Sunday, 18 November 2007

as one journey ends...another Begins

Ive not been able to finish this blog as I wished.

As i mentioned my laptop broke and then my busy, hectic schedule took over as usual and I just couldnt finish it and bring you all the info about what I was up to in my last months in Korea...

Im pretty gutted about not being able to finish it properly but now Im back home I need to just finish it off...maybe not the same as I wanted to but anyway!(I have too many pics to bore you all with that Ill defo be showing you when I get home. My walls will be covered with Eeunjae and Wendy for sure)

Teaching in South Korea has been amazing.Its been a time to grow, a time to reflect, a time to change, a time to just sit in Gods presence and listen and be still and let him work in my heart. I feel like I sacrificed so much to go to Korea and although Im at home now trying to pick up the pieces of my broken heart Im trusting God and Ive got a peace.

From a spiritual point of view I really needed my year away in Korea.With gritted teeth I left people I didnt want to, mainly Jai. I knew there was things in my life that needed to change, things about me and my lifestyle that I really needed to work on. It was priority. I also met someone I adored yet I could never give him all of myself coz I felt so unright with God . How can you give yourself to someone when you feel that way? I knew he deserved better, I knew I deserved better so it was an extra reason to go and just be with God and let him sort me out.

I had hurts I needed to be healed, desires of my heart that needed tweaking! And... I feel like its been done. Im back now and some of the things I thought would be here arent here anymore and theyve changed. Its heartbreaking but it was a sacrifice I chose so Im just trying to put into practice what I learnt in Korea about trusting in God in everything.

My christian mates told me before I went to Korea that God would really wrap me up in that year, in that place and just really minister to me and really just Love me. And you know what ? It was all so true. He really did. He healed me in so many ways, he changed the desires of my heart... so many things.. I never believed someone like me could say they're ready to commit to anyone in marriage for a start (and really mean it), to start a family (and really mean it), to give everything to someone (and really mean it). I cant believe the change in my heart. Its amazing lol Its just too late for some things here. Bad timing. Again, I have to keep trusting in Gods amazing plan for my life. Coz Im sure he has one!

My time in Korea was just a really beautiful experience and I needed to go for my sanity, for my growth. Although Ive some regrets and pains about certain things that I should and shouldnt have done Ive learnt the past few days that I need to just let go, try to move on and just try to accept things as they are and accept mistakes Ive made along the way.

God is amazing and so I will end my blog here as Jackie says in a ccc way ('cheeesy christian crap' way). I will never forget the things I gained there, the people I met there, the friends that I laughed with, the friends I cried with, the kids I taught, the very special friend I lost there, the healing, the grief, the huge life changing decisions, the hurt and torture of being away from my ex- potential husband while his parents died, the risks, the trusting, the Love God poured out onto me, the big, complex changes in my heart.

I will never forget my year in South Korea.

The year God put me in an incubator to just Love me, minister to me and wrap me up.

The year he took me away from everything to just hold me in the palm of his hand.

'And we know that in all things God works for te good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose'

Thursday, 11 October 2007

Update :)

Guys... the reason for my lack of posts is due to the fact that my laptop broke a few weeks ago and it hasnt been the same since its been fixed. Ive just realised how much I have to update on here and how many photos I have to post. Ive been really ill since my holiday and have some rather strange symptoms but I think its down to the wisdom teeth coming through..urrrghh. For those of you who know... it drives you crazy.

Have a busy morning and a dress fitting at 11am ... my managers family have bought me a beautiful Korean hanbok as a forget us not gift. The day is getting closer to say bye :)

Here are a few pics from Chuseok. It was really lovely to go away on my last hiking trip but I got really run down and ill after about two days... not fun. Anyway the view from the last hike we did were stunning and Ill never forget it.

Lots to update on... when i finaly get the time :)

Friday, 21 September 2007

Jeremiah 29:11

I alone know the plans
I have for you,
plans to bring you prosperity
and not disaster,
plans to bring about
the future you hope for.

Then you will call to me.

You will come
and pray to me,
and I will answer you.

You will seek me,
and you will find me
because you will seek me
with all your heart.
So I got the day off today. Ruby wanted to take some extra rest so Chuseok began for me last night ! I headed down town to meet Jolie and Kara for dinner and coffee (and shopping :( lol )I heard that Chuseok was bigger than Christmas but Im not so sure... I do know though that Ive got another five days left of no work so Im happy with that!

Me Jackie and Cara are heading down to Jeongju early tomorrow to get our last hiking trip in together. With all the working out and dance classes Ive had this week Im pretty tired but know that as soon as I start hiking up that mountain tomorrow the adrenaline'll kick in and Ill be dandy. Jackies planning on hiking for five days but I've got so many goodbyes to do over the next few weeks that I might head on back on Tuesday or Wednesday and hang out with people back here in Cheonan. I think the plan is - Jeongju-Moaksan P.Prk-Maisan P.Prk- Deogyusan N.Prk (plan is we'll stay in a hyangjeokbong on top of the mountain )- Daedunsan P.Prk.

(I definately wont be sleeping on a pagoda in the terrential rain wrapped in a throw this time)

The clock is tick tocking away and every day it seems Im reminded that its almost time to say goodbye :) Im really happy though, in fact Im ecstatically happy and nervous and tons of other emotions I wont bore you all with! Sunny and Ruby ushered me over to the hagwon p.c in work on Wednesday afternoon with a slight sense of excitement and urgency... I think they've got something up their sleeves. They were asking me to pick out a hanbok (a traditional Korean dress) from a multitude of them online. (To be blatant I think they look ridiculous on Western women. They look lovely on Korean women with their delicate little frames but on Western women.. even smaller ones, I think they can scream out 'wannabe korean' I hate it lol) Ill keep you posted with what they're planning though!

