Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Feeling like an outsider

So as you would think, living in another Country always has it's challenges no matter how much you become used to the language barrier, money conversions, transportation, and the task of asking for a bag at the local store.  Which reminds me I need to learn how to ask for one... along with other important words!  I have only been here for a short 4 months but I have learned so much already.  For example Koreans know more English then they want you to know.  Our family obviously doesn't "fit" in but we are excepted like any other round eye here.  On the subway if I am holding Audrey Almost every time someone will leap from their seat and offer it to me.  Even the old do it, and that always makes me feel guilty.  Collin says it is a sign of disrespect if I do not except, but when when every the elderly offer to give up their seat I urge Collin to make an excuse as to way I don't want their seat.  Usually something along the lines of, "Our stop is almost here" or "The baby is happier to stand". That is generally true.  If we stand she is constantly moving and she loves playing with the hanging handles.  If the big people can hold to them to keep balance she certainly can as well, after all every 14month old is dependent like that.  We have learned that if we are standing in line first for the elevator, and those doors open, it doesn't mean we are getting on that elevator.  You have to blend in like one of them.  Lines don't matter when getting on an escalator, elevator, subway or anything else of that nature.  Heck you don't even have a guaranteed spot when standing in line to purchase something as we learned this past weekend. If you want to make sure you are on that elevator you need to push, be aggressive!  Just because Ajumma, a little old Korean lady, pushed her way in front of you doesn't mean you can't push back in.  Those Ajumma are tough and they will get their way if you don't claim your spot.  Several times I have had the fear of not catching the elevator with Collin but the worst is being pushed out from the subway and in a sudden panic that I will be left with the doors closing in my face as I wave to Collin and Audrey.  All in all though even with those annoying and frustrating moments I have had a great time so far and I am fully enjoying myself and nothing really comes to a shock to me any more..... until Saturday!

Not really a shock so much but more of disbelief.  We were the typical tourists on Saturday.  Thought we would try something new.  The 63 building on a Saturday, sure great idea.  Well the morning wasn't bad we got there and headed straight for the Aquarium.  We got our tickets and headed inside to get 2 pictures taken as soon as you walk in.  We were on the first floor and it was what we thought a crowded Saturday.  People were everywhere but we had very little trouble seeing what we wanted to see and going where we wanted to go.  Then we went downstairs.  It was getting a little more crowded but we figured it would and no big deal.  We found the penny machine, you know the ones were you put in .51 and get an imprint of your location on a penny.  Well anyway Collin realized that we didn't have 1000won in coins so he went over to a little gift shop to get change.  I watched him get in line about four people back and after a few minutes I lost sight of him and couldn't figure out what was taking so long.  Then I saw him about six people back.  I tilted my head and scrunched my forehead trying to figure out what happened.  When he returned with the coins he mentioned how he just kept getting pushed back by people jumping and shoving in front of him.  Through out the day things like this just kept happening.  We would be looking at something and grown adults would step in front of us and back us out of the way.  We were actually trying to get out of the way at one point and people just kept blocking us in.  Audrey was looking at a fish at one point and this little girl pushed right on through until she took over her spot, parents watching the whole time.  I of course just pulled Audrey back as I didn't want to see her fall or get hurt once I realized this other child wasn't going to let her be and look at the same fish from two steps over.  The parents looked at me said something in Korean and smiled.  I however did not smile back in stead I again scrunched up my forehead looking at them in disbelief of what they just allowed and walked away.  Really what else could I do.... yell at them in English when I had about 20 other Korean parents around me.  Luckily for them my husband wasn't there at the time.  We soon gave up on our adventure excuse me no longer seemed to work.  All courtesy had been thrown out the door.  As we were leaving this woman was taking a picture of her family/friends and since I noticed I walked behind her not wanting to interrupt.  This woman smiled at me and nodded show her appreciation and then took two more steps back and ran right into me.  Apparently the 7 feet in front of her were not enough.  I said I was sorry and that didn't matter to her.  It was like we were total outsiders and not like your not from here outsiders like little ants crawling on the ground outsiders who just didn't matter to anybody that day.

As we continued our day to go get something to eat and then to other area's of the 63 building like the Sky Art and the wax museum the same nonsense just kept happening time after time.  Collin was ordering lunch and I was standing off to the side waiting and some guy ran right into me from behind, pushed me closer to the wall and then had to move over to get into line anyway.  When I was going to the restroom to change Audrey I had to ask people who were standing in line to part the way so I could get through.  They all looked at me like I was crazy!  I was polite and said excuse me but no one would move (yes they know the words excuse me) so I played their game.  I just held on tight to Audrey and pushed my way through.  At this point the gloves were off!  I told Collin at one point that I found it interesting that I didn't see any other Westerners all day.  Maybe the others just know to never go to the 63 building on a weekend.

After we got home it was agreed that no matter how frustrating the day had gotten at times, it was a good family day, fun going to knew places, and a very important lesson learned.  NEVER GO TO THE 63 BUILDING ON A SATURDAY!  We went to an amusement park on a Saturday and it wasn't even close to being that crazy.  People had respect!  At least I can sit here and smile about it now :)

We want to go to the trick eye museum next but.... just not on a Saturday!

 From 63 Floors up!


Tuesday, January 14, 2014

New plans for a New Year!

