We ventured afield this morning to attend Easter services at an international (English-speaking) church near our home. About 100 expatriates attended the service. We were joined by another family we met in Washington, D.C. and spend a lot of time with here in Seoul. Our son was one of the highlights of the service. Towards the end of the service he broke away from us while we were sitting in a pew and started running towards the back of the sanctuary. He yelled, "Yay!" during a moment of silent and the pastor blithely told the congregation, "We should all be saying ‘yay’ too because Easter is a happy day." The congregation laughed. We’re glad our son provided levity, not embarassment. The service was good, and the pastor was good. We haven’t been to church since we attended a large "big box" church in Virginia. ("Big box" is a term of endearment for warehouse-size stores; I call large churches "big box" churches.) We did not expect to find a good expat church here in Seoul, because it can be hard to find good churches overseas. We were pleasantly surprised. We plan to visit again.
Parking at the church was tricky because more people than usual came to church today (church attendance generally peaks during Christmas and Easter, Christianity’s two most important celebrations). We had to double-park in the church’ lower garage because the upper lot was full. When the service was over, I had to navigate our car around a concrete wall, gun the car backwards up the garage ramp past a brick gate, and back it into a narrow alley. It was a bit nerve-wracking. If I have to do that every Sunday, we may not drive our car to this church in the future. Instead, we may park it in a nearby parking lot.
We haven’t yet driven much in Korea, but we now know three important rules of the road here highlighted by our trip to church today:
- Find out whether your destination has parking before you drive. Parking is at a premium in Seoul.
- When the light turns green at an intersection, look both ways first and proceed with caution. Koreans will drive through red lights without hesitation. On our way to church we waited 10 seconds after the light turned green to allow the red-lighters to pass.
- Don’t worry about cutting off the person behind or beside you–keep your eyes on the road in front of you and make sure you’re alert for the cars that will cut you off. Be aggressive, but always yield to busses–they will hit you if you mess with them.
Our friends came over today for a traditional Easter dinner. My wife baked ham and made mashed potatoes, gravy, and green bean casserole. Our friends brought apple pie. It was delicious! I’m still stuffed. They have a four-year old son who plays very well with our son. It was fun to watch them run around in circles chasing each other. They entertain each other for hours and left us adults alone so we could talk. We really enjoyed it. Easter was a lot of fun.