|June 14, 2008
I realized it has been a little while since my last note so I wanted to send an update as to what is going on.
First update is that on I believe May 17th the english teachers went to a Norabang!! This is the much enhanced version of the portable, rentable, $20 karaoke machine from the US. These rooms are very nice with comfortable couches, snacks on the tables, and drinks available for your purchase. Our first trip to the Norabang came after seeing the new Indiana Jones movie (it was okay). There were 11 of us (friends from school and friends of friends from school) so we grabbed some pizza and then headed to the bong (Korean for room). It costs about $20-25 per hour to rent the bong so we initially stayed for an hour but they must have loved the singing so much that they extended us to 2 hours for no extra cost. We sang a lot of the traditional karaoke style songs like Piano Man, Bad Medicine, Sound of Music....yeah, somehow that one got in there, some Snoop Dog, and a little Eye of the Tiger to provide a very brief list. I tried not to take it personally but the controller of the song list "accidently" pulled the plug on 2 of my songs. They were just denied the opportunity for something! It was a great time and our voices were shot by the end of the day!
Our second trip came on Friday, June 6th. This trip to the Norabang held an even more significant meaning as this was my first time going to an Indian resturant. I have Chicken Takkia (I think that is what it was called) and for the first time ever Curry! The name itself would have been enough to scare me off prior to this experience but it was offered, I tasted, and I liked it. Now, that is not to say I would like all types of Curry but I ate it and would definitely eat it again. To enhance the experience they were playing Bollywood videos in the background for our enjoyment. Some were pretty comical. After we were done we went to the Norabang and had another great time but our singing must not have been as good as we only got one hour. Again, classical songs ruled the Norabang floor like Sweet Caroline, Take Me Home Country Road, Wake Me Up Before you Go-Go (which somehow I got roped into singing), Puff the Magic Dragon, a little Spice Girls and we ended the night with Dream On by Aerosmith. One of the funniest things is the video they have playing in the background while you are singing. Example being while we were singing Puff there were women breaking up with their boyfriends, crying, running off, etc. Puff is supposed to be a happy song!!! We all had a great time and I do believe it helps to bring the entire group closer together.
The next day, June 7th, I had my first scuba lesson. I was very nervous about going only because I have had trouble in the past keeping water out of my nose. I tried practicing with a snorkel but had no success. I was truly expecting this to be the one barrier to me getting through the class. Good news that when I actually did it I was able to keep all of the water out of my nose, both in a wading pool and 15-20 feet underwater! The second session was yesterday, June 14th, and I am proud to say that I completed the final stage of the confined water dives. Now I just need to complete 4 open water dives (sea/ocean) and I will be certified for open water diving no deeper than 60 feet down. I am hoping to get certified in Jeju Island when I am there in a few weeks and then go on some dive trips here locally until I visit Thailand, Vietnam, etc. for winder break. Our instructor told us that there is some great diving in those parts and it is not real expensive once you get there (approx. $40 for a day). It is really cheap in the Phillipines but I don't think I will have enough time to hit all of those locations.
I am just very excited that it is completed and I was able to do well on all of the tests. It was something I was very nervous about but the Lord was with me and kept me safe. No He is allowing me to see a whole other side of His creation and I cannot wait!
In between all of this I have been taking Korean language lessons. It has been very informative and I have learned so much during this time but there is so much more I need to understand before I can start putting together sentences. Good thing is that my instructor is very patient. I don't know how much longer I will take the private lessons as it is a little more than I would like to spend but as long as I continue to get something out of them and can feel the progress I would more than likely continue. It is close to the church I go to so it is not an inconvenience as I am there every week anyway.
As you can see today I went to the Han River with my new friend Daniel. We have actually been going to the above mentioned church for the last three weeks. It really helps for me to have someone to help me stay accountable. We hung around the Han River for a few hours so here are some of the pictures. I may add more later so please check back if you get a chance or during the next update. I am hoping to go to Mt. Soyo this weekend so I will hopefully have more pics and experiences to share.
I continue to pray for all of those who have been hit hard by the terrible weather. I hope everyone is safe. Things can be replaced, even though it is difficult. Keep each other in your prayers also. There are a lot of things going on in everyones life and we can all use as much support as possible.
Take care everyone!