I know South Korea because of the Korean dramas I watched. I think they have the most beautiful four seasons in the world. When I joined the 1000 Missionary Movement, I was assigned in Philippines and was transferred to Seoul, South Korea. I was then excited but scared. I was excited because it will be another experience in the most wonderful country in Asia(for me). Well, I will be a missionary teacher and I was scared because I am not really a teacher by profession. But I know God will guide me and will help me because He called me to be there.
I was assigned in Taereung SDA Church and became a teacher in Newstart Education Center. The church was kind of big. It’s 6-storey building including the offices and the kindergarten school. It also has 4 pastors and more than 500 church members. I live with my 3 co-missionary teachers, Jenny and Melanie in a very nice (for me) missionary apartment near the church. We are working for about 10 hours a day (including the making of homework, vocabularies, exams, etc.), 5 days a week. Weekends are the best days for us because we can rest and can go around the beautiful city of Seoul and meet our friends.
My friends are also around the city. We can just meet anytime we want. Michella Gonzales, my batch mate in the missionary training was just 20 minutes by bus. Gladys, my missionary friend in Batangas was just a subway away. The transportation is excellent. Buses, taxis and subway stations are everywhere. You can reach any places anytime you want. Well, the fare isn’t cheap though but the vehicles are quite good. I think Seoul has the best transportation in all the places I have been to, so far…
The places are really beautiful. I’ve been to Seoul tower or Namsan tower like 5 times and enjoyed the night scenery there. Children’s Grand Park is also awesome; it was really crowded during the Children’s day. Gwanghwamun Square is in the center of Seoul; we went there for ice skating during the winter and for picture taking during summer. King Sejeong’s monument is also there. The palaces are everywhere. I actually forgot the names of the palaces I’ve been to but you can see the rich culture of Korea. I also went to the Korean village where Korean houses are there. Ttukseom Resort in Han river is one of my favorites. Most of the times I went there to rent bicycles with my friends and biked along Han River. I also went there and had a date with myself. It’s really nice during the night. You can see the city lights across the river and it is also safe. Well, actually, I felt safe in Korea.
Korean food are great! Bibimpap is mixed rice and vegetables with gochujang (chili paste) and it tastes really good. Kimpap is rolled rice with vegetables and cheese or tuna. Toppokke is a rice cake with fish flavored thing. Eating ramyeon (ramen) is best with kimchi. The black noodle, beef soup, and mandu taste great! They also have cold soup during the summer. It’s actually a soup with ice floating on it. The also have pizzas. The Pizza School is I think the best pizza store. We always say we are getting our master’s degree in pizza there. Hahaha! Their cheese and sweet potato pizzas are simply the bests. Ah, I ate a lot and I gained too much weight! But few months after my surgery (I had ovarian cyst and had a surgery at Seoul Adventist Hospital), I exercised and lost 4 kilograms. Thanks God!
The always said that working with Koreans is kind of difficult. They are bossy and hard workers. They also said that Filipinos are discriminated. Well, for me they are hard workers but working with them wasn’t difficult. I also didn’t feel discriminated. I felt discriminated by my fellow Filipino and some foreigners but not by the Koreans. Yes, we had too much works in the school but it is always paid with nice smiles and extensive meals at the fine restaurants by our bosses.
I knew I am not going to stay in Korea for the rest of my life but the experience is too overwhelming. My friend Gladys said, “Korea is a fairytale. We have to go back to our own world.” I agree with her. While staying there, I bought anything I want; clothes, shoes, bags, cosmetics, etc. (not the really expensive ones), ate the tastiest foods in the world and went to the places where I only saw on TV. But I knew that I am not going to stay there forever. My mission with the kids was over and I need to move forward.