In the Winds

“Jugong Sam-cha”
August 19, 2008, 1:41 pm
Filed under: Korea


We are one month down here in Korea. The time is flying as we learn to navigate this new city, how to speak Korean, and how school works here. We also think that we’ve found a church family here. We’re definitely feeling more at home, which is a great blessing to us both.


Almost unbelievably, we are over a month into this venture. Slowly but surely, so many foreign peculiarities are giving way to normalcy. We know things now, like where to find the cheapest produce, how to navigate the subway system, that Asian pears are amazing, how to read the Korean alphabet Hanguel, and that we actually enjoy gim bap (seaweed-wrapped rice and vegetables – the “sandwich” of Korea). This last weekend, our friends Carmen and David visited us from where they teach in Daejeon. We finally had the pleasure of saying things like, “Oh, we know this place just over here….” and “That place is just up subway line 2, at the stop near Oncheonjang.”

We don’t quite have it all figured out yet, though. Still, we get shushed in the subway, and grocery store clerks continue to chuckle when I ask them simple questions like, “Where is the flour?” in rudimentary Korean. They typically point at a package that I thought looked like flour but wasn’t sure, and then walk back to the register laughing and talking about the ridiculous foreigner’s questions with the next clerk over. And multiple times this week, after directing a taxi driver to take us home to Jugong Sam-cha, the driver has spoken to us in Korean, the whole way home, speaking louder and louder with more grandiose (and dangerous) hand gestures, attempting to ask a question or make us understand something.

We are really thankful as we seem to have found a church home. Last weekend, we visited the second of two English services here in Pusan. It’s a much smaller church than the first one we visited, with about 30 people consistently attending; the church is just over a year old. We are pretty excited about the fellowship we sense there as well as what appear to be many opportunities to contribute, like leading worship, writing for their journal, and other such activities. Though we’ve only visited once, we both felt comfortable there and look forward to going again.

On the school front, we continue to settle in. We are definitely getting more efficient in our planning and organization, but at the end of each day, we both are still feeling pretty zapped of energy, making our long uphill walk home seem endless. We are grateful to sense that administration, “the Mothers,” and students are happy with us. As with any elementary kids, we’ve had some funny moments this week. Jamie, age 5, appears to remember each day that I have a nose ring, and for the past 3 days, when she’s seen it, she has pointed at my nose and yelled, “HELLO!” cracking herself up. For the last two weeks, Eric’s had the pleasure of teaching a group of 8-year olds the story “Space Pup,” a story about a dog who at nighttime becomes a caped city hero, dispensing help at the call of his name. One of his students, Shine, answered that another community helper, other than Space Pup, is “Batman.”



3 Comments so far
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i think that when i see people with nose rings i will start doing the same…

ha that is really hilarious. i love that she cracks herself up. i can just picture it…

Comment by jamie heller

So glad things are settling in for you. Thanks for the update on life in South Korea. Wonderful you’ve found some fellowship locally with the global church. gotta love being laughed at over flour. 😉 Makes you tougher. 🙂

Comment by Sharon Aspinall

Did you watch the olympics? What was tv coverage like for you? Abby was identifying the Japanese flag cuz of our friend from Japan. Now on to teach her the Korean flag! Is there anything you can think of that I should teach her that screams Korea? (Example: redwood trees for California.) I mean, I could make vegetable sandwiches and wrap them in seaweed from Lake Geneva, but….

Comment by Sharon Aspinall

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