I told some of my kids this week that its nearly time for saengsengnim choann to go back home and some of my li'll babies have been upset, others (my junior boys) have been like... yay teacher.. party, we party! (little trolls) lol

It hit me on Tuesday of this week after I had a rather miserable morning of being preached at by the church of God for about an hour and a half (yes.. really, not fun I tell thee) that I really am going home. Terry and Ruby showed me a picture of the new girl who theyve chosen to take my place. Take my placelol its sounds so awful ! Im really glad they've found someone though even thoug I know deep down shes not really 'taking my place' like that. Shes going to be moving in with me for about three days before I leave and Im happy that Ill be able to shown her round, help her out with stuff she needs and introduce her to all my mates. Im excited for her coz I didnt have any real English speaking mates for a while really! I hope shes nice.. eeerrrr ...just hope she likes people/ is sociable coz theres probably gonna be a few parties at mine before I leave hehe.

So my last hiking trip with the gals is gonna be great but sad too :) Im looking forward to getting out into the open and getting up those mountains! It could well be my very last chance.

Saturday, 15 September 2007

For Paul

The Road Not Taken

TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth; 5

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same, 10

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back. 15

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference. 20

Just a few recent snaps of Sojins dance academy and her gorgeous daughter. Ill undoubtedly put on some videos of us in motion with our gear on when I get them from Ellie (Sojins second daughter who took great pleasure of getting us on film last week through the glass doors :)

Another busy week's flown by... my pro belly dancing lessons are coming on a treat. Ive actually found something I LOVE and am good at ! Ive done lots of cardio, lots of yoga, teaching time with Cherry on Monday, jogs, meetings, dinner appointents. Its been another very active week. I found out my mate Robyn has started working out at my gym so its gonna be wicked to have a running partner to motiate me some more. By Friday aft I was done teaching. Ruby cancelled my last lesson coz the kids were knackered bless 'em. This week has been yet another for getting closer to Sujan and Wendy. It seems that the more their English improves (which is EVERY DAY at the moment)the closer we become and we were close when Sujan could barely say hello, how are you ? I LOVE those little girls so much.

Ive really had the best day today. God has blessed me so much with my two mates Isabel and Juri. Theyre like my guardian angels sat the moment and I see them both at least twice a week now. I always feel a little back to myself when Ive spent time with them. I cant explain it. I guess its coz theyre a little like my mates back at home but Christian.

Today was time for me to go offer my services at the single mums home (Ive wanted to go along with Isabel for so long but Ive always been away when she been).It was SO lovely. I was a little worried that the Mums'd wonder why a dodgy, blonde foreigner was coming into their home to help clean and look after their babies, I was worried there'd be tension there of not only a stranger being in their private home but a foreigner lol. I shouldnt have worried though at all. I felt so comfortable there with Isabel knowing the Mums and babies so I felt so relaxed and at home. The babies jaws dropped instantly (whats new there then lol) and one of the tiny babies just stared into my eyes in awe for about ten minutes and almost couldnt catch her breath properly which was the funniest thing Ive ever seen but I felt like crying for her at the same time coz you could tell she was really overwhelmed ! It seemed she was struggling to catch her breath and she didnt know whether to laugh or cry. It was so sweet.

Twenty minutes later her Mum passed her to me and she was happy gurgling on my arm all afternoon. She even fell asleep on my shoulder really snuggled up tight so I cant be that ugly afterall ha. I literally melted when her Mum passed her to me... I hope Im not ready for kids yet. The hagwon's enough to put me off for life.Its been reconfirmed for me here how hard and demanding kids actually are. They are for life.

When I was younger Mum did alot of nannying for kids after Dad left. I saw the poo wiped on our bathroom walls (Much to Mums sheer delight...Peter heehee), the cronic nose picking and bleeding noses over our cream carpets...(Sam) the constant whinging and crying (I better not mention lol)the green bogie wiping down the chair arm (my dear sister), the burst bean bags...up our noses on the ceilings, down the stairs, down our pyjamas// (that was me and my first boyfriend Christian age 3?) So, I always knew the hard work and stress. If you want your kids to be put off teeenage pregnancies/ sex at an early age/sex before marriage a little- do some nannying.

Ive been feeling really maternal today though and its been so nice playing with the two baby girls and having some cuddles. God's always supplied when Ive felt the need for a snuggle. Usually its been Sujan or Wendy but today it was two little bundles of joy :)

So after we ate together and played some more me Isabel and Juri went off to Pinacle Land overlooking the ocean. Considering the weathers been diabolical all week it stayed dry for us and we walked around the flower and herb gardens and sat by the waterfall for a while.

It reminded me today that this whole year has been a time to just sit with God. It reminded me today just listening to the water. It was so relaxing we ended up sititng there for a while watching the Korean families and children almost head butting eachother head first into the pools of shallow, fish filled water. Isabel treated us to dinner and we ate some beautiful food overlooking the huge grassy lawns and pretty flowers. I feel refreshed all over again. After Church tommorrow and my weekly sauna Ill be totally ready for another hectic week. My Korean mate has sorted me out a friend to help me with driving/ basic maneouvers so Im realy excited about that for this week! I wanna get on the road asap when I get home ! No more shite waiting for the buses for me ta. Ive done it all my life and just coz Ive travelled alot doesnt mean Im not gonna get on it quickly when I get home lol!

