Sunday, August 4, 2013

Anna meets Kabayan

I've finally forced myself to take a Korean class in a Filipino community which was 20 minutes from where I live. The first time I went, I was all too surprised that the room was empty save from a Korean guy who would be my teacher. I was initially disappointed since I thought there would be more of us i n the room. But didn't let it bother me as much. My main goal after all was to learn the language.

The second time I went in, I peered through the glass window and saw my teacher writing on the white board. I knew I was late but didn't think it would be that much. He was already halfway with the lesson with a Filipina sitting on the second row. I naturally apologized and sat opposite to her.  

The class continued and I tried as much to catch up. Liezel, my classmate knows fairly a lot of Korean words. Whenever my teacher said something in Korean, I would look at her and she would try as best as she could to explain it to me. We did that throughout the session, helping each out. It made the class even more interesting I have to say.  I think that gave me the enthusiasm to be more focused with the language. (I might even try to condition myself later today to browse the text book that my teacher provided me).

After class, Liezel and I exchanged our contact numbers and chatted a little bit more. It was very nice actually to have a fellow to talk with. Without beating an eyelash, she invited me to come with her and attend a mass at a church not far from the Filipino Community Center (FCC). She explained that a number of Filipinos go there and the mass itself was actually.. delivered in English ..and it's fun and enjoyable. I said yes to her being that she was so kind to me plus the fact I didn't have anything else much to do.

The church community Liezel talked about was within a walking distance. The church itself (I think it's called Presbyterian-- sorry, I left the pamphlet I was meaning to bring with me home) was huge in comparison to some I've seen so far here in Daegu. Even though it's hidden a little bit away from the main street, it is still very accessible either by bus, car or even subway.

Liezel took the lead and brought us down to the basement (or first floor) of the church. The pastor (a Korean woman) was sitting on a bench with a Filipina. She immediately recognized my classmate and they had a chitchat for a bit and then she introduced me to the pastor. We exchanged pleasantries and I've to say her English was very commendable.

The good ol' pastor lead us to the hall which was beaming with the chorale's voices. We sat not far from the door and waited for the ceremony to start. There were a lot of Filipinos and all of them were friendly. My classmate introduced me to some and then we settled ourselves until the mass started.

The mass began at 1:00. Few more Filipinos plus English speakers came in. I felt both happy and sad at the same time when the worship song was being sang by everyone. I mean, it's one of those things I've done before with my mum back in the days when we were quite active with El Shaddai... moving on..

After the mass, all the new comers, including yours truly were called in to come in front. Liezel explained to me that we were supposed to introduce ourselves and that's what we did. Afterwards, we all received a welcoming gift from the church (isn't that cool or what?). Then the hall was fired up with another very warm and friendly singing from the regulars while they marched towards us and shook our hands.

The next thing we did was to set the tables for lunch (and I believe the Presbyterian church does that every Sunday). How many churches can actually do that for their parishioners in the Philippines?

Everyone was busy. They volunteered themselves to prep up the table with plates, spoons and chopsticks while others handled the food and more. My classmate followed suit. She busied herself laying the plates on the table while at the same time checked on me if I felt comfortable or what. She motioned me to take a chair next to hers and her family. The whole preparation was done very fast because of the collective effort.

I sat next to my classmate and her family (who were already at the church by the time we arrived). We sat and conversed over a very hearty and sumptuous meal. The next thing happened was that everyone was taking pictures of friends, of other people, of food, etc. I.. not wanting to be left behind, did the same thing.

No man is an island.

Everyone had a role to play and they did this not because they were obliged
or what have you. They helped because that's what their hearts said.

Food for the body after you have fed your soul.

Meeting new friends. Moi with my classmate Liezel, another fellow kabayan and Jonathan.
I found another friend in the name of Liezel.
What an eventful day. I went out to learn the language. I came home having met a lot of people and found a friend.

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