Life seems to have flown by really fast. It’s the end of May and the days are getting hotter. So how have I been filling up my days and weeks? Since my last post I’ve been doing lots of desk warming, I hiked a mountain called Jirisan, camped for the first time, become a member of the New Philadelphia church, attended their recent retreat and visited the sand festival over the weekend.
Wrapping up entry one
In the last post, I mentioned my sleeping pattern was irregular. Since then, I can sleep well these days and tend to get up at six in the morning these days. Yay! I also spoke of PPTs for students’ interests such as sports, British music & fashion. I finished those PPTs and I’ll make the available to download soon. Last point I mentioned was attending a local church. I’m now a member!
My desk-warming days
I learnt how useful desk warming days can be. What do I mean desk warming? Where you sit at your desk for the length of a school day, you have no classes so you literally warm the table you’re occupied at, only occasionally leaving for the bathroom and to eat.
Since the last post, I’ve had six days of desk warming. While not teaching is fun to have that break, the time needs to be filled with something right? I managed to stay productive, but if I’m honest, I got bored especially with only two other people in the office and my Korean is at infant level. There’s highs and lows to everything including teaching abroad. Mind you, I was warned at the orientation but because I hadn’t experienced it, it seemed harmless at the same time. I thought, when I heard this information at the orientation, wait, I can’t go home? I began comparing teaching in Korea with China (though I hadn’t actually taught in Korea) and was like hey! I need my freedom! That idea was squashed immediately: this is Korea not China, this is a new job new rules!
Sometimes the day whizzes by, sometimes it crawls. Desk warming days inside has made me appreciate the time outside. Remember I said there is a beach close by. That’s the view at night! Funnily enough this is very close to where my church is.
Joining the church
Prior to coming to Korea, I’d been praying about joining a church and being part of a church family. In China, I worked on the weekends and missed the community of like minded Christians and the weekly rhythm of rest. Those prayers were answers. Hopping online one Saturday afternoon, I landed on Korea Bridge & saw New Philadelphia (New Philly) church on the calendar of weekly events. Within two weeks of moving into my apartment, I paid them a visit.
Being familiar with churches back home I thought I’d be joining something similar to what I have been used to – regularly attend service, meet new people and then maybe serve as leader in a specific ministry. Though there are similarities, I realised I joined a church that had a different focus. I wasn’t to be passive but active attendee. It’s not about how many people attend or who can sing the best or who sounds the holiest. New Philly’s focus is on submitting to the authority placed within the campus (the local church) and then to the overall lead pastor who’d be the spiritual father. The key focus is knowing your identity within the church and Christ and placing yours roots (i.e. regularly committing to attending) to grow. I’m still wrapping my head around many things here, so excuse me if I’m not clear, but it’s a very different take on what I’ve been so accustomed (or not) back home. One that’s been challenging me in good ways to grow.
As of the 22nd May 2016, myself and four other men and woman, had become reserve leaders in the church which is the first level ranking. (There are three levels: reserve, active, and apostolic. Each depends on maturity, authority and faithfulness accordingly.) The five of us also became members at the same time. That day openly marked means that we’re allowing God to pour into our lives actively allowing the sermons we listen to and the evening services we attend to not only make a difference in our lives, but to those around us.
Remember how I said I wake up at 6 now?…That also includes the weekend. This was part of the 7 am Sunday morning service at the retreat, where people can just sit and listen to the worship music, journal, reflect on scriptures, whatever really. It started to fill up pretty quickly after this. Definitely refreshing.
Earlier this month, New Philly had a retreat in Seoul. Being down in Busan, it took about six or seven hours to arrive by coach. A retreat is usually when all church branches gather together under one roof. Being new to this church in general, I had no expectations and so the experience itself was extremely refreshing and like I said before, I was praying for a church and community. The entire weekend I had met new people who, like me, had moved half way around the world, had struggles and were at the retreat to gain the rest and word they needed to deepen their relationship with God. The retreat only lasted 3 days. We got back into Busan early Sunday evening.
Since the retreat I’ve been experiencing lots of cool revelations about myself as well as learning more about Christ. I’ll be keeping you posted 🙂
Interestingly, it was people from New Philly whom I went hiking and camping with.
Hiking and camping Jirisan
Ahhhhh yes, the fresh air. The sounds of the rivers, birds, other climbers mumbling ‘hello’, lots of small flies, feeling realllll sweaty and working out how to place yourself on the rocks without the right shoes.
I’ve been hiking before and I was with someone who was a pro. In my beginners stages (I would still call myself a newbie to hiking) I did not realise just how intense climbing mountains are. I climbed the Yellow Mountains back in China which is one of the biggest mountains, and two smaller ones. Jirisan reminded me of the Yellow Mountains all over again. I did not make it to the top, but oh well. Instead, making it only a few hundred metres above the starting point, I chilled by the waterfall with a couple of other people.
The sad thing was, I’d put my phone in a bag – since I didn’t need to carry anything – but the person who had the bag was long gone ahead of me. So most of what I captured was at the bottom of the mountain.
I usually learn something about myself when it comes to climbing mountains. It’s not for the faint heart and I am clearly one when climbing large rocks. I did not have the correct shoes plus I got light headed regularly. That part, I don’t know if I’m genuinely out of shape or there’s something else. So yes. I was THAT person at the back! But all in all it was fun. Though my phone made it to the top there was no longing for my phone. The time was literally filled hanging out and chilling.
Camping for the first time – which shocked nearly everyone I stayed with – was nice. I used to be pretty specific in where and what I wanted when it came to preparing things. These days, I’ve learnt to just CHILL and go with whatever is going on (within reason and to a certain extent.) I was not properly prepared for camping and I didn’t really sleep well so I just remember listening to the rain. Now, being a Brit naturally one should hate the rain but I’ve grown to liking the sound of the rain and even being in it. (I should stress raining it’s warm – none of that cold rain and cold breeze combination. Esh. That’s enough to make me miserable aha.) Overall, I’d go hiking/camping again. This time, with the right equipment!
Sand Festival at Haeundae
Talk about reunion! I saw folks I hadn’t seen since the orientation – a good three months – and then I saw people whom I haven’t seen since living China. It was a busssy day! But pretty cool.
The sand festival was a display of sculptures created by a collection of amazingly talented creatives. The day started out pretty hazy and foggy but cleared up and became increasingly hot.
I think these sculptures had stories or meanings behind them, but they were kinda in Korean so I kindly overlooked them and just took photos. (My Korean isn’t at that standard yet)