Monday, 8 February 2016

Before I set off, I just want to say...

Welcome to my blog.

Here, I'll post occasional updates about my experiences living and working in Korea.

The countdown is at T minus eight days until I leave Aotearoa. At least, that's the plan. I haven't booked tickets yet, because my visa is still being 'processed,' but it should arrive in the post early next week (fingers crossed).

'Why are you going?' and 'how long for?' I hear you ask.

The answer to the first question is encapsulated in one overused word: experience. Apparently Julius Caesar made a passing comment that "experience is the best master in every thing on which the wit of man is employed" (thanks internet). Unlike Caesar, I'm not talking about my various military campaigns, but if we take the quote completely out of context for a moment, I reckon it summarises my motives reasonably well. I'm exploring a vocation in teaching. I want to be as prepared as I can be before I launch a teaching career in New Zealand. So pretty much, I believe that teaching English as a second or other language (ESOL) is the best place for me to start.

My contract in Korea is for a year (I start teaching at the beginning of March, and end in February 2017), and I'll be living and working somewhere in the Jeonbuk province.

That's about it: at this stage, everything else is a mystery yet to be revealed. On the other hand, I have had a lot of general preparation, and last week I sucessfully finished a CELTA (Cambridge English Teaching) course in Christchurch. Have I been to Korea before? Nope. Can I speak Korean? Yeah, nah - except for 'hello' and 'goodbye.' I'm working on it. Wish me luck.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, the blog title comes from a hymn. Here it is:

God who sets us on a journey
to discover, dream and grow,
lead us as you led your people
in the desert long ago;
journey inward, journey outward,
stir the spirit, stretch the mind,
love for God and self and neighbour
marks the way that Christ defined.
Exploration brings new insights,
changes, choices we must face;
give us wisdom in deciding,
mindful always of your grace;
should we stumble, lose our bearings,
find it hard to know what’s right,
we regain our true direction
focused on the Jesus light.
End our longing for the old days,
grant the vision that we lack –
once we’ve started on this journey
there can be no turning back;
let us travel light, discarding
excess baggage from our past,
cherish only what’s essential,
choosing treasure that will last.

When we set up camp and settle
to avoid love’s risk and pain,
you disturb complacent comfort,
pull the tent pegs up again;
keep us travelling in the knowledge
you are always at our side;
give us courage for the journey,
Christ our goal and Christ our guide.
Words: Joy Dine (1937 – 2001) © Revd Mervyn Dine.

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