Saturday, July 31, 2010

hey folks. it's been a little while since my last legitimate blog post. most sincere apologies.

i'm glad to report that a lot of my symptoms from the recent illness have subsided. unfortunately, a few remain - namely, my inability to stomach any food. today is the 8th day that i have been unable to eat. i must say - it's getting pretty old. i have only been able to hold down rice, bread, and crackers with any success - and even those are touch and go. i'm pretty sick of it and have noticeably dropped a significant amount of weight. i've decided that i will go to another hospital if i reach day #11 without being able to hold down something besides white rice. please pray that it doesn't come to that, as my schedule is already more than full and it's incredibly complicated to see a dr in korea when you don't speak korean.

this week, i moved. new teachers arrived in korea from america, so my group got the boot. however, i can't complain, as i upgraded to an insanely nice place across town. i live in a high-rise on the 20th floor overlooking the mountains. my view is spectacular - i promise to post some pictures soon. the building is sort of "downtown" so i have the city life outside my front door, as well as a serene mountain view from the comfort of my own home. it's wonderful. i have my own kitchen instead of sharing a small make-shift with 10 other teachers. i have my own washing machine so i don't have to sign up a month in advance when i want to have clean clothes. i have more space than i know what to do with and it's a great feeling. pictures of my awesome new place to come soon.

with the new group of teachers comes the realization that i've been in korea for a full 6 months. i'm halfway through my contract. unbelievable. where has the time gone? it's been an interesting 1/2 of a year and has seen it's ups and downs, for sure. i've been stretched in every which way and seen a lot of personal growth. i've had great times and learned hard lessons. i hope that i can remember these experiences for years and years and continue to develop into more of the person i strive to be.

there are a lot of misunderstandings that occur in a cross-cultural experience such as this. unfortunately, some of them are big things that never get full clarity. this week, a huge misunderstanding occurred at my school and my teacher somehow got the idea that i wasn't actually sick, but just wanted a break from work. while there is nothing further from the truth, the situation remains unresolved. through the course of the week, i received some severe verbal abuse, including, but not limited to things such as: "you used me" or "i'm so disappointed in you" or "you are the most selfish person i've ever met" or "i hate you." from this situation i have learned that i really do care what people think of me. i consider myself to be a pretty strong, independent individual, but words as strong as these can bring anyone to their breaking point. no matter how true or untrue they may be, always remember the power of your words. they really have the potential to make or break another person. though i know these criticisms stem from a severely skewed perspective, i can't stop the ringing in my ears. i don't remember the last time i was cut so deeply.

while plans may change, i currently intend to move back to the states once my contract ends here in january. i'd like to spend a few weeks traveling to see my siblings and close friends before settling into a nice admin job. if you have any leads on such a position, please send them my way. i am in desperate need. my preference would be a position in nashville, but i'm willing to negotiate!

i will be teaching another week of summer camp this week. it's a school i've never been to and i will have about 30 students, grades K-6. i will not have a korean co-teacher, so it should be...interesting. i really need to get well so i have the strength to keep up with all my kiddies, so pray for me! also - i fly to india in one short week! woohoo! get excited, folks.

hope all of you are well. please drop me a line as you find time. i miss hearing from you!

everyone mind your words this week.
as well.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

another quick entry.
i'm currently sicker than a dog with what is presumed to be a really bad case of food poisoning. this is the end of day 5 and i have no real relief in sight. i've been to the hospital twice and gotten 2 different rounds of prescriptions, but i'm afraid that there might be an underlying problem that has yet to be treated. most doctors in korea speak good english, so language isn't a barrier. however, their methods of diagnosis and treatment are completely different from what americans are used to, and honestly, seem quite non-sensical and frustrating to me at the present.
i honestly don't think i have ever been this sick in my life. i haven't been able to hold down food for almost 6 days now, with the exception of bread, crackers, & rice. i am doing my best to stay hydrated with lots of water and some gatorade. my friends have been real life-savers and i might have literally died without their help this week. the timing of this illness is ultimately the worst as i have missed 3 days of a summer camp that i am pretty much in charge of, am moving to a new apartment tomorrow, have another summer camp next week, and am scheduled to fly to india in a week and a half. that said, i have to recover as soon as possible! prayers are appreciated!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

a quick entry to let you know i'm still alive. sorry it's been a minute - things have been seriously nuts around here lately. a few bullet points from the past couple weeks:

- korean monsoon season is in full swing. it's a little depressing! these grey days make you want to stay in bed all day long.
- i've made it through my first official semester of teaching...woohoo! it was definitely rough at times, but i expect next semester to be much better. more on that soon.
- things were tough the past few weeks. they're still not easy but i've gained the determination to push through and overcome the difficult circumstances.
- starting monday, i am looking at 3 weeks of elementary english camp - grades K-6. the students have a miserably low english level and i will have no korean coteacher. i'm having a difficult time planning but i'm up to the challenge. good thing too...cause it will definitely be a challenge.
- within the next 2 weeks, i am also moving to another part of the city. there seems to have been a big mix-up with the housing and i will be taking a roommate for (hopefully) a short time. we'll see what happens. korea is teaching me to roll with the punches.
- about 15 new teachers arrive here from the states next week. keep them in your prayers. it can be a really difficult transition, but i think they can handle it!
- i'm 3 weeks away from india and couldn't be any more ready!
- i recently learned how to make paper cranes. that might not be the most important detail from the past few weeks, but it makes me feel a little accomplished.

and finally, the most important thing i've learned from the past few weeks is this: life is much easier when you're not going it alone. my friends have been absolute lifesavers the past month or so, and i'm honestly not sure if i could have stuck it out if it weren't for their support. the past weeks have seen many tears but my friends have been faithful and i have the utmost gratitude for them. don't take this stuff for granted! well!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

times are tough these days. i'm currently in one of the valleys that are inevitable in any experience like the one i am currently engaged in. i'm determined to grit my teeth and tough it out, but it's taking it's toll. i know this is a phase. i will get past it and come out stronger and wiser on the other side. until then, here is how i will make it through. i hope it's helpful to you wherever you may be at this time in your life.

God is my shepherd.
i won't be wanting. i won't be wanting.
He makes me rest in fields of green by quiet streams.
even though i walk through the valley of death and dying...
i will not fear for You are with me. You're always with me.

the Shepherd's staff comforts me.
You are my feast in the presence of enemies.
surely goodness will follow me in the house of God forever.

(Summer EP//Jon Foreman)