Monday, May 29, 2017

My Camino Day 8

My Camino Day 8: Torres del Rio to Logrono (22 km)

Rain, Bed bug bites, and Blisters!  It was raining with thunder all day. The bed bug bites became more irritating. And the blisters under my right foot got more severe. I was soaked, bitten and blistered! BUT NOT defeated. I dried all my clothes, sleeping bag and backpack in a hot dryer machine over an hour to kill any bed bugs, went to the pharmacy to buy a spray to cover my body, and purchased a needle/thread kit and a patch to deal with the blisters. I will not be defeated! Buen Camino! 

My Camino Day 7

My Camino Day 7: Estella to Torres del Rio (29 km)

What a day!!! It was a very long, exhausting, and depressing day. Yesterday, I was very happy with the albergue but this morning I discovered many bug bites all over my body. I thought they were just mosquito bites because the window was open all night. Six other people who shared the room with me did not get any bite, just me!...

When I arrived in Los Arcos (about 21 km walk) I could not find any bed. The albergues were full. So I had to walk 8 km to the next town, Torres del Rio. When I left Los Arcos I forgot to refill my water bottles! Walking in the hot afternoon for 8 km without water was not fun at all. I almost died. And the bites from the last night became very itchy and swollen. So this night, I am suspicious...  One of the biggest fears that I have.. Bed bugs!  God help me..  Buen Camino

My Camino Day 6

My Camino Day 6: Puente la Reina to Estella (21.8 km)

A lot has happened at the Puente la Reina albergue  over night. I couldn't sleep well because the heat. Many young people stayed up late drinking. I didn't like the albergue. I stayed here because of the price ( 5 Euros) which I regretted. And  guess what? This morning, twelve pilgrims who stayed at the same albergue discovered that their personal belongings including phones, cash, and wallet, were stolen! I still do not know how it happened. I asked them to make a written report to the police. Everyone got up around 5 am because of this unfortunate incident. When I arrived in Estella I found a better and a more expensive albergue  (13 Euro). It was clean and quiet. I am satisfied and look forward to having a nice sleep tonight.  Buen Camino!

My Camino Day 5

My Camino Day 5: Pamplona to Puente la Reina (23 km)

It was a very hot day. 36 degrees! I pushed myself through the hot day and made it to Puente la Reina.
One of the most  famous stops for all pilgrims is the Alto de Perdon. ( the high place of forgiveness). The early Christian pilgrims believed that their sins would be  forgiven as they reached this place on the mountain. Today, it's a must stop for pictures.  Buen Camino!

Thursday, May 25, 2017

My Camino Day 4

My Camino Day 4: Zubiri to Pamplona (22.8 km)

I have not had Internet connection for the past two days until now. So I decided to take advantage of the WiFi service at the albergue Jesus and Maria in Pamplona, uploading three posts at the same time.
This one is the last and the most fresh post, Day 4. Yes, that's today. It was 32 degrees in the afternoon and I was cooked. Today's Camino was the most challenging walk. At the end of the day I was so exhausted that I just lied on my top bunk bed. I prefer the lower bed but have no choice. The receptionist assigns  the bed number to each pilgrim who enters the door. I was assigned the top bed two nights in a row. I have no complains at all because I constantly remind myself that I am on a pilgrimage. Buen Camino!

My Camino Day 3

My Camino Day 3  Roncesvalles to Zubiri. ( 21.5 km)

Today was the hardest so far. The road from Roncesvalles to Zubiri has continuous uphills and downhill. Going downhill was way harder than going up. I saw several pilgrims get injured coming downhill. One guy almost broke his nose when he fell. A lady slipped and cut her face. Another man sprained one of his ankles. All these happened when they were walking the last downhill road to Zubiri. 
What is the lesson for me?  
 "So. if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don't fall"    
(1 Corinthians 10:12)
Buen Camino!

My Camino Day 2

My Camino day 2 Orrison to Roncesvalles (19 km)

I crossed the Pyrenees mountains (French and Spanish border) to Roncesvalles today. What a beautiful walk! This route is known for steep uphills and downhills through the mountains. It was drizzling and foggy all morning hours while climbing up. Once I reached the top ridge above the clouds I could finally see the sunshine that created an unbelievably beautiful and  picturesque scenery. The clouds and moisture were temporary once you rise above them! I need to say, it was not an easy walk when the visibility is about 5 meters. However when I hiked up through it, there was a wonderful gift waiting for me: the beauty of God’s creation. 