Well I might be about 15 days late but Happy New Year!  I hope your first couple of weeks in 2014 have been going amazing.  I know mine have.  We started our New Year  off  by going to Palace here in Seoul on the first day.  It was nice outside leaving our apartments but once we arrived it became very cold  and wet, but we still had a good time of course.  We have also found a Hockey team here in Korea that we like, team Halla.  Although I don't think it will be much of family event here as it is in the states for us.  It is a lot cleaner.  No one yells boo to the refs, and they don't really fight and I don't have to worry about Audrey picking up every swear word in the book.  Although, that might be because I don't understand Korean very well... ok so besides a few words I don't understand it at all.  There are no 5.00 hot dogs and 5.00 soda's either. You can take whatever you want to eat or drink with you into the stadiums here, which I love!  So with all the positives I bet your wondering why it probably won't be a family sport here.  Well in the States we freeze our ice from below as to Korean rinks freeze the whole stadium.  Audrey was in her winter coat and a blanket and stayed toasty warm but I on the other hand lost feeling in my fingers and toes.  Being that cold in there did score me a Halla sweatshirt though.  It would have gotten me a jersey but for some reasons Koreans think they can charge 300.00 for one of those!  It was about 30-40 minutes away but thankfully Collin has since found some much closer hockey we want to try, and I think I will under dress for that game too ;)  Oh yeah and the highest seats are only 5 rows up so they are pretty small.  I guess comparison would be of a practice rink back in the states.  The Air Force Academy has a larger rink then what we were in.  However, for 8.00 a ticket, it was a good time.   
This past weekend we went to Lotte World.  It is an indoor and outdoor amusement park, we of course stayed inside only with the teen weather setting in.  It was fun for the little bit of time we were there.  We went after 4 when it is really cheap and got to ride a few rides and Audrey had a good time in kiddie land playing.  Didn't get her on any rides this time but she loved the play areas.  So much to climb on and you can visit Cinderellas house and other fairytale lands.  She loved the play area with big giant trees and bears and even a very large Alice to climb on.
Some of you know that our car finally died around Christmas.  We needed to make a choice on if we were going stateside to pick up the Volvo or just get another car here to make it through 1 more year.  After saying out loud how much it would cost for fights, registration and travel to get the car from CO to TX we decided to get another junker.  Collin found a 98 Chairman that was being sold from a COL he works with and scooped it up.  I didn't get a chance to see it until the next day but when I did I was pleasantly surprised.  It is old and run down looking and again no CD player but it is not difficult to see that back in its day it was a luxury car or as a W5 put it "A gangster car."  White on the outside and black leather on the inside with a brown marble like trim for the center console.  It comes with built in sun shades on both back windows and the review mirror which Audrey greatly appreciate!  Oh yeah, and a bonus we found out after committing to the car.... those black leather seats are heated!  Hey it might be a junker just to get us through the year but it is a nice junker.
And a made a plan for me at the end of the year.  I always break my "I want to lose weight in the new year" Idea.  I usually can't stick with it but mostly I just never get into a good routine and before I know it it's October again and I figured with the holidays it is time to forget it and get ready for next year.  Well late December I made a plan to start eating better and taking care of myself better.  I figured if I started before Jan 1 I would already be in a routine and if I didn't set a weight goal and just set a goal of being healthier then I currently am then I really can't go wrong.  Well, I know it is still early but I am losing weight, working out, and eating healthier. (Which by the way eating healthy is expensive.)  Here we are well into January and I am NO WHERE NEAR FAILING!

As some of you know we have been having some difficulties settling down in a church.  Well we think we found our temporary church home.  It is  Chapel on base.  It couldn't be closer then what we are looking for.  It is a good size church not big but not small and it has a nursery nursery.  In fact as soon as we walk into the nursery Audrey and Miss Kim are busy in play.  I don't even have a chance to finish signing her in before I am forgotten for the next hour, and that is fine by me.  There is a place where I feel so safe to leave my daughter and I know she is happy.  On our first Sunday there she cried when I picked her up to leave.  Made my heart smile.  There are 2 services that we would attend at this church. The early service has 2 pastors who rotate out and I of course have my favorite already and the great thing is, is that if we miss the early service there is a second service that we like almost as well.  Many of the qualities that second service holds, is that of Collins liking.  I like it just fine too but, I will be making an extra effort on Sundays to get up and get going to the early service.
One thing that blew me away from the second service is that there is a large amount of leadership in the church.  It is just great to see that we have these high ranking decision making leaders in the Lords house!  
On the first Sunday of the year we did something very cool.  We all got a piece of paper and we were to write things on that piece of paper that we wanted to make right with in the new year!  It could be the name of someone who we have trouble dealing with, someone who has hurt us, or burdened us and we just can't get over them or forgive them.  You could right down things that you wanted to rid your life of like  anger, lying, swearing.  Anyway after we wrote these things down we were to walk up front, when ready, and set our papers on fire.  Once we had a good flame we were to drop it into a pan so that it could burn and our burdens could be given up to the Lord.  This was what I thought genius and a great way to start off the new year!  Now some of you may have an idea of things I wrote down.  Some of you are probably right.  One of the topics on my list, yes I made a small list, I have been battling for awhile now.  Well this past week I got my healing!  The battle is over!  Its amazing the things that can happen when you let go and let God!  Sometimes we often think that we see healing or deliverance in others lives, and no matter how hard we pray we ever get delivered from our hardships.  It's easy being a Christian and seeing others get the answers.  Sometimes though you just need to give up trying and tell God that you can't fight it anymore. You can't deal with the anger, the stress, the addictions, the co worker anymore and let Him know you are handing it all over to him.  I know I did and the chains of my biggest burden has been lifted!