Listen. Write. Speak.=Inklub

Hello, World!

Micah and I been active on our new youtube channel, The Inklub. Below are our latest videos on our page. Check them out!

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With a baby on the way, I’ve been thinking a lot about “pregnancy-related things.” Thus, the title shouldn’t surprise anyone. But, this poem goes beyond the anticipated birth of our son. There’s an even greater birth that I’m anticipating. Take a listen.

What makes words so powerful? Here’s my explanation. – Micah

Powerful spoken word about race relations in a foreign country. Take a listen.

One word to describe my life: Drum. – Willynn

Pregnant In A Foreign Country

Many have been asking the undeniable question, ”How does it feel to be pregnant in a foreign country? How does that even work?” I’m sure if I was living in the States and one of my girlfriends was pregnant abroad I would be asking the same question. So, it’s easy to sympathize with the concerns of family and close friends.

I must say long before I became pregnant I started researching and talking to different expats that had their babies here in Korea. Out of all the different women I spoke to, and all the information I gathered, nothing made me apprehensive about becoming pregnant. My biggest concern was finding an English speaking doctor that had experience working with foreign women with my past medical condition. It did not take long to resolve that issue.

My gynecologist, Dr. Sejeong Oh from Queen’s Medical and OBGYN Clinic, not only speaks excellent English but is highly attentive to me, my baby, my concerns, and has the experience I needed to trust her. I am very thankful and grateful for her. A lot of expats recommended her because of her compassionate nature towards her patients, her willingness to answer questions, her ability in elaborating on complicated medical terms and providing a comfortable place in her clinic for her patients. Dr. Oh highly recommended my obstetrician, Dr. Sumi Kim from St. Mary’s University Hospital, to deliver Baby T. Both doctors are women (which was very important to me personally) who are well trained and experienced in their fields. They both communicate effectively and have been providing me with the best possible care.

I first started seeing Dr. Oh when I was four-five weeks pregnant. After confirming my pregnancy, she gave me a form for the Pre-Natal Care Discount Voucher. It’s better known as the Kook Min Hong Bok Card. The pregnancy voucher entitles women a maximum subsidy of 500,000 KRW (about $450 USD) to pay for doctor visits and other expenses regarding the medical care of the baby. Since being pregnant, I only had to pay an equivalent of $15.00 out of pocket. The National Health Insurance System in Korea is amazing compared to what I use to have in the States.

As for my job, my contract entitles me to three months of maternity leave. Another perk is during the first and third trimester I’m able to leave work two hours earlier than usual. In Korea, government employers are very sensitive towards women who are in their early and late stages of pregnancy. They know it’s a very critical time for the baby’s development. I work at two schools after the logistics of my maternity, and early leave was figured out. A lot of my colleagues wished me well and were very excited about my pregnancy. Of course, they had endless questions that varied from personal to superficial (which I expected), but the overwhelming amount of love I received was astounding, to say the least. My country school always gives me vegetables from the school garden to take home with me. At lunch time, they always have fruits and fresh vegetables for me to eat.

My students started suspecting I was pregnant as of last week. One of my fourth-grade girls asked my co-teacher if I was pregnant and less than five minutes later the news spread like wildfire. I remember last Friday walking on the school bus, and countless students were pointing at my stomach saying, “Willynn Teacher, 아기, 아기 (baby, baby).” “Yes, baby,” I responded and then came the wave of applause and little people with excited faces.

I cannot fail to mention the extraordinary support Micah and I have at our local church, Saeronam English Ministry. I remember during my first trimester I had the weirdest form of morning sickness. I was constantly nauseous, but not to the point of throwing up. For two weeks, I had no appetite. I couldn’t take certain smells, and I was always tired. Several women from the church offered me help and support. They calmed my many anxieties. They bought me herbal remedies that helped with nausea and were always present. Not a day went by without at least one of the women from the church checking in on me. I’m so grateful for them.

