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Sunday, February 19, 2017

Weekend Whining

Successive meals of kimchi stew and tandoori chicken do interesting things to one's insides.

I had several very sick small students in class on Thursday and Friday, and have acquired significant symptoms of our interaction – I'm growling like a 40 year smoker and coughing. I do have a white cotton face mask now in order to mark myself as one of the unclean. They sell them at Office Depot here, alongside cute little tiny ones printed with cartoon characters for children.

One of the local emarketing sites gave me the opportunity to spend half last month's salary on two plug-in room dehumidifiers. I shopped around for better deals before taking the plunge, but the damp in my rooms is too much to be ignored any longer, or combatted with tiny desiccant packs. I think it's the reason I haven't been able to sleep lately, shivering under my several blankets – a moist environment exaggerates the temperature, and though the weather seems to have turned a corner during daylight hours from winter to spring, at nighttime it still gets quite chilly. And I certainly don't need any more mold to grow!

The kimchi stew Saturday night was quite tasty, despite its subsequent repercussions. It came to the table boiling in a large metal bowl, and I wondered how on earth two people could be expected to consume all that food. We did.

Sunday, June and I traveled to the other side of the island. The sermon at the church there was good, but the music was nigh unbearable: one or more vocalists in the praise band was stridently off key, and even though the words were biblical, I found it very difficult to sing without wincing. It made me appreciate the beautiful choir at the Korean church and the praise team at the local small English service I attend even more than I had. I know that ultimately God wants us to make a joyful noise with a devoted heart, but if you're leading public worship, it's good to be in tune. But I also know how difficult it is to turn down someone who's willing to serve - even in the United States, it's sticky trying to explain to someone that their talents don't match their enthusiasm. Here, people can be profoundly hurt by such insinuations, seeing the judgment as a "loss of face."

After lunch at the halal Indian place with two fun girls we'd met at church (I was rather bummed not to meet the fellow from my hometown – apparently he was spotted in the crowd but ducked out quickly at the end of the service), June and I walked 5 1/2 miles to the airport to catch the express bus across the island. It was much more comfortable than the backroad local stops bus, and I was able to doze by the window. Of course, this trip I had taken dramamine and was wearing my wristbands.

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