Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Sleepless Nights

I just spent the last week not sleeping. Not cause I'm out doing anything in particular, but because I'm sitting in my apartment contemplating life. Because I have five months left in Korea, which means that over half of my contract is finished, I am starting to think about what I'm going to do when I get back home. To me, when I return home I will be in the same state that I was in when I graduated univeristy: not really knowing. The thought of this really petrifies me. Literally.

I am working through a lot of ideas now, which is both good and bad. Good in that I'm thinking about it, bad because it's keeping me up at night. Actually it's not as bad this week as it was last week. I'm getting to bed a little earlier and spending more time than I thought numbing my mind with Rob's new XBOX. And, I must admit, I'm getting a lot better at Tony Hawk 2!

I'm also taking a course at my church called Cleansing Streams. Although the name of the course is pretty lame, it's actually pretty cool. There is a lot of homework involved in this course and I'm learning a lot about walking with God and hearing his voice. To actually hear God, to undisputedly hear his voice and recognize it would be incredible at this point. So that's what I'm working on. Letting go of my old way of depending on myself and gripping to the new way of depending entirely on God. Cliche? Maybe. But, for me, I'm actually trying to do it, rather than just talking about it all the time. We'll see how it goes.

As for work related Korea business. I'm working six days a week now, which is fine, cause I get a little extra money, but I don't get much of a weekend, which isn't the most fun. I get Sunday off, but I have church and then Cleansing Streams, so not much time left for relaxing. But I'm still encouraged, because I have less than five months left! I can't believe it. Although I'm not in a rush to leave and not so eagar to get home and really sort out my future "life" issues, I'm still excited to almost be completed a one year contract...something I never imagined committing to. If you know me, and know me well, you know that committment isn't always my "thing".

Otherwise things are pretty good here. Running smoothly and I'm doing well. I'm happy and still finding lots of time for prayer, thought, and Jesus.

Hope you're all doing well.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Jeju-do, South Korea.

Back to the grind

Well, I've taken all of my vacation time officially. My mom came to Korea two weeks ago and left yesterday. We had a great time touring Seoul and visiting Jeju Island. I'm very glad that she came to see what I do, and where I work. She even got to sit in on a class that I taught, mind you the smallest of the classes that I teach. But it will be good to have a family member to talk to about Korea when I get home and feel like I am the only one with these fantastic memories.

Anyway, I have a load of pictures and I've put some of them on the internet incase any of you care to check them out. At: Also the link for this site is on the lefthand side of this page in the LINKS column.

On another note, I have about five months to go in Korea and I'm trying to work through some ideas for what to do when I'm all finished here. I know to most people it seems like a long way off, but to me, it's never too soon. So what I'm asking for is your prayers. Mostly that I can hear God's voice and that I can actually spend the time seeking it like I should in these decisions. I'd appreciate that a lot if you could pray for that.

Hope you enjoy the pictures!

Friday, September 09, 2005

Anybody need a mom?

Look who's in Korea! My MOM!

Basic 3, class 'o Chaos. Crying, hiding, yelling. You name it, here's where you find it... Don't be fooled by their innocent looking smiles and hard working student-like disguises. Terrors I tell you. TERRORS!

The Chaos in a Single Day

Somedays I just wish that there was a camera crew following me around so that you could all see the chaos that takes place in a single work day.

Fridays, for example, I teach six classes in a row. Which means that I have a five minute break between six - forty five minute classes. The kids range from a basic two level (six year olds), to the highest pre-middle school class that our academy offers. I will attempt to give you a few examples of what can take place in the classroom.

Today, I went into my M4-1 class (highest pre-middle school class) and about an hour or two before I actually taught this class 2 of the students had come upto me and said "Teacher, Ray is absent." Not out of the ordinary at all because lots of my students will say this about kids who aren't there. To which I reply "Ok, uhhh...thanks." Cause really I don't really care who's there either way, I'll see if they're there (or not) when I get to class.