You know sometimes Ill sit with God or alone and think about my time here over the past year. I needed to come out here and God made me pursue it. This very place. He planned everything here for me from the place to the people. I really believe it. He put it on my heart like I believe he does with a lot of things. Some people refused to believe it was from God but to this day I believe Im supposed to be here. In this place at this time with these lovely people.

Ill think about how Ive spent my time here and what Id do if I was doing it all over again. The truth is that Id change nothing. Ive been everywhere I wanted to go. Ive done everything Ive needed to do. I sometimes think about things Ive 'missed out' on like big clubbing nights out in Seoul with mates here, drinking sessions down town most nights that Ive missed. What I feel though is that I havent 'missed out' on it.

I came here to rest my soul, to think about my life, to spend time with God, for him to draw me close to him and its been one of the most peaceful, interesting years of my life. Actually THE most peaceful year of my life. I know when I get home everything is going to be mad again but Ill know and always remember the year that God himself took me away from everything to love his daughter and hold her in the palm of his very hand.

Ill never forget the moments Ive had with him here.

I doubt that this blog wil get any better with my hectic schedule up to when I leave but Il post my pictures (if I have any time to take any haha). Until then.

Sunday, 9 September 2007

Im so close to ending this blog right now coz Ive been so busy and updating it is becoming a chore lol. I cant possibly write about everything I do on here coz I just dont have the time and facebook seems to be so much easier for connecting with peeps. I m having issues with being sucked into the world of facebook and web sites such as bebo and my space. I've a strong theory about this time we're living in and Ive been so tempted to just cut off my accounts lol ! Ive got so many issues with facebook but I know if I cut myself off from it Ill also cut off alot of contacts off that I wanna stay in touch with. I know theres always email but facebook seems to be so much easier. I have a list growing in my head of the positives and the negatives of being on there ! Arrrggghh.. Ill keep you posted on it. This blog will definately stop in a few weeks coz Ill be home wit you all and we can TALK !!!!!!!!!

The weeks seem to be flying by... Its as though Im savouring every moment in my hagwon, every sunset I see, every time I bump into that lovely little old lady downstairs (who had her hair done last week and had her pearls on), everytime one of my kids comes over and throws their arms around me.

I sometimes feel like I should be distancing myself now from peeps but I seem to be revelling even more in the love my kiddies give me, relishing in the hugs Sujan and Wendy pour out. When I have a blue day its like the kids just know and like they just automatically know to love me more on those days.I never let them know Im feeling blue (if I am ) but its like they just know :) A few weeks ago (I dont know if Ive already posted this but..) I had a really bad week after something happened and I was feeling so down. I went and sat on the toilet (seat down.. sounds dirty but its my escape place sometimes when theres no where else to escape to in my busy hagwon) and prayed that God would remind me how much he Loved me. I instantly felt as though God just said, Scott, Ok Scott'll show you today. Just you wait. I felt as though the voice in y head was that clear that I was actualy saying the words myself and felt stupid. An hour or so later though Scott waddels in in his cute little shoes and hands me this beautiful hand crafted mirror, his face lighting up when he saw the expression on my face. It seems he never stops using these kids to remind me how much he adores me. It was a really memorable moment for me. Ill never forget it.

On Thursday Wendy sat and picked her nose for 45 minutes, Scott kept going out of the room for water every 5 mintues (coz he gets bored of the girlie singing & dancing being the only boy in the group) and Sujan sat with a face on because her best friend Melanie was sick and she was scared of getting told off by her Dad for being lost that afternoon but as I looked out into my little classroom I couldnt help but giggle to myself and wonder how Im ever gonna say bye to these little darlings. Ive seen most of them (Sujan and Wendy for definate) five days a week every week for almost a whole year. I feel like their main caregiver sometimes and I Love them.

Mrs Nam is unfortunately in hospital and Ive been worried alot this week. She had a car accident last week and since then shes not been back into work.Please pray for her. She had a CAT scan done and I everyones a little worried about her. Its not the same with her not there pottering around. I dont like it !

Anyway, moving on before the tears start again haha. Ive had a good week Ive hung out with mates alot, done alot of exercise, went to my belly dancing lesson on Wednesday which was great. I really feel like Ive found something Im good at and am gonna try carry on with it when I get home. My mate Cherry came round on Monday so I could help her with her university studies which will be an ongoing thing till I leave now . Althoug its a favour Im ding for her and her Mum Its actually really great for me too coz Im reminded how much I really learnt when I did my degree and things are coming to the surface that I forgot I knew! I really enjoy teaching one-to-ones. Willian my other student cancelled all his privates with me last week coz he was on business again so despite the dissapointment of not getting extra in my pay packet I had two nights free last week so I hit the gym :)

So, I went running last week, did three sessions of Yoga, had a good power walk with Monica, did an hour and a half of belly dancing and a small workout at the dance academy but still it doesnt feel like Im doing enough. Im craving more.. its driving me mad. Saturday I had to take a trip down to Yongsan for a hard drive.. my computers finally not switching its poor self off now due to info overload lol. I cant believe how many pictures Ive got after this year. Ive gotta stop. Seriously lol!

The next few weeks will fly by too. Ive got Chuseok coming up in a fortnight and plan to go on a last girlie hiking trip for a couple of days with Bolen, Carabeara and Monica. Im looking forward to having as much exercise as I want and having a whole 5 days off work yay ! Two weeks after that my Korean Family are taking me away with them (I guess if all well with Mrs Nam) to a resort for the weekend with Sujan and Wendy of course. They've even said I can bring Cara so I think It'll be a really nice, fun (but rather teary)last weekend together before I say farewell.

