May 1st is a national holiday in China. The school gives a week's holiday but it was a shortened because of the Olympics. That still gave me time to take a short holiday to Korea.
What can I say about Korea that hasn't been written before by better writers with better English? This is a good excuse not to write anything profound about my trip.
The Peace Institute also has Korean classes - so I have worked with Koreas every day I have been in China. They have a very distinct and proud culture. Do not lump them with China or Japan! In my experience, Koreans have make heartfelt and dedicated friendships with a strong group mentality. They are dedicated and disciplined in their work. I've gained a taste for Korean food. My favourite is sweet barbecued meat. Kimchi, which is pickled, spicy lettuce has a powerful flavour. I've yet to find a cheap Korean restaurant in London.
I posted the photo above to show the history and modernity of Seoul. There is a march in traditional dress in front of the entrance to a royal garden. In the background there is a Dunkin Doughnuts shop. America has greatly influenced Korean development but the independent streak remains. I was in Seoul during the demonstrations against the import of potentially BSE-infected meat from the US.
Tianjin International Fellowship (TIF)
TIF is a fellowship for foreigners living in Tianjin and it was my church away from home. There were a great mix of attendees from many nations. I particularly looked up to the many successful Christian businessmen. I helped with setting up the sound of Sunday morning. Fortunately for me the cables can only be plugged in one direction. The best memory was when I leaped off the stage to turn off a sudden burst of horrible feedback.
12th May 2008. 69,227 dead. 4 million homeless. I still find hope in God. In the miraculous stories of those pulled from the rubble. In the millions in donations and the endless work of volunteers. (Link - ways to give