Friday, October 30, 2009

Flued out Halloween:(

Here in Korea they don’t celebrate Halloween but we wanted to still do some stuff with the students to celebrate. We were going to dress up and do some fun activities with the students on Friday. I got some Halloween pictures of me when I was younger that I thought would be fun to show the students and we were going to make some pumpkin masks and watch the Legend of Sleepy Hollow. But on Thursday I started hearing some things from the students that we weren’t going to have classes on Friday because the swine flu has been going around and one of the students did have positive results of the swine flu so our principal decided to have a rest day and a day to clean and disinfect the school. Once again we had to find out the news from our students and not from our boss. So we kept teaching Thursday and Liji and I were kind of wondering when Jennifer, our principal would tell us of the next days events. Well, we finished up and she never told us. I had to go and ask her about it at 10pm as we were headed home. She said oh yea, we are going to have a cleaning day so will you come around 11am instead of 2 pm and then we will clean for about an hour and then be done for the day. I said ok and Liji and I had a nice day of no work. What would happen if Liji and I hadn’t asked her about it and then just showed up at 2 and no one was around. Would Jennifer have even cared? Sometimes she is a little frustrating. Anyways, because of all that we didn’t end up getting to do what we had planned for Halloween. Sad day:( Thank you Mandy and Alisa for sending the Halloween pictures anyways they brought back fun memories for me.

Family Home Evening

This month we have had some fun family home evenings with the Base Branch members. The first Wednesday of the month we all played dodge ball. The next week we had a scavenger hunt around base. There were four girls so we were all one team and then the men all separated out into 3 other teams. Their pictures were so funny. As you can imagine it was embarrassing for some of the guys to be asking people to take a picture of them while having a group hug, spelling out a word together, or cramming into a small phone booth. The pictures of the guys group are so funny. The girls team won. It was a really fun night. The next week we had fun carving pumpkins and eating pumpkin cookies. This week we played King Mao, which is always funny when playing with Liji. The Elders come to the family home evening activities as well and all of these activities have been firsts for our Korean Elder; Elder Jeong. I think he thinks Americans are pretty weird by now. During the scavenger hunt his group all put blue food coloring in their mouth because one of the things to get was the group with blue tongues. Liji said it took them awhile to take the picture though because everyone time one of them would look at another group member they would just bust up laughing. I’m sure we are helping to create some interesting and good memories for Elder Jeong. He’s a good sport and been a lot of fun to have around.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Sabbath Meetings

Today was a great day. Another beautiful fall day. It was good to be back at the Korean ward and seeing everyone there after not having been able to go for the last few weeks because of different things that came up. They really are such kind people. Our numbers were pretty good in Sacrament meeting but then we had most of the people leave before Sunday School which seems to happen a lot. So Sunday school seemed a little small, which was probably for the best because of a tangent that happened. The member that is pretty loud and outspoken had read some anti-mormon literature on the internet and ended up bring up all this stuff in Sunday School about some letter from Emma Smith and then some stuff about the Dananites and he just would not let off of it and the whole lesson was pretty much a big debate. We just got to hear what the Elders translated of course, but it seemed pretty intense. Liji said that it then carried on through their entire Priesthood meeting. It was actually quite comical. Ah, good times! There were only a couple of other sisters in attendance today and both of them were busy with other things during the Relief Society hour so I went outside to enjoy the nice weather for a bit. After a little while all the primary kids came out with some bubbles to play so I just joined in with them and had a fun time of it. They are all such cute kids. Today the members had a meal for everyone after church. It was Kimchi Chige, which is pretty much kimchi served in a soup and you eat it with rice. Well considering I’m still not that big of a fan of Kimchi, not liking the fishy taste, I was not that big of a fan of the meal but dug in nonetheless. Liji however loved it of course. After a quick meal we raced over to the Air Base. Liji and I taught Sunday School this week and I just wanted to share what a wonderful teacher Liji is. I started out the lesson this week and then Liji finished up. He shared a beautiful message (through his tears) of Christ’s saving power and the spirit was very strong. Everyone was touched. Liji has an amazing teaching ability. He can get a discussion going very well and have everyone involved, while controlling the discussion so perfectly. One of the things that I have loved the most about being here is having the unique opportunity of being part of such a small branch. I just feel so much more needed and because of it I feel that I have been able to grow and learn so much more while serving. I play the piano in Sacrament Meeting , granted it is far from perfect, I am very happy to be once again practicing and using that talent. We have already had to speak a number of times, whether it has been in Sacrament, a Fireside or a Baptism. We pretty much have to bare our testimony every month and make it last for about 15 minutes because not many people get up and we teach Sunday School. It truly has been wonderful. With each talk and lesson Liji gives he has risen above and beyond; delivering such beautiful messages. I have truly been impressed.