Ive got a lot to do this week. Running and a belly dancing session tommorrow morning, a one to one with Cherry in the evening, coffee with my pregnant mate Kyungran on Tuesday then a one to one with William in the evening, Wednesday I have my compassionte ministries meeting and then a yoga and cardio session, Thursday jog and William till 9.30, Friday ..hopefully a morning in bed so I can have a lie in ! This is an average week here for a Cheonanite I guess.Its busy, busy, busy and I feel terrible that I havent been to the orphanage for weeks so next week its gonna have to be priority..or maybe I could go this Friday morning...

Im currently putting up all my things for sale that Ive spent a fortune on in my apt. My sofa, queenie, bookshelves, chests of drawers.. stuff like that. Its all rather surreal. In a way it felt like yesterday that I was viewing thing to buy!

Had Monica over for the weekend which has been nice, red wine, a good laugh. I went out for a lovely italian with the girls today from my church, Sarah (my pastors wife ) and her cute daughter Emma. We sat out in the heat of the sun for quite a while on the patio and then me and some mates went on to Independance Hall. Im not big on museums and get bored after ten minutes but I loved the grounds! The torture chamber info in there was really interesting but so graphic I lasted about two minutes and was out with a definate tear in my eye. These Koreans had it tough thats all I can say.

So, Im busy and have a lot going on as per yooge as we say in Manchester :) Got a lot to think and pray about over the next few weeks but for now Im not making any strenuous decisions about what next. Im just gonna go home, chill out and think and prayabout my options when Im ready. I have a few ideas and all these desires to do certain things right now but one thing Ive learnt here is that its not about what I want for my life ... its about what God wants.

So please pray for me that Ill hear his voice clearly in all this all these ideas and options that are laden before me. Because I know there are soooo many.

Sunday, 2 September 2007

Okay okay ! So im doing a duff job again with this blog and thinking about sacking it off coz of lack of time.

Its hit me the past few days how soon Im leaving here and although Ive been given good advice to prepare my heart and cut down on seeing aquaintances where relationships could grow stronger I seem to be aquiring new relationships and spending more time with peeps lol.Just me all over.

Anyway the weeks are flying by. My belly dancing lessons are going well and are sooo fun, Im upping the ante on my cardio for a change (now the humidity is rapidly dissipating- oh the relief of not being wet through and saturated in your own and everyone elses sweat all the time lol ), keeping busy with my kiddies, odd yoga seshes (in my rather growing pretentious gym)and keeping up to date with mates.

Last week at work was a walk in the park. So much so my head was buzzing with the thoughts of going home. I worked about 21 hours.. honestly and to make matters more intense William (who i teach twice a week) was too busy for privates this week. It was not enough! How peeps do it everyweek.. i dunno ! I went crazy, my head was spinning all week with excitement, all that time free gave me all these eratic thoughts of home and Christmas and I was so restless sat there with no one to teach lol and all these thoughts of Christmas eve candle night ceremonies at Mottram on the Hill and our church, walks in the snow up at Warhill, our annual Christmas Morning breakfasts of champagne with the Martins (before church lol), christmas shopping with Mum... My girls, getting ready to go out on nights out over the festive season, nites in with Sarah drinking the left over brandy/vodka/ baileys and watching good old british comedy in front of the fire nearly weeing ourselves taking off the likes of Dawn French doing some Christmas special... arrgghhh the list is endless.... nothing beats being a Bunyan at Christmas :)

Despite my week being a 21 hour one Ive been kept busy out of the hagwon. My mate Cherry is struggling with her literature shes been given in Uni to review so Ive been making notes for her this week, read the book she needed to read and plan to meet up with her a few hours a week to help her out. Not only is it helping her but its keeping something alive in me that I love about literature and its reminding me about everything I learnt on my uni course so its all good :) Me and Rhys met up on Thursday for a bite and the evil makoli. I needed a guy chat. We drunk as much as we could and left the bar but as we were leaving something peculiar came over me, I was like you do know weve got half a teapot of makoli left. what are we doing leaving it ? so in two seconds we were back in the bar sat drinking the stuff and then next morning well... all I can say is if youve tried makoli you know how the head hurts the next day. Unluckily for me one of my fave students who I obsess about on here (Tonie) got out his little violin and started to play me a tune.

Jenny, my mate from college and uni came up this weekend from her little place near Suwon. It was SO mint to have her here and to catch up about the old days in college, have a giggle, talk about old people we used to hang out with together! We met up with Arran in town, went for an outback and then on to the extremely cool Rolling Stones Bar, Red Rooster and the evil makoli bar for another teapot of delight and some Man U action. The rain was pouring, Jen was with me in Korea talking about old times, listening to Fleetwood mac, the Beatles and getting wild watching the footy. Im getting ready for home :)

Sunday, 26 August 2007

Psalm 23

Whoa.. what a manic week. Back to the madness of my world yet allll goood :) In a whole week I havent even managed to find the time to update this thing. Ive been back 7 days and I havent been still.Ive had a case of the ants in ze pants. In just a week I feel wrecked again and in need of a day of nothingness, of greys anatomy, of frothy coffee and my big cosy, queen sized bed.

My holiday was amazing. It was so nice to just get away from Cheonan and venture down the East Coast of Korea alone with my wandering thoughts. I woke up last Saturday and was OFF. There was no way I was hangin about in Cheonan. My mate phoned me on Saturday afternoon and I was already at destination number one. I was craving a serious change of location and I sure got it!

