Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Jan 1st

The first day of the new year! I look forward to 2014. I have high expectations for what this year will bring. I really didn't have any set goals that needed completing by the end of 2013 with the exception of one: Get to the 400 word mark on Memrise. Which I successfully did, squeezing in the last few new words an hour before midnight last night. You can see the proof here: www.memrise.com/user/jibroni

So what else did I accomplish this year? Well, since this blog has become mainly a journal for myself rather than anything I write for the benefit/enjoyment of others, I will indulge in some of things I consider successes of 2013.

I can now do 80 pushups in a row. My goal this year is to get to 100. I also installed a pullup bar. I have a calendar plan to reach 20 this year (I can barely eek one out, but in 6 weeks I plan to do 20, yikes!)

I got my K-vocab up to almost 600 words. That, to me, is a huge triumph. I learn a little bit more about Korean and Korea each day. Slowly but surely.

I moved to Korea and have lived here for four months. Actually, it seems longer than that! Life here is pretty cool, tiny apartment and all!

I remodeled an attic into a third floor living space. That was a big deal as I have very little skill in carpentry. From gutting to the bare walls, to insulating, wiring, sheetrock, mudding, tongue and groove, carpet, built in bookshelves, and a sweet drop ceiling section, I learned a lot about what I am capable of and the importance of having good networking skills. The network of connections helped me to get the angles sheetrocked, the windows installed, the chimney removed, the roof repaired, and the trim installed. What a project! I look forward to completing it some day, Lord willing. It's 80% finished. Just need to install the remaining portion of tongue and groove and install the closet at the base of the steps.

I got new life injected into my unfinished novel which is just enough to push me to finally complete it. Which has now become a goal for 2014: finish the book! And get started on the next one!

What are my remaining goals? Well, my goals for Korea come into play, as there is a good chance I will be leaving here this year. If I depart, it will be in August which means I must complete these before then. However, these goals are not necessarily tangible with the exception of one. Here they are in no particular order:

Build Relationships
Study the Culture
Learn the Language
Become Debt Free

I cannot truly determine the successful completion of any of these except the last one. Lord willing, I will pay off my financial aid debt by the time I leave here.

More important than any of these things is my desire for the Lord to change me into His image. The only goal that really matters is to know Him. That goal will continue on every year until I die. Yet, I ask the Lord for specific things to work on in me that he has shown me I lack in. I desire to be less selfish, to have a better understanding of what I want and need, and finally, to be diligent and pursue these things and my destiny as well.

There is one more goal I have but I am too excited at the possibility of it so I'm not going to post it on here. When the day comes, if it does, I will let people know. For now, it's my only secret goal.
Happy New Year!

The First King of Israel Part 2

I finally finished I Samuel and I am a few chapters into II Samuel. I had a personal revelation while finishing I Samuel. I realized the significance of the last verses of the Old Testament:

Malachi 4:5-6
Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.

I had mentioned in the last post on I Samuel about how Samuel was a great man of God and prophet and yet his own sons were called evil. It's hard for me to think that Samuel could let this happen, but this isn't an uncommon thing in the world we live in. However, then I see Saul, who wasn't the best example of a father (trying to kill David, ect...) and look how well Jonathan turned out.

The OT is replete with these situations of fathers and sons relationships going wrong. So the final words of the OT wring clear with a greater importance for me now: Christ came to restore the broken relationships. The most messed up relationship of all messed up relationship is the one between father and child. I think this is because its such an important relationship. A father has power to break the generational curses in his family just as he has the power to bring curses on his family. A son has a choice to obey or rebel, just as his father did before him. Sometimes a son follows in his fathers footsteps and does evil. Sometimes, like Jonathan, a son will choose a different path.

Happy New Year

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Learner Teacher

As I continue to study the Korean language every day, I think I should begin to pray God would send me some students I can teach Korean to.

The best way to instill something you are studying is by using/practicing/teaching it. I like teaching, so I think it would be great to teach the things I am studying as I study them.

I can sound and write 한글. I have a vocab of about 500 words. I understand a good deal of grammar. I can have a basic conversation.

