Thursday, May 21, 2009

My 1st Korean Haircut

So on Thursday morning I started my day off “normal,” I talk with Ashley on skype for an hour or so. With my hair curling on the side I knew it was time for a cut. So I got some pictures of the kind of cut I wanted, and have had in the past. Since there was no way I knew how to tell the barber in Korean I want a number 3 fade, sideburns, bangs, round in…blah blah, so the pictures were a great a idea, Thank you Google for your suggestion. LOL! Anyhow, I should the lady my pictures of what I wanted and she having a good eye and hands, I got my hair cut. It was pretty sweet afterward another woman washed my hair in there sink, that was 1st time I ever had done to my hair before. So all that cutting and washing was so cheap like ~6 dollars American (or 8000 Won). After that I gave my two haircut ladies each 5000 Won of like 3 or 4 dollar tip, which other than it being a very big tip; Koreans do not even a tipping system. So, they suddenly loved me whole bunch, so now that I have made a good relationship with so the next time go back there I’ll get the good treatment. Yay! Also, seeing as how I normally spent 12-15 bucks on a cut plus tip is like 15 or 18..i think I made out just as well as they did as far I am concern. After that I got ready for my classes. They went so much better today, I was way less nervous that yesterday, and with 6 new sets of kids it felt like a fresh start. ( I teach 6 sets of 50 min classes m-w-f and another tues and thurs…roughly speaking…it was long, but a good day..Now I am sleepy!

Catching my breathe

1st few days in Korea:
Ok the jetlag and craziness is settling down a bit, I thought I’d write a little bit. So much has been happening I don’t even know where to start. Finally, after getting some sleep after 30+ hrs I got some sleep; about 10hrs. After I got up (I was at a motel), I moved into my new apt, I really didn’t even have time to unpack, I had to come down and meet the new co-workers. After some friendly introductions, I started to shadow a few of the teachers here, whose names are Andrew and Cheri, they are married and from S. Africa. After a few hours, I was able to unpack in my new apt. The apt is pretty much like living in an Almy suite, only 1 person in the room and there is no connection to my roommate. There is a unique addition though, a sort of veranda, that I can step out onto and see the town and woods beyond me. I had dinner with Cheri and Andrew, and he took me around and showed where the local grocery stores. When I got back I was exhausted and passed out soon after. The next day, I woke up at 7am, internal clock not letting me sleep longer (I work from 2pm-8:30pm). So having nothing to do and not have my internet or anything like that yet. I started walking around the neighborhood block after block the town is a lot like American. So blocks are retail strips other are people homes that are fairly similar to ours. Just replace all the English signs and word and people with Korea ones…lol. About 9am I went grocery shopping all by myself. it’s hard to shop for food, when the ppl and writing are another language that you don’t speak. I went shopping in the DR before, but those words though Spanish, a least used the same ABC’s as us and the same symbols and were close enough I might be able to figure out, But not Korean, these symbols are as foreign to me as the Lifetime channel.
So after that fun adventure, a fellow Korean teacher, Eric, took me to the hospital to have physical as it were. All there medical technology seems way more advance than ours, but in some ways not. The technology was advanced, which was cool, but when it came to something as simple as urine test, instead of a plastic cup and lid, they gave me a Dixie cup basically. You thought that little test was embarrassing with the cup; imagine having to fill up a Dixie cup…needless to say I am glad to that test was over. I spent the rest of the day following teachers around and watching how they run their classes. After that Eric and I went to do some shopping at the 1000 waon store (dollar store for us). Then, got some pizza with potatoes and meat which is very good. On Wed I started my 1st day teaching. My 1st class, I had no idea what the lesion plan was since the teacher who had that class before me (kids in that class are about 7-9), was gone, so I had to look at their hmwk to figure where we were. One girl in class was crying when I got there because another boy in class had hit her before class had begun, so for the rest of class all those kids were talking about was how the boy got into trouble…it was a horrible first experience. My other classes gradually got better as the day progressed. By the end, with 13 year old kids the class was better and a least calm. Anyhow, after work there was bible study. Praise God that 3 of my fellow teachers had started up this study, this was such an answer to prayer before I came over here. I will be going to church with them on Sunday. Also, I went shopping this day by myself, which can be hard; it requires a lot of gesture and some pen and paper. I got some shirts,, luckily the clerk spoke enough English to help me out. Afterward, I saw a baskin robins ice cream store. It was like a piece of American heaven in all 30+ flavors. Best $2.00 I have spent all month.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