We all have storms in our lives, which continuously beat against us. We are hard pressed and depressed. However at the end of the storm we face this moment and  something beautiful welcome us with a bright sunshine. It will beat our expectations. Buen Camino! 

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

My Camino Day 1

Day 1 Saint Jean Pied de Port to Orisson (8 km)

Should I go all the way to Roncesvalles or stop at Orisson? I could not decide until this morning. My original plan was to walk to Roncesvalles (27km), which was considered the hardest part of the Camino. When in Toronto,  Jan and others who had walked the Camino before advised me to take it easy and stop at Orisson (8 km). I finally made my mind to take a short walk for the first day of the Camino. I left SJPDP around 9 am. It was a steep uphill walk from the start and I was very glad that I listened to Jan’s wisdom. It was a strenuous but a beautiful walk. 

I met many pilgrims on the way and was surprised by how easy it is to become friends on the road. I arrived at the albergue Orisson before noon! After a pate sandwich for my lunch I washed my clothes and laid in my bed for a bit.  The albergue was full! (approx 60 people). During dinner time everyone got to introduce themselves. They are from Germany, Italy, South Korea, Japan, France, India, USA, Australia, Sweden, Denmark, Swiss,  and Canada! It reminds me of the Jane and Finch community. Diversity is a gift from God. No matter where you are from, every person deserves God’s love. Buen Camino!

Sunday, May 21, 2017

My Camino Fear Two

My friend, Yong Beom brought the insect repellent.
 Another fear that I have while preparing to walk the Camino are bed bugs. I hate to be bitten by any bug. My skin is sensitive and can become very itchy by any bug bite. I have heard many horror stories about bed bugs from other pilgrims and that makes me worry a lot!

I did some research about bed bugs and learned that I just need to pray more before I go to sleep and be cautious. As a part of prevention I asked a friend of mine who lives in the USA and was on his way to see me in Toronto the week before my departure, to bring a Sawyer brand permethrin to treat my backpack and sleeping bag. This is the brand of permethrin many people recommend which I could not find in Canada. I sprayed the backpack and the sleeping bag inside out. It dried very quickly without leaving a chemical smell. They are good for a month against any bed bug intrusion into my vulnerable skin. 

It's my prayer and hope that in the name of God all bed bugs will never touch my skin! 

벌레 물리는 것을 나는 아주 싫어한다. 다른 또 하나의 걱정은 순례자 숙소에 가끔 출몰하는 빈대? (Bed bugs) 이다. 침낭과 배낭에 일단 방어벽을 쳐 놨지만 기도 많이 해야겠다.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

My Camino Fear One

As I prepare myself for the Camino I confess that I have worries that I have not yet told anyone. My biggest fear is that I might have to give up the Walk because of my foot pain. Five months ago I was diagnosed with 'Freiberg Foot Disease'. I had had pain in the front bottom of my left foot for many years, and I did not think seriously of it. The pain near the head of the second metatarsal became severe so finally I had to see a specialist last December.

He told me that it's Freiberg infraction, a rare disease most commonly seen in teenage girls. It surprised me because I am not a teenage girl! Soon I learned that my love for soccer and golf over twenty years caused repeated microfractures on the left foot and as a result I have this Freiberg disease. Now the pain can get severe enough that I cannot walk on hard ground without supporting cushion in the shoes. 

I told my specialist that I was going to walk the Camino in five months so he should fix my foot for me. He told me to learn some skills to treat the pain and live with it. He recommended a rocker-bottom shoes for me to wear all the time which I have not done so far. I have planned to walk the Camino for many years and  I cannot give it up now because of this foot disease. I am going to use an anti-inflammatory gel and take pills and see how it's going to work. As long as I can endure the pain I should be fine. 

BUT still, I confess my biggest fear at this moment is giving up the walking due to the pain on my left foot.

