microphones and malaria

When I returned from Uganda, I planned to give you an update on the Hallelujah Project.
I thought that would have been posted by now.  But you know, school started back up right away, I got malaria, and have needed rest, lots of rest.
And yesterday was Open Class – parents come in for a few hours on a Saturday to watch us teach their precious children.
No big deal, right?
WRONG!
The past couple of weeks have been prep for this special day.
Prepping materials and practicing with the kids.
We have to make a specific lesson, make posters or other materials, and work on pronunciation and what not with our classes.

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my materials for my two classes

 

This past Monday, was my final day taking malaria medicine, which I don’t normally feel so great when on the tablets.  So in my mind I thought I will wake up Tuesday and be strong and healthy again.
Tuesday I woke up and was starting to lose my voice.  Each day I had less and less of a voice.  Saturday, when I was greeting my co-teacher, she decided I needed to wear a microphone in order for parents to hear me.

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I felt like a tour guide or a game show host!

 

My body still feels exhausted a lot faster than normal.  But, I am making sure to eat well and get a lot of rest (so no one is allowed to worry – I am fine:)
Open Class is over!
One of our Hollywood Kids performances is over (we did that as well yesterday) – My six year olds put on the Ugly Duckling.
I have another group of six year olds doing the Ugly Duckling this Wednesday evening.

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the costume rack and where they put on the performance

 

Now that open class is over, I will be writing more soon about my trip back to Uganda.

 

much love!

 

how to describe more than just a trip

How do I tell you more about my trip back home?
I could give you a play-by-play of every moment, from landing at Entebbe and having to wait over an  hour in line for my visa to officially enter the country of Uganda, until we finally said the goodbyes we had been putting off saying outside the departure doors at the same airport one week later.
Yes, that would be one way.
But for me, it’s the little stories; the not-so big moments.
Those are what make me smile.
The things I will remember the most.
Those are what made my trip what it was.

I hadn’t been to Mukono since May of 2014.  In one year’s time, kids can grow.
Arriving at the house I call home there, two of the three kids were back from school.  Both Ronnie and Joet are tall now.  Ronnie is right under my chin, and proudly, he can pick me up and carry me (a goal of his for some time now:)

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Joet, Kata, and Ronnie  – taking fun photos with me before church

 

I was even able to go to visitation day to see the oldest from my house.  I hadn’t seen her since I first left at the end of December 2013.  We feasted and laughed with her, enjoying stories and being able to spend those precious few moments before they made all visitors leave.

IMG_6133so good to see this one again

 

Like I said in my previous blog, it was as if we picked up where things had been left off.  I answered questions about Korea, my family, and life.  They filled me in on the happenings there.
There was no awkward, “I don’t know where I belong” feeling.

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reunited and it feels so good
laughter always ensues when I am with Justine:)

 

There have been a number of babies born in the community since my last visit.  It was great to finally meet and hold them.

IMG_6248with Favour – isn’t her smile beautiful?!

 

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and this is Jeremiah – I couldn’t wait to meet him!

 

On Sunday, when I was greeting the church and telling them about what has been happening in my life and such, I taught them how to greet in Korean.  I made sure they knew, you don’t just say the words, but you also bow.
I had people bowing and sputtering through their version of annyeong haseyo for the remainder of the week.
It was so great.

I’m sure I could keep going.
Jumping back into life there felt so normal.  From helping cook dinners at the house and ironing and mending clothes again, to being back at the school.
It was so great to see my friends and family there.  And I am incredibly thankful for the time, even if it was so short.
There have been changes and progress made at the school, but I think I’ll save that for next time.

 

much love

 

 

time

It’s funny what time can do.
About five and a half months ago I flew from Michigan to South Korea.
After arriving at the airport, I needed to buy a bus ticket and get to Daegu.
Well, last night I arrived at Incheon airport in Seoul, bought a bus ticket, and made my way to Daegu.
This time though, the process seemed easier, and I knew where I was going.

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flying over Hong Kong – one of my layovers

 

Almost four and a half years ago, in March 2011, I went to Mukono, Uganda for the first time.
At that time, I had no idea I would be going back.
And not just going back to visit, but that that would become my home.

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flying into Entebbe during the day – I think this was a first for me

 

I may have only been in Mukono for one week, but my week was full and filling.
Although it had been a little over a year since the last time I was there, from the moment I was greeted at the airport, I was home.
Things weren’t having to be restarted; but rather, we were taking our finger off the pause button and starting where we left off.

