We landed in Seoul at 6:15 in the morning. Deplaned, got through immigration and got our baggage -- out through customs and in the waiting area well before 7. Our hosts anticipated it taking longer for us to clear all that, so they arrived a little before 7:30. It took almost an hour and a half to reach the hotel -- traffic was crazy!
We checked into the hotel and emptied the suitcases, took a shower and met The Rev. James Park in the lobby a few hours later. He took us across to City Hall where there is a memorial dedicated to the victims of the Ferry disaster. We wrote a message of condolence on one of the yellow ribbons and tied it to one of the poles. After that we placed a chrysanthemum on the memorial. There are booths set up and people are demanding answers to what really happened. This is a tragedy that has rocked the country, and people are still reeling from this great tragedy. People wear yellow ribbons on their jackets or purses to signify the loss, and to not forget that there are still bodies missing.
We then walked the short walk to the Diocesan headquarters. On the way, we went underground through the subway system -- easier to cross the street. There, we stopped at a little container and were handed rolls of paper -- they are poems for commuters. It is from the Cathedral Congregation. They have to fill it up a few times a week -- people like them.!
We were taken upstairs and were quickly reacquainted with our CPE friends who had come from Korea over to Good Samaritan hospital. Ada, Hanna, Crazy Deacon (my nickname for him -- now he is Crazy Priest), and Augustine. Ada's brother Aduk and James Park joined us. We talked about the challenges of CPE (mostly getting the Visa to come over!)
We walked over to a new Chinese restaurant and had a delicious lunch. We talked more about family (Hanna is pregnant!) and about the challenges in ministry. We shared stories of friends they met in the US. Ada's brother wants to come to take CPE with "Daddy Long Legs" -- the Korean CPE student's nickname for the Rev. Ron David, their CPE supervisor. They love him, and loved their time with us at Good Samaritan Hospital.
The men took Steve over to tour the Cathedral, and the women (Anna Olson, Ada Wong Nagata, Ada and Hanna and me) stayed and talked just amongst ourselves. It was good to catch up with "the ladies"!
We then went for a walk through Insadong. We stopped a few times, and Steve stopped and bought what looked like a churro stuffed with ice cream. I told him he was on his own for that one! We also stopped for tea -- jujube tea for me -- love it!
We headed back via the subway to the Diocesan Center, where we were taken at 4:15 over to the seminary. We didn't arrive until after 6 -- traffic was horrible. I met with the President of the seminary and was then taken to meet the seminarians -- I spoke to them about Enduring or Embracing ministry -- and about how that can and really does occur when you are in Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE). I spoke for about 1/2 and hour, and the Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Yang translated for me.
We walked over to a Chinese restaurant where we were mixed among the students to talk. One of the students is fluent in Mandarin, so Ada had an instant friend. I spoke to a former musician, and two other young men -- none of them were raised in then Anglican Church. One was a Roman Catholic, one a Presbyterian, one a Lutheran. They found the Anglican Church in Korea to be open and more conscious of meeting the needs of the community. One fell in love with the Eucharist -- the first time he experienced that in the Anglican Church he was hooked.
We said goodbye to our new friends, and Jeremiah drove us back to the hotel. It took only 1/2 and hour to return -- much faster than when we went there this evening!
It was a LONG day for Steve and me -- I hadn't gotten much sleep on the 6.5 hour flight from Kuala Lumpur to Seoul, so I was happy to be getting to bed by 11.
I leave you with more images from the memorial of the ferry tragedy.
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