Saturday, November 28, 2009

Another Trip to Seoul

Sorry I've had a hard time at keeping up with the blog lately and I'm having to write about stuff a week late, but ah well. I'll try t keep on top of it. Last Saturday we took another trip to Seoul to go to the Temple. I was extra nervous about going this time because things got off to a bad
This month was the Seoul Military District Conference, which is the district that our military branch belongs to. On the third weekend of November they held the meetings in Seoul. Our original plan was to go to the temple the first week of November, which is when our branch normally goes, but because of an exercise, none of them could go. So we postponed the trip to the second weekend. That ended up not working out because they were on “high alert” because of the skirmish between the two Korean navies earlier this month. So then we decided to go to the temple and the district meeting in the same trip on the third weekend, the base members were still on “high alert,” but if they asked for leave far enough in advance they could get the time off.
Our Branch President had a vehicle lined up and everything was ready to go on Friday, but when he went to pick up the vehicle, he found out that it was a 23 passenger bus, and too big for him to drive. When we found out that we wouldn’t get a free ride up to Seoul, we talked about what we should do. In the end we decided to take the bus to Seoul and go to the temple.
We got up at 5:30am and were at the bus terminal by a little after 6, and we caught an express bus to Seoul at 6:20. We arrived at Seoul at 8:40; that is by far the fastest we have ever gotten there. After only one mistake on the subway system, we arrived at the temple at 9:55am. I think that we could have made the 10 o’clock session, but we heard that they needed help in the baptistery, so we went there. In two hours our group did 435 names, all of them sisters. I did a confirmation for one sister that was born in 42, as in 42 years after Christ was born.
After the temple we did some shopping, and then we went to the Saturday evening session of our district conference. Through a stroke of luck our Branch President was able to get a hold of us to direct us to the right place. The meeting was great, and we made it back home by 10:10pm. We figured out which buses are the cheapest and shaved about $15 off the cost of our last trip to Seoul. So now we have a much better experience of a trip to Seoul under our belt now and hopefully the trend will continue:)

Monday, November 23, 2009


Theres a Religious group on the Air Base who goes to the Orphanage every Wednesday to help teach them English. We tried to go twice before but both times things went wrong and Liji and I were never able to make it there. This time after finally having been to the building before so we knew we wouldn't get lost this time we made it to the Orphanage after finishing work. We met other people from the Branch there and went into one of the buildings to meet the kids. Well we have heard stories about this kids but they definately didn't come to life until seeing these kids first hand. They are WILD! When we walked in. 2 of the guys from the Branch were sitting on a couch and jumping all over them were about 5 very rambunxious boys. There were some other branch members sitting around trying to read to some of the kids with very little success. It was very funny to watch. I tried to stop one of the boys running by to ask him his name but he just pulled his hand away and kept on running.
We took the picture below just after the poor little guy got hurt wrestling and broke his glasses. He was laying on the floor crying, so I went over and picked him to cuddle him. Well that was a lot harder to do than I had expected. But once we got over to the couch he started feeling a little better. But that is why he looks sad in this picture.
I was playing a mirror game with him. You know where you hold your one hand up and the other person does also, and then you lift your hands all the way up and so do they so tickle, tickle.
The Man below is Nick. He really egged the boys on and because of this, he got the brunt of their attack. It was sure fun to watch though.

The kids were amazed the Elder Bullen could speak Korean.

More Fighting

Very Cute Chunky Boy:)

After the Orphanage the Elders said they were going to visit the Korean member who has started reading all this Anti-mormon literature on-line and now hasn't come to church for a month because of it, so we tagged along with them to visit him. He lives in a very small "shack" is what I would call it with his brother and his family. He is in his 50's and still single. He is a really funny guy and we have missed having his presence at church. He was surprised to see us there with the missionaries but invited us all in nonetheless to his small room, that had books and papers covering the floor everywhere. We talked with him for awhile and sadly he is a lot farther of the deep-end than we had thought. Along with the anti-mormon literature on-line he is reading these Books about why there is no Christ and sadly he says that he no longer believes in Christ. I asked him how he feels when he reads these books compared to how he feels when he reads the Book of Mormon, but he would never really give me a straight out answer. It was very interesting meeting with him and the Elders shared some really good thoughts with him that I think he semi-took to heart and I hope will think more about. We invited him to dinner for tomorrow night, he said he will come if he not too busy. I guess we will see.