Mostly just being sick: not too exciting:(

Sorry for the long delay in posting. I also wanted to thank all of you who leave comments. It makes me more apt to write often when I feel that people are actually reading and enjoying. I’m afraid this posting is not going to be that exciting though. The last couple weeks have not been that great because I have been fighting sickness. It started about a week and a half ago, Wednesday. I got a low fever 99’s and that stayed around for the weekend along with a really bad headache. At times the worst I have ever experienced. And a really bad, deep chest cough. I still went to work, though I don’t know how much good I did for the students. I tried to do a lot of personal activities where I didn’t have to do much talking. Liji felt bad on Thursday as well, but it didn’t stick around as long. I had committed to teach at another friends academy on Saturday before I knew I would be sick. So Saturday afternoon I put on a puppet show/ story time for 2 hours. Luckily my cough didn’t act up too badly and I was able to give out enough energy to make it exciting and fun for the kids and make it through those very long two hours. Liji picked me up from there and we went over to the air base because we had already put together to have a BBQ with a bunch of people there. I thought that I would be alright going but my headache ended up hitting an all-time high that night and I just layed on the couch in a back room of where we were cooking on this couch and missing most of the fun. Liji was nice enough to have Liza get me some medicine and I was able to feel well enough to eat the delicious food that everyone prepared. Steve had BBQ’d up some ribs and chicken. Others brought great side dishes. It’s always nice to get some American food. I just wish I had felt better that night. Liji was in heaven with all the meat he has been craving so badly. Sunday we had our regular meetings at the Air Base. We didn’t go to the Korean ward because I was too sick to handle that many hours of church. I thought about going to the doctors on Monday but decided I thought I was getting better so I just went to work. Tuesday after a lot of prodding and worry of my parents I called our boss and she met us at the doctors where they checked me all out. The flu test came back positive so then we were worried it was the swine flu and I had to go over to a bigger hospital to get a test for that but the results wouldn’t come back for 4 days so I just had to wait. They also loaded me up on medicine. At first my principle still wanted me to work but then a mom of one of the students who happened to be a nurse called my principle and she didn’t think that she should risk having me there without knowing for sure I didn’t have the swine flu. So she sent me home and I didn’t have to work that day or the next. Poor Liji, because if I stay home that means he gets all my classes added to his and he has double to load. But he was so kind to me and handled it like a trooper. That night after coming home from work I took my first dose of the many pills that I was given to take. I have had a history of getting sick when I take strong medicine so I made sure that I ate just before, but I didn’t wait long enough before then taking the medicine and an hour later I ended up just throwing everything up. So gross I know. I wish I could hold down medicine better. So after that I just took the medicine that I knew I could handle and things went much better. Thursday and Friday I did go back to work and was feeling much better, though not myself. Yesterday, Saturday, we took a group of 9 of our friends on a hike up to the waterfall that Liji and I had found 3 weeks prior. It was fun to spend a day outside after being cooped up for so long. The weather was sunny and nice. The leaves have started to change and it was really pretty. We were hoping that there would have been a little bit more of a change than what there was, we went a little too early so we will have to plan another trip to the mountains in a couple weeks when all of the leaves have changed. I can’t wait. It will be beautiful. I love the Fall time and it has been such a beautiful time here in Korea. A few nights have gotten cold, but it has mostly just been perfect weather so far. They don’t get there first snow until about December so we still have a little while yet until the real cold hits.