day 4

DAY 4:
Travel day aka judgment day…Have I mentioned how much I hate heights.. I have flown on 12 planes in the last 5 yrs…I still don’t like them…Take offs and landings are like….lots of praying for me….flying is okay…it the looming dread of crashing into a mt or a terrorist that I don’t like. Needless to say I didn’t sleep much. Like an 1 hr. My ride to airport came at 5am. I got checked into JFK and made it through security pretty easy..just the normal special treatment for me..YAY! I love being normal! Anyhow, on the van ride to JFK, I met a few interesting people. One was a girl from Denmark, who apparently was backpacking through South and North America, and was now on her way home. How cool I though, we go to Europe to backpack, they come to the Americas. The other person I met was a girl who was a Canadian that was at some conference at the UN and was now going home; apparently she also plays the Celtic Harp. Go figure. Next, was the flight from JFK to Detroit only a few hours, which was the shortest of all my flights. It was good warm up to the 13 hr flight that awaits me. I made it to Tokyo the 12 hr plane ride, plus 45 min quarantine by the Japan govt to make sure no one has swine flu i guess. I dont have much time left, but i want to tell you i am safe and love you very much. i hope grad was fun for you all. I'll email when i get to Korea

Friday, May 15, 2009

NYC SightingSeeing

Day 3:

So last night, I got a call from the agency in Korea, due to some miscommunications my flight got delayed until sat morning instead. It was rather inconvenient, but not entirely bad. In my attempt to make some lemonade from lemons I visited the city. I went to Museum of Natural History. I took lots of pics (there all on facebook). I saw many interesting exhibits like planets, dinosaurs and other animals. After that I took the subway to the Rockefeller Center. I saw the famous ice skating ring and statue, which apparently serves as a fancy restaurant in the summer. Following that I decided to head to statue of liberty. I got on the fairy and went Stanton Island; seeing the famous green French lady in the process. After a long day of sightseeing and train travel I came back to my room, packed, and am now ready for this new stage in my life..Korea!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

My Journal on Traveling

DAY 1:

My trip started off at 6am as Pat, Ashley, and I packed up for a little road trip to NYC. Listening to some audio books and a few snacks the trip went pretty well; we stopped a few times for gas and food. I couldn’t sleep the night before because of many obvious reasons (leaving home and friends, traveling, flying around the world, etc…), so I was hoping to do so on the car ride, but that lasted for all of 15 minutes. Otherwise, we missed a few turns here and there once we got into the city, but the other 95% of traveling here went swimmingly. It was about 1:30pm when we got onto Manhattan. After parking, we spent about an hr or so walking around as my interview at the Korean Embassy was not until 3pm. The city is, of course, pretty to look at; all the tall building and famous scenery were pretty awesome for this NYC first timer (I only flew over it or drove around it on the Highway in the past). My interview went well; it would take a day to get my visa fully processed. After that we took the subway to Time Sq., saw all the famous things there and had dinner at the Hard Rock Café. Some time later, I got to my hotel and did all that jazz. I said good-bye to Pat, and then Ashley. (Saying goodbye to her for a year was one of the hardest things I have had to do in my life, but luckily we serve an awesome God, who knows how to dispense the right amount of Grace and Peace to his Childern). After that I was exhausted, since apparently not sleeping for 36 hrs does have adverse side effects, so I went to bed at like 9pm. LOL!

Day 2:

After a good nights rests, about 11am, I got up and decided I wanted to see the city before I left, so getting my umbrella, camera, and map I started off. I had no particular place to go or see, until 3pm to pick up my visa. So I went to Central Park, Downtown, Trump Tower, the CNN HQ in NY, and a bunch of other little places like that. I rode the subway around for a while with no particular destination, I just enjoyed watching ppl got about their lives, many ppl seem to be in a hurry, but I was surprised by the fact that number of folks I saw were fairly laid back, which I think is good trait to have in this city. I talked to Ashley a lot throughout the day, apparently she and Pat, got a little lost after missing their turn and didn’t get home until like 2am. But they made it and they had the Marley and Me audio book to keep them company on the ride home. After getting my visa, seeing a few more sights I came back to the hotel, but not before getting a very yummy lamb gyro. I made a few more calls to family, bank, and etc…for the big trip tomorrow, and now I plan to pack a little bit better and play some videogames, and hopefully get some sleep since my ride will be picking me up for the airport at 5am…

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Fox's Book of Martyrs

So i picked up Fox's Book of Martyrs the other day, E-sword has a free E-copy as a resource guide. I have been through some of Jesus Freaks before, but never Fox. It is really good, the language is certainly 19th century, but still it's really amazing stuff. It makes me wonder how many of those who call themselves "Christian" would have faired in the Faith, if they had been born in the 1st-4th centuries. Here are some of my favorite accounts. If i had writen all of favs...i would had to have written out 3/4 of the book.

