Saturday, June 15, 2013

The Mighty Deoks

The Mighty that is not a misspelling.

My first two and a half years in Korea were spent living and working in a distant region of Busan called Deokcheon-dong.  If I were to compare it to something I would compare it to living in district 12 of the hunger games.  No one really wanted to travel out that far to visit, so I was always the one to have to travel great distances to see my friends.  It's one of the poor neighborhoods in Korea.  Usually when I would tell a Korean where I lived they would look at my as if to say, "oh gosh i'm sorry you got stuck there"
In Deokcheon, the people there are the best!  We have a relationship unlike any other place in Busan.  We all hung out together, drank together, partied together, laughed together, and became a family.  This you might feel is a lie, but trust me, if you didn't live in Deokcheon, you missed out on an amazing experience while living in Korea.
In the two and a half years I lived in Deokcheon, I saw people come and people go.  I saw life long friendship in the making.  I saw people who under normal circumstances would never have become friends form solid friendship!  I saw that people from all walks of life can put aside their differences, in religion and politics, and learn to have a conversation that doesn't require that there is a winner or loser in the end.   I saw God work in ways that are unexplainable.  But, I also saw pain, hardship, tears, miscommunication, love that didn't last, and people fall from the grace of God.
The Mighty Deoks are forever in my heart as one of the best things that ever happened to me in my life.  We all met on Wednesday nights at Tom's bar!  It's kind of our home away from home.  On any night you could go to Tom's bar and find one if not several Mighty Deoks there having a good time!  It was always a sad event when a fellow Deok decided that his/her time in Korea was over and they decided to go home.  Many tears were shed at nore-bangs (karaoke) on the night before someone would leave.

Deokcheon wasn't only about the foreigners that all got placed there for their English teaching job.  But, it's about the everyday people of Deokcheon.  The people you meet at the places you go on a daily basis!  I have been blessed to get to know some pretty awesome people during my time in Deokcheon!
First, there is Hae-Uk, my all time favorite coffee shop owner.  I met him two months after I moved to Korea.  I wanted to become his friend because he was and still is the only Korean I know who has an afro!  His coffee shop has seen every side of me.  Sometimes I go in and i'm really happy, sometimes i'm sad, and sometimes i'm tired.  But every time I go I'm greeted with a big smile and friendly conversation!  Every time I leave I get big hugs from every worker at his coffee shop.  It's one of my favorite places to visit because I feel that everyone there really loves me!!  Through Hae-Uk I have met many wonderful people who have taken the time to get to know me!  I have formed many great relationship because of Hae-Uk coffee shop.  His coffee shop is special to me because Hae-Uk happen to also be a Christian and I know that with out fail I can go to his coffee shop and he will be playing Christian artists!  I'm glad that I got a chance to know Hae-Uk.
Second, there is all the wonderful people I have met at the muay thai gym.  Although none of them speak very good English, they all try so hard to include me.  I've gone to nore bangs and on rafting trips with them. I've gone to muay thai fights to cheer some of them on!  I've gotten to know more about the
Korean culture than I would have known because my muay thai master does not hesitate to tell me when i'm breaking some cultural rule :)  Everyone there know that when I come in I want hugs.  It took some time in the beginning but now when I walk in everyone greets me with a hug!  Korean's don't usually hug each other.  So I like to feel that I brought some love to the place!
Last, there is Tom's bar.  The epic Tom's bar.  Where all the English Teachers meet on Wednesday nights to have a drink and complain about our jobs.  The bar staff know us all by name.  They know what you like to drink and what your favorite snacks are!
They don't get angry when you are being a complete idiot.  I have witness them kick people out of the bar.  Imagine a skinny korean woman telling a big foreigner that he has to leave the bar.  I don't have much experience but I think that in america the big guy would look at the twig woman and laugh.  But not here.  With respect, they leave.  I've never seen any of the staff have to use force to make someone leave.

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