Friday, October 16, 2009

School BBQ Day

Yesterday, on Friday we had a BBQ day. All the students still came but we had no regular classes. The Korean teachers prepared all the food and we were in charge of having games prepared to play with each of the classes, which of course she told us that we needed to prepare just the day before. So I came up with a few ideas and we ended up having a lot of fun. This was an all day thing with the students coming in waves.

This is Ella and Emma. They are fairly new to the school and they are sisters. The younger one Ella is so sweet and she loves to follow me around, even though her English is behind the other students and I'm pretty sure she doesn't understand a word that I say. She'll run into or office and give me a big hug and then do her cute little laugh. I love it.
The lady in the center is our Principal. The one on the right is her sister and the Math teacher at our school. The lady on the left is our schools bus driver. Buffet Style



Now we are to the second flow of students. I have Kurts class below and we are playing Spoons.







With all of the older students from about 13-16 years old we took them down to a nearby basketball court and taught them to play partner tag. They loved it and we all had a great time, but it was too dark to get any pictures. And only 2 students slipped and got hurt. There was just water on the court from bad designing when making the court. The older kids are especially camera shy and that is why there have not really been any pictures of them. Sorry, they refuse to let us take their picture.



Here I am teaching the younger kids how to play spoons. For some reason most of the Korean people are very camera shy and are very reluctant to let us get there picture.
video

Sunday Meal at the Base

This is Liji with Chaplain Cologne (OK, I have to edit this, his name is Colon, he is hispanic and the accent is on the last syllable of the word, so it sounds like "cologne". Chistina asked me how to spell "Colon," but I didn't know that she was writing about the Chaplain, so I told her how to spell "cologne.") This guy is so funny and has been so kind to us. He had to have me get a picture of him with Liji in the apron.
This last Sunday it was our Branch's turn to be in charge of the Suday Meal for all the religious groups on the base. Liji volunteered us to plan the meal and decided on Pot Roast. We were told that there would be 120 people, so Liji did a great job calculating everything out and then there ended up only being about 40-50 people that showed up. It was sad because it was the best meal on the base yet and not everyone came to enjoy it. There was a lot of left over potatoes and even more salad.










Sunday, October 11, 2009

Even the best laid plans of mice and men...