Stake Sports Day

Now what was 2 Saturdays ago the Korea stake had a Sports Day in Jeonju. We got a ride there with our friend Chi Hoon. We ended up arriving about an hour late and had missed playing volleyball. When we got there they were playing a huge game of soccer. There was probably 50 adults/kids out on the gymn floor kicking two balls around. I guess its a special version of playing soccer. Looked like fun but they were almost through so we just watched. Then all the men played a game called Jocku and even talked Liji into playing. He doesn't like playing because he doesn't think he is very good. This is the game where you kick the ball over the net, we've talked about it before. All the women on the sidelines who were watching the men play formed 2 different cheer groups. They can get pretty animated and dramatic when doing this and it is really funny to watch. When the guys finished it was the girls turn to play some dodgeball. I only got a very short description of the rules of the game in English so I was just very confused at the beginning of the game as to what I should do. So of course I got out rather quickly and then figured out the rules but we didn't play twice. After dodgeball each of the different wards got a long rope for jumproping and we had to get 8 people on the rope all jumping at the same time and the winner was the ward who jumped the most times. We got some time to practice and then the contest began. We didn't win and I'm not sure what place we got. While practicing I tried to participate and be one of the 8 people jumping but I kept being the one messing up and hitting the rope. I just kept jumping too soon. So I bowed myself out. They did much better without me. We sure had a lot of fun. Throughout each of the different sports the winning team recieved a ticket number, so by the end you could have a few different numbers and then there was a rafle for prizes. Liji and I were lucky and we both got 3 different prizes.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Taking the MAT overseas

I was checking my e-mail this morning while Christina was showering when all of a sudden she stuck her head out the door and said, “Liji, update the blog!” After being married to her for more than two years, I have learned to distinguish the difference between her suggestions and her demands, so I got right to work on the update.
Before we came to Korea, I was making arrangements to take the MAT, a grad school entrance exam, but because we decided to come to Korea in such a short amount of time, I never had a chance to take the test. That is causing me problems now because I want to start a grad program a month or two after we return home, but I can’t apply without a test score.
I looked online to see if it were possible for me to take the test overseas. I found out that the nearest testing centers to Gunsan, South Korea are in Shanghi, China, or Tokyo, Japan. While I would love to visit either of those cities, our work schedule does not allow us time to do so. I e-mailed the testing company, Pearson, to see if there were any other arrangements that I could make. It turns out there are. All I have to do is find someone who has a Master’s degree in education, has experience proctoring standardized tests, speaks English fluently, and is willing to take time out of their schedule to proctor the exam for me. Let’s see, I live in a smallish South Korean city, there is no “American” school anywhere nearby, and I work from 2pm to 9pm, so if I want to find someone with those qualifications, I have to do it on a Saturday or Sunday.
Well, it turned out that finding someone was a lot easier than I expected. A friend that we made on the Airbase has all of the needed qualifications, and to top it off, through his job (he’s a psychologist) he administers tests from Pearson on a regular basis. I have had to write a letter stating my circumstances, and Steve (my proctor) has had to write a letter saying that he will be my proctor, and send a resume of his experience, and I still have to pay the fee, but it looks like everything will work out.
Hopefully, I will be able to take the test the last week of November or the first week of December. Then I have to apply to grad school. Since we have been here, I have been thinking more and more that teaching English as a second language is more fun than teaching high school Social Studies. So I have been looking into master’s programs along those lines. I found a program at Utah State University that seems to be what I want. It is called a Master’s in Second Language Teaching (MSLT) so it will better qualify me to teach Spanish as a second language, or English as a second language. In that program, there is a possibility that I could be selected to be a Grad Instructor to teach international students who come to USU English.
We think that it would be a good program for us because I can finish it in less than a year and a half. Christina is excited about the prospect of being closer to her family and Logan is a small enough “city” that I will be able to feel that I’m not completely cut off from the outdoors. Of course all of this is just speculation, I have not even take the MAT yet, and after I do, I still have to be accepted to the program. But it is something that we are interested in.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Fall Pictures

Wednesday after visiting the Bird Festival liji took me out to take some Fun Fall pictures of us. We did all of these with just our self-timer and Liji's expert set up skills. It was fun.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Bird Festival

Weekly Update

This last week wasn't too exciting. There was a Sports Festival going on so a few mornings we went and watched some sporting events like volleyball, track, and tennis. I really liked watching the volleyball game. So when we played volleyball with Jeonju stake they had us play 9 man, but we thought that was just because we were playing for fun and that way everyone there could play without having to rotate in. Well it turns out that Korea just has different rules and plays 9 man volleyball. Because this game at the Sports Festival was with 2 Professional Teams and they had 9 players on each side of the net. Definately interesting to watch. I thought that they would get in eachothers way more but they had a pretty good set up and that never happened. It was funny to see 4 guys all go up to block the hit coming from the other team. Interesting.

