Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Reason I Haven't Posted in a While...

So, believe it or not, there is a reason that I haven't posted for a while. Actually, there are reasons. None of them are really all THAT valid, but they're my reasons. :) I stopped journaling on a regular basis and blamed that on my assignment in my Korean class to keep a Korean journal. After trying to think of how to write things out in Korean, I just didn't feel like journaling anymore. Now I don't have to keep a journal anymore, but I still don't write in my regular journal. Wahh wahhhh. As for my blog, I'm blaming the lack of writing on my new found internet networking community: cyworld. Cyworld is basically the Korean version of facebook, but I think maybe it's been around longer (don't quote me on that). So the good thing about cyworld is that I can connect with my Korean church friends, most of which are scared to death of facebook. The bad thing about it is that it's all in Korean!!! So it takes me SO long to do anything on there! And, whenever I write to my friends, I usually have to write in Korean too, which takes a lot of time and energy!
So, speaking of those people that are taking up my time on the web...they're wonderful! I've been forming so many great friendships with the people at my new church! It's so great to feel like I really have a community of friends again...not just a couple friends here or there, but really a community of them. And I was told by one of those friends last night that they seem to appreciate me too. I sometimes think that as the foreigner hanging out with the Koreans that I just become a bit of a bother. Like "Oh, yeah, we need to make sure Tori knows what's going on." So I was pleasantly surprised yesterday in my conversation with my friend. He was complimenting me, saying that my Korean was good and that I had many friends at the church... then he told me that many people had talked to him, saying that I was a blessing at this church.
I have to say....people can tell me up and down that that I do a good job, or compliment me on some talent or another, but whenever someone tells me that they feel like I'm a blessing from God, I feel really special. I think part of it is that this kind of comment is not very common, so it feels even more sincere. Anyway, it was just really encouraging to feel like not only am I beginning to fit in, but also that someone would consider me a blessing as opposed to a hindrance. So I left the car (to go to bowling club, haha) with a great feeling. I'm very encouraged in my interactions with other now knowing that at least some people genuinely do enjoy me being around!
Today's a good day. ^^

Monday, February 7, 2011

An Update

Well, I have successfully gone over 2 months without writing on here....sorry! I figured I should post an update on what my life has been like over the past few months and such.
Something big that's happened in my social life is a complete friend shift. All of the people that I was close to in the past year or so have now moved back to America, leaving me here with no close friends. That was a really hard thing to deal with actually. Being a socially oriented person (shocker, right??) my everyday emotional well being is often charged by the people I'm around and the interactions I have. So, to have all of the people that I'm closest to in life either already on the other side of the world or leave to go to the other side of the world was quite the challenge for me. I was being to get frustrated with the lack of direction for my future, thinking "Why would I stay in Korea anyway? Most of my friends are gone!" I of course still had friends, but most of my deep, intimate friendships had moved away. However, it's amazing how God provides in our lives. I can't honestly say that I have any super close, intimate friendship here the kind where you're the first to tell each other anything and everything, but I have been blessed with some wonderful new friendships. First off, one of my co-teachers at school. Her English name is Angelina, but she doesn't like that name! Anyway, I wouldn't have put us as becoming great friends because she was recently married (about a year ago) and normally in Korea singles tend to hang out with singles, married folk with married folk. However, in some random timing, we ended up with this mutual love for going to coffee shops, trying new drinks and eating some sort of dessert that was oh-so-bad for us. And after a few months time, she has become a great friend that I feel very comfortable around. Another great group of friends I'd like to mention as a true blessing from God recently has been my Korean church friends. In September I began attending a Korean church in addition to the English church I was already attending. I met some awesome people there and really started forming great bonds...and then, they switched our small groups. As a regular routine, the church changes up the people in the small groups every 6 months. I was NOT ready to give up my old group. I loved my old group. And in the first week of my new group, I definitely wanted to go BACK to my old group! We as the foreigners in the church had decided to split up into different groups and experience some different things. So me, Joel and then one other person from my former group joined several new people in a different group. My leader was afraid of me because he didn't speak English, there was a 41 year old man who was trying way too hard TO speak English, and then a bunch of other Korean girls, some of which spoke English, some of which didn't. Needless to say, I was not really looking forward to this new "adventure." And in the process of forming new groups, I felt like I lost a friendship with my former group leader, who was now the new team leader, and therefore had a lot of things on his plate. Anyway, bringing the negative around to a positive, I ended up feeling overwhelmingly blessed by being able to meet and be friends with the people in my new team. My cell group leader is no longer afraid of me, I've made a great friend in one of the girls in my cell, and have been able to spend lots of time with several people from my team.
Last week we went snowboarding (yes Mom, Dad, I went snowboarding!!) which was so much fun! And the only injury I had from it was a whopping bruise on my knee which is now purpley/black, so it's almost gone. I have been sleeping on a heating pad though in order to help loosen out the muscles in my back! Haha. Also last week, we had a little Korean cooking party. We made mandu...lots and LOTS of mandu. I will probably be eating mandu for the next week or two! Haha.

So, update on the job status. I have officially told my current employer that I do not intend to stay in this program next year. Originally my plan of action (after much praying and not a whole lot of direction) was to apply for jobs like crazy, both in Korea and in America and just hope for the best. But in the past couple weeks my heart has been stirred a bit with the thought of staying here in Korea, namely in Cheonan. I am still praying about it for some affirmation and such, but I just really recently have been feeling a strong connection with Cheonan, not wanting to leave, not feeling like it's time to leave yet. However, that means I need to find a job here! Haha. My prospects were looking a lot wider at the thought of going anywhere in Korea or America, but with only jobs in Cheonan, my odds are a bit lower. Right now I'm hoping and praying that I can find a job teaching at a university. I'm not a shoe-in for this kind of job (as I don't have a Master's degree) however, it's not impossible (as some colleges will hire teachers with experience and TESOL certification). Now of course if I feel at some point like this isn't what I need to be aiming for, I'll turn my direction a bit more. The good news stateside? Well, A: there's a possibility that I can take master's classes while working at a university and can therefore complete the things necessary for my recertification in Kansas. B: working at a university would give me a considerable amount more time for vacation, which would give me a REAL vacation back to America each year...which is great!

Another side note before I end this for today, the band "the Glorious Unseen" is wonderful. If you haven't checked them out, you need to. Go to youtube now...ok, after you read this. They have this song that's really touched me recently. It is not on youtube, but I'll post the lyrics of it. It's really been an encouragement to me in a time of waiting, knowing that God is still using me for His calling in my life. :) Enjoy.

We expect the best and nothing less from You,
But will we embrace
The suffering too as part of Your plan for us, oh Lord?

You hold my hand and whisper in my ear of how
You're longing to be near
And how, my pain, You feel it too.

Here I stand, securely, resting in Your presence, waiting on Your voice.
Hold my hand as I walk through the valley of the shadow,
Embracing the call again.

You pull me close and hold me in Your arms,
And show me how Your love is strong,
That never leaves when I'm alone

Here I stand, securely, resting in Your presence, waiting on Your voice.
Hold my hand as I walk through the valley of the shadow,
Embracing the call again.