Day 1

by Alexandra Rutkowski

An nyoung ha seh yo! 

Day 1. July 12. Well, here it begins. Arrived in Korea after a full day of flying (19 hrs). Note to self: fly Korean Air when at all possible. By far the best airline I’ve ever been on. Except they all look at Teddy at the security point and ask, “What in bear?” And I always reply with confidence, “Stuffing.”

            I spent a good portion of the flight trying to figure out what on earth I was doing on the plane and going to my destination. I was so nervous I couldn’t take it. But as we met our contact in Korea, that all changed. He made us feel so welcome. Jayel (It’s the equivalent of Gale in English. Yes, Gale like the Hunger Games), a pastor at Gaepo Methodist Church in Seoul, picked us up at the airport and gave us a tour on our way back to the church. He’s hilarious. His nickname is Clark Kent. It’s crazy how much American culture is present here. But Korea is not what I expected it to be. From the glimpse I’ve had, it’s so much more. 70% of the land here is forest/mountains. Oh, how beautiful. I can’t wait to see more.

            Everyone at the church has been so accommodating. Each does their best to speak English, and I love them all. They’ve all got a great sense of humor. After freshening up, Gale took us to have a traditional dinner. I keep forgetting to take my shoes off wherever I enter some rooms or go to eat. It’s how things are done. So it sitting on the floor when eating- which is awesome. I love the culture over here. There was so much food on the table. (Cristina, you would love it.) We had a basket overflowing with lettuce that we combined with rice and many vegetables on the table. Kimchi… well, I might have to develop a taste for that. Our Korean friend, whose name is on the tip of my tongue, convinced us to eat a hot chili pepper with spicy sauce, saying it was mild. I need to carry water on me from now on.

            After taking part in the Friday night service, I had been up for 40+ hours. We were all dead tired and crashed when we got to our rooms. Except for me, because I couldn’t figure out how to flush the toilet over here. There’s so many buttons.

It’s an adventure.