Sunday, July 14, 2013

Getting Settled

I finally feel like I am settled here in Seoul.  I've finally secured an apartment.  It isn't the one that I mentioned in the previous post.  Many people have asked me about it, so I will go ahead and tell you what happened.

My friend who was helping me get settled advised me to wait and see other places, because there are better ones out there.  Most levelheaded people would perceive that as good advice.  I did.

After two days of looking, I saw numerous apartments, and found none that were better, so I decided I wanted to rent that particular place.  Upon informing the real estate agent of my intentions, he informed me that the apartment was already taken.

The old saying, "If you snooze, you lose" never rang truer in my life at that moment.  I've learned that, in the moment, if there is something that you truly want, and if it is available, and if you have the means to attain it, seize the moment without delay.  Sometimes opportunities vanish.

My current apartment isn't quite as nice as that place, but it is better than anything that I could have imagined  before moving here, so I am ecstatic about it.  It is now fully furnished, and has been for the last month.  I had to buy all of it, but it was cheaper than I had previously anticipated, and I am pleased with how it looks.  

The same can be said about my job.  It has been wonderful, and better than I hoped it would be.

Like my previous job, I rarely see my boss, so I am not micromanaged, and I am given the freedom to teach these kids the best way I see fit.

Just like my previous school, the children at my school are amazing.  I look forward everyday to teaching and interacting with them.  They have a lot of joy, and they impart a lot of it on me.  It is a good feeling to be in constant contact with people who are always genuinely happy to see you, and people who greet you with a lot of enthusiasm upon seeing them.   As a whole, they consistently display the same goodness everyday.  I am blessed.

They take pleasure in the simple things.  They love it when I pick them up, and throw them on my shoulders.  They love the drawing contests that we have.  They love the simple youtube videos that I show them.  They ask for this one every single day.  It never gets old for them.

As much as we play, we also work, and my goal is to enable them to speak English, and to help them in developing a strong work ethic.

A drawback of my job is that I am the only foreigner there, so the camaraderie that was so prevalent at my previous workplaces is not nearly as prevalent here.  The kids, and my Korean co-teacher are the only people that I am in close contact with at my current school.

My church, Onnuri English Ministry, has been incredible.  It is a church where the holy spirit obviously moves.  It is a rather large church, and the minister, along with the music is incredible.  There are a lot of people there who are on fire for God, and I always feel so inspired after attending every Sunday afternoon.

A drawback to attending a rather large church, like OEM, is that despite the fact that I leave feeling inspired, despite the fact that the music is so awesome that I feel as if I am truly worshipping God while listening and singing, and despite the fact that the minister consistently preaches incredibly inspiring messages, plugging in and finding friends has been rather difficult.  And that is something that normally isn't difficult for me.

The city of Seoul, in general, has been that way.  In most moments, I am more of an extrovert than an introvert, but for some reason, Seoul has brought out the introvert in me.

I go to the gym.  It is a great facility, but it's as if I am in my own bubble as I work out, finish, and walk back to my apartment without having any real contact with anybody.  I do the same at my church.  I do the same when I stop at a restaurant to eat.  I do the same when I explore the city.  I do the same when I travel to and from work.  I do that in numerous instances in life here in this beautiful city.

I feel as if I had now taken that first step in fulfilling the calling of God in my life.  Everything that I have here, among them being my church, my job, my apartment, and even my gym have been better than I could have imagined, and I find that that is how God works for those who follow the calling that he has for their lives.

My experience so far in Seoul has shown me that God provides, and his provision never disappoints.   But with the exception of my Church, my entire provision has been material things.  But still, after being here for almost two months, I find myself waiting for the provision of that which is most worthwhile, friendships.

At the moment, here in Korea, my closest friends are my lovely girlfriend who lives four hours away in Gwangju, my students, and my Korean colleagues at work.  

Among so many people in such a large city, it is so easy to feel hidden as you walk along the sidewalks that are illuminated by all the bright signs, and lined with restaurants filled with people laughing and pleasantly socializing, as the sound of the buses roar by on the busy streets.  Contrary to popular belief, a large city is a great place to find solitude.

I've recently reread The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, and in that book, the main character had to cross the Sahara Desert in order to achieve his dream.  It describes how the desert can be a vicious place for those who foolishly attempt to press through it.  One has to know the ways of the dessert, and one must be familiar with the obstacles before being able to cross it successfully.  One must be able to recognize signs in order to see obstacles before they approach.  Many times, because of those obstacles, there are detours, and many times, there are moments of waiting while journeying.

I feel as if I am currently in one of those moments of waiting.  Rather than awkwardly forcing myself upon a circle of friends who aren't interested in expanding their particular circle, I have chosen to sit back and wait.  And rather than recklessly pressing on, and foolishly forcing myself into what I personally believe is the calling that God has for me here in this city, I have decided to sit and wait for a recognizable opportunity.  I have recognized that this time of solitude is merely a simple detour, and a time to wait and rest.

At the moment, Seoul is an unfamiliar place.  And just like the Sahara Desert, the unfamiliar can be a vicious place for a person who foolishly presses on without being able to recognize open doors that are provided.

Sometimes being alone can be difficult, but God blesses those who are content.  I've never had a problem with taking pleasure in my solitude, and I have thus become content with it.  I've decided to wait, and allow an open door from God to be my guide for attaining friendships, and for moving forward with the calling that he has for my life.

At the moment, everything is okay.

#PrayforNorthKorea  #PrayforaunitedKorea

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