1 Year Anniversary

SPEAKING OUT LOUD

I can hardly believe it today is my one-year anniversary in Korea! Wow, time really flew by! I must say this has been the most exhilarating, life changing, and challenging adventure I’ve ever been on. However, I’ll forever be grateful for this opportunity abroad because it has shaped me in ways I never would have imagined.

Prior to moving to Korea, if you did not know me well, I assume people would have perceived me as someone that was relatively quiet, snobbish, and self-absorbed. In retrospect, I would say people assumptions about me were correct. I was very much to myself and life revolved mainly around me and mine. I would say my biggest identity flaw was the “I” syndrome. Often my siblings and cousins would get mad at me for always thinking about myself and what was convenient for me. (Yeah, I drove a lot of people crazy.)

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1 Year Anniversary

I can hardly believe it today is my one-year anniversary in Korea! Wow, time really flew by! I must say this has been the most exhilarating, life changing, and challenging adventure I’ve ever been on. However, I’ll forever be grateful for this opportunity abroad because it has shaped me in ways I never would have imagined.

Prior to moving to Korea, if you did not know me well, I assume people would have perceived me as someone that was relatively quiet, snobbish, and self-absorbed. In retrospect, I would say people assumptions about me were correct. I was very much to myself and life revolved mainly around me and mine. I would say my biggest identity flaw was the “I” syndrome. Often my siblings and cousins would get mad at me for always thinking about myself and what was convenient for me. (Yeah, I drove a lot of people crazy.) Over time, I realized what caused me to be so consumed with me was the lack of not knowing who I really was–so, instead of investing time on what and who really mattered I focused on trivial things such as, image, apparel, and status.

introspection
Untold stories, untold truths, hidden deep within a soul… a voice whispers, awaken the treasures. Reach down into the deepest abyss and capture your truth.

After getting married, I realized I did not need things and praise from others to make me feel complete as a human being. My beloved husband, Micah, has taught me the art of simplicity. I learned how to be content with what I already had and to appreciate the people in my life that I hold dear to my heart. Micah not only taught me the art of simplicity he taught me the beauty of communication. He had this way of pushing me out of my head and helping me put words to my thoughts. He is my Sankofa bird, constantly reminding me to look back from time to time to see what my past has taught me in the wake of my present stage in life.

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He speaks truths that awakens my soul. Forever my Sankofa Bird, my Micah Josiah.
For the past year, I’ve been living abroad in a foreign land. As I already mentioned, it has been the most exhilarating, life changing, and challenging adventure I’ve ever been on. Mainly because, as a foreigner, I constantly have to speak out loud. Whatever I say or do is a cultural exchange for my colleagues, students, and friends. Community is what makes this experience abroad so enriching. The necessity to be honest about who you are, who you allow to surround you and what you want in life, rings like a clanging alarm. If not careful or aware of these things, I can slowly become self-absorbed again. Therefore, my community keeps me upright and authentic in all that I say or do. The realization that no matter what, you are a leader worth paying attention to, and what makes the attention either good or bad is completely up to you.

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The greatest lesson that life abroad has taught me is the intensity to love.
Over the past 12 months, my heart has swelled for young children that are completely foreign but so welcoming and appreciative towards me. Of course, I had students that were the complete opposite. But the love that pressed my heart made me work harder to somehow reach them and build some type of rapport with them. There have also been people that found me, and I found them from all different parts of the world. Together we all had to bypass the barriers of language, culture, and customs to reach the truest sense of ourselves. These exploits in community have never been easy. The love and security we have found in each other have kept us pressing forward in the direction of change to dissipate our frailties that have kept us lost in our past rather than intentional about our present and future.

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The intensity to love, the art of simplicity, the beauty in communication and the enriching experience of community. All of these lessons have shaped me by making me better as a woman, wife, daughter, sister, friend, and teacher. I’m grateful for this opportunity; life is more vibrant and real because of it. What else can I say but thank you Korea and all of you that read this blog and spend time uplifting my spirit.

Signing Out,

Friday, February 17, 2017

~Esther Lynn~

 

 

 

 

 

 

Love At Every Turn

God-defiers are always in trouble;

GOD -affirmers find themselves loved every time they turn around.

Psalm 32: 10 MSG

After Cambodia, Micah and I crossed the boarder into Thailand making our way to the beautiful island of Phuket. I will never forget the time we spent in Phuket. I marveled at the beauty of the land, enjoyed the creative sounds of nature, grimaced at red bodies– burnt by the sun rays– laid out on the beach. I loved the fact that time was not a factor. Everything was just peaceful, carefree and tropical.


Micah and I stayed at another homestay found through Airbnb. It was such a beautiful house. It was rustic and spacious with high ceilings. The interior design was done magnificently, filled with vibrant colors that represented the island and the people of the community. This time around, we had the house to ourselves for the first two days of our stay. The family lived next door in a seperate home and the owners (husband and wife) operated and owned a pharmacy.

