Monday, February 15, 2010

2 posts in 2 days...whoa! it's crazy, i know. but i have good stuff to share.

today, as mentioned earlier, is one of korea's biggest holidays. many people travel to visit their families for the weekend, so i knew attendance would be down at our already small church. this morning, pastor jo picked me up and i found out i was the only person coming. hahaha. it would just be me and his family. needless to say, i was surprised!

i have mentioned several times that koreans are very shy about using the english they know. even koreans who can speak it fluently are very reluctant to do so. so i was totally blown away when pastor conducted the service in about 65% english this morning. holy cow...such a huge gesture. he was definitely out of his comfort zone, but he sang the songs in english, and gave his sermon in as much english as he knew. his wife sat next to me and translated the best she could the parts that he was unable to. basically, they went WAY out of their comfort zone for my sole benefit. i was amazed and humbled...they are so thoughtful and accommodating.

after church, we normally go into the fellowship hall for dinner, but eun-sol told me that i would come to their house for lunch today. so generous! she made such a delicious spread of kalbi, broccoli, kimchi, fish cakes, and soup. it was so good & she prepared so much. i have good and bad days with the chopsticks, and i'll admit - today was definitely an off day. i mean - i was dropping food all over the embarrassing! but pastor's wife just laughed at me and ran in the kitchen to retrieve a fork. i was so grateful - hahaha. koreans often end their meals with fruit, so dessert was tangerines, apples, and strawberries. fruit tastes so much fresher here...i can't get enough of it! we shared such great conversation over the course of the meal, with few language complications. i am so impressed by their english...and grateful that they feel comfortable enough to use it around me. we laughed alot and had a great time getting to know each other better. i shared pictures of my family with them and they were very interested in learning more about us. they said from first impressions and just seeing a picture of my dad, he seems to be very kind and welcoming. how accurate! they also helped me with my hangul/korean. my pronunciation is often a bit off, so they helped me out alot in that area.

i have learned that you have to be really careful what you say around koreans because they are so anxious to help you. i happened to mention that the fruit here is so much better than what i am used to in the states, and eun-sol packed me up a HUGE bag of tangerines and apples to bring back to KNU with me. wayyyy more than one person could ever eat. then they remembered that i had mentioned weeks ago that i could only find very small bath towels here (a little bigger than the size of an average hand towel in the states), so she packed up 2 oversized towels for me to bring back! then i told them that i had gone to the store the previous day, and they asked if i had taken a bus. when i said i walked, they gasped dramatically and said "ani-eyo (or no in english)...too far! too far! next time, we go together!" i told them that some of the teachers were talking about going into another city (about an hour away) to go to costco, since it is a bit cheaper and has some american things that we can't find at other stores. and of course, pastor jo & eun-sol insisted that they take me into seoul to go to costco sometime soon. they are the most giving people i have ever met! it seriously blows my mind.

when it came time to leave, they packed up the whole family to bring me home. the whole ride back i was seriously touched by all they had done for me...and especially on a huge holiday when everyone is spending time with their families. they have only known me for a few weeks and have taken me in like i am one of their own. so i was racking my brain trying to think of some way i could repay them...but everything kept falling short. the only small gesture i could think of was to invite them in to see where i live. they acted like i had given them a million dollars! they were so happy that i had invited them. so we all marched into the dorm and up to my tiny room on the 4th floor. on the way up, with her hands full of fruit and towels that she was giving me, eun-sol gasped and said "we don't have a housewarming present for you!" i laughed and told her that we would just count the bags and bags of stuff she was giving me as the present. they have 2 small boys and as soon as we got in the room, the kids started going crazy, taking off their shoes and jumping on my bed. hahahaha. eun-sol was so embarrassed but i was cracking up. i have pictures of my friends and i hanging all over my room, and they studied each very carefully and asked about everyone in them. then pastor jo came to a picture that was taken on my photobooth and gasped. in the picture, we had set the camera on a setting that distorts your face and stretches it out so you look crazy. he started laughing so hard and pulled out his phone to take a picture of it...he was so impressed! hahaha. i turned on my computer and showed him how the program worked and they were all amazed. the kids thought it was the funniest thing they had ever seen and were laughing until i thought they were going to stop breathing. they took pictures was so funny! here are a few shots:

apple computers aren't very popular here, so they had never seen a program like photobooth. they obviously loved it.

so i guess you could say i had the best lunar new year ever. i can't believe how blessed i have been to come into such an amazing church family!


Bob said...

I have the biggest grin on my face after reading your post. How awesome. Love you. Bobby

Tracy said...

Hey Whitney! I am enjoying reading you blog! I can't wait to read more. What an incredible opportunity you have been given. God is so good! Tracy

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