Anyway, so I walk in and the class is pitch dark. The class that I had with these students before this one today, they had shut off the lights and hid under the desks, which, I assumed, they were doing again. Which turned out to be true...with a twist. I walk into dark class to find one student, who goes by the name of "Smith" (re: Matrix trilogy), who is a super nerd slash GENIUS (the kind that you're not sure if they're autistic or just really nerdy). Anyway this kid is sitting, hands folded in the dark waiting for me to come in. Less than a minute later the three girls pop out from their hiding place and I figured that the class was ready to go. This class only has five students, and since Ray was "absent" I figured we were all accounted for. So I started teaching, only to get about fifteen minutes into class and see Ray pop out from under the back row of desks. I immediately shrieked and brought both hands to my mouth in utter shock. I mean, what kid holds out for that long? And frick, I thought he wasn't there at the academy at all that day. Totally freaked me out. So the students laughed their head off cause they were all in on it. They actually got me.

Now that, a trick from older students, is only countered by the teeny kids that I also teach. A class called Basic 3 is probably one of the more dreaded classes to teach (so I've heard from Korean teachers), and I've scored one this semester (however doesn't top the M0 plus B3 Rob's got). These kids are off the handle. I walked in to find a teeny boy, James, bawling. I have yet to figure out why. I tried to get him in the hallway because I hate when they have to cry infront of everyone. So I get him out and try talking to him, but his English is limited. A Korean teacher stopped to help, but the kid wouldn't budge. He wasn't talking to anyone. Finally I let him back in and then another kid yells "TEACHER WHERE IS HARRY?" all smug and like he's upto something. So with a Korean supervisor watching (and semi laughing at my situation of shouting and crying kids) I walk to the back of the class where Harry is laying across two chairs under the desk (a popular pass time apparently). So almost forgetting how light these little Korean kids are, I put one hand on each of the two chairs and yank them, as if I am a magician pulling a cloth from under wine glasses and the kid splats onto the floor in the exact same position he was laying on the chairs. I actually laughed that I did this, so did the kid, and so did the Korean supervisor who was watching it all go down. In the meantime another student, Jason (who I'm sure is partly --or fully learning disabled. See pic below), is shouting his face off and not doing as he's told. So I throw him out into the hallway only to be watched by "the fat man" as Rob and I call him, aka "Sweatervest", aka The big boss dude from the main branch. I'm trying to discipline this kid but he's not cooperating. He's yelling in my face and not staying in the hallway. So I leave him out there and attempt to continue teaching with James still bawling in his seat and not participating and Harry getting loud cause he's so proud of himself for hiding on me. I totally know that bossman was checking out my classroom via the nine videocamera screens in the lobby. Ahh well.

Frick, it doesn't end. These are just two examples from the past two days of teaching. I could give one from each class, but I won't. I mean frick, reality tv has got nothing on the life I actually live.

Anyway, that said, I'm on vacation starting now until September 20th so I'm totally stoked. I leave for Jeju-do on Sunday morning and return Thursday and spend the rest of my time until Tuesday just hangin out in Seoul. I'm pretty excited about it. Plus I need a break from these crazy antics that seem to occur more than on a daily basis, I'd say more like an hourly basis. Geez.

Hope you're all doing well and having much less craziness in your own jobs at home!

Saturday, September 03, 2005

The famous Rob and Andrea BBQ party on the roof (and in Rob's apartment ;)).


Before I cut my hair...


I'm pretty sure this kids got some serious learning disabilities. He drives me more insane than any kid I've taught YET.

One of the cutest kids ever (despite the fact that I'm positive he has ADD and can't sit still...ever!)

These are two old students of mine from last semester. They are SO bad, but I love them. They come to my desk every Monday, Wednesday and Friday to ask me for a variety of items: Cola, food, some of my dinner, fruit, or my personal favorite "Teacher, give me money".

OEM Yangjae, my church.

Crew at church

Joseph (my boss) and Marcus

A coworker named Joey

Me, sick at work.

Jamie's reaction to my new camera

Hair Cut

Well, I did it. I cut my hair off. It's rad, I love it. Not rad meaning "oooh look at me" but rad meaning it's so flippin easy to have short hair. It's always out of my way.

Now as much as I'd love to write a long and meaningful blog, I must really get going because I have to pick my mom up from the freakin airport!!

Ladies and Gentlemen, I am no longer an orphan for two weeks only!! (It was a limited time offer).

Check the pics