When Dan (the owner) came to pick us up at the airport, he gave us a mini tour and shared some information about the neighborhood. He told us it was a Muslim community and because of the passing of King Bhumibol Adulyadej, they were in a period of mourning.  As we cruised through the streets there were a lot of monuments errected and adorned for the late King. The people wore all black to commemorate his life and his death. I was amazed at the high regard that the Thai people gave their leadership. Dan spoke of him with much pride and devotion in his voice. Listening to Dan made me think about America, in the sense of how we view ourselves in our nationalism and the government officials that govern us. Dan was not the first person I’ve heard talk about their leadership and their country with such pride. Everything he was saying I heard it before during my time spent in Bangkok. I just wondered what America today would be like, if division wasn’t such a force penetrating the nation. (Just a side thought.)

Dan pointed out the best restaurants to eat, the local market to buy souvenirs and different areas that could be benefical to us during our stay. Our homestay was located in the northern part of the island and about 45 minutes to an hour away from Phuket town, which is where all the famous beaches and high tourist areas are located. Overall our stay in Phuket was great. However, the greatest and most defining moment in our trip was our motorbike accident. Because, that was when the Good Samaritan story in the Bible, became a reality for the Thompson’s.

Micah and I rented a motorbike for the day. Our plan was to go out to Phuket town and visit the famous beaches. We set out late morning and I must admit I was very scared once we got into the city center. Clusters of motorbikes, trucks, cars, people–no sense of direction. Everyone just seemed like they were on a fast track collision ride. Fortunately for us, we survived the high intensity of the city. We were able to enjoy the beautiful landscape of the island through the scenic routes. There was so much to take in and absorb. We rested for sometime at Rawai and Pa Tong beach. It was on our way back to our homestay the accident happened.


It was dark outside. There weren’t that many street lights. Micah was driving and it was an unexpected speedbump that got us flying in the air and off the motorbike. It happened so fast. I just remember seeing Micah laid out in a fetal position to my left and me to the right of him. The motorbike was behind us with the engine still running.  For most of our ride back to our hostel there weren’t any homes or people parading the streets. It was just long stretches of land. But the place where we had the accident happened to be in front of a house. It was a little girl that came out and yelled to her mother to come outside. Within seconds a big family of perhaps eight people was outside helping us. As soon as I got up, I ran to Micah. Grabbing the daypack that I was carrying with the first aid kit.

I just remember praying over Micah’s body. I couldn’t see the extent of his injuries in the dark. My hands were working faster than my mind. I just knew the wounds needed to be cleaned immediately. While all this was happening, a woman (Mei) kept on asking us if we wanted her to call an ambulance. I was very reluctant at first, refusing several times before Micah said, yes. I don’t know how my hands were moving so fast. I was the least bit experienced as a nurse. In retrospect, it is astounding at the the strength your body will possess when it’s forced into survival mode. By the grace of God, Mei was sent to us. She insisted we go to the hospital. She tried calling for an ambulance and when they took too long to answer she decided to take us in her own car.  The family helped Micah up and into the car as I thanked them profusely for their help.

As we drove to the hospital, we made small talk. She shared about her work and family. She shared how she loved to help others in need, which was already evident in the situation we were in. We got to the hospital and as I thanked her she assured me she would wait and stay with us until we were done. Sure enough, she did. She never left. After informing the doctors about what happened and giving them the information necessary to treat Micah, they then asked me, weren’t you in the accident too? “Yes, I was. But I have no scars. I’m fine.” I responded. This was an amazement to us all. Micah left the hospital with no broken bones. His left side was covered in bandages and the doctor said he would be fine within a week. The doctor’s hypothesis has proven to be true.

After the hospital, Mei took us to a restaurant to eat so Micah can take his medication. When we offered to treat her she refused and paid for us. We were both astonished. Never in our lives have we met a stranger that was beyond kind and generous with their time and money. Afterwards, she took us to her house where Dan came with his family to pick us up. Both families were meeting each other for the first time. They were somehow connected through us. Mei’s big heart opened our eyes in ways she’ll probably never know. She was our Good Samaritan. She took us to the hospital, fed us and made sure all of our needs were met. Her kindness did not stop there. The following day, she came to visit us at the hostel with her children alongside Dan’s family. She spent time with us and we got to know each other a little more. I hope she is reading this post. You were truly a blessing to us, Mei, and I pray God will bless you and your beautiful family greatly.


Our remaining days in Phuket were spent relaxing and lounging around in the house. Dan was kind to us as well. Providing us with antibiotics, gauzes and other things needed to prevent Micah’s wounds from getting an infection. I must say we had another successful homestay. We were treated as if we were a part of their family.  Throughout our vacation we have learned that blessings are definitely hidden in the journey and not the destination. The lessons are in the people, the interactions, the endless stories and values being exchanged. Most importantly, the greatest blessing was in the revelation that God was with us throughout it all. HE showed us love at every turn, through people estranged to us, but never to him.

I’m just speaking out loud in my process of becoming…

Signing Out,

Wednesday, February 1st, 2017

~Esther Lynn~