Monday, June 27, 2011

So much has happened!

In the past 48 hours, so much has happened Korea-wise. Let me get you up to date.

Yesterday (Saturday), I went to Yeshuat Yisrael, as usual (well, not totally usual, as the boyfriend decided he wanted to come too). I was a bit anxious the whole time, as I've been the past week, struggling with trying out how to figure out how to pay for everything. At the end of the service, they called me up to the front, so I could explain a little more about everything that I need to do financially to prepare for the list, and explain my wish list a little bit more. So I explained how my luggage is literally falling apart and how toiletries are rather different in Korea, so I was trying to bring a year's worth with me. They let me explain everything, and then Rabbi Ken dropped one of the biggest bombshells on me that I have ever experienced. He looked at me and said, "We've decided that we want to buy some luggage for you, so pick out what you would like. Also, we are committing to send you a care package of toiletries every month while you're there, so you don't need to worry about that anymore." (Later, one of the women, who is a seasoned international traveler, told me she wanted to give me her very nice carry-on luggage too.)

I almost burst into tears right then.

I really cannot explain how amazing this has been for me. G-d is blowing my mind with how He is taking care of me. I would not be able to do any of this on my own. It is totally and completely Him and me sitting within His will. My cup overflows.

Today, I got an email from Jenny, who is my contact at Korean Nazarene University (KNU) in South Korea (she was involved somehow in my hiring). From the sounds of things, they have a backup plan in place in case I and one of my co-workers do not get our VISAs in time. (No, not like the movie.) I have no clue what it is, but I've sent an email asking about it. So, hopefully, I'll know all about that soon.

I do have a backup plan of my own as well. I am planning to go home to my parents' house before I leave, and, since they live so close to Washington D.C., I could go into the city and wait around all day to get my VISA and hop on a plane the next day and leave if I had to. It's all going to work out, and I know that it will happen according to G-d's timing.

Please continue to pray. I am already seeing and feeling the affects of your prayers, and I am so grateful for it! Time is closing in, so the more prayers I have the better.

I love you so much!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

I got my packing list.

I received the email I've been most anxious to get: the one that includes info about PACKING! Yayyyy! Basically, it confirmed a lot of things that I assumed, but also pointed out some things I hadn't thought of.

It suggests bringing a lot of hardsided luggage. I've never shopped for hardsided luggage before, so I don't really know what I'm looking for, except that I'd love a 30" or 31" one, and I'd love it to be part of a brightly-colored set. Any suggestions?

I need a lot of luggage, as I need to bring clothes with me for all four seasons, since it has been confirmed that there is slim to no chance of me finding clothes in my size there. Also, sleeveless tops are a no-no. Apparently my new mantra is: Shoulders are slutty. Yeah... good luck with that, 앤. Not to worry... I dropped $100 or so total and did a mad dash through a bunch of different Goodwill stores. As a result, I have a pretty snazzy new wardrobe. I may do one more run, depending on how much money I have.

As I thought, there are a lot of toiletries that are very different, expensive, or just plain unavailable in Korea, like deodorant, tampons, makeup, toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, other hair products, and GUM (I knew I should have never let myself get addicted). Therefore, I am somehow going to try to afford taking a whole year's worth with me. (The pessimistic voice in my head has a field day with that one.)

Of course, I need a power converter... I have one, but I'm not sure it's right for all the things I need to plug in... I'll ask someone technologically capable to help me out with that one.

And then... my stress: I'll need to have enough money to survive the first month there until I get my paycheck. This is definitely my stress right now. Luckily, my synagogue, Congregation Yeshuat Yisrael has offered to help me out on some of these things in addition to throwing me a going away party. I can't begin to tell you how much I appreciate them right now. They're being so supportive in this endeavor, praying for me, and loving on me. They are amazing.

In summary... if this is stressing you out too, you are welcome to help me out (I'm not trying to beg... no, wait, maybe I am?). My wish list is here.

I love you all so so much.

Friday, June 24, 2011

This entry has nothing to do with Korea... well... not really.

So, my friend Bri has this really fun blog that I enjoy reading. Mostly she shows me really pretty things that remind me that I'm a recent graduate from college and have no money, but today she hit the jackpot. She put up these printable posters to help get healthy, so, in an attempt to make me happier on that insanely long flight to Korea (See? We knew I could tie it in somehow.) and just in general. I'm intending on undertaking the adventures that these posters outline. Who's with me? (Comment and leave me some support... I can't do this on my own.)

Sooo... here's the "Welcome to Exercising" one:
And here's the "Get the Daily Recommended Amount of Water" one:
We'll see if I stick to this. Wish me luck!

P.S. The boyfriend got me back into Paper Mario. Click here for a list of recipes to have Tayce T. make for you. (Although, we have found some errors.)

P.P.S. I left you some fun facts linked to the title of this entry.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

G-d is so cool!

So, I went to a luncheon with the Southeast Compassion Advocates yesterday, and a lot of cool things happened. HOWEVER... the one that stuck out most to me was how Compassion has a CENTRAL OFFICE AND PARTNERSHIP NETWORK IN SOUTH KOREA! (Don't believe me? Click on the title of this post.) Therefore, the people I met with are now getting me hooked up with the Advocate network there, and I will get to continue my work with Compassion! (You hear that, Mom?) You also may have noticed that I have now decked out my blog with Compassion paraphernalia; that's because I'm a HUGE fan. "Why?", you ask. Well, I'm so glad you did.

