Hey everybody, sorry for such a looooong delay in the posting. For a variety of reasons, I haven’t been able to get a blog entry written that I was comfortable with. It’s just kinda been the reality of the past couple months. I’m not exactly sure as to why I haven’t been able to really put words to the keyboard, but now I feel ready. But I’m writing it now, and if you’ll excuse my tardiness I’ll finish up this 3 part introduction piece to my time in Korea. Some of this writing is pieced together from old drafts so it might seem a little awkward at times, just a heads up.
First, just a tad of business. Thanks to everyone who has donated so far for my year of service. I could not be here without you, and I remember your generosity everyday. I am always fundraising for the YAV program, so if you would like to donate to me or any of my fellow YAVs, specifically the Korea YAVs, click this link. It takes an immense amount of resources for the YAV program to function, and I am grateful for your support.
So, when we landed in Korea we were all a little dazed an confused, and to make matters worse one of our coordinators, Kurt would only speak to us in Korean. I will never forget that Kurt. Our orientation lasted for about 2 weeks, and Kurt did speak to us in English eventually. We were led throughout the city doing all sorts of things, such as setting up bank accounts, getting placed in Korean language class, and visiting each other’s volunteer placements. Doing ordinary things were all of a sudden a challenge due to the language barrier, and so these first couple weeks were extremely overwhelming. Which is part of the reason why I came to Korea. I wanted to experience a new culture and live as I never really have before. I’ll tell ya, I sure got what I bargained for.
Walking around Daejeon, about 5 minutes from our house
I will talk now a little bit about our hosts here in Korea. We are living on the campus of Hannam University, and are hosted by Hannam University Chaplain’s office. We live in a small, shall we say, village in a little green space among the university buildings. The houses were built in the 1950s (when Hannam University was founded) to house missionaries from overseas. Since we are living in the house now as mission co-workers, we are literally placed where missionaries lived before us in Korea. That relationship to the past has been a constant reminder of the Presbyterian Church’s history with Korea, and how our role now is seen based on that past. The past is confronting us and I feel as though my relationship with the Presbyterian church has developed in all aspects because of it. Before the role was more one-sided, now we are working with the Koreans for a lasting mutual partnership. I am reminded of this a lot, and am grateful for the experience.
Not only does Hannam provide us housing, but we are also given the opportunity to take an intensive Korean language course. The course lasted for about two and a half months, being four hours a day, five days a week. To say the least, I was utterly wiped by the end of it. Between class, my site placement, Sunday school prep and planned trips throughout the country, I was again overwhelmed with my life. But again, I must stress how thankful I am to be overwhelmed. It forced me to grow myself in every directions. While some of the class knowledge was lost on me because I felt burnout, I learned more than I ever thought I would. And I continue to learn more every single day I live here.
Hannam University Campus
I know I mentioned that I would talk about theology in this post, but I think I am going to have to save that for its own post later on. If you would like to see more photos of my time here, please check out my Facebook account. If you are not on Facebook, I will post a gallery of photos on the wordpress site for you to access, if I can figure that out.
As always, feel free to contact me directly through the contact info on this blog if you have any questions, thoughts, good vibes, interesting facts or whatever! I am always willing to talk to people. Thanks for reading
Peace and Love,