Published: February 13th 2011February 13th 2011
Extreme highs and sitcom lows. In life just when you think you have things figured out there comes out no where a curve ball that hits you smack dab in the nose. This is how I would best describe my week of wonderful learning opportunities. Okay, at the time those encounters were frustrating and I would not have selected the choice word of opportunities, as I am sure you can relate. Let me begin with my weeks journey.
02/07-Mon. Began my day by baking batch number 2 of Miracle Banana Bread. Each time it is getting better. I think I have found one of my mistakes. I could not find regular baking soda, however, I found a box that you place in your fridge to use to absorb oders. So why not use it, seems to look the same. Well ladies the texture is slightly different so I do not suggest using this one as it does impact the recipe and taste slightly. Matt and I enjoyed one loaf and gave away 3 as gifts. I have since found the standard baking soda. Batch 3 coming up this week. My day also included Hanji Painting class. I finished my first
master piece. It was a poppy flower. For dinner I met with Mr. Lim and Crystal for dinner to further discuss the curriculum for my first class of teaching English to a group of staff who desires to know the language. They formed their own study group that meets prior to their work schedule. I attached a video of our meal. It was fantastic and fun. Another wonderful experience in Korean dining. Sooooo much food!!!
02/08- Tues. Continued to pursue getting my RX filled on base. Visited the Tri-care office only to find out I do not qualify to see a Dr. on base as Matt is not in the military. We can access the base for shopping and visiting only. Anyway, no worries Kaycie & Pam were kind enough to pickup my refills in the states and are mailing those to me. What would we do without those who love us helping us in our time of need. Mid-morning Monique, Pam and I journeyed via subway to Central City to go shopping and have lunch. Long day and alot of fun with new friends. So tired........so worth it.
02/09-Wed. Taught my first one hour English class with
the group at Shinhan. I am learning so much about the Korean culture. When Koreans do not understand something they become very shy and avoid eye contact. If you continue to pursue a conversation they do have a wonderful sense of humor and enjoy the challenge of communication. I came up with a fun ice-breaker, oh, and not to leave out the fact that I brought chocolate hersheys kisses as incentive. They loved it. I am excited to return this coming Wed. Following my tutoring I headed for my Hanji painting class to finish my second creation. Many of us get caught up in the routine of life and forget to discover or rediscover the gifts and talents God has so graciously bestowed in us. I am amazed at just how much this impacts inner peace.
02/10- Thurs. This turned out to be my most challenging day yet here in Seoul. I am talking a hormonal tear jerker day. From our new residence I mapped out my route via subway in advance the night before, so I thought. I leave and walk 10 minutes to the closest subway, Inchon Line #4. Getting on seemed perfect, getting off to change
to line #1 is where the fun begins. Okay so I get off at Dongdaeum only to find that there is no connection to Line#1 at this station so I decide to back track to Seoul Station. I get off at Seoul station and then get on Line1. The stops posted on the subway pillars are looking greek to me and are not matching any I have written down. This now becomes a guessing game of which direction I need to go. My dearest fans, of course I try to find someone to help me. A sweet Korean woman whom spoke zero English and I begin looking at my notebook, pointing, bowing etc. She points to the location and shares to get off at this stop. Okay so I jumped on a train with trusting her directions. Soon I am beginning to enter deep Korean territory as the appearances and surroundings begin to change. The subway which is normally below the ground is now an above ground train. I get off where she had indicated already having a sense that I was far, far, away from my Korean Language, Culture and Cooking class. At this point I am already 25
minutes late. I tried to call someone in the class and she did not answer. I then tried to call the number I had in my phone for the instructor and it does not go through. I have the worst cell phone ever. After fumbling through my day planner I find another number for her and call. At this point my voice is quivering as I am trying so hard not to cry. Ms. Moon is so kind, she shared no worries, please come to class. This class is 4.5 hours long, at this point I have only missed 1 hr. At this location there are 4 various options to return. No one here is interested in assisting me as they are afraid of attempting to speak English as they are unable to understand. Now it's down to me and God. I get the Korail of which I am not familiar with. What the heck, it looks like it is going in the right direction. As I am on the train I continue to try and figure out my route with a map in Korean at the top of the door. A Korean man notices that I am struggling so
he comes to my rescue. This Korail unknown to me ends midstream and we had to get off. This wonderful man escorts me back to the subway train I need to catch. At many points during this now funny adventure I so wanted to give up and cry. I wander how the Koreans would have reacted seeing an American woman sobbing her eyes out. Perserverance and faith in this adventure was the key to success. I arrived 1.5 hours late, just in time for the language and cooking portion. Ms. Moon actually extended the class 30 minutes longer. Matt came home from work and we were still trying to get our medical insurance worked out. He shared that he could not handle me crying so I refrained. Just goes to show we are not in control and there good always comes out of bad situations.
02/11-Fri. New day, new fun! Our new bedroom set was delivered and I found an awesome teak coat rack, jewelry box and stool. See the photos! Another unexpected challenge laid in the wake of our day. Here in Korea I suggest foreigners to open a Korean checking account in advance and deposit funds from
Traditonal Korean Herbal Box
the U.S. in the Korean bank in advance. If you make purchases of furniture they request Won or American dollars. Many places we are learning do not accept credit cards, bank debit or checking account cards. Oh my, here we are due to pay without the funds in hand. We begin to wonder how to handle this one. As you know the American banks limit the amount of cash you can withdrawl out your account at an ATM. Now we were in a bit of a pickle. Matt worked diligently to get the full amount, no luck. With the help of Crystal and Ms. Bae we received our gorgeous furniture without having to pay in full. Each day Matt is drawing out the maximum amount from the ATM so that we will have this paid in full by midweek. Here is another tidbit of information for anyone planning to relocate out of the U.S.
02/12-Sat. Matt and I ventured out walking from our new place today. BRRRR....it was so cold. We walked over to checkout the I-Park Mall and E-Mart. Together we found a few basic things in EMart that we needed for the house and purchased for 8,000W
($8) a case of wonderful mandarin oranges from a street vendor. Near I-Park Mall Matt discovered the Dragonhill Spa. This is the one we have been searching for that has sweat caves. We ventured inside and obtain a phamplet of all the wonderful services the spa has available. Planning to visit for a massage and many other great treatments hopefully in March. I met Pam, Olivia and Ms. Lee. We went to a wonderful place to purchase name brand purses, jewelry and shoes. Poor Matt, show me the money!!!! He is going to soon rethink having me with him here in Korea. Beware the hidden shopper in me is now being exposed after 29 years of marriage.
There are more photos below