  1. Compassion is a transparent organization with everything from it's history to it's financial statements found HERE.
  2. Compassion targets children while they are still in utero (a.k.a. before they are born), teaching their mothers parenting skills and providing them with pre-natal care, all the way through providing these children with college-like opportunities in the Leadership Development program, supplementing their programs with other country/need-specific initiatives, honed specifically to give each child the best shot at a poverty-free life (speaking of which, read HERE about how experts at Compassion have calculated that we can end poverty in this generation.) Click HERE to understand Compassion's Holistic Child Development Model.
  3. Compassion is committed to Jesus Christ. They put Him at the center of their work and surround the children with Him.
  4. And for everything else you read HERE.

Yes, I like Compassion a lot, and I thrilled that I'm going to get to continue to work with them.

I'm so excited.

So I'm going to sign out here, and leave you with a picture of me, meeting the first child I ever sponsored, Raquel (at the right-most of the picture), and her mom (on the left-most of the picture), which may possibly be the highlight of my life:

P.S. Sponsor a kid:

Friday, June 17, 2011

I must be devoted to this...

Well, I was invited to my first Rosetta Stone "Game Night." (Click on those words to understand more what that means... it's really cool!) You are welcome to look and look, but my Game Night is not mentioned on that page, which I've decided was because it was at such an awful hour. See "Night" was very loosely translated here. Apparently it meant, Rosetta Stone Game Korean-Night, because it was scheduled for 7:00am CDT. When I double checked to confirm with Rosetta that this was correct, I got this really nice email back (click on it to see better):

Like I said, it's really nice and all, and I loved the thought of being able to work with a native-Korean speaker again. Here's the downfall of the plan: None of my Korean-friends-to-be showed up. In fact, only about 5 people showed up. Boo.

I did, however, get to play several games with a man from the United Kingdom, who went by S Fraser. The time seemed a bit more bearable for him, although it sounded like he was on his lunch break, and he had a very poor internet connection, but we made due.

I ran into a lot of the same problems that I did with my lesson with a native-speaker. I'm so used to identifying things based on reading the Korean that when it comes time to speak, I have no idea what I'm doing. I know that it's a good idea to label things in your house to help you learn vocabulary, but does anyone have a tip for how to learn vocabulary better vocally/to use in conversation?

I also need to get better at being able to speak Korean through the morning fog in my brain... that was not easy at all.

What I'm listening to: The sound of my boyfriend sleeping instead of hanging out with me (poor guy, his insomnia caught up with him). There were good intentions there at least...
What I probably should be doing: Still working on that vocal literature project. (Don't worry, though, I have made some progress.)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Just because

Just because it's 1:44 am, and I'm still awake, and I really like how my blog looks right now, I am going to update again.

Because you need to know, that while I'm stressed about Korea, I'm entirely thrilled to be going.

New foods and smells, sights and sounds.

Old friends and sites to see.

Yes, this is going to be an exciting year... get ready, because who knows whether or not I'll blog regularly enough to avoid overwhelming you in each post?

PS... I've linked a wishlist of things that would make my life easier as I move to my "profile," just in case you're feeling philanthropic.

What I'm listening to right now: The air-conditioner and the lights buzzing
What I probably should be doing right now: Sleeping.

South Korea

Well, it's official. I'm moving to South Korea, where I will be known as 앤, which, for those of you who have managed to refrain from learning Korean, as I have, simply translates to "Anne." Go figure. They sound the same too, which is pretty convenient.

To be honest, I'm not really sure how this happened. I kind of fell into it, more or less. I was a last minute addition to the team of people who will be leaving for South Korea this summer to spend a year or more teaching English in the City of Cheonan. It will be a work and ministry trip of sorts, in which I will spend the week days working in the city schools, and the weekends at a church to which I am assigned. I have requested a church that will allow me the opportunity to play my violin with the orchestra or praise band, so keep your fingers crossed! Also stressful right now, is the fact that I'm still waiting for some paperwork to get processed for that I can get my VISA. All that's left is getting the apostille for my FBI background check, and then I can get this headshot put onto a VISA and into my passport... I feel like this short sentence will take an act of G-d to bring to fruition. Please pray for his intervention into our government's red tape.

I'm steadily working on my Korean with the help of Rosetta Stone (which is amazing and I'd recommend to anyone), and it's coming along, although my vocabulary is very limited, and sentences scare me, but at least I can count to 6 (typing them, not so much yet, but when I get there, I'll be sure to share) and identify a fish. I'm just praying for excellent retention, motivation, and comprehension.

Korean culture is already starting to affect my life. I've had to get a new wardrobe, as showing shoulder is apparently unacceptable. That's okay. $100 and three Goodwills later, I've got 3 new blazers, 4 new pairs of jeans, 2 new skirts, and a dozen or so new blouses... maybe more, I can't remember. All I know is that all of my t-shirts have had to be removed from my closet. It's kind of nice, though, because it makes me feel like a grown-up now when I look at it all. (I guess the fact that I've had some of those t-shirts since middle school was not helping with that endeavor.)

So, by the end of July, I'll be well over my head in trying to learn a new life, because I will be in South Korea. I'll definitely be needing all of your prayers, if you don't mind. Feel free to keep up with me here; I'll try to keep it up-to-date as time allows.


What I'm listening to now: "Last Friday Night," by Katy Perry (Does anyone know what it is with her and glitter?)
What I probably should be doing now: My vocal literature project