So we went to Seoul on Saturday, the original plan was that we would go with our friend Jeremy and several other members to the temple and then to a soccer game. Korea was playing Senegal; we have already done a temple/soccer game trip before and it was a lot of fun, so we were looking forward to the chance to go.
Turns out that almost everyone decided that they had better things to do, but luckily one guy with a car still wanted to go, so we caught a ride with him. His name is Jay and he is actually a nonmember, we know him through a member friend of ours. The last time we went, we stayed the night in Seoul, but this time we decided that we needed to come home because today we were in charge of preparing the Sunday meal. We did pot roast for “120” people, but that is another story.
Because Christina and I could not stay the night, we were just going to go to the temple, and then to hit some Seoul tourist attractions. The game started at 8pm, and we didn’t think that we could catch a bus back to Gunsan that late at night. Jay needed to get something from the Osan base, so they stopped there, and Christina and I got on the subway to go to the temple.
On the way to the temple, Jeremy called us and told us that the game had been postponed until next Wednesday, we didn’t care that much except that people that we rode up with were planning on going to the game. The only problem was that my phone died while I was talking to Jeremy, and Christina didn’t have Jay’s number in her phone. Before we left, I had seen that my battery was getting low, so I switched to a spare battery that I thought was fully charged, but wasn’t.
We wanted to let them know that the game wasn’t going to be played so they could make other plans, but we had no way of getting the number out of my phone. While we were trying to figure out how to contact them, we got to the temple. When we walked through the parking lot, I thought it was really strange how empty it was, I started to say as much to Christina when a man came out of the little control booth (I can’t think of anything else to call it) and told us that the temple was closed!
So now we were in Seoul with a dead phone, and both of our big plans had fallen through. Luckily, Christina had a brilliant idea, we could go to a cell phone store and ask them to charge my phone, then we could get back in touch with our ride, and maybe salvage the day. Not too far from the temple we found a cell phone store and they charged my phone for free. We got back in touch with our ride and decided to meet up in Itaewon, a popular tourist attraction where they sell souvenirs.
To get to Itaewon, we had to make several transfers, but we had already figured out the subway system, shoot were considered ourselves pros at navigating the subway. The first transfer we needed to make, was only three stops away… if you went he right direction, which we didn’t. On the third stop we were surprised to find out that the name was not what we were expecting. After a couple more stops we figured out that we had gotten on the right train, but it was going the wrong way. I will spare you all of the details and just say that in scarcely less time than it takes to walk across Seoul, we arrived at our destination.
By this point in the day, we were in a great mood. Our plans had fallen through, and we were lost on the subway for 17 hours. By the way, the last time we went to Seoul, I observed that all 14 million inhabitants must own a car and be driving it, well, I changed my mind. All 14 million people decided to take the subway on Saturday, which is why we spent 4 hours standing a lot closer than we wanted to to a bunch of people that don’t wear deodorant. (this time I am not exaggerating, about the time, or the deodorant)
I was especially tired of the whole trip, and would have been happy to just get on a bus and go home, at least we would have been able to sit down, but Christina wanted to do some shopping. She did actually get something, and she talked the shop owner down 15,000won, I thought she did a good job on the bargaining. When Christina finally got tired of me sulking around behind her, she said we could go home.
Our trip on the subway to the bus terminal was uneventful, but once we got to the terminal, we were really lost. That place was huge, not only was it several acres in size, it had several floors. After ascending two floors without really having any idea where we were, we stopped. Usually when we stop, we look so confused that some kind Korean comes to our rescue and helps us find the way, not this time. But to our surprise, an American friend of ours that teaches English in a city not far from Gunsan just happened to walk by! We stopped her, and she helped us find the ticket counter, and get tickets. We had to wait an hour and a half for the next available bus, but I had a book and the time went by fast.
We got on the bus at 7:20pm expecting to be on the bus until 11 or maybe 12 before we got home. It was an “express bus” but we didn’t expect it to be any faster than the last bus that we took from Seoul which made the trip in just under four hours. We promptly fell asleep on the bus, and woke up an hour later when we made the mandatory 15 minute rest stop. We still don’t know why even the shortest trips require 15-20 minute rest stop, but it can be frustrating, especially if you got up at 6 in the morning and spent a good part of the day standing on a crowded subway. After the stop we went right back to sleep… and woke up just one hour later. What, I thought, another rest stop!?!?! When will we get home? But after looking more closely at my surroundings, I realized we were home. It barely took longer than two hours to get home! So I guess express buses are faster.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Iksan Trip

Friday Liji had to get the chain fixed on our Motorcycle because it was getting loose and then we met some of our friends in Jeonju to go to a soccer game and then to eat at TGI Fridays. Let me tell you, I had the most satisfying meal that I had eaten in a long time. There was a deal on getting an appetizer, a meal and a dessert, so Liji and I decided to do that and share it. For the meal we got this three Thai Salad and it was just so good. I think it is my new favorite salad, or maybe I was just really hungry, I don't know. I guess I'll have try it again!
Saturday we went over to a small nearby city named Iksan to explore. We were worried that museums wouldn't be opened because of the holiday, but we ended up still finding plenty of things to entertain us. The first thing we ran into was a whole flood of cars at this one intersection and cops out patrolling the traffic, so we decided to turn down the small street and check it out. Turns out it was very large cemetary and there were many out taking flowers to pay tribute to their ancestors. It was neat to see.



