Thursday, May 28, 2009

Another Beautiful Quarantined Day

Leta Gorham, Molly, and I have to spend the whole week together away from the children and the church members. It's kind of funny because we know we don't have swine flu, but they are being very cautious. We can leave the house, but we can't go to the schools or the church (except for morning prayer ... yeah the rules are kind of fast and loose) or the marketplace.

So today we went to dawn prayer and then walked around the city. We ended up sitting outside the French pastry store until the opened. Leta told us about her children and her young adult life in Africa.

We met with the Pastor and received our schedules. We took a ride from a stranger to the wrong market. Who can you trust if not a stranger in a van? Molly had a pedicure and then we ate at a restaurant with food that was much too spicy. I bought Mario brothers socks, a pink alphabet poster for my room, and ice cream from our favorite pizza shop.

We came home and Leta shared stories of ministry spanning 5 decades and as many continents. We want to write a book with her. The three of us have become fast friends, we have tentative plans to go to Kenya next. Well, the Philippines in July and Kenya next year. We just plan on working together for years wherever God takes us. We'll see how long our goodwill lasts. Hopefully longer than our quarantine.

We climbed up the hill behind our apartment to the personal burial tomb. It was eerie more than anything else. We don't know who is buried there. We love hearing Leta's stories. She has served in so many different ways. She's such an inspiration.

We ate fried chicken and drank Pepsi in glass bottles. It's a little soon to be wanting American food, but it looked really good. So we went for it.

Classes start on Monday, supposedly. This quarantine thing has been just great.

We have our first staff lunch tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

When you are new to a country everything is magical and the place has no faults. I'm almost certainly in that phase right now.

There are some foods I have tried that thoughts, "Well right now I love it, but I can imagine really hating it in six months." You know how when you wake up in the morning your breath has that nasty funky smell? Well, because of the different diet my morning breath has a new and different funky smell. I wake out of a dead sleep at 4 in the morning because I can't bear the smell anymore! How gross yet funny.

So far I haven't been to a single Korean families home. At the moment we are in quarantine because of the swine flu epidemic. Not that we have swine flu, but that as foreigners we could be carriers of swine flu ... I guess. They don't want us around the children or the elderly. It doesn't make much sense to us because we are around the pastor and the other teachers and then they are around the children and the elderly.

Yesterday Leta, Molly, and I went for a very long walk in the afternoon. We walked up and down a mountain and to the lake on the other side. Then we took the bus back into town. We bought pizza at a really cool pizza place. I got spare-rib pizza, Leta got Cheese, and Molly got sweet potato pizza. We ordered steak and onion, cheese, and chicken respectively. It was a good day.

Well, I'm on my way to dawn prayer now. Love, Michael.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

I walked with Rev. Dr. Leta Gorham, the retired missionary I'm working with, to early morning prayer. However, this particular day there was not early morning prayer. Oops. I guess we'll try again tomorrow.

The country is so beautiful. Everything is very clean and very new. There are rose bushes all along the sidewalks and small parks on every block. So far the food has been good, no complaints. The pastor is very nice.

I'm excited for the day.

I'm in South Korea

Well, it's official. I'm here.

The flight from Pittsburgh to JFK in New York City was basically empty. The 6 hour layover was uneventful. The flight from JFK to Seoul South Korea was completely packed. There was only one empty seat ... in between me and the girl in the window seat. Janiye and I stretched out and layed our stuff over the seat so they didn't try to take it away from us. She confided how glad she was to not sit next to a smelly old Korean man. Janiye grew up in Korea and America and has a healthy perspective about both cultures. We talked and laughed a lot and I plan on hanging out with her and her boyfriend and their American friends in Seoul at some point.

I was almost quarantined because of my allergies. They thought I had swine flu.

I was met by an older gentleman who spoke no English. I wasn't sure for the first 45 minutes if he was even from my school or if he had just kidnapped me. But eventually the pastor called his cell phone and spoke with me. I was basically up for any adventure.

I'm staying at the girl's apartment temporarily(?) until they can find better accommodations for me. We'll see. I finally got to meet Leta Gorham, the missionary I've been speaking with on the phone for so long.

I'm getting up at 5AM for prayer in the morning so I had best sign off.

Love, Michael.