토요일에 거예요? What are you going to do on Saturday?
토요일 부산에 거예요. I am going to go to Busan on Saturday.
내일은 입을 거예요? What are you going to wear?
양복을 입을 거예요. I am going to wear a suit.
친구를 만날 거예요? Are you going to meet your friends?
네, 만날 거예요. Yes, I'm going to meet them.
어디에서 친구를 만날 거예요? Where are you going to meet your friends?
친구 울산에서 만날 거예요. I am going to meet my friends in Ulsan.

These are just practice sentences I did tonight as I study the future tense. I enjoy studying. I just wish I could teach it too!

Here are the sites (with links to my pages) I use on a daily basis for studying:

Memrise (http://www.memrise.com/user/jibroni/) - vocab flashcards
Lang-8 (http://lang-8.com/724842) - writing corrections
www.TalktomeinKorean.com - grammar lessons

Good night!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013



If I had a dollar for each time I heard this greeting I would be a rich man. Yet, somehow it never gets old.

I recently obtained a new hair style. It was time for something different. I let my hair grow out and then got the sides cut short with the top still long. I think it looks nice and the reactions from co-workers has been great. I also obtained a new necktie, one given to me from 행님 at a teachers dinner last Friday evening. He might have had a little too much to drink. Being his friendly self, at one point during the night he sat across from me and we had a great conversation via our English speaking teacher friends. I told him his tie was really awesome and the next thing I know he's taking it off and telling me to have it. This tie really is awesome. I mean, it's the coolest tie I've ever owned. I gave him a tangerine.

The next day was Saturday. I had a meeting with a lady from the local Presbyterian 교회 (church) at noon thirty. We had lunch at 교회 thanks to a wedding reception (no, I didn't know the couple). Then we met for a while talking about her Sunday school program. They want a native English speaker to help them. I'll write more about that in my next post. After the meeting a got my hair cut. Here I got to speak a little Korean I know as my hair stylist knows no English or refuses to speak it (not sure which though she is very nice to me). She got the job done perfectly. I felt so good with my new hairstyle, I walked down to the Dunkin Donuts and treated myself to a jelly filled cake donut with vanilla frosting and sprinkles. 

Okay, now you're thinking, "He's lost his mind." New hairstyles? Stealing ties from drunk guys? Jelly filled cake donuts with vanilla frosting and sprinkles??"


So after a near-media free Sunday spent in the company of some friendly Presbyterians and at my apartment hot-compressing a stye, it was Monday and time to look good. What could go better with a new hairdo and tie than my suit? Oh man, what a day.

Reactions from my co-teachers were my fantastic, but the students had quite the time figuring me out...
"Teacher, why?" they asked. "For you!" I answered. The girls liked that answer, the boys....not so much. But, boy oh boy, did I feel great. It's fun to switch things up now and then.

Today, I didn't wear a suit. Reactions on the hairdo are still coming in though. I like to keep things interesting at work. A few times a week I do something off the wall when I walk into the office, like greet each of my office mates (all women, mind you) with the most polite of Korean greetings, 안녕하십니까! while bowing each time. I love their reactions. I'm practicing my moonwalk. At the end of this week, I'll moonwalk into the room.

Getting reactions out of students is a huge reason I love this job. A foreign teacher posted on facebook the other day: "Beat a male student at rock paper scissors. Now go slit his dog's throat in front of him. His reaction will be the same." It's true, they just go nuts. Show em a funny video and they don't just laugh. They writhe on the floor as if possessed. It's the same scene you see at those charismatic slain in the spirit services where people are barking like dogs and behaving like serpents. The reactions are priceless. 

So I continue to come up with ways to keep people on their toes. All because I want to see the classic reactions I have come to love. Whether it's a teacher swooning over me in a fancy suit or students hardly able to breathe because they just saw "the funniest video in the world," I just can't get enough. 

This entire post really is nonsense. I just finished my nightly Korean study and now my head is pounding and I need to shut off my screen. I just wanted to share with you the nature of things here. The littlest thing hardly goes unnoticed in this country. So when it's a bigger thing, like a guy who wears the same hairdo and wardrobe every day suddenly changes both, it feels like the end of the world. In a good way.