Sunday, 12 January 2003

For the Bridge Community Church Bulletin Board

(January 2003)

Dear Dellemans:

Greetings and hello and such! I am here in Korea now,
and starting my second week of teaching the kids. I
thought it would be a good time to let the church know
what's up and how I'm doing.

To the Bridge Community Church:

Greetings from South Korea! I am in Songpa, one of
the southwestern-most districts of Seoul, very close
to the Olympic Park where many of the 1988 Olympic
events happened (only about a ten minute walk) -- the
tennis courts, the velodrome, the swimming pool (I
think), the gymnastics arenas, etc.. It's actually a
beautiful park to walk around.

I teach from mid-afternoon until about 9 pm. It is
absolutely amazing how hard these kids work: they are
in school or private schools/extracurricular
activities from about 8am to 9pm for some! On Friday
afternoon my kids were so tired they could barely do
anything. "teacher, can we play a game?"

But they're sweet kids: friendly and likeable. I
wish I could understand all the things they say to
each other in Korean, but them's the lumps, I guess.

I've gone to an English speaking church service
here, and I would like to get connected with the
community, but it is a little hard for foreigners
(especially ones who only know three words of Korean)
to make inroads in to the community -- I'm gonna try,
but it'll be like wandering a maze blindfolded for at
least a while.

My roommate is a girl named Alisa. She's new here,
too, so it's nice having someone here who ALSO doesn't
know squat. We're working out the initial awkwardness
of being opposite gender roommates sharing a bathroom
(though with separate bedrooms, of course), and I'm
sure things will end up OK. We're establishing good
lines of communication about where the lines need to
be drawn, and open communication about such things
will lead to more trust in the future, and a better
chance for a good friendship.

I'm still getting used to the way things work here
--drinking is one of the national pasttimes here, and
everybody smokes -- a slight change from the folks I
usually hung out with in BC, but I'll figure it out.
The subway system here is extremely well marked, easy
to understand, and simple to use, and subways lead
almost anywhere in the city I'd want to go, so that's
good, and I've found places nearby where I can buy
English books and music, as well as a theatre where
they show movies in English (subtitled, of course).
I'm slowly getting on my feet, and I'm excited about
the opportunities this city presents.

Anyway, I'll keep you updated from time to time as
things happen. I now have a lesson plan to prepare.
Thank you for your prayers and thoughts.

Rob Ouwehand
Seoul Korea

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