Transitions commence new adventures. Make 'em last…
Autumn’s vibrant colors and serene skies came and gone like a breeze and it was soon Thanksgiving to look forward to. Due to some schedule conflictions among many of my gimponian friends, our normal Gimpo Thanksgiving dinner party was postponed until a week after the holiday. Thankfully, Brad, who had cooked and bought the turkey for the last four Gimpo Thanksgiving dinners I’ve been apart of, still managed to purchase one after the Thanksgiving holiday and I was told that it was the last one available at High Street Market in Itaewon. It was fabulous yet again, cooked to perfection. Thanks, Brad!
It was a great delight to see many present and enjoying themselves amid plentiful conversations and chowing down on the the generous assortment of cooked food that friends had brought to the bounteous dinner. After turkey, potatoes, wine, bread, and pecan pie, I was stuffed to the max and satisfied. Everyone appeared to have a swell time and it gave a chance for those new to the Gimpo area to meet and perhaps befriend some other teachers and their friends.
During the dinner, I was briefly saddened for a moment as I foresaw it being the last Gimpo Thanksgiving for many of us. For the majority of those present, including myself, we learned earlier in the week that our contracts would not be renewed next year and that most of us will either move to another city to work a different teaching job or head back home to pursue further education and/or take a break. Some will need to find another job by this March, and others like myself, have until September. It’s not much of a concern yet, but the thought of searching and finding another good teaching job in the Seoul area had been on my mind all week, and of course, it was one of the various topics discussed at the Thanksgiving party. Honestly, it will be quite sad to leave the school I’ve grown to love, and all of my gimponian comrades who have stuck it out in ‘The Gimp’ for several years. As I’ve said before, “Once a Gimponian, always a Gimponian.” So as I portend this may be the last Gimpo Thanksgiving for the majority of us, a part of me believes this tradition will stay alive and will still be open for those of us that are still in South Korea next year. Once a Gimponian, always a Gimponian. I’d love to do this again in Gimpo next year. Who will host it?
Well, it’s been over a month since I’ve written a blog, probably the longest stretch of not writing in over two years. A few you great, old Cali friends, particularly Brandy and Carmen, have wondered when the next blog would be coming. It’s so great to know that many of you still read this, and it brings me great joy that you do. Thank you very much! You greatly encourage my writing.
It has been very busy since the last time I’ve written and a lot has occurred. Of course, my weeks are filled with teaching and lesson-planning, but I’ve been also trying to learn Korean, which I’m making some progress with, but it has been a somewhat slow progress due to preparing myself for an intense online Applied Linguistics Masters degree program that I will begin this February, exercising and staying healthy, spending heavenly weekends with Michelle and whenever I can see her during the week, art projects, and many other enjoyable things I try to keep up. I suppose this is life. My mind has never been so occupied and it actually stifles my ability to write. However, at the same time, I’m extremely happy.
Michelle greatly helps me to take things step-by-step and not to be so concerned about everything. I’m a complex fellow, but she has been patient with me amid my ups-and-downs and my worries about being able to do all that I need to do. I still concern myself with trying to imagine how I plan to teach full-time, pursue a Masters degree, study and practice Korean regularly, develop my faith in Jesus Christ, and exercise and stay healthy amid maintaining a fruitful relationship with Michelle, but she has been very forgiving of my faults and weaknesses and gives me the nudges I need to continue in all I wish and need to do. She is so wonderful!
I would also like to share that I was baptized at my church earlier last month. I was baptized as a baby, but never as an adult, and in following Jesus’ example and command of being “born again” (John 3: 1-5), I firmly decided to get baptized after feeling I should do it for quite some time. A kind of miraculous thing also happened during the day of my baptism. The day before my baptism, my pastor suggested that I prepare a short speech about myself and why I wish to be baptized. I said I would and the morning before my baptism I wrote out a short speech and included one verse from the Bible that I enjoy and that really tied into what I wished to express.
Ecclesiastes 4:12 – “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”
During the pastor’s sermon before my baptism, he used and emphasized this exact verse, and several of those before it, as one of the primary verses to support his message that day. Wow! I was shocked! My eyes watered in happiness. I did a double-take to the verse in my speech that I had grasped in my hand and double-checked it various times to see if it was really happening. Not only is this verse pretty uncommon, but the fact that my pastor also used this exact verse the same day I had also prepared to use it is quite amazing. While many would think this is a rare coincidence, I kindly believe it is much more than that. It was all God. I was meant to get baptized this day – November 10, 2013 – and co-share what Ecclesiastes 4 has to say. While I was impacted by this amid being baptized, I know of a few people who were also impacted by the similar message being shared between the pastor and I.
I will never forget that day.