Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Loss From a Distance

So I've had to face more directly the challenge of living life isolated from the ones you love. This has presented itself to me in two different ways.

Two weekends ago, I saw a Facebook update for one of my friends announcing that man from my old church had passed away suddenly in a car accident. While it's been several years since I saw or talked with George Fitts, he was always one of the most gentle and caring men I ever knew at Central Baptist Church. He was also always encouraging when I spoke with him, whether it be about school, traveling, or music. I wished that I could be there to express my condolences to his wife, and I realized the emptiness of a Facebook expression, as I've tried to sit down and write my thoughts, but found the words lacking.

This only reminded me that the ones I love are a world away from me. So listen up! No one is allowed to die, get injured, or get seriously ill for the next year! I just don't think I could take it, not being able to be there. I'm kidding, of course, but it made me realize how difficult it is when you can't share life with the people you love.

Another way I learned this lesson was through the wedding announcements of two really close friends, both of whom would love to have me in their wedding party. Sadly, I can't take the time off and/or afford to fly to and from the states....twice. They've both been very understanding, but these are the moments I want to be able to share with my friends, to celebrate the finding of love and the coming together of two lives.

I'm learning a lot about myself while I'm here, and I know that this was a good decision for me at this point in my life. Doesn't mean it gets any easier to be here, though. I miss you all, and look forward to the day when we can laugh together and celebrate the roads our lives have taken.


As the Little Things Go

This is more of an overall update. I'll post some other, more detailed posts over the next week or so.

This has been an interesting last few weeks. Nothing spectacular has happened, really. It's like the initial excitement of being here has worn off and I'm beginning to find the routine in things. At work, I'm beginning to understand more the daily workings of the classroom and all the difficulties that brings. While before I was scrambling to comprehend the curriculum and the flow of the classes, now I find myself scrambling to figure out how to keep my kids listening and engaged (a lifelong endeavor, I'm sure). I've gotten into a yelling match with one of my older girls (who no longer attends our school) and I've had to get a lot more strict with my younger kids. Overall, I'm seeing more and more what it means to work with children on a daily basis without going insane. Sort of.

Speaking of going insane, the H1N1 virus is a big deal over here and our kids are dropping like flies. I realize how terrible it is to say it that way. Let me rephrase: Our kids are getting sick like crazy. None of them are actually dropping like flies. Needless to say, all of the staff are on high alert, which means we wash our hands nonstop and wear surgical masks.....ALL THE TIME. You know how hard it is to teach phonics when your kids can't see your mouth moving? So frustrating.

I've had several opportunities to do some good hiking over the last few weeks, and I'm glad I did, as I was able to catch the leaves changing and the last bit of really nice weather. The temperature took a turn for the ridiculously chilly these last two weeks as we've been siting in the single digits (Celsius). Makes for a chilly bike ride, that's for sure.

I've had my first experience at a Korean hospital. After enduring a nasty head cold, I had a pretty significant case of vertigo. I waited about a week to see what it would do and then decided to see a doctor. At the hospital they have a foreign aid office which provides translators (mine just happened to be very cute and very friendly....we're probably going to go catch a movie sometime this weekend). At the hospital, I did a dizziness test, which is probably one of the strangest hospital tests I've ever had...and I've had some doozies. Basically, you wear a pair of blacked out goggles with cameras inserted in the lenses. You can't see anything, but you keep your eyes wide open so the doctor can see your eyeballs. He then grabs your head and moves you all over a table. From sitting, to laying down, head to the left, head to the right, head hanging off the table, back to sitting, back to laying, etc. Basically he's trying to make you dizzy and seeing what your eyes are doing. Tons o' fun.

This week I started my Hapkido lessons. I've never taken a martial art form before, and I figured, "why not learn a Korean martial art while in Korea?" So I went with Hapkido, as it's a nice balance of striking, Judo (throws), and using your opponent's energy against them instead of opposing it. It's not about strength but about balance and understanding motion and throwing people off of balance. However, there is a good amount of conditioning and I'm definitely using muscles I never even knew existed. I'm looking forward to being good and sore for the next month or so. Also, I get to play with nunchucks. Sweet.

Hope all are well, happy, and loved.