Pregnancy in another country could be scary for most, but as for me, my heart is at peace. Micah and I have outstanding people in our community who have become adopted parents, siblings, and of course amazing friends. The Thompson’s are truly blessed. Of course, I miss my biological parents, especially my mama’s cooking. But even from afar, they have been a tremendous support to us by asking what we need, sending us care packages in the mail, and making an honest effort to communicate with us once a week. Sometimes I’m just blown away by the amount of love that surrounds us near and afar. Yes, it takes a courageous soul to do what we are doing. However, you never know what outcome can come out of breaking out of your shell and doing something outside of the ordinary. Following faith requires much sacrifice, but sacrifice brings forth abundant rewards that surpass the understanding of common men.

Signing Out,

Esther Lynn

Sunday, June 18th, 2017

Inklub

My husband, Micah and I started a new YouTube channel called, the Inklub. Below is a description of what the Inklub is all about. I hope all my readers will check out our new channel and subscribe.

Inklub is a channel where we will share our writings to inspire, encourage, and sometimes even challenge our viewers to think differently. Most of our videos will be spoken word pieces, but we also plan to share songs, stories, and various other creative presentations.

Our writings are inspired by the world around us; whether it be our experiences or others. As we observe, we listen, we write and then speak out our perspectives.

We believe there is something undeniably therapeutic about words–the right words. That is why we are so adamant about sharing what we’ve written. We hope you enjoy this channel. Feel free to subscribe and connect with us.

Till Next time Friends,

Esther Lynn

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Let’s Have A Conversation

I was taught at an early age the depths of words. I learned the immense weight that can transcend an atmosphere by the expressions, we, as people, use to express what’s hidden, stored, and felt in our hearts. I’m still a working progress, but in recent years, I have come to a conclusion, reflection is necessary, and awareness is imperative. So, I was then left with this question, what impact do our words have on the relationships that surround us. Let’s have a conversation. You and I. Face-to-face with locked eyes.

Let’s have a conversation about relationships. You see, too often we get it confused. When I speak, I often feel cross-referenced. It’s like I’m partially non-existent. Conversations unfold with what you heard and the words I actually spoke. You misguide my details, and they are often missing from the whole interaction.
Your reaction is never a response at all, but rather a flare up of raging emotions. Relations can either be existential or only sustained by vile contentment.

Let’s have a conversation where judgment is at a distance and wounds from words doesn’t exist. Let’s get past the surface fluff and reach deeper in our understanding. Where we no longer have to hold back our authentic thoughts in an attempt to save ourselves from our dismantled hearts. Let’s come together. You and I. Face-to-face with locked eyes. Let’s have a conversation to speak out loud the truths hidden in our broken places to release, the torrent suppressed underneath our emotional tides.

Let’s have a conversation where we stop hiding from ourselves; Where we turn away from our loneliness and confront our shame. Let’s have a conversation where our vulnerability has an open invitation to our discussion. Let’s come together. You and I. Face-to-face with locked eyes. Let’s have a conversation; where we stop defining ourselves by the pain that once masked us. Let’s go on this journey, you and I. Where we explore the world as warriors of light.

Let’s go deeper, where light no longer hides from darkness, uncertainty, and lies; where inner truths are spoken out loud; surpassing our outside borders. I was taught at an early age the depths of words. I learned the immense weight that can transcend an atmosphere by the expressions, we, as people, use to express what’s hidden, stored, and felt in our hearts. So, I was then left with this question, what impact our words have on the relationships that surround us.

My learned experiences taught me this: Words are learned. Words are remembered. Words are genuine. Words are expressed. Our words tell the real truth about our character. So, never neglect the importance of a real conversation.

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~

 

 

Lessons From Cambodia 

Lessons From Cambodia: Free Exchange of Love

“Cultivate your own relationship with God, but don’t impose it on others. You’re fortunate if your behavior and your belief are coherent. But if you’re not sure, if you notice that you are acting in ways inconsistent with what you believe—some days trying to impose your opinions on others, other days just trying to please them—then you know that you’re out of line. If the way you live isn’t consistent with what you believe, then it’s wrong.”-‭‭Romans‬ ‭14:22-23‬ ‭MSG‬‬-

The past few weeks have been remarkable. Our trip to Cambodia has proven to be very beneficial and legendary. When visiting other countries it’s easy to fall into the tourist trap. Before leaving your home country, you make an itinerary of all the things you want to do and see. You have a list of all the things on your bucket list you want to check off. You create a budget of all the money you want to spend. However, a tourist sometimes fail to learn from the people of the land. Accommodations are booked at lavish hotels, far from the real authentic scene of how the people of the land are living. Don’t get me wrong, nothing’s wrong with the tourist scene, in my opinion, it just doesn’t give the whole truth about the land I am visiting.  