It was a whole 9 days of hardcore hiking a bit of rock climbing (slightly scary gotta admit considering the gradient of the peaks..I even wont go there Mum), sunbathing, relaxing in beautiful jimjilbangs overlooking oceans, walking, visits to ancient temples, ponds, grottos.. the list is endless. I went to the very tranquil and restful Namiseon Island first, over to the Jungdo resort, across to Sokcho, onto Seoroksan, from there onto Gyeongju then down to Busan. Travelling down the coast was really stunning and despite being by myself it was great. It was mentally restful. Which I think we all know, is what I needed :)

I could write an essay about the whole week but Im not going to. Despite my bag being stolen on my last day on Hyundae beach with my Bible (which meant the entire WORLD to me) and my Armani watch and some other stuff.. clothes..a memory card with lots of pics on :( nice knickers (which are well hard to get here in Korea unless you think ajuma pants are sexy...nnnaaaahhhh) yeh, anyway.. it was great.

Seoroksan was one of my highlights. Beautiful towering granite peaks, sparkling crystal waters.Id reserved a place in the tourist info box before I ventured up through the park to stay in one of the mountain huts. By the time I got there I was wet, hungry (but happy) and naturally exhausted. Id decided to climb up to a grotto hidden in one of the peaks. The directions stated that it was only 3.5K so I decided to do a detour and stop there before I ventured onto my hut. Although it was only 3.5k the hike was very steep, lots of stairs (and I mean lots) and it was extremely knackering.I got up there and the whole of the park was covered in a white fog so despite my efforts to get in a good view...I could only see this fluffy blanket of white. It was really nice up there though lol. Very tranquil, the monk clopping away cross legged overlooking this fog, hundreds of tiny tealights lit and a place for people to pray to the gold figurine of Buddah.It was interesting. By the time Id got down I think I had another 3-6K to walk before I came to my destination.I knew it wouldnt be a palace but it was just a little white hut hidden in the mountains and little did I know that I was to share it with a Korean family of pro hikers. It was fine though. They kindly adopted me for the evening, gave me clean, dry clothes, food, lots of soju ( like I wasnt dehydrated enough lol) and the mother of the group made sure I had a comfortable place to sleep with their two daughters in our hut before the other four male pro hikers came and bundled in with us. Only in Korea as they say.

The next day they took me on a hike which was harcore. It was really kind of them. Being pro hikers and knowing the guard of the hut we stayed in they took me across to the off limits section of the park across from our hut. We climbed the peak in no time using metal cables and our legs and arms. I was sore for days after lol. The view was stunning, the grandfather of the group yodled some Korean from the top and sung a song and we then ventured down.. also frightening at times but their 8 and 9 year old kids were doing it so so was I !

Sokcho beach & the East Coast were a far cry away from the city lights and heights of Seoul and Cheonan and Gyeongju was really as beautiful as people say. Unable to get into the traditional house I wanted to stay in due to my trip being so spontaneous in terms of when I moved on from one place to another I managed to find a lovely little hostel. It was so full of character and I could tell by the old pictures and stuff on the walls that once upon a time this really was the place to be if you wanted a place to stay in Gyeongju.

Maybe the funniest thing that happened during my hol was seeing a very tall and quite old Mr Jin in the garden stark naked one evening as I was going to read my Bible and have a glass of wine. He was completely unclothed bent over washing his clothes. I apologised in Korean, didnt really know where to look but just covered my eyes and sat down on the garden table my back him.I was worried Id missed some important instructions about not coming into the garden after a certain time at night or something but grinning he just said sonething along the lines of, anyo meeanhamneedah, kwen chanayo, meeanhamneedah (no sorry, its okay, me sorry) and after a few seconds he toddled back off into his living quarters (which is on full show from reception behind a huge glass window by the way). Quite the exhibitionist I gather. Again.. only in Korea. Lol boy did I nearly wet the chair I was sat on . The rooftop in the hostel was great to see the sun go down on and I met a gal from Yorkshie there so it was nice to hang out together for a day and have a bit of company.

The beaches were lush and despite the jimilbangs being lovely overlooking Gwangali Bridge in Busan, (in Sokcho overlooking the lighttower and sea) I had a near death experience almost being squashed by an obese lady in there in one of the overcrowded sleeping rooms. A little girls feet stuck in my face the big lady snored loudly like a wild boar for most of the early hours. The women were getting really annoyed. One ajuma sat up at one point in temper,sighing, her face was a picture and I couldnt control my laughter. I had to leave the room and get out.It was just too funny.
Although I was alone I definately didnt have a boring time I can tell you that for sure. An old, wrinkly, saggy bummed man in the garden and a near death experience arent the only laughs I had lol.

My friend Cara came down to join me on my last night in Busan. I took her along to the lovely Vesta overlooking Hyundae Beach. It was really relaxing. Cara..the poor girl. Her first night in a jimjilbang.. she had an uncomfortable night too and the temperature wasnt right that night lol. We roasted in that sleeping room. Im sure we looked like little wrinkled mandus when we woke up.

Despite me feeling quite sick on Busan Beach on my last day when a freaky old man selling chicken kept giving me free cans of beer and coke all day as an excuse to look at my ladees bits (yuk), feeling pretty obese with all the stick thin Korean women and getting my bag nicked I wasnt gonna let my holiday get ruined so me and Cara went off for a really nice meal together.

God was really good to me during my time away. He looked after me, provided for me, gave me company along the way in different people and characters I met. He never ceases to amaze me.

