Thursday, March 4, 2010

A whole week...

Where to begin? It has been an entire week since Taylor and I were met by his co-teachers to accompany us to our new home. On the way, we stopped by Taylor’s Middle School to meet several staff members including the principal and vice-principal. One of the co-teachers, Ms. Bah, escorted us in a taxi to our new home. When we arrived, Taylor and I were surprised by the size of the apartment! It was much larger than everyone had been warning us against. We are proud renters of a spacious three bedroom apartment! In addition to the Ms. Bah, the superintendent, vice-principal, and local bus driver were here to help settle us in and were disappointingly shocked at the state of the apartment. It looked as if whoever moved out left the windows open upon departure resulting in a rather grimy mess on just about everything. Immediately they had a lady come and wipe the floors down, unfortunately she only used two hand towels which she rinsed and rung out over the sink ever so often. She tried leaving before tackling the bathroom which was one of the filthier rooms. We were slightly more relieved when she squirted a bit of soap on the floor before continuing with her hand towels. It was a long two hours of waiting, as everyone besides ourselves worked to get things in order. The apartment buzzed with the sound of multiple phone calls, the tinkering of the boiler repair man, and Corin’s sheer excitement to be out of a dorm room! Finally, a point had been reached where we would just have to wait to tackle the rest of the apartment’s needs until the next day. Until then, we were told to pack an overnight bag so that we could stay in a warm hotel until our boiler was in working order. I was not at all disappointed, considering the cleaning that still needed to be done in our home. So off to town for dinner with the superintendent, vice-principal, Ms. Bah, and the local bus driver! I thought it to be a rather odd mix of people but they were all so warm and welcoming that it didn’t really cross my mind that night until after the fact. We had seaweed bibimbop and seaweed soup for dinner along with various pickled vegetables and of course kimchi! It was delicious... even the kimchi, which I admit has not grown on me yet. Taylor has grown more accustom to it now, which makes sense seeing as how he is more adventurous in his eating endeavors. Corin tries it, but usually tears up a bit, then reaches for his water and does not return to the kimchi for seconds. :) Finally our day was almost to a close as we checked into the local hotel with the help of the bus driver. As we walked into our room, we realized it was a “love motel” as Jeff had called it, where they rent the rooms for 12 hour periods of time. We set down our things and quickly headed back out the door to the local “mart” where we bought about $50 worth of cleaning supplies and necessities for the house, as well as some sort of strudel type bread for breakfast in the morning. Before long we were all in bed and fast asleep.
The next morning the bus driver (I feel badly that I do not know his name) met us at the hotel with a taxi to take us home. Not long after we were unpacking our cleaning supplies and I was off! I cleaned like a mad-woman for the next few hours putting most of my energy and dying brain cells into the kitchen and bathroom. The kitchen was coated from top to bottom with grease and filth. I went through an entire scrubbing sponge on the kitchen alone... and I only cleaned the top half! (Mind you... it is a small wall of cabinets and countertop. Luckily the stove top was brand new!) Then on to the bathroom, where I polished off a full bottle of bathroom cleaner on everything from the ceiling to the floor and all that lay between. There was mold forming on the walls and ceiling in one corner, which was where I decided to start the battle! We had to keep the door closed so that Corin would not come in, but Taylor kept coming by to check on me with the fumes! I couldn’t smell a thing with my sinus and ear infection which I am not sure was a good thing necessarily. After hosing the room down following the rigorous scrubbing, I decided that to be enough cleaning for the day. Taylor then ventured out to find a nearby mart, which apparently was not so nearby. He returned about an hour and a half later with a couple bottles of juice and some instant noodles to be the base of our next couple meals. We had brought leftover bread, apples, and peanut butter from our stay in the dorms, so meals were a little repetitive the first couple of days.
Sunday morning we headed to Busan for church after a few minor taxi issues. (We had arranged for a driver to pick us up at 7:30, after waiting until 8, we called Taylor’s co-teacher, Mrs. Yang, to help us in calling for a new taxi on the unstable internet connection we picked up via skype. Around 8:30 a taxi arrived at our door step and off we went to the bus station to get tickets.) Only an hour on the bus, and we arrived at the Busan bus terminal with 20 minutes remaining until ICC services began. We hopped in a taxi, showed them the back of the ICC business card with an address in Korean and off we went! (ICC= International Christian Church) With little under three minutes to spare, we drove up, paid our driver and walked into our second worship service at ICC. I must say I was relieved to be able to understand and speak with believing women again. I can’t speak for Taylor, but I am pretty sure he is just as eager to get to know the members. The leaders are currently teaching through the book of James. Taylor unfortunately had a minor distraction, by the name of Corin, which he took upon himself to entertain throughout the sermon. I felt slightly guilty, but it was a bit relieving being able to listen to the entire sermon. As you might have guessed, not many children come to our church. In fact we have only seen two others, a little girl about 7, and Jeff and Eunji’s baby Charissa. Most of the members consist of young married couples in their early twenties with more “reliable” forms of birth control than the Letts! :)