1. Dionysius, the Areopagite, was an Athenian by birth, and educated in all the useful and ornamental literature of Greece. He then travelled to Egypt to study astronomy, and made very particular observations on the great and supernatural eclipse, which happened at the time of our Savior's crucifixion.

2. Justin, the celebrated philosopher, fell a martyr in this persecution. He was a native of Neapolis, in Samaria, and was born A.D. 103. Justin was a great lover of truth, and a universal scholar; he investigated the Stoic and Peripatetic philosophy, and attempted the Pythagorean; but the behavior of our of its professors disgusting him, he applied himself to the Platonic, in which he took great delight. About the year 133, when he was thirty years of age, he became a convert to Christianity, and then, for the first time, perceived the real nature of truth.
He wrote an elegant epistle to the Gentiles, and employed his talents in convincing the Jews of the truth of the Christian rites; spending a great deal of time in traveling, until he took up his abode in Rome, and fixed his habitation upon the Viminal mount. He kept a public school, taught many who afterward became great men, and wrote a treatise to confuse heresies of all kinds. As the pagans began to treat the Christians with great severity, Justin wrote his first apology in their favor. This piece displays great learning and genius, and occasioned the emperor to publish an edict in favor of the Christians. Soon after, he entered into frequent contests with Crescens, a person of a vicious life and conversation, but a celebrated cynic philosopher; and his arguments appeared so powerful, yet disgusting to the cynic, that he resolved on, and in the sequel accomplished, his destruction. The second apology of Justin, upon certain severities, gave Crescens the cynic an opportunity of prejudicing the emperor against the writer of it; upon which Justin, and six of his companions, were apprehended. Being commanded to sacrifice to the pagan idols, they refused, and were condemned to be scourged, and then beheaded; which sentence was executed with all imaginable severity.

3. It has been said that the lives of the early Christians consisted of "persecution above ground and prayer below ground." Their lives are expressed by the Coliseum and the catacombs. Beneath Rome are the excavations which we call the catacombs, whivch were at once temples and tombs. The early Church of Rome might well be called the Church of the Catacombs. There are some sixty catacombs near Rome, in which some six hundred miles of galleries have been traced, and these are not all. These galleries are about eight feet high and from three to five feet wide, containing on either side several rows of long, low, horizontal recesses, one above another like berths in a ship. In these the dead bodies were placed and the front closed, either by a single marble slab or several great tiles laid in mortar. On these slabs or tiles, epitaphs or symbols are graved or painted. Both pagans and Christians buried their dead in these catacombs. When the Christian graves have been opened the skeletons tell their own terrible tale. Heads are found severed from the body, ribs and shoulder blades are broken, bones are often calcined from fire. But despite the awful story of persecution that we may read here, the inscriptions breathe forth peace and joy and triumph. Here are a few:

"Here lies Marcia, put to rest in a dream of peace."
"Lawrence to his sweetest son, borne away of angels."
"Victorious in peace and in Christ."
"Being called away, he went in peace."

Remember when reading these inscriptions the story the skeletons tell of persecution, of torture, and of fire. But the full force of these epitaphs is seen when we contrast them with the pagan epitaphs, such as:

"Live for the present hour, since we are sure of nothing else."
"I lift my hands against the gods who took me away at the age of twenty though I had done no harm."
"Once I was not. Now I am not. I know nothing about it, and it is no concern of mine."
"Traveler, curse me not as you pass, for I am in darkness and cannot answer."

The most frequent Christian symbols on the walls of the catacombs, are, the good shepherd with the lamb on his shoulder, a ship under full sail, harps, anchors, crowns, vines, and above all the fish.

4. Peter, a young man, amiable for the superior qualities of his body and mind, was beheaded for refusing to sacrifice to Venus. He said, "I am astonished you should sacrifice to an infamous woman, whose debaucheries even your own historians record, and whose life consisted of such actions as your laws would punish. No, I shall offer the true God the acceptable sacrifice of praises and prayers." Optimus, the proconsul of Asia, on hearing this, ordered the prisoner to be stretched upon a wheel, by which all his bones were broken, and then he was sent to be beheaded.