As I visited unforeseen sights and had the opportunity to interact with the natives. I learned guide books, itineraries, hotel accommodations, traveling money- all of my efforts in preparing for this trip were aimed at the history that represented the past. Lavish beaches that somehow reflects “paradise.” Ancient Ruins that reflected endless temples built for ancient gods. Enslaved elephants parading tourist around, as if they are royality. Merchants are quick to sell their goods to foreigners, because they know they’ll get more than its actual worth. All these things happen all around us. Colluding our true sense of reality. As young children run to us tourist, trying to sell us items that takes away from their worth as young human beings. We, tourist, fail at times. We fail to see the truth. We fail to see them, the people that represent these countries, we are blinded by arrays of colors, traditional fabrics, paintings and clothing. We fail to see their daily living situations.


The greatest commandment in the Bible is to love your neighbour as yourself. The greatest exchange of love is to share life stories, experiences and virtues with the people that surrounds you. The greatest exchange of love is to listen, to understand, to gain knowledge, reflect, write and only then speak. It’s too easy to get caught up with our differences. But, if we listen intently with ears of understanding, we will realize there are more similarities than differences. 

We create the difference by highlighting them in our minds. We lose the sense of humanity, by judging how others live and conduct their lives. So much so, we fail to see our own faults and frailties. Not realizing we, too, struggle with the same things just at a different scale. Who are we to judge? Who are we to pretend we have it all together? After all, we do flock to their country to escape our realities for sometime. Aren’t we, tourist, running away from our own personal demons, while they, the people of the land live with confronting their realities, their demons daily? In many ways they are stronger than us tourist that flock to their land with loads of cash, (we really don’t have) once or twice a year.

We, tourist, need to stop painting a picture of a poor country with helpless desperate people. Truth be told that’s not always the case. The people that represent these “poor” countries are built strong. Stronger than I’ll ever be. They have learned to live life despite their limitations. They have accustomed themselves in finding joy in the small things: family, life and love for each other. They have a heightened sense  and awareness of community more than I’ll ever be able to understand. My westernized eyes use to look at them with pity. But, they have taught me the beauty of appreciation, compassion and assimilation.

This trip to Cambodia has taught me these truths. Revealing the deeper thoughts that plague my mind, saturating my thoughts and producing actions that I’m too slow to even realize. Cambodia reminded me so much of Haiti. As we cruised the streets in the tuk-tuk as I observed the landscape, the people, the hustle and bustle of daily life. As I took in the smells and observed the scene all around me, my thoughts were Haiti. Somehow the Khmer people reminded me of the Haitian people. Two completely different countries with endless amounts of similarities.

Micah and I were fortunate to find a very nice Airbnb accommodation. It was 30 minutes away from the city, 15 minutes away from the Temples of Angkor and 20 minutes away from the airport. What attracted us to this place was the fact that it was a homestay. Our host was also a tuk-tuk driver. We would have a personal guide from a native of the land. Our host name was Kosal. His sister is an amazing cook with three beautiful little girls. This family are Buddhist and Hindu believers. Our first morning in Cambodia we were awakened by the chants of the monks coming from the pagoda. 


What in the world would compel two Christ followers to stay in a Buddhist home? The answer is easy, the people. The exchange of love that can happen between two complete strangers, from different parts of the world. The knowledge and understanding one can gain when they take the time to actually listen. The real authentic stories of how life is like in the world they live and not what the western or eastern cultures tell us about them. Our intentions has proven to be very valuable, meaningful and legendary. Not only did we hear the history, we learned about their faith, we witnessed their territories first hand. Observed their daily struggles and understood. We have more alike than we think.

