Wednesday, October 26, 2011


Great day! I seriously can't stop smiling! God has just filled my heart with such joy! This morning I woke up early, got into the classroom early and made a point to pray for the students, that the students could make the adjustment to me teaching. And what do you know, they did! It made my day to see the kids excited, to see them fighting over who could answer the questions, and to see their faces light up! It just took me acting weird, not a big stretch, in front of them! I left school more encouraged than what I have felt for a long time!

Then as I ran through the park I was just thinking of how great I'm blessed for the strength and ability that God has given me! I was thinking of next fall and thinking of how God has really blessed me with the athletic ability I have! Sure I'm no superstar, but boy am I blessed to be able to do the things I can. I got more weird looks from the Asians today then I have the whole rest of my time here! As I was running I was just laughing and smiling so big with my music on, and I'm sure people were thinking I was high! "He sure is running well for being so high on that pot!" I'm just imagining those old ladies who walk say that. But when we think of the little things, of everything we have been blessed with, how do we contain that joy! When I look back at my experiences, the things God has led me through, and the daily blessings I receive, I'm so overwhelmed with His love and mercy, that I can't contain it within myself, but it bubbles over!

And then tonight, hearing how God is working in other peoples lives, sharing in the joy of those around me, just makes me all the happier! I think of the friends God has surrounded me with. No matter what Satan tries to attack my friendships with, when they are rooted in the Love of Christ, they can't be destroyed, and that brings me such joy! Oh how Satan has tried to destroy certain friendships, and at times almost succeeded. But praise God for the persistence of friends, for them not quitting on me, for God was not finished with those friendships!

No matter what distance we travel, God will be there! And I must always remember, I do not fight for victory, but from victory! We have the victory and can't be defeated, as long as we stay rooted in who God is! Sometimes we fail to seek God, because we know if we seek HIm and try to know Him better, He will want us to rid ourselves of ALL our selfish habits, and some we can't let go of! But there is JOY and FREEDOM in letting them go! For it is then that we become fully alive!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

First Day's of Teaching

It is so different, so, so different. It's not better or worse, just different. The classroom instruction is so different, the management is different, and the needs are different. It will take some time to get in the groove. It is so different using the textbook and I just have to get use to planning out of the textbook. I'm not familiar with it yet. Once I get familiar it will be easier to plan out the basic lesson and then I just have to find ways to make the learning more meaningful. Having 7 students makes behavior management so much easier, but now I have to plan in a different way. I have to try and do more interactive activities, more grouping since I have the chance. I'm sure this is a rare opportunity for me to get a class of this size, so I need to take advantage of this opportunity. It is going to be a lot fun, but I just have to learn what these students like. I understood my students at Allen by the time I left, but now I'm learning all over again. It will take a bit of time to understand how to tap into what they enjoy and to use that to enhance their learning. This is such a great experience and I believe it is opening up so many doors and giving me so many new connections. It is so great to follow God wherever He calls, making the most of every opportunity, and just falling more in Love with Him! I'm so thankful for the opportunities He has given me!

A Great Designer

Being at the Bodies Exhibit this past weekend made me again realize what a great God I serve. The complexity of the human body is absolutely incredible! So many muscles work together to make even our simplest motions. The hundreds of muscles in our bodies each serve their own purpose, but yet they work together for the whole. Looking at how muscles overlap and the strength of the little strands, it's incredible! Then looking at the blood vessels within the body. There are so many vessels that carry blood to every part of our body to keep it functioning. Looking at the tendons, especially the achilles heal, and seeing how small it is, yet it has such strength and does so much. We take these little things for granite. And then the whole body is driven by this ball of sponge! Looking at the human brain and when it is cut open, it just looks like skin, yet it holds all that information and does so much. I stared at the human brain just wondering how in the world the brain does all it does! It's insane! And to think that this came from nothing, from some random atom that mutated into life! hahaha Each one of us has the imprint of an intelligent designer and it is time that we take a grand appreciation for our bodies, for the little things, for being able to move, for being able to think, for being able to do anything we do, because we are a complex being! And we should show respect for God's masterpiece!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

South Korea Bucket List

1. DMZ tour – Cross into North Korea

2. Visit a Buddhist temple - Have always wanted to visit one
*Buddhist village, not really a temple, but lots of religious buildings

3. Eat Gaegogi - It's a delicacy that I have been told I must try
*Done and good!

4. Visit a farm - How could I not?
-Went out to the country and walked past fields, but did not visit a farm.

5. Eat octopus - Sounds nasty, but I have to try it
-Did not get around to this, and I must say, not the most disappointed.

6. Try every piece of food I’m offered - First experience, cow blood; next, I have no idea
*Did not turn down anything, and the only really nasty thing was anchovies.  Silkworm larva wasn't even that bad.