5. Theodora, a beautiful young lady of Antioch, on refusing to sacrifice to the Roman idols, was condemned to the stews, that her virtue might be sacrificed to the brutality of lust. Didymus, a Christian, disguised himself in the habit of a Roman soldier, went to the house, informed Theodora who he was, and advised her to make her escape in his clothes. This being effected, and a man found in the brothel instead of a beautiful lady, Didymus was taken before the president, to whom confessing the truth, and owning that he was a Christian the sentence of death was immediately pronounced against him. Theodora, hearing that her deliverer was likely to suffer, came to the judge, threw herself at his feet, and begged that the sentence might fall on her as the guilty person; but, deaf to the cries of the innocent, and insensible to the calls of justice, the inflexible judge condemned both; when they were executed accordingly, being first beheaded, and their bodies afterward burnt.

6. Most of the errors which crept into the Church at this time arose from placing human reason in competition with revelation; but the fallacy of such arguments being proved by the most able divines, the opinions they had created vanished away like the stars before the sun.

7. At Utica, a most terrible tragedy was exhibited: three hundred Christians were, by the orders of the proconsul, placed round a burning limekiln. A pan of coals and incense being prepared, they were commanded either to sacrifice to Jupiter, or to be thrown into the kiln. Unanimously refusing, they bravely jumped into the pit, and were immediately suffocated.

8. The principal sufferers were: Felix, bishop of Rome. This prelate was advanced to the Roman see in 274. He was the first martyr to Aurelian's petulancy, being beheaded on the twenty- second of December, in the same year.

9. In the year of Christ 286, a most remarkable affair occurred; a legion of soldiers, consisting of six thousand six hundred and sixty-six men, contained none but Christians. This legion was called the Theban Legion, because the men had been raised in Thebias: they were quartered in the east until the emperor Maximian ordered them to march to Gaul, to assist him against the rebels of Burgundy. They passed the Alps into Gaul, under the command of Mauritius, Candidus, and Exupernis, their worthy commanders, and at length joined the emperor. Maximian, about this time, ordered a general sacrifice, at which the whole army was to assist; and likewise he commanded that they should take the oath of allegiance and swear, at the saame time, to assist in the extirpation of Christianity in Gaul. Alarmed at these orders, each individual of the Theban Legion absolutely refused either to sacrifice or take the oaths prescribed. This so greatly enraged Maximian, that he ordered the legion to be decimated, that is, every tenth man to be selected from the rest, and put to the sword. This bloody order having been put in execution, those who remained alive were still inflexible, when a second decimation took place, and every tenth man of those living was put to death. This second severity made no more impression than the first had done; the soldiers preserved their fortitude and their principles, but by the advice of their officers they drew up a loyal remonstrance to the emperor. This, it might have been presumed, would have softened the emperor, but it had a contrary effect: for, enraged at their perseverance and unanimity, he commanded that the whole legion should be put to death, which was accordingly executed by the other troops, who cut them to pieces with their swords, September 22, 286.

10. Sebastian, a celebrated martyr, was born at Narbonne, in Gaul, instructed in the principles of Christianity at Milan, and afterward became an officer of the emperor's guard at Rome. He remained a true Christian in the midst of idolatry; unallured by the splendors of a court, untainted by evil examples, and uncontaminated by the hopes of preferment. Refusing to be a pagan, the emperor ordered him to be taken to a field near the city, termed the Campus Martius, and there to be shot to death with arrows; which sentence was executed accordingly. Some pious Christians coming to the place of execution, in order to give his body burial, perceived signs of life in him, and immediately moving him to a place of security, they, in a short time effected his recovery, and prepared him for a second martyrdom; for, as soon as he was able to go out, he placed himself intentionally in the emperor's way as he was going to the temple, and reprehended him for his various cruelties and unreasonable prejudices against Christianity. As soon as Diocletian had overcome his surprise, he ordered Sebastian to be seized, and carried to a place near the palace, and beaten to death; and, that the Christians should not either use means again to recover or bury his body, he ordered that it should be thrown into the common sewer. Nevertheless, a Christian lady named Lucina, found means to remove it from the sewer, and bury it in the catacombs, or repositories of the dead.

11. Timothy, a deacon of Mauritania, and Maura his wife, had not been united together by the bands of wedlock above three weeks, when they were separated from each other by the persecution. Timothy, being apprehended, as a Christian, was carried before Arrianus, the governor of Thebais, who, knowing that he had the keeping of the Holy Scriptures, commanded him to deliver them up to be burnt; to which he answered, "Had I children, I would sooner deliver them up to be sacrificed, than part with the Word of God." The governor being much incensed at this reply, ordered his eyes to be put out, with red-hot irons, saying, "The books shall at least be useless to you, for you shall not see to read them." His patience under the operation was so great that the governor grew more exasperated; he, therefore, in order, if possible, to overcome his fortitude, ordered him to be hung up by the feet, with a weight tied about his neck, and a gag in his mouth. In this state, Maura his wife, tenderly urged him for her sake to recant; but, when the gag was taken out of his mouth, instead of consenting to his wife's entreaties, he greatly blamed her mistaken love, and declared his resolution of dying for the faith. The consequence was, that Maura resolved to imitate his courage and fidelity and either to accompany or follow him to glory. The governor, after trying in vain to alter her resolution, ordered her to recant her faith. She did not and received her crown.