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

Signing Out,

Esther Lynn

Westernized Eyes

Saturday, December 31st, 2016

As 2016 quickly comes to an end, I can’t help but reflect on how my westernized eyes have changed since this year started. I started this year full of hope, ambition and gratitude. I left all that I knew behind to start anew in a foreign land. My process of becoming entered the next level. I thought the things I read in books about Korea was enough to prepare me for actually living here. Boyyy, was I wrong. Nothing can prepare you for the next level. Don’t get me wrong, it’s important to be prepared and fully aware of your next move. But, experience will always trump book knowledge any day. In this blog I hope to give a brief snippet of my 2016 year abroad.

2016abroad

I made a huge mistake. I entered the Land of the Morning Calm thinking I knew everything I needed to know to live here. I must admit, I was not teachable in the beginning. In my westernized eyes, there were too many things that were backwards. For instance, the communal soap bar in the public bathroom to wash your hands, the lack of napkins in the restaurants, the extremely cold hallways at school, the twisted perception of women roles- that’s just a few things amongst the plethora of examples I can give. I thought the problem was them, but in retrospect the problem was me.

My westernized eyes valued independence; separation from the crowd and my own personal opinions. I cringed to have to do anything mandatory- to not have an option was societal suicide. Yet, I found myself living in a foreign land where the pressures of community were absolutely necessary and prevalent to life. Everyone was a part of something. When one eat, we all eat. When one speaks,  we all contribute to conversation. When one is by themselves, we all come together and join them. Community, the backbone of the Korean life. There is no such thing as independence here. Separation from the crowd means you don’t care and personal opinions, if they are not relatable to the situation at hand, keep them to yourself. My beginning stages of life in Korea was a constant collision of resistance of two different cultures battling one another, instead of learning from each other. In retrospect, I was just being stupid. Comparisons can be a deadly force, especially when the similarities are hidden behind the blind spots. Again, I thought something was wrong with them, but the real problem was me.

introspection.jpg

The first three to six months of 2016 I was in a constant battle with myself. I used to think it was the people conspiring against me- but, in reality, it was my westernized eyes. It was how I viewed them, their world and culture as a whole. I entered this new level of life abroad all wrong. As mentioned, comparisons can be a deadly force, especially when the similarities are hidden behind blind spots. In the western world, the bathrooms don’t always have soap. School buildings don’t always have heat. Gender roles in the west are just as twisted as it is in the eastern hemisphere. Personal opinions aren’t always welcomed, especially when it’s not benefiting anyone or the situation at hand. I had the same challenges when I lived in America, so what made them so different or alarming living in South Korea? It’s the fact that the experience was unknown, unfamiliar and never experienced.

unknown

As for community, in the West we emphasize the differences between introverts and extroverted people. If you like to talk, you’re a social butterfly and you’ll thrive in any situation. But, if you’re an introvert, like me, people will just think you’re a loner, snobby and super weird. I struggled with community too, when I lived in America. What makes it any different now? It’s the fact that I had to finally confront my issues with community, instead of hiding from it or acting as if it doesn’t exist. I actually have met extroverts that still struggle with community. Extrovert or introvert, it means nothing. We all have our own separate challenges. We are all somehow resisting change. We are all in the process of becoming.

2016 has taught me  a valuable lesson: confrontation with self. The ability to take a deeper look with what’s going on inside of me. My resistance to things that can actually produce growth. This year has given me a deeper understanding of my root system. My western eyes has caused much dissension with  my surroundings. But, it’s not all bad, valuable life  lessons were learned throughout it all. I can see my progress. Who I was in the beginning of 2016 is not who I am now. I have learned and understood that all created things need community in order to survive. My westernized eyes did not fail me completely. It actually opened my world view. There is more to life than just me, my experiences and culture. It’s all about being honest with yourself and seeing the purpose in the life you’re experiencing.

At the end of it all, 2016 has been a great year. I had challenges but I also had a lot of memorable moments. I still end this year with hope, ambition and gratitude. I learned so much. My process will continue to grow my character. In that regard, I end with, “Happy New Year.” Let’s learn how to be honest with ourselves, so that we’re authentic with the community that surrounds us.

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

Date: Saturday, December 31st, 2016

Signing Out,

~Esther Lynn~