The weekend that was September 1st-2nd, 2012
– Saturday night, my host family took me out for kalbi. It’s a Korean pork dish that is grilled right at the table and served with lettuce, onions, and other vegetables. It was so delicious. The restaurant was very traditional. Upon entering, we removed our shoes and put them in a special bin by the entrance. Honestly, I thought we were going into a shoe store before we ate. But no, we were going to eat! I removed my shoes, walked barefooted across the floor into a special closed off room where we grilled meat and ate noodles. So delicious.
-We also went to Seogwipo Harbor, a popular tourist destination in the city. There is a large bridge that connects the main island to a smaller island and we walked across. At night, the bridge looks like a giant, neon sailboat with changing colors. For a while, we listened to a Korean rock band play, followed by two trumpet players wearing floppy hats and sunglasses that looked strangely similar to my American Literature professor in college. They played traditional Korean love songs, a syncopated version of “Taps,” and “What a Wonderful World.”
– We visited a waterfall, looked at giant koi fish in the pond, and my host sister bought me an ice pop.
I thought that this would be the year I would be a Methodist. You know, expand my denominational horizons just a bit. There’s a Methodist Church in my backyard. For real. So, while talking to my host mom and host sister during Saturday lunch, they asked where I wanted to go to church. Host mom suggested that I go to church with the pastor that lives upstairs.
Apparently, houses here are built for two families. I had no idea. I knew we had an upstairs, but I didn’t know a pastor and his wife lived above us. I had met the couple before, but I thought the lived down the street. As it turns out, they live right above us. Small world. During kalbi Saturday night, host mom called them twice to make sure they could take me to church. So, at 9a.m. this morning, I piled into a large church van with the pastor, his wife, another child (not theirs), and a gentleman they called “Elder Brother” (I’m assuming he holds the position of ‘Elder’ in the church). We arrive at church, I discover that it’s a Presbyterian congregation, celebrating it’s 42nd year on Jeju Island.
I sit through the children’s service and afterwards, one of my students was so amazed that I came to the same church as she did.
“So, you’ll be coming back next week, and the next week, and the next week?” She asked. Yes, I’ll be back week after week after week. I also met another Korean woman who is a little under a year younger than me. She taught Korean kindergarten and speaks excellent English. She told me I was the first foreign English speaker she had seen at the church before. She was surprised that I wasn’t attending the English services in town or in Jeju City (I suppose that I can go to an English service in the United States, Korean church only comes around once in a lifetime). We became fast friends as we exchanged phone numbers and went to the 7-11 with another woman to buy pouch drinks (flavored liquid in a pouch that you pour over ice; so delicious).
Needless to say, I was quite the sight at church. Older women were helping me navigate the hymnal, while the pastor I came with helped me navigate the Korean/English Bible I was using. During the announcements at the end of the main service, I heard my name called from the pulpit. Usually, that’s something that you never want to hear. Ever. However the senior pastor asked me to stand and everybody turned, look, and applauded. The pastor said he was glad that I was here. I was glad I was there.
This week, I begin a new teaching week with new lessons. I sometimes struggle to meet the time allotted to me (45 minutes, always a struggle!), but I’m hoping to stretch it this week. We can do it!
Good early morning America and geon bae from a different kind of south,