So Im back to my carwee barwee bo' ing kids. Im refusing to let myself be burned out though. Im craving exercise as I have another 10K coming up :) but making time for it seems to be impossible at the moment. Im honestly that busy its a joke. Anyway, I have my belly dancing lessons on Monday mornings Im making priority and still have Yoga so it not all that bad. Im trying to get in as much exercise as poss. Compared to when I first came here (three hours a day of exercise) Im literally doing nothing now. I gotta sort it OUT!

Anyway its just a five week countdown now till Chuseok, five days off (asssaaaa) then five weeks back and shortly after Ill be on that Boeing back baby.

Thursday, 9 August 2007


Awwwww I am WELL excited. Its finally holiday has finally arrived! Just one more day in the hagwon....I seriously cant keep still :) I'm so excited!

Theres so many places Ive been itching to go to the past 9 months but its been impossible due to not having the time but I have a whole 9 days free to go and find as much adventure as I can :)

Despite my whack travelling skills and sense of direction and me being completely solo I'm daring to go and make the every most of my whole 9 days off. Arrrggghh cant believe Ive got 9 days off :)

Ive planned my trip and so far so good...

Namiseon Island
Sokcho Beach
Mt Seoroksan

I plan to spend time with God, relax, ride through the trees in Namiseon Island (maybe Jungdo Island too time allowing), laze on the beach in Sokcho, hike Mt Namsan, stay in a little sarangche by tumulus park, go to Bulguksa Temple, hike the mounts of Seoroksan (finally !) rest by the waterfalls, journey up the peaks by cable car, fry on Hyundae Beach, sit on Gwangali Beach under the stars and check out the view of the lit up bridges, stay in the Vespa jimjilbang, get a full body massage and get treated like a princess. Aw Bliss :) Im dying to get tomorrow over, pack my bags and shoot off. Im worried my memory card wont be able to hold all my pics lol. Ive gotta go and finish off my planning :)

Thursday, 2 August 2007

The other night whilst out with my managers cousin and friend over a private, they informed me that Cheonan apparently gets its name from the Chinese language and its meaning its something along the lines of, 'the safest place under the sky'.

I felt tingly all over when they told me so my blog has a new name.

Love from Cheonan...the Safest Place Under the Sky.

Not only did God bring me to such a loving Korean family, to a hagwon directed by a devout, on fire christian but also to a place with a name like this.

I'm constantly reminded of his blessings.

Such Love

So... Ive got good things ahead waiting for me and things at home girlies tell me that Hayleys big Day is coming up in December... I cant wait but we'd better get the tissues at the ready. This girl will weep. Hayley deserves a good man. I hope he is that :)

We're gonna have to go shopping when I get back straight away for our outfits lol. Anna you can plan that (if you havent already lol ;))

Me and mum are gonna go away for a week too when I get back. Ive worked really hard here this year and it'll be nice to go away to a place of seclusion for seven nights and rest and think about my time in Korea. I guess its gonna be hard to settle back in at home and strange to re-adjust after living here on my own for 12 months in a beautiful 2 bedroomed apt with a killer view and all the space I want in the world. Get in haaahaaa. Really though... Ive been thinking alot about my time here even though its not up yet due to the main reason that after my holiday in two weeks, I know my time heres gonna fly.

Im trying to prepare my heart and its strange but I know deep down that God's in complete control. I know he has amazing plans for me and I know that he brought me here, he prepared this place for me, the people, the places and I trust he has plans for me back at home or wherever else he desires me to go next. I just need to keep praying and keep my eyed fixed on Him.

I have never in my whole life experienced Gods Love for me like I have here. He has shown me so much Love in the past 9 months that I dont even know where to begin.

I really believe that I needed to come here for me to experience it. I came away alone, vulnerable and in Gods total care and under his total mercy and he has provided me with such richness I dont know where to start. I just know that he Loves me and he wants me to listen to him, to succumb to his voice, to his calling for me personally.

Ive had trials in recent months but reading Peter last week made me remember that these trials reveal how genuine our faith is. My hands shake as I write these words because God has spoken to me like never before through his word in my life this year. I dont know where to begin.

Ephesians and Phillipians have been two of the books that have been most prominent for me during my stay here. Before I came Ephesians 3v 14-20 was given to me repeatedly . Repeat, repeatedly.

Eveywhere I went in the space of a few weeks and months, the pastors/ preachers/ ministers/ evangelists voice boomed out (or I simply got an email/ letter) with the scripture from Paul,

When I think about all of this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, the creator of everything in heaven and on earth. I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he wil empower you with inner strength through his Spirit.Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God's love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all Gods people should, how wide, how long, how high and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, although it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with al the fullness of life and power that comes from God.
Now all glory to God , who is able, through his mighty power at work within us , to accomplish infinately more than we might ask or think.

Never have I experienced the Love of God like this. This child of God, this daughter of Christ never really experienced Gods Love for herself until she came here.

The thing is after I came back from moving away from him for so long I never let him close enough, never as close as he wanted me to let him. I guess I was scared of the rejection of not being good enough, pure enough, unsinful enough.

If only I had listened to his voice earlier on.

If only I had listened to him when he softly whispered, Come, Come as you are.

So I pray earnestly for continued spiritual growth as I did before I started this adventure.I dont want to become one of these stagnant, dried up Christians with no fire in them. I knew God would minister to me here greatly. I had high expectations as he asked me to have lol As Ive mentioned previously in my blog, I was told God would take me under his wing while I was here and he has done so in such a beautiful, gentle way.

If you're putting off moving back into Gods presence because you're worried you're too unclean and dirty I urge you to just put those thoughts behind you and come back into His presence. He was waiting for me for too long. He's waiting for you too.