Friday morning our doorbell rang around 8. We hadn't gotten dressed for the day yet so we raced to get some stuff on and get to the door. Well, Liji opens it and in come about 4 men workers with all their supplies and tools. One man immediately went back to our water heater, so we thought that they would be changing that out which they did. Oh, and he also flung open our balcony door to get a nice freezing cold breeze coming through. 2 other guys went to the bathroom and starting getting to work. And another was looking at our kitchen faucet. We had no idea how long they would be there so at first we decided to stay there and wait it out. But when they brought out our entire bathroom counter we started thinking we'd better just leave. It was kind of getting cramped and very aquered. The reason we were hesitant to leave is because we didn't have anywhere to go and it was a pretty cold morning to just take a drive on the scooter for fun. We were only wearing basketball shorts and had no where to change. Finally we just decided to layer up and go out on the scooter. Things turned out fine though because we went over to the Sports Festival and that is when we watched the volleyball game. When we came home a couple hours later there was just one lady in there cleaning everything up. We did get a new water heater, new bathroom faucet and fixtures and a new kitchen faucet, all of which were good changes and we were happy about. Apparently we missed the notice that they would be coming to change out a lot of our apartment fixtures.

Saturday Liji and I went thrift shopping and found some great deals. Liji got 6 really nice wool sweaters for only $2 a piece. I got some snow pants for about $3, getting ready for winter. Then we went to a couple of other stores and I got a new dress and coat, for about $8 a piece and they are very cute. I haven't been just shopping like that for awhile and it was fun to do that and to have Liji be there and having fun too because he was finding good deals. After that we went over to the Air Base and had a homemade pizza night and watched transformers. It was a lot of fun. Sunday was our big meal and we did pulled BBQ pork sandwiches with some really good vinegar cabbage on top, that makes the sandwich. I got this recipe last year at a Relief Society thing and it is so good. We had perfect amount of food this time and everything went perfectly. Of course Monday we had a nice morning talking with family, which always makes our week. It is so nice to get updated on things back home. We miss everyone so much. Even Liji, who thought for sure he wouldn't get homesick because he didn't on his mission, said this last fast and testimony meeting how much he did miss his family. Tuesday we took a nice and much needed bike ride along the river.
Here is the tiny store we got the great deals:)
Oh and we also this week we got a crazy batch of eggs. Practically all of them have been twins. That is right in this pan there are 4 double yokers!!! Never seen it before.

Air Show

The Saturday before last we went to an Air Show at the Air Base. We tried to get information on it but nobody seemed to know what was going on, not even our military friends. They all had to work that day to provide medical support if needed, but that is all they knew about it. So we didn't know what time it would start and where exactly to go. We went towards the sea wall and on the drive out we saw some pretty cool jets out flying around in formations. But when we got to the seawall there weren't any flying over head. We waited out there for awhile but weren't seeing anything so finally we decided to head over to the Air Base. We were finally able to find the event and the officers there told us that that day was a ground show and the next day was the air show. They planes we saw must have just been practicing. Well we were happy to look at all the planes and they had a band playing and some attack dogs to show. It was pretty fun.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Day Off

Here are a couple of pictures of the kids playing with the bubbles during Primary.

The rest of these are of last Friday when we got the day off of work because of the flu. We took a drive out in the country on the scooter and it happened to be a really nice day. The next day it got really windy and blew in a cold front.

This is one of the many older women that we have seen out hard at work and they can't stand up straight. It is from working so long out in the fields hunched over. It is so sad. I just want to pick each of them up and carry them home and make them relax. I have thought a lot of them. And Sunday as I was thinking about them I started thinking about how many of us walk around like this spiritually not physically. We let ourselves load up with burdens, trials and sins so heavy we can hardly walk. If only we would remember to look to the one person who can lighten our load; our Savior Jesus Christ.

He thinks he's so tough:)

"I can do that!" See I'm tough too:)
We followed some signs out to this beautiful campground nestled in the mountains.

This is just one of their many platformed sitting/eating/resting areas with a tent over it. That is their way of camping. Fun, Huh?

This was one of the many rocky trails Liji has taken us on, on the scooter. He thinks its a dirt bike. You can't really tell in the picture but this is actually a pretty steep incline coming up.

More ladies hard at work. They seem to do most of the field work.