After the service, most everyone meets up at a local intersection to eat lunch together at their choice of local restaurants. Scott and Ashleigh, our new friends, offered us a ride there as well as another couple... it was rather funny to see all 7 of us crammed into their small Honda Accent for the short trip. After unfolding out of the car, we headed to a small “Italian” restaurant for another go at the local recreation of Italiano cuisine. This time... it was actually pretty tasty! Woohoo! Taylor and I cleaned our plates, with the help off our little monster, and were treated to a dessert drink and a small slice of ice cream cake which we found out was included with our meal. It was good... Will probably be going there for our Italian food fixes! :) After our bellies were full, we went with Scott and Ash to their “southern exposure” apartment to get a running list of things we needed to buy while in town, before heading back out the door to “Mega Mart.” We soon discovered that Scott and Taylor are much alike in their shopping endeavors. Scott grabbed a cart, snagged the list from my hands, and off he went with the whole gang speed walking behind him! :) This guy knew what he was doing... we were in, out and on with life, carrying a couple large bags of goodies to boot! We wasted not time in heading straight to Jeff and Eunji’s for a married couples book study, where we had a chance to study God’s words on marriage and then dig into a tasty fried pork dinner! Taylor and I grabbed two of the large bags we had left while at orientation to take home and then headed back to Scott and Ashleigh’s apartment where we were blessed to be able to stay the night in their spare room and get to know them a little better. After a tasty homemade breakfast the next morning, we made our way to the bus terminal to catch a bus home. Luckily, we arrived 10 minutes before the next bus left and so we loaded up and headed out. After catching a taxi in Yeongsan, we were soon home again for a lazy rainy Monday... Taylor’s last day before teaching. I went to town to get some groceries, but other than that, we just kind of vegged.
Tuesday Taylor headed to work around 8 via the local school bus, and Corin and I spent the day hand mopping the floor with wet wipes and windex! It was rather entertaining... I think Corin spent more time watching Korean cartoons than cleaning, but I don’t blame him! :) During his nap, I bleached the bathroom and kitchen backsplash.... I know... very interesting huh! :) Anyways, Taylor came home with a success story for his first day. Apparently he had to stand up in front of the whole school during an assembly and introduce himself in Korean! Impressive! Yah... that’s my husband! :) Mrs. Yang said his pronunciation was very good when she dropped him off that evening. I was very proud to say the least. Throughout the week, he came home each night with a fun new story to tell about the mystery school lunch and his exciting lesson plans. He has some really neat presentations so far... I think teaching is a good fit for him. According to Mrs. Yang, the principal (who is female) hopes that he will be around for a “long time!” Way to make a great first impression Taylor! Of course the principal also said he had a pretty wife and a “naughty” little boy, which apparently is a good thing in Korea?! haha. Anyways, I think we are finally getting settled into our new home, and soon we are hoping to buy a car after acquiring our alien registration cards, which we have to have in order to get a phone and internet too... so it might be a few weeks before we have a clear internet connection to make skype calls. For the time being, we pick up a faint signal in various spots throughout our house. Thank you for all the prayers as we have been settling in. I would ask that you continue to pray for English speakers in our community... so far the only ones we have really encountered are the Jahovas Witness that spoke to us our first morning here! (Which may be an ongoing swap of “Bible Facts.”) I am hoping to convince Mrs. Yang or Ms. Bah to come and give us Korean lessons in exchange for dinner one evening a week. It is very much a rural farm town, so English is not top priority for many of the citizens according to Ms. Bah. So please pray that we would be diligent to learn the language and be a Light to those around us.
Corin and I could use added prayer in that we are a bit stir crazy with no form of transportation. I have wanted to get out and explore with him, but it has pretty consistently rained this week... looking forward to sunny weather! We miss you all at home and enjoy going through pictures when we get a bit home sick! :) Lots of Love from Korea!
(Oh and for those wondering, we are able to get almost everything we are accustomed to in the States. I have a small running list of things I have yet to find, that would make it a bit more like home... such as Lipton tea to make sweet tea for Taylor... Raybob, we may have to call in a favor... you know what the lack of sweet tea does to a man! ;) And apparently real coffee is not big here. Instant coffee has sadly become a new staple of mine. They have whole bean coffee in Busan, so once we are done lugging all our bags back from Jeff and Eunji’s, we will be taking advantage of COSTCO! )
Love from Korea,

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