Sunday, December 28, 2008

Dec 28th, 2008 - Church & Seoul Part 1

Wow. So much I want to say about today, but I know my eyes won't stay open long enough to get it all out, so I am just going to give you some highlights that come to mind right away.

First, I broke into the can of Pine Bud Drink tonight. Wacky weird, I tell ya! It smells like Pinesol but the taste is sweet and vaguely reminiscent of the green nyquil (only without being nasty). I would like to tell you it is like Christmas in a can but that would be misleading, however, it does smell like a freshly cut pine tree. Wacky thing, it grows on you. I am half way through the can and I find myself picking it up more frequently.

This morning Michelle Cox and I went to
Samil Church in Seoul. It is one of (I think) 6 locations where services are held for this church since there are over 30,000 members. ( Here is the web page translated.) I tried to video the choreographed praise song, but I couldn't figure out the camera in time. Oh well, maybe next week. They had translation available for us through wireless headsets which was great. The pastor (Jeon, Byung Wook) spoke on 1 Corinthians 13:4 - 7. I want to write some thoughts on his message, but I will save that for another post.

I did learn an interested cultural tidbit. I had asked our friend Emily, who took us to church, to write down the pastor's name for me. I handed her my copy of the bulletin and a red pen (because it was the only one I had with me, and the one which I had used to take notes throughout the service.) She kind of paused and said, "Just so you know, in Korea we only use red pen to write a name when the person is dead. Most younger people will understand, but elders still think about that and it will not be good." Oh, well, um....*frantically searches head for whether I used my red pen in any of my classes this week* Good to know. She did go ahead and use the pen to write the pastor's name, but I felt as though I was disrespecting him by even asking her to do so. As though such an action would threaten him in some way. So silly, but once you know that is the superstition, it is hard not to feel strange.

After church we went and ate lunch with some friends of hers and then had coffee. We went to a bookstore and I bought a beginners book to teach me how to write Korean letters. I should mention that we road the bus for an hour to get into Seoul then walked to the subway and rode it to a station close to the church. When we left we walked to lunch then took the subway to the bookstore then walked to the street level and ended up heading toward Cheongwadae, or The Blue House, so named for its blue roofs. It is the Korean equivalent of the White House in the United States as it is supposed to be the residence of the S. Korean president. We did not get to see it (even from a distance) as it was hidden behind this strange building.

Side of strange building
On our way we passed the U.S. Embassy (which was closed) but it was nice to see where it is. I would like to take this moment to comment on how unhospitable and frankly ugly the U.S. Embassies seem to be in every country I have visited. In Bangkok you could walk right up the lawn and into most of the embassies. The U.S. Embassy however had barbed wire around the top of 8-10 foot high fen
ces. This one was the same. They even had this complex gate system to search cars.

This picture is of a frozen fountain. Just to show that it really IS that cold here.

I have much more I want to tell, but I am so tired that I am going to stop making sense soon, so I will leave you with this picture as a teaser.

P.S. I finally found postcards so hopefully I will get them out this week!

P.S.2 - Sorry for the formatting craziness. It is hard to read and not aesthetically pleasing, but I am too tired to continue to tweek my html.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

That's super interesting about writing names in red pen. It's surprising to me, since in China, red is the color of celebration, and white is the color associated with death and mourning. I would have thought such important color symbolism wouldn't be quite so different within the region.

I'm trying to imagine PineSol smelling soda. I'm trying to imagine something tasting like Nyquil without the nasty. Putting them together might break my mind, so I won't try to imagine that yet.