, they don't listen, and the talk in Korean all the time in class. I wouldn't mind so much if they talked in English, but they don't. But, I keep telling myself there isn't much time left and to hold on.

I also found out in March that my dad was diagnosed with cancer of the esophagus. He has since finished his round of radiation treatments (just this past Monday) and has two more chemo treatments to go through - on in June, the other in July. He has also been having some problems with his heart after the chemo treatments, and they aren't sure what's causing it. His heart beat is all out of whack at times. They had him on a 24 hour heart monitor but we haven't heard the results back from that yet. So, it's been a little difficult for me being way over here with him going through that back home. He's been holding up pretty well though. My mom and two brothers are there, so at least he's not alone.

So, other than having a lot of stress at work, not much has been going on. I'm looking forward to going home so I can get back to church and get back into a walk with the Lord. I've not been good since I've been here - the churches either don't have English services or translations, or the translations aren't very good. When I did go for about a month, I didn't get fed. The translations weren't the best and it was difficult to understand. My Bible reading has also suffered, though lately I've been getting back into that - same with prayer. My prayer life has been hit or miss, though I'm trying to get back into that more as well.

Anyway, this is rather long now so I will end for here. I hope to get back to posting here more frequently. I'm sorry it's taken me this long to update!

Oh...and I almost forgot. I applied back in January for the Bachelor of Education program at the university where I got my B.A. from, and I found out a few weeks ago that I got accepted! I will be starting school pretty much just a few days after I return home from Korea...

Friday, January 04, 2008

The Latest

Tonight I am feeling a little blah. I don't know why, but perhaps I'm just bored.


School has ended for the year, and the new semester (new school year actually) begins in March. Currently, for the month of January, we are required to teach the winter camps. I'm not sure why they call them camps, but they do. What it is, is basically extra classes that the children sign up to take - it's not something they have to do though, just if they want it or if their parents want them to take it.

I've taught for two days so far. I'm teaching the Earth Sciences class, which I know nothing about (though to be honest, I don't know anything about any of the other topics either). Our first topic is the solar system and that will take two classes. Yesterday's class went fairly well; the kids participated, answered questions, etc. Today's class was like pulling teeth - they didn't want to speak...even when I would ask a question and tell them the answer was on line one. I hate teaching classes like that. To be honest, the material might have been a little difficult for them - that is their English is limited so they probably didn't know a lot of the words; therefore, I tried my best to explain some of them. I would ask them what words they didn't know (yesterday's class would tell me the words they didn't know) but no one said a word. Grrr, I hate that.

So, all in all, my first semester went fairly well. I know that I need to make my classes a little more enjoyable (like more games, etc.) for the kids so they aren't bored. I also need to make the boys more involved - going up to the board to write answers, putting them in groups to do team work. The thing with making groups (even if it is just a group of two), the majority of them don't even do the work; they just sit and talk in Korean about whatever they want to. Some of the boys will do the work, but most of them won't. That is so frustrating. How do you make it fun so that they learn and enjoy the classes and they aren't bored out of their minds?

I'm looking forward to vacation next month. I'm heading to Egypt with three friends from here for the month. We've got our airline tickets paid for and the money out for the hotel/tours/etc. The odd thing is that we pay the travel agent guy who booked us when we get to the hotel in Egypt. I've never heard of that before; usually you have to pay before you go. My friend, Tamara, who has been setting things up for us has dealt with this guy in the past and he's very good at what he does. She also saw people talking about the tours (online), etc. and they said they are awesome and that the way you pay is correct (paying when you get there), and there are no problems with that. We have one girl who might not be able to join us, but she will find out on January 7th if she can or not. If she can't go, then the rest of us will have to pay a little bit extra, but it's less than $100 I believe - wasn't all that much from what Tamara said.

I'm excited to climb Mt. Sinai. The tour (the way it's done) has you climb all the way, or take a camel part way and walk the rest of the way (the camel can't climb the whole way) at night. From what I read somewhere online, the climb will take about four hours. Then you are at the top for the sunrise. It's supposed to be an awesome experience, and I can't wait - I'll be taking lots of pictures. Just think; climbing and standing on the same mountain that Moses did when he got the Ten Commandments from God. I don't know if we will be going to the same spot (that is if they know which level or whatever that they believe he was at when he got the Commandments) or not, but it doesn't matter - it's still the same mountain. There is a monestary there, at the bottom, that you can tour somewhat (I don't think you can actually go into the building though), and they have in there what they believe is a 'descendent' of the burning bush. I don't know how they would know that, but I find it interesting nonetheless.

So, we leave Korea on January 31 and come back February 25. It will be a long way to travel - about 10 hours I believe, but I'm sure the trip will be exciting. It's definitely a once in a life time opportunity (at least for me). My parents had said something to the effect of me not saving money (one of my main objectives here) for my student loan, but I said I am saving some and making my payments, and besides, the way I am looking at this trip is that once I get back to Canada, I probably won't have the opportunity to go to Egypt again. And besides, it would more than likely be a lot more expensive to travel from there.

Well, I just wanted to give a little update on how things are going for me here in South Korea. I'll try not to wait so long between postings next time.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Brief Note

Just a brief note to say I am still here. I haven't been feeling up to posting much lately because I've been tired by the time I get home from work, or I just don't feel in the mood. Usually at work I am in the mood to post here, but for some reason I can't access blogger from the computer at the school.

Things are going pretty well. The first semester has finally come to an end and I start teaching winter camps (which is just basically extra classes for the kids who want to take them) on January 3rd. We were give topics to teach: politics, history, literature, biology, and earth science. I don't know a blessed thing about any of these topics so I wasn't too thrilled. My friend Sarah (who came to Korea with me and another of our friends, Lorie) is a history major so she jumped at that topic - lucky her. Anyway, my topic ended up being earth science. I've got the topics that I'll teach chosen, just don't know how well I'll do with it. I'll trust that God will get me through this, since He's the only one who can.

As well, on January 31st I, along with friends Tamara, Tiffany, and Epinine (she's Korean, and that's her English name) are going to Egypt until February 25. We'll be going to the pyramids, the Valley of the Kings, taking a Nile River cruise, climbing Mt. Sinai, etc. I'm excited to go, but also a little scared. Other than coming to Korea, I've never travelled before.

Anyway, just wanted to give a little update to let anyone who still stops by here know that I am still around. I'll try to write more often. Hope everyone had a great Christmas and happy new year!