Saturday, April 23, 2011


Have just returned from a special Tenebrae service at church. It was wonderful to be in the midst of other believers and reflect on Christ's work on the cross. No matter how many times I've read about or listened to others speak on the events surrounding the crucifixion, I am astonished and moved by His incomparable sacrifice and the Love it required. 

But God demonstrates His own love for us in this:  While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.  -Romans 5:8

Indeed, that is good news.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Cherry Blossom Lesson

As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth:  It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.     -Isaiah 55:10-11

What a blessing to be reminded of God's faithfulness simply by observing nature.

The cherry blossoms are having their moment right now in Seoul. From what I can tell, their emergence symbolizes Spring's true arrival, regardless of what any calendar indicates. As a believer, I'm encouraged by their presence for they remind me of God's promises. 

Like Isaiah proclaimed, God did send out His Word -He sent His son into this world to accomplish something extraordinary. Everything Jesus did while on this earth pointed to the time -the hour- when all of humanity could be in right standing before God. As Jesus stated:
I have come that they may have life and have it to the full.  -John 10:10b 

Do you believe it?

Thursday, April 14, 2011


This morning I visited the dermatologist to get zapped. Bye bye, moles; hello, more even-looking skin...?! Here's hoping.

The doctor who treated me was the one whom I met last week, much to my relief. He's terrific at English and seems to be terrific at his job. Steady hands and great bedside manner. Before we got started, I told him that if things went smoothly, I could wind up promoting medical tourism for the hospital. This may have put unexpected pressure on him because after my procedure he needed a cigarette.

From the looks of things thus far, it seems like scarring will be minimal. I was primarily concerned about the zapping around my eye area, and it actually looks like it's already healing well. 

Stay tuned for a concluding post in a week or so, once things have settled. Who knows, you may find yourself booking a flight to Seoul for your own special treatments...

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Taxes + Ecclesiastes

Filled out my tax forms tonight. I went the old school route and completed them by hand -no TurboTax or e-filing this year for me. 

I also read through Ecclesiastes. Wow, that book is heavy. I may need to read a commentary to make sense of it. Right now, all I can think about are the recurring words:
 Everything is meaningless!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Charlie Brown

Perhaps in an attempt to reclaim my childhood -a simpler time when decisions were made for me, and I was merely along for the ride- I visited the newly-opened Charlie Brown Cafe near campus. Not sure what I'd been expecting, but I was pleasantly surprised nonetheless.

Apart from K-Pop blaring through speakers overhead, the ambiance felt serene and innocent. I sipped a hot chocolate while observing friends deep in conversation, couples gazing adoringly at each other, and students pouring over books. For awhile I was completely lost in the surreality of the moment, and then I started to laugh to myself, pondering the probability of such an establishment opening up where I went to college... a Charlie Brown Cafe in the slums of Isla Vista or in tony Westwood?! Highly unlikely.

As I contemplate some weighty decisions, no doubt I'll return to Charlie Brown's world, where life seems sweeter and far less complicated.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Unfortunate Art

After a smattering of personal confessions (TMI?!), it's time for a little levity. 

While walking through Hyewha, I spotted an art gallery. Surely their sign could have been worded better: 

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Not the Knife

Didn't mean to stir up scalpel speculation with yesterday's post. 

While I won't rule out the possibility of doing it one day, next week's dermatologist visit involves no cutting or injecting. Simply put, I'm having laser treatment to remove some skin blemishes. Pretty mundane, but still, I'm excited to see how it all turns out. Depending on what happens, I could become an unofficial ambassador for Korea's ever-growing medical tourism industry.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


One major advantage of living in Korea is access to low-cost, quality health care. I enjoy the additional benefit of working for a university with a hospital located right on campus.

Today I went in for a consultation with a dermatologist as I'm looking into some elective work. Nothing crazy, just a few minor tweaks. Anyway, must say, it was an altogether lovely experience -high praise from me, especially considering how nauseous I tend to get while in hospitals. 

A few highlights:
  • My appointment began on time.
  • My doctor spoke terrific English and even made a few jokes.
  • Total cost of consultation visit:  $0 -thanks to my health insurance and faculty discount.
Next week I return for the actual procedures. Stay tuned for an update.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Meltdown Apology refrain from lashing out at someone when you want to do so with all your being is agony. It is a form of suffering. You not only suffer the original loss of happiness, reputation, and opportunity, but now you forgo the consolation of inflicting the same on them. You are absorbing the debt, taking the cost of it completely on yourself instead of taking it out on the other person. It hurts terribly.                                    -Tim Keller, The Reason for God

As you know by now, the tactic of absorbing the debt, described above, is the polar opposite of what I did yesterday. And so today, in an attempt to somehow right the wrong that I'd committed, I set out to apologize.

This morning, I returned to the scene of the crime with a note of apology. On nice stationery, in my best Hangul lettering, I'd written out I am very sorry. Before I entered the store, I noticed the woman whom I offended laughing and talking animatedly. Once she caught sight of me, however, her entire demeanor changed, and her face went blank. 

I presented the note as respectfully as I could -with two hands, while slightly bowing and lowering my head- and she accepted it. Then, in English, I repeated how sorry I was. Before I left, she gave me a half smile, which I was grateful to receive.

It will likely be awhile before I return to that shop, but at least whenever I do, I'm hopeful things will be back to normal. And regardless of whether or not they are, I learned a great deal from this experience.

Monday, April 4, 2011


Today I did something that I am completely ashamed of. Nine hours later, I'm still appalled by my behavior. To write about it publicly is embarrassing, and yet to avoid the subject altogether rings utterly false. This experience is one I will long remember, and in hindsight, it seems quite significant to the story of my life in Korea.

While I won't go into specific detail here, suffice it to say that my pride got the better of me, and I threw a bit of a temper tantrum while in a shop. Perhaps the worst part is that for the rest of the day, I've simultaneously been rationalizing my behavior while acknowledging my fault in the matter (and feeling lousy about it).

Tim Keller often speaks about the importance of absorbing the hurt when someone wrongs you. As anyone who's tried to knows, this is not easy to do. But it is what we ought to do.

Since I failed BIG time in absorbing the hurt today, at least I can apologize and seek forgiveness. Using Google translate, I've looked up how to write I am very sorry in Korean. Tomorrow, I plan to deliver an apology note to the woman who faced my wrath. Not sure how it will go over, but I feel I must do something. Even though I'm still hurt, even though I'm still upset.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Spring Unfolding

Spring is doing its best to make its presence known around Seoul. In addition to the warming temps and the onset of yellow dust (plus ensuing allergies), the flowers are starting to bloom and I've noticed more people outdoors. 

Yesterday I popped into Children's Grand Park -I only ever pop in and never stay too long, mainly because most of the statues terrify me- and there were loads of people waiting for a festival to start. I didn't stay for the event, although in hindsight I wish I had... my curiosity was and remains piqued by the 1950s-style dresses worn by a group of performers. Could I have missed a Korean sock hop? Guess I'll never know.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

UFO What?!

Something has got to be lost in translation with this carnival game's name. I spotted it tonight at Star City and with no one to laugh along with me, decided to snap a photo so I could share it with you. 

What do you think the game was supposed to be called before its name got mangled?

Friday, April 1, 2011

Only At...

As if anyone needed more proof not to believe everything you read (except, of course, in the case of this blog)...

I was shopping at E-Mart tonight and caught sight of some colorful socks:

As I got closer, I started to crack up while reading their label -kind of difficult to make it out from this image, but it reads:  Britney Spears for Candies only at Kohl's.

Only at Kohl's?! And E-Mart, and probably out of the back of some guy's truck in Seoul, and...