7. Run to Seoul Tower for the sunrise - Gorgeous run that makes you feel like your not in Seoul, and allows you to see the entire city. (It is huge!)
*Done and went in the Tower, which was awesome!

8. Attend a different church every Sunday - I love to worship in many settings
*Every Sunday I went.  I missed my last two Sundays, but I got a good experience of American churches in Korea.

9. Attend a church service in Korean - My favorite part of travel is being able to worship the same God, even if we do not speak the same language. I love how God transcends language and tears down barriers to bring us together!
-Sadly I did not.  Probably my biggest disappointment.

10. Attend a Korean wedding - I have connections!
-Lack of communication on wedding week prevented me.  I missed a few phone calls and missed out on the opportunity.

Monday, October 10, 2011

First Day!

Today was just observation for me, and what a difference! Wow, it was so quite in class today, almost too quite! I already know I'm going to have students collaborate and talk about things a lot, because it was silent all day! There was zero behavior issues and there is a behavior management system in place, though I doubt it will be used much. The students stay on task, they love to read, and they stay engaged. I get breaks as a teacher now!! Like an hour every day!! That feel foreign for sure. The school follows tightly to the curriculum, mostly because parents want the structure and the parents want their children to have homework for every subject. There are many more grades entered because parents want to see lots of grades so they can check on their children. It is such a shift going from 21 second grade students who are mostly below grade level, to 7 fourth grade students who are on or above grade level. My teaching is going to have to completely shift, since I will be able to group students, and I will be able to give each student much more individual focus.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

First Impressions

First impression? Seoul is huge!!! There are people everywhere, and traffic everywhere, and everywhere you turn there are people trying to sell you something. Right around where I live it's a little more low key, but you go two blocks and it begins the craziness. That has been a bit overwhelming, as we walked around all day today (Sunday) and I was so exhausted from all the people. (I thought maybe I had become an extrovert, but today made me realize again, how strong of an introvert I am) I didn't come in with very many expectations, except that the cost of living here would be super cheap. It's really not that cheap. Food cost about the same here, maybe a tad bit cheaper, but I have eaten out everyday, so it has exceeded my spending back home (except that I have only paid for 1 meal) I want to learn how to make Korean food, so I'm going to find some teachers at school tomorrow who can help me out. I had heard that Seoul is really Americanized, but I think I took that the wrong way. Not very many people speak English, everything is in Korean, although the important aspects like public transportation and maps have English translation. There are certain parts of the city where they have American restaurants and brands, but there are few areas. I was expecting a McDonalds on every corner (Not literally), but I don't even think I have seen a McDonalds. No one rides bikes here either, which is surprising, everything is public transportation. The public transit is very nice, comes right past where I live, and I can get anywhere in the city by it, but it is packed everywhere you go (standing room only, which is tight in and of itself). I think I may finally be adjusted to the time difference after today. It was my fault for waking up to watch the ND game at 5 in the morning (I missed the first half of the first quarter), but it was well worth it to watch the ND performance. Skype may be a bit more difficult of a task than what I had anticipated, but let me know when you can skype and I will go to bed early so I can wake up early to chat.
I love my house!! It is the coziest, homiest place I have ever stayed. It's small, but I love it! I'm excited for teaching, to go from 21 students to 7 students, I'm hoping management falls into place and that I can do some more active things with a smaller group. I am a bit nervous because of the grade level transition and the level of students that I will have. But I know I will do fine and that I will get adjusted to these students quickly. I only live like half a mile from the school, so that is awesome, cause I get to walk to school!!!

On a quick statistical note: In 2009 Korea had the 2nd highest suicide rate in the world. The pressure on young people to succeed in school is demanding, which is to be known as a big reason for the high rate. Social status is everything here. Several of the people I have met here have told me that the public schools really fail the students and thus the reason why most students have a private tutoring session for 6 hours every day after school. The demands this puts on children is too much for them. They really get no break from school, but study constantly. Everything is based on what University they can get into, and parents are really controlling of the education system,
Fathers are not really present in the home during the week. Everything is about building a relationship with your business partners, so men will go to work and then go out to eat with business clientele until late in the evening, leaving the parenting to the mom. This is a social norm, meaning not every house is like this, but the majority.
Drinking is huge here, everyone drinks, all the time! I have not been here long enough to witness this myself, but everyone has told me that many people are drunk all the time. They are not angry drunks, but it is just part of the culture to drink with everyone you are with. Very much a social type of drinking, but it is done all the time, meaning people are drunk often.
SAT day is like a national holiday. They shut down the airport, they tell cars not to honk during that part of the day, and they try to eliminate any type of noise. They put all kinds of pressure on students to perform. It is unhealthy for these students. In the short time I have been here, I have talked to many Koreans and Americans about education, and I already have a much greater appreciation for education in the U.S. We really are blessed!

If you have questions, please ask me and I will post about it, cause others may have similar questions.

I will write again soon!