The Foreigner “Nod And Smile”

This morning I woke up with one thing on my mind, explore, explore, explore. I’m not sure if it has been all the “love bugs” I’ve been getting from the kids at school, or if my body was just in total shock going from 80 degrees in Dallas to 8 degrees in Korea, but I have been sick for over a week now. I’ve been so exhausted that I haven’t had the energy to do anything. So today I decided, in spite of the sickness, I was going to get out and explore.

With Kleenex and chap-stick in hand, I set out to achieve 3 goals. First, find a gym. It is extremely cold here and I’m pretty sure we’ll continue getting more snow, so running outside isn’t really an option for me. Second, buy more clothes. I’m sooooo COLD!! I’ve realized the layering method we used in Texas just isn’t going to cut it here. And last, but most important, locate the church I will be visiting tomorrow. 

I left my house at 9am and the plan was to walk down one road for a mile or so and then turn around and come back and walk down another road in a different direction, but always returning to the same mid point so I never got lost. If you know me, you know that didn’t last very long.

Curiosity got the best of me and as my eyes wandered, exploring everything and taking it all in, so did my legs. I roamed around for hours not having a clue where I was, but confident if I got too lost I could take a bus or taxi and get home. Three and a half hours later, not having found a gym or clothing, I stumbled into the part of town where I thought the church was. I searched and I couldn’t find it and as I was walking I spotted another foreigner.

There is something all the foreigners do here, it’s quite odd. You see another foreigner, you nod to say hello without the words and smile to show them you are happy to see someone who looks like you and then you keep walking, never saying a word. It’s really weird to me. You can spot another foreigner from a mile away and even though there are many of us here, in a city populated with over a million people, we are few and far between. So why don’t they talk to each other? Well today I decided to break the foreigner code. So far, the only foreigners I’ve seen have been men, and I didn’t want to be the creeper girl trying to randomly talk to them. But today I saw a female! There is something comforting about seeing another female over here. I felt much more confident that if I interrupted her daily routine, she would be less bothered. So, after searching for the church forever, I stopped her and asked her if she knew where it was. Bianca is her name, and she had no clue what I was talking about but she so graciously pulled out her iPad and helped me realize I was totally in the wrong area. She showed me which bus to get on and where to get off so I could find the church. 

I made it to the part of town the church was located and again, walked the city searching. Most signage is written in Korean, but some signs are in English. I assumed it wouldn’t be hard to spot the English sign or find something that looked like a church. I was wrong! After 45 minutes of walking around aimlessly, I decided to give up. I got on the bus to head back to my apartment and while riding on the bus, spotted the church! It was the opposite direction of the area I roamed, apparently I got off on the wrong bus stop. So, my adventure ended with only 1 of my three goals getting met but you know what, finding a place to connect with others who love Jesus was the most important thing on my list. And, I met a new friend in the process. Thanks Bianca! 
Here are a few pictures from today’s adventure. The rest are posted on Facebook.
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