Monday, September 15, 2008

Doing pretty well...

Okay. To begin with, Caleen and I are not born photo-nazis, so we're going to try to take more pictures next time. This, unfortunately, is what we had laying around.

Me looking very silly.

Caleen and I in the scenic vicinity of our apartment.

Mmmm..Bibimbap. What hamburgers are to Americans, bibimbap is to Koreans. How sad.

Caleen and I thought you would be interested in seeing how Koreans dispense beverages.

With a post nearly a week ago, I sort of feel like I have nothing to say. This, of course, isn’t the case, so I guess I’ve just grown a little too accustomed to posting say, once a month or every two months. :) Anyway, as Caleen indicated in the last post, things are going tremendously well. We’ve gone from clinging to the walls of our apartment for social interaction to being busier than we’ve been for a while, so you could say that we’re slowly, very slowly developing actual lives. I must say, I’m quite proud. I wasn’t sure that was ever going to happen for us. We’ve also made incredible progress in our use and understanding of the Korean language. We can now count things, tell time (sort of), and order around waiters, waitresses, and cab drivers with greater efficiency and accuracy. I almost teared up when Caleen could actually tell a cab driver where we lived, which is actually quite long to say (Yeon-su-ju-gong sam-dan-gi ka-ju-se-yo). Until recently we’d been showing them our address written in Hangeul, which usually elicited smiles, nods, and chuckles but got the job done. You’ll also be glad to know that we can now manage our way around Seoul with relative ease now too, which should hopefully relieve the anxiety felt by some of you on our behalves, namely our mother.

As boring as it sounds, the most distinctive part of our daily lives, at least for me, has been how quickly time seems to go by here. I get up, try to do a little exercise, eat something, read or write emails, buy a little kimbap for Caleen and I to eat at work, work, and come home, where I either read or write until I go to bed. After doing this a few times, it’s the weekend and the past work week becomes a blur of non-event events, and it’s made me think a lot about what on earth we will do when this year is over. However, this isn’t too terribly surprising to me. I seem to be somewhat predisposed to anxiety about the future, so these thoughts aren’t anything new. I just didn’t expect them so shortly after we’d arrived here.

Along less ambiguous lines, Caleen and I continue to feel incredibly blessed by our increasing numbers of acquaintances and friends. We now have another foreign teacher at our school named Isaac, who has been wonderful to get to know and work with. The students also seem to love him, for I think three reasons: He’s a guy, he’s really tall (6’3’’), and he’s really, really nice. A perfect fit. It’s not uncommon for students, mainly boys, to come into the office and hang around with him and literally on him until classes start. It’s so cute. And speaking of cuteness, he comes with a girlfriend, Erin, who we’ve also found to be quite awesome, so Caleen and I are thrilled to have the two of them around. We feel like we’ve won the co-worker lottery. In fact, last night at dinner we discovered that we all have similar political views, which was both relieving and stimulating. We now have people to discuss all the new information we now have from watching so much CNN, one of the few English-speaking channels we now have. And speaking of politics, it’s amazing how much Koreans know and are interested in the current presidential elections back home. We’ve even managed to have a small political debate with a cab driver.

We’ve also gotten the opportunity to spend more time with our Korean friends Mina and Grace. We’ve had the pleasure of hanging out with them both at the raddest little coffee shop in Chung-ju, Jazz and Sanzo. It’s actually an old, traditional Korean-style home that’s been converted into a coffee shop with a lovely outdoor seating area and eclectic ambiance. I feel like I’m entering a lush garden every time we go there, which is makes it a little oasis in the middle of an otherwise unassuming and slightly sketchy alley. After going there with Grace, we went to a local noori-bang (literally a “singing room”), where we karaoked for over two hours. It was great. Just in case you didn’t know, the way the Chinese and Koreans do karaoke is to rent out small rooms, where you can give private little concerts for one another. They come equipped with water, microphones, and TAMBORINES (!!!!), so everyone can rock out. Those of you who are looking into visiting us in January, expect to be taken to a noori-bang. It’ll be a good time.

In all, Caleen and I are doing very, very well at this point. We miss home like crazy, of course, but we are also very much enjoying our time here as well. Again, we appreciate all your continued prayers and messages of encouragement. Only 10 more months to go! Take care!


KristinDewey said...

Hey girls!!

Ash, you look so beautiful in your "silly pic"...I miss you!! Thanks for the update.

Love you both!!!!

Jessica said...

Bibimbap, kimbap, the nori-bang... Oh I love that stuff. I still miss those days. Sounds like you guys are getting adjusted. Way to go on picking up the language. Chal-hes-suh-yo!! That's me trying to say, "Great job!" That may be totally wrong though. Ah-eee-ceh-tuh nok-cha jo-wah-yo. If I remember my Korean right, that is "I like Iced Green Tea." Ees-sus-suh-yo? Did you have that? Ok, I'll stop since this is turning into a Korean review for me. Sorry! I'm reliving old times through your blog. Many prayers!!

ericinkorea said...

sorry i haven't responded to you until now, as I just found your comment. I will be honest I never used blogger until recently so I don't know when there are comments posted.