One thing Ive learnt is that theres nothing you can do to stop him Loving you. Not a thing in the world.

When I read Pauls words in Phillipians 4 v 6&7 about Gods peace when I first came back to seeking God's face I didnt understand how it could be true. In previous years I was so filled with fear that I didnt understand how it could be real to have this peace that goes beyond anything we can understand, that can actually guard our hearts and minds. It baffled me.I felt too tormented to ever believe that this was real and that it could have been present and genuine in my life. The truth is though that it is real . I desired what Paul talked about and surely enough God gave me his peace.

In stepping out and seeking his face he has given me his utter peace. I never want to feel the fear that consumed me in my past again and I truly believe I wont. Ever Again.

Pentaport Rock Festival 2007

Ive REALLY not bothered with this blog now properly in a while but Ive been really preoccupied with other stuff so I apologise. Anyway, Pentaport ROCKED. Last weekend was definately one of the best weekends Ive had in South Korea since Ive been here and its taken me a good few days to recover from the lack of sleep and energy I used while I was there.

I travelled down to Incheon on Friday night telling myself that I wouldnt be there to catch The Chemical Brothers so that if by any chance at all I DID get there in time Id be even more excited about being there. And I was ! In time and excited ! They were amazing. Ive never seen them live before but it was really everything I thought and more and the visuals were amazing too. It was prety jaw dropping stuff :)

I finally caught up with my merry friends there who had already made friends with half the campsite. There was lots of drinking, a man made beach with hammocks and chill out areas, candles, huge beach fire, big screens, dj boxes/booths blasting out funky house, a huge camp ground, a huge dance tent, western eateries, funky little bars and cocktail stalls...ahhh it was so cool to just be there after working all week with my little monsters.I felt like I was on holiday it was so nice. I got bitten to shreds by mossies while camping but it was all worth the scars Ill probably have for life... they look more like baby bites (theyre huge)!

I really felt like it was a mini holiday for me. I havent let my hair down for a long time so it was sooo refreshing and so nice to hang out with nice people and have nice conversations with certain people I met. I really made some great friends this weekend that Ive got to hook up with again. I felt like I was back home during some conversations.

I've missed you girls more than I ever dreamed and I knew it'd be a lot.Just a few girlie conversations brightened me up... goodness knows what Im gonna be like when I see you all again... arrrgghhh I cant wait girls!!! :) Not long now !

I didnt get back to Cheonan till Monday morning right before work so I was pretty exhausted and felt like I was floating on air all day. Adrenaline still pumping around my system from Muse... yes Muse. They were aaaamazing too! Me and my mate Mipa got chatted up by some buff, farmer, welder boy who got us sorted out with very temporary back stage passes. Pretty cool to walk around but I wasnt that impressed. Truthfully I was bored and was constantly thinking about where my mates were(not which tent the Testament were sleeping in or which tent muse were hanging out in even) and if I could find them after the tour. Stuff doesnt impress me like that I guess.

So after two days and nights of rocking out with some seriously lovely people that I met there (Mipa coming down on Saturday morning to join us) I got on the bus to Incheon and found a jimjilbang to sleep in for the night. I didnt actually sleep. A pile of farting, korean women plonked on the floor with bright lights.... hmmmm not very restful by any means. At least I tried and I knew there was always the bus home lol

It was more uncomfortable than the tent I slept in for the two nights previous but I didnt care. The weekend made up for it 100 times over. It was all well worth it. Oh to be back! :)

Sunday, 22 July 2007

Ecclesiastes 3 v 1-8

For everything there is a season,
a time for every activity under heaven.
A time to be born and a time to die.
A time to plant and a time to harvest.
A time to kill and a time to heal.
A time to tear down and a time to build up.
A time to cry and a time to laugh.
A time to grieve and a time to dance.
A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.
A time to embrace and a time to turn away.
A time to search and a time to quit searching.
A time to keep and a time to throw away.
A time to tear and a time to mend.
A time to be quiet and a time to speak.
A time to love and a time to hate.
A time for war and a time for peace.

Saturday, 21 July 2007

Corinthians 13 v 4-8

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. it is not irritable , and it keeps no record of being wrong. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith. is always hopeful , and endures through every circumstance.

Tuesday, 17 July 2007

Seoul Grand Park Zoo

So It was a National Holiday yesterday in Korea and me and my mate Byron decided to go Seoul Grand park to see experience a real Korean Zoo :)

It was great to act like a big kid all day instead of being the sensible teacher.

The Zoo was pretty impressive and the weather turned out to be really nice. There were plenty of things to see... Lions, Monkeys (which were a little vicious and scared me a bit..not like the randy ones me an Jai saw in Chester Zoo before I left!), Zebras, Gorillas, Pumas, Leopards, Exotic Birds, the list goes on.

The Monkeys are always my favourite things to see coz I find them so comical to watch. The monkey Ive added a picture of was making a right racket and looked like a grizzly old man setting the world to rights.I could have stayed there all day watching him. One Gorilla was pretty angry and was throwing things at the glass window to scare people away. He was ONE BIG gorilla thats for sure and Im very glad of the glass patition :( Check out those legs on him.

We also went to watch a dolphin show which was awesome, Ive never seen dolphins so close up before! We then skipped onto the cable car to finish off our day which was pretty high up giving us a good view of the place and over the lions den..eeerrr.

Circled with beautiful Mountains and trees it was a really nice place to go on a day off. A subway back in the humidity (or two.. im the worst with directions lol) we stopped off in Songtan for a well deserved thai after all our walking.

Talking of walking Im craving another mad hike again...I think it may be on the cards.

