Thursday, May 28, 2009

Celebrating Sally

Nothing says "Happy Birthday" better than an 80's workout party followed by a cake fight. Good times for one awesome woman's birthday!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Thinking 'bout Thailand

Thinking ‘bout Thailand

I am getting really excited for my upcoming trip to Thailand. The primary reason that I am going is to meet with other missionaries and organizations that are already working to help fight against human trafficking. I am contemplating ways that I might be able to be aid victims in the future. In particular, I have a big heart for women escaping the sex industry and am thinking about ways I could actively help this ladies.

I will be staying in 3 cities in my short trip. I will be spending about 4 days total in Bangkok. In my time there, I will be visiting with four organizations: Home of New Beginnings (, The Well (, Nightlight (, and Rahab ( All four of these groups are already doing amazing work to help women escaping the sex industry. They each approach the issue in slightly different manners. I am excited to learn more about each ministry.

Next, I will be in Chiang mai for a few days. I am looking forward to my stay at Juniper Tree, a Christian retreat center. In Chiang mai, I plan to meet with a representative from International Justice Mission ( IJM is an inspirational organization that works to find legal justice for the oppressed. I am also hoping to see the New Life Center ( with an interpreter while I am there.

I spend my last few days in Phuket. I have no big plans for my time there. I am really looking forward to relaxing near the coast. I am sure by then I will need some serious processing time! I can’t think of a better place to do it than a Thai beach.

Just one week of classes and another week of final exams between me and Thailand!!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Doing Nothing

It’s no secret that I have a ridiculously hard time staying still. Yet this weekend I had a wonderful time sitting on a floor for two days straight doing absolutely nothing.

Friday after school, I went with 8 of the other teachers to a cabin about 4 hours northeast of Daejeon. Three of our original singles group (that came to TCIS in 2007) are leaving to return to the States or Canada in just a few weeks, so the weekend was an opportunity for us to spend some quality time together before the end-of-the-year rush.

The weather was not ideal: nonstop drizzle. So instead of hiking or lounging by the lake, we laid in a giant mound on our living room floor. From morning until bedtime we talked, affirmed each other, and laughed, laughed, laughed. I’ve never had more fun “doing nothing.”

The view from our cabin:

Friday, May 15, 2009

Liz visits Korea :)

Last weekend I got to show off Korea to another visiter-- Liz!! It was so fun to get to see Liz again (it had been about 2 years) and bring two of my worlds together. We wandered Seoul, went Salsa dancing with some of my coworkers (well let's be honest, I didn't dance much), sat in jimjilbangs, belted in norebangs, let tiny fish exfoliate our feet, and talked for hours. It was a wonderfully refreshing weekend. So sad to see Liz go!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Weekend Happenings

What an eventful few days at TCIS.
Friday, aka a day of learning:
Friday I had the opportunity to learn more about North Korea from several people who have experienced the culture first hand. During the school day an alumni from TCIS who started an organization that works with North Korean health care providers to set up functioning TB clinics came to speak. I was really inspired by the things that his non-profit group, with the support of donors, does alongside the North Korean people. The need in North Korea is so great for sanitary hospitals, medicine, functional and clean equipment, and support materials (ex: bicycles to help doctors get to their out-patients). I appreciated the information that was shared with us and was impressed with the partnership that has been formed to improve medicine in North Korean clinics.
I had a second opportunity to learn about North Korea Friday evening. To finish out the semester-long campaign focused on North Korea, the Amnesty International group hosted a coffee house and recruited about a dozen students/TCIS staff members to perform musical or dance numbers. This lured in about 100 kids and adults for our keynote speaker: a North Korean refugee. The speaker shared for about 35 minutes about the education system in North Korea. We were all on the edge of our seats as he shared in Korean (and Christina translated) about corrupt schools where people earn grades and promotion through bribery (food goes a long way in a starving nation). He spoke about schools where all subjects are second to political education, where computer classes are taught on paper outlines of keyboards, where tattered outdated text books are passed down and shared by dozens of students, and where uniforms are desperately patched. The night ended with an inspirational message intended to spur the students present into action. It was a fantastic experience.
One of the coffee house performers:

Saturday, I-fest:
Saturday was TCIS’s annual International Festival. International Festival is a fun event where a bunch of campus organizations and local groups from the community pull together a large carnival to celebrate. Historically held around Korea’s Children’s Day, I-fest is a fun way to interact with the community and play in the sun (though this year there was more rain than sun). As a sponsor for a range of activities, I found myself busy working booths most of the day. I painted henna on people’s hands and feet to raise money for the India orphanage I visited in April. I baked cookies to sell at the soccer booth. I baked brownies for the creative writing magazine to give as a prize to the poetry contest winner. I painted handprints on an Amnesty mural to represent a new awareness of North Korea. I got suckered into spending about 10 minutes in the dunk tank for student council (and got dunked twice). And I auctioned off two pairs of earrings to support another service group. All in all, a busy afternoon. The event finished off with an impressive fireworks show.

Sunday, moving in to a Korean hair salon:
After church I went to a hair salon that I had never been to before. The place was PACKED. Kirstin and I waited about an hour to get started and then spent another 2-3 in the slowest hair/nail procedures ever. The great thing about this salon is that as you wait to get your hair done, you can have your nails done at a highly discounted price (a manicure was only 5,000 won= $3.50). While that was nice, I was REALLY ready to go by the time my hair was finally cut. It never fails to amaze me how much of a production it is to cut and color Caucasian hair here.

Well, that’s a pretty packed weekend I guess. So much for relaxing after soccer season, eh?