It’s hard to believe my time there is over, and it’s back to teaching English to my Korean kindergarteners tomorrow.
I’m not even sure how to process or fully think about the last week.
But, I do plan to share more stories and pictures in upcoming days:)

For now, I will leave you with this:

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having fun with Joet and Ronnie while making supper

 

much love

 

 

summer vacay

Well, it’s almost time for my school here in South Korea to go on our week long Summer vacation.
Of course that means I want to go somewhere.
But where should I go?
Being in Asia, there are so many options.
I think I will go here…

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do you recognize it?

 

I’m going home!
Yep, I’m leaving Asia and going where my heart most wants to be, back in Africa
In Mukono, Uganda – with my family and friends.

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yes, this is where my heart is

 

IMG_2784let me tell you, I am excited to see her:)

 

I leave in just a couple of sleeps.
You probably won’t hear from me until I return
But then I can tell you all about my trip:)

 

much love!

 

expectations

You know those times when you are going into a situation, then things do not turn out like you expected?
Sometimes that can be a bad thing – thus over the past few years I have worked through letting go of having expectations.
But, this past Friday night, I went up to Seoul with one of my friends.  After checking in on the fourth floor, the lady took us down to one of the girls’ dorms on the first floor.  Upon walking in, I realized I had had expectations.
This place was not at all what I expected, but in a good way.
It was the nicest hostel I’ve ever stayed.

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from the entry way of our room

 

The next morning, Kelly and I awoke early, because we were being picked up to go on a Panmunjom [Joint Security Area] tour.

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with Kelly, after the bus ride, but before our briefing and tour

 

You can look up pictures and read stories online, but to see places in person and hear the history that goes along with what you are seeing is so much different.
Yesterday, I learned more about the history between North and South Korea, went into the DMZ [Demilitarized Zone], and was technically in North Korea at one point.

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in the JSA – facing the DPRK

 

Getting to the various places within the tour took less time than what Kelly and I had expected.  But, I learned and was able to see much during that time.

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overlooking Freedom Bridge – where prisoners were exchanged after the war

 

If you don’t know anything about North Korea or the DMZ, I encourage you to look some things up.  It is the world’s most heavily fortified border and tensions are high.

 

much love

 

Oh and my week long summer break will be coming up soon!
Where do you think I will be going?
Maybe not where you expect – but I’ll tell you in my next blog:)

what does it take?

Sometimes in life, we are asked questions to which we don’t have the answers.
Other times, there are questions asked where we have an answer in words and feelings from experience.

So what does it take to learn a new language?
time
practice
lessons
You know, all of the logical answers.  But I the one I’ve been thinking about quite a bit lately is passion.
I think it takes passion and desire to learn a new language.  I’m sure there are people who learn without that, but at least in my life and in the students I see, that makes a big difference.

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during one of my Korean classes

 

Last week, I finished the very basic level Korean class.  But I feel like I don’t really know anything; and besides reading, it’s hard for me to implement what I do know.
Although I want to learn Korean to communicate better here, I find it difficult to study, and I easily become distracted.  There are times I even start looking up words in Luganda [the language I learned in Uganda].

 

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my Luganda notebook

 

When I was learning Luganda, it was so much different for me.  I kept wanting to learn more and take more in.  I still become enthralled looking through my notes or learning new words.

In my students, I see passion being important as well.  The ones who don’t care or want to learn English, I don’t see as much progress as the ones who have enthusiasm for it.

I think this is applicable in other parts of life as well, but, recently I have been thinking about languages:)

 

much love

 

overdue for an update

Many days I think about writing a blog.
Then something happens and the blog gets put on the back burner.
What comes up?
Day to day that varies…
somedays it’s having extra work that needs to be done for school – like comments or plans
or maybe prepping for science project or an English Village day
sometimes it’s a friend asking me for dinner or coffee
other times it’s Korean class or needing to study my Korean
then there are the days when I am just too tired

For those of you that have been asking yourself (or even me:) things are going well.
Yes, I am adjusted.
In all honesty, I don’t really feel like there was a big time of adjustment for me.
When I came here, it was a new country, and I needed to learn what the food was like and get used to how life is done here.
Really, my adjustment was more to working in this school and being a teacher.
So, besides teaching at school every week, what have I been up to in Korea?
Quite a bit actually.
I have been hiking a few times

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view from my last hike

 

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from the first time I went hiking here – Mt. Apsen, overlooking Daegu

 

eating some great food
and desserts:)

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bing su, with my friend Colette

 

going to a beautiful island

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on Namhae

 

attempting to learn Korean
trying to keep in touch with people from America and Uganda
making friends and hanging out with them

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with some of my friends here

 

As busy as my days and weeks may be, I am truly thankful for the opportunity I have to be living here and doing this.

 

much love!