Sunday, 15 July 2007

Boryeong Mud Fest 2007

So on Friday night Mr and Mrs Nam, Ruby and Steven and I went for meal to talk.I felt a little nervous all day to be honest.I felt as though I was gonna get sacked or something but I think it was just because of the underlying tensions that have been apparent between me and Steven recently lol. Anyway, we talked for a long time over dinner and Mr Nam said that he really appreciated how hard we work when he knows how much hard work the kids are getting recently. I was so relieved that he's actually aware of it.

Since Steven started the kids behaviour has become appauling. I dont like to pin the blame but I was just so relieved when Mr Nam mentioned it on Friday. Im glad its just not me.For once Steven translated properly and he also apologised for a recent thing he said to me that really caused offense and tension all week. After all my prayer I feel like somethings happening slowly. Im really pleased. We'll have to see how it goes though because Ive thought this before and the poos hit the fan again. Anyway I live in constant hope.

So Mr Frost- Mending fences...theres one being worked on. Was glad the evening went well and that I felt properly communicated for a change. Just a damn shame I had to eat sea squirt...(yes sea squirt. dont even ask because squirt is what it does)and other 'delicious' side dishes.Oh the joy.

It was the annual Boryeong Mud Festival this weekend on Daechon Beach where thousands of foreigners congregated for the festivals 10TH year mud festival celebrations. Id been looking forward to it for such a long time. Even before I came to South Korea I heard about it and saw photographs of it in a British Newspaper and remember thinking I HAD to come to Korea just to see it !

Feeling a bit shocked at how packed the beach was when we arrived and taking it all in I felt a little like I wasnt actually on this planet. A few hours after I still felt as though I wasnt on the planet. Pissed up, drunk, full of mud, wrestling, soju drinking, dancing, singing, frolicking in the sea foreigners. A whole lot of fun but rather strange to experience for someone whos been away from so many English speakers for so long! It definately given me a taste of whats to come when I get back home. I better preapare myself. 15 weeeks to go....

The day went so quickly. We sunbathed, got mudded up, went swimming and then met up with the rest of the Cheonanites by the watch tower. More wasted but funny mates arrived and bumped into lots of people Ive met over the few months here not recognising them instantly for obvious reasons lol.

We all had a few game of funny frisbee in the sea (hilarious with me on Arrans shoulders coz he's so short lol) chilled out with some drinks, showered then back down to the beach for fireworks, wine, live entertainment, bands, dancers, and good merry banter. I also invited Steven over with his Girlfrined for a drink. Gasp. lol I couldnt believe how many people were there. It was a tiring day so today was nice to chill out on the beach and fry with the ones who didnt get away yesterday :) A few hours later, good tans all round and a few drops of rain we sped off to the train st, grabbed some pizza and got home :)

Its been an interesting weekend. Ive learnt alot about myself in just two days.I didnt realise how much Id changed. I honestly didnt.

Sunday, 8 July 2007

Songnisan Weekend Break

So after a good week at the hagwon due to a lot of kiddies being away at a school camping trip I threw a party for my elementary kids in my hagwon. It was really nice to do something special with them as they're so cute but it was hard work... I wont be doing it again in a hurry thats for sure lol.

Saturday Morning me and a few friends met up and made our way to Songnisan National Park. Whilst speed hiking/jogging up 3 different peaks I realised that it wasnt the relaxing weekend Id much yeared for but more a hardcore hiking weekend...I feel great though and am planning on doing it again very soon :)We started off at 4.30pm with Munjangdae rock as our destination. Passing two other beautiful peaks on the way I think it's probably the one of the biggest and beautiful hikes Ive ever done (the biggest peak only a mere 1000ft for you pro hikers back home). As a new hiker and doing it in the time we did it I was a happy bunny :) In three hours we were up and back down to our little birosanjang.I think it must have been about 8miles and it was a really steep walk all the way up with lots of stairs. The humidity was really bad but we all ended up speed hiking and it was fun but very hot and very wet work! I wore shorts and a tee and was wet through before we'd even begun. My hair was soaking, my clothes soaked and I felt a little strange half dressed running up the tracks whilst fully kitted out korean, sweat free hikers passed me by.It was good fun though and I felt like a little kid racing up the tracks through the park.

For those happy, avid hikers back home who want to know a bit more about the (very few) mountains Ive hiked, Songnisan is one of the eight most scenic attractions of Korea and it's the central part of the Great Paekdu Mountain Range.I think its stunning. Its the water source of three rivers, the Han, the Kum, and the Nakdong River and the highest peak is Chonhwangbong (1,057m) (which we climbed up too). It was so nice to go on a proper hike as Ive not been for a long time now with being so busy.The humidity made it really hard to walk in and my clothes were completely saturated with sweat before we'd actually even begun.Nice. On a few of the photos I look a bit high but to set the record straight Im actually not I think its just all the adrenaline that I had pumping around my system.

The park still looks as beautiful as ever. Different because there was no ice or snow this time but still very beautiful. Back and washed in the little hut at our biro hut with bucket fulls of tepid water and korean soap I felt a lot better and then we all settled down to relax for the night on the terrace with an amazing meal that the host cooked for us.

On Sunday we took the trip back to Cheonan slowly compared to the day before stopping off for various things in the little town and taking in the park itself.Walking along the theraputic pebbles barefoot and paddling in the stream I felt rejuvenated and like Id had a good weekend away. Jimjilbang afterwards and then it was to an amazing new restaurant by my place with one of Monicas Korean friends.

Fab Time away. Everyone needs it once in a while. Even if it is to go on a mad, suprise workout :)