We found some signs for a mountain fortress so we decided to follow those and it took us up to about a mile hike up to this fortress.

We made it up to the fortress.




Aparently you don't actually need to wear shoes when hiking up a very rocky, small, tree covered path.
After the fortress the trail continued on so we decided to follow it and it took us up to the top of this mountain where there was beautiful view of the valley.
We aren't really sure why this was growing on this tree. Kind of weird.

At the fortress again on the way down the mountain.





Of course Liji had to get the harvesting of the rice.
After the fortress we followed some signs to a Jewlery Museum. There were lots of different stones. It was pretty cool.






Next to the Jewlery Museum was a small dinosaur museum. Both of these were free, so we were way excited about them.



After our fun afternoon in Iksan we had to get back to Gunsan because we had plans to watch a re-broadcast of the BYU vs. USU Game at our friend Jeremy's on the Base. It wasn't too exciting of a game but it was expecially great for Liji to be able to watch some football. It was great for me because Jeremy is a great host and had chips and salsa. My favorite! and something that I have been desperately missing. It had been a beautifully clear day so we were a bit surprised when it started to rain just before we were going to head home from Jeremy's I hadn't brought my rain coat so our friend Steve who also watched the game with us was kind enough to lend me his jacket. I don't know I think I look good enough, that maybe I should join. What do you think?

video video

About the video above, please don't judge me too harshly. I've always known I just didn't get the jumping high talent. Aparently Liji did:)

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Waterfall

This last weekend was a big Korean Holiday called Chusok. I guess it is similar to our Thanksgiving holiday but there holiday lasts for 3 days. This holiday is a time be with your family and aparently its weird if you have any friends or guests over. During these 3 days they visit grandparents and everyone goes over to gravesights to pay tribute to their ancestors. This year the event happened to fall on Friday, Saturday and Sunday; so we were only supposed to get one day off of work. But on Wednesday our boss pulled me into her office to talk about our work schedule for the following week and at the end she told me that we wouldn't be having school on Thursday either. So yea! we got a 4 day weekend. We were actually kind of annoyed because our principle has the habit of not informing us of things until the last minute and this was just yet another incidence of this. We are pretty sure she knew that we wouldn't have school this day long before she actually told us, because she said she had already sent out newsletters with all the students to inform the parents. If we would have known in advanced we would have been able to plan some sort of trip since we don't get many vacation days or we would have liked my parents to be able to come to visit when we had a longer break like this one for example but of course it was now to late for something like that. Sigh. So complain, complain I know it's just been really frustrating feeling so uninformed. So none-the-less we made the best of the long weekend and found some pretty fun things to do.
On Thursday we had planned to go to this Aqua World Resort that was about an hour and a half away on the scooter, but when we got there the prices were twice what they had said on the internet and as you can see from the picture below the place was mostly for a hotel stay and the Swimming part wasn't that great to make it worth what the actual cost was. Though it was beautiful here, on the way over we had past many signs for fun outdoor places to go. We were surrounded by mountains in a National Park.

We went exploring a bit and found some beautiful places.




This is the map of the National Park we were in.
We found a hike that went up to a waterfall so we decided to do it. This is a monument on the way up the trail.
A Temple on the way up the trail.
Of course Liji found the animal life on the way up the trail.
One of our hiking guideposts.



Sitting at the top of the Falls.
Lookout over a reservoir on the trail.
At the bottom of the Falls.

We ended up having I'm sure a lot more fun than we would have if we stayed at the Aqua World. Though Public Spas, Bath Houses and Swimming areas are really big here so I do hope to find a good place to go at some point.