12. John, bishop of Bergamo, in Lombardy, was a learned man, and a good Christian. He did his utmost endeavors to clear the Church from the errors of Aryanism, and joining in this holy work with John, bishop of Milan, he was very successful against the heretics, on which account he was assassinated on July 11, A.D. 683.

13. Perfectus was born at Corduba, in Spain, and brought up in the Christian faith. Having a quick genius, he made himself master of all the useful and polite literature of that age; and at the same time was not more celebrated for his abilities than admired for his piety. At length he took priest's orders, and performed the duties of his office with great assiduity and punctuality. Publicly declaring Mahomet(Mohammad) an impostor, he was sentenced to be beheaded, and was accordingly executed, A.D. 850; after which his body was honorably interred by the Christians.

14. Gladiator Games: The first part of the bloody entertainment was finished; the bodies of the dead were dragged off with hooks, and the reddened sand covered with a fresh, clean layer. After this had been done the gates in the wall of the arena were thrown open, and a number of tall, well- formed men in the prime of youth and strength came forward. Some carried swords, others three-pronged spears and nets. They marched once around the walls, and stopping before the emperor, held up their weapons at arm's length, and with one voice sounded out their greeting, Ave, Caesar, morituri te salutant! "Hail, Caesar, those about to die salute thee!"

The combats now began again; the gladiators with nets tried to entangle those with swords, and when they succeeded mercilessly stabbed their antagonists to death with the three-pronged spear. When a glatiator had wounded his adversary, and had him lying helpless at his feet, he looked up at the eager faces of the spectators, and cried out, Hoc habet! "He has it!" and awaited the pleasure of the audience to kill or spare.

If the spectators held out their hands toward him, with thumbs upward, the defeated man was taken away, to recover if possible from his wounds. But if the fatal signal of "thumbs down" was given, the conquered was to be slain; and if he showed any reluctance to present his neck for the death blow, there was a scornful shout from the galleries, Recipe ferrum! "Receive the steel!" Privileged persons among the audience would even descend into the arena, to better witness the death agonies of some unusually brave victim, before his corpse was dragged out at the death gate.
The show went on; many had been slain, and the people, madly excited by the desperate bravery of those who continued to fight, shouted their applause. But suddenly there was an interruption. A rudely clad, robed figure appeared for a moment among the audience, and then boldly leaped down into the arena. He was seen to be a man of rough but imposing presence, bareheaded and with sun-browned face. Without hesitating an instant he advanced upon two gladiators engaged in a life-and-death struggle, and laying his hand upon one of them sternly reproved him for shedding innocent blood, and then, turning toward the thousands of angry faces ranged around him, called upon them in a solemn, deep-toned voice which resounded through the deep inclosure. These were his words: "Do not requite God's mercy in turning away the swords of your enemies by murdering each other!"
Angry shouts and cries at once drowned his voice: "This is no place for preaching!--the old customs of Rome must be observed!--On, gladiators!" Thrusting aside the stranger, the gladiators would have again attacked each other, but the man stood between, holding them apart, and trying in vain to be heard. "Sedition! sedition! down with him!" was then the cry; and the gladiators, enraged at the interference of an outsider with their chosen vocation, at once stabbed him to death. Stones, or whatever missiles came to hand, also rained down upon him from the furious people, and thus he perished, in the midst of the arena.

His dress showed him to be one of the hermits who vowed themselves to a holy life of prayer and self-denial, and who were reverenced by even the thoughtless and combat-loving Romans. The few who knew him told how he had come from the wilds of Asia on a pilgrimage, to visit the churches and keep his Christmas at Rome; they knew he was a holy man, and that his name was Telemachus--no more. His spirit had been stirred by the sight of thousands flocking to see men slaughter one another, and in his simple-hearted zeal he had tried to convince them of the cruelty and wickedness of their conduct. He had died, but not in vain. His work was accomplished at the moment he was struck down, for the shock of such a death before their eyes turned the hearts of the people: they saw the hideous aspects of the favorite vice to which they had blindly surrendered themselves; and from the day Telemachus fell dead in the Colosseum, no other fight of gladiators was ever held there.