왼발바닥 통증이 가장 큰 걱정이 된다. 통증을 이겨낼 수 있기를 소원해 본다.


Wednesday, May 17, 2017

My Final Packing List

my ultimate packing items 

My final packing list is here! It's the most updated version of the  items I am packing completed just two hours before my departure from home! 😄
1st row (from left):
Casual shorts (for sleeping),  2 t-shirts (with Jane Finch Reaching Up logo), poncho ($5 from Canadian Tire), water bottle, 2 dry-fit towels & bandana (my daughters laughted at me wearing it), 2 socks (I am going to wear toed linen socks underneath Marino wools, absolutely no cotton)
2nd row: 
2 hiking sticks (I purchased these right after I suffered from the first practice walk, unfortunately I never used them because I didn't do the second practice walk. I will learn how to use them when I start the Camino walk), hat (waterproof), scruba (what in the world is scruba?? It's a bag for washing clothes), toiletries, sleeping bag.

3rd row: 
Swimming trunks, camera, 2 underwear, selfie stick, Jan's cross & Jessie's stone (Jessie, a church member, gave me the stone to carry during the Camino. I didn't ask other church members for stones because I don't want to carry 10 pounds of stones 😉), phone charger & adapter, fork-spoon, duck tape, sunglasses, rubbing gel, sunscreen lotion.

4th row: 
Wind jacket, pen, hand made insole (I used my favourite duck tape to create a unique insole for my feet), sleepers, 45 L backpack. 

Not in the picture: Hiking boots, 2 pants (zippers), Sweater, passport, iPhone. 

최소의 물품으로 배낭을 꾸렸다. 집을 떠나기 두 시간 전에 작성한 물품 리스트인데 한 두가지 더 빼야 할 것같다.

               my final packing items   

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Camino for Hope

 My Camino is for the children and youth in the Jane Finch community. Toronto is one of the largest multicultural societies in the world, and its diversity is especially apparent in the Jane and Finch community, whose residents comprise of 80 ethno-cultural groups, speaking 112 different languages. For decades this community has been a welcoming home to new immigrants. As with all families, people seek happiness, peace, and prosperity, and they come here with the intention of providing the best for their children.

Unfortunately, the Jane and Finch community has a reputation for being a place of crime and poverty. Many children are exposed to social and financial impoverishment, gun violence, drugs, and teenage pregnancies. This environment increases children’s likelihood to drop out of school, and it limits their ability to achieve, excel, and be heard. 

In November 2007, I formed a group called "Anti-Poverty Working Group" to develop relevant programs to help children and youth in the Jane and Finch community. In 2008, Jane Finch Reaching Up Homework school was launched, followed by its Music school a year later. A full day summer camp started in 2010. Today over 100 children and youth are participating daily homework programs and weekly music programs. Well over 80 children come to the five week summer camp during the summer break.  You can find more about their programs here.

I will be wearing custom T-shirts during my Camino to raise awareness and support for the Jane Finch Reaching Up. At the last board meeting I was given the T-shirts!!! Jen, the chair of the board, presneted the gift to me. Blessings! 

토론토 제인핀치 지역의 청소년들을 위해서 순례의 길을 떠난다. 제인핀치 리칭업의 후원자들을 많이 만날 수 있기를 기도하며...



Thursday, May 4, 2017

Guatemala Mission Trip #2

Congratulations to you Amy and Bryan!!! Amy and Bryan who have been going out for two years are finally engaged. Bryan took Amy hiking through the jungle hoping to find a waterfall. He was looking for a very romantic place where he could propose to her. They walked for an hour. Bryan carried the guitar that he borrowed from me. The trail was so rough that the bottom of one of Bryan's shoes fell off. He could not find the waterfall but it didn't matter. He had Amy. He finally proposed to her, had a wonderful time, came back as the happiest man in the world. I am now doing pre-marital sessions with them. What a beautiful couple! They want to visit Guatemala again next year. They should! Maybe for their honeymoon? May God bless you.

교회 청년인 에이미와 브라이언이 약혼을 했다. 브라이언이 청혼을 했다 그것도 과테말라 산중에서!!!  잊을 수 없는 추억을 축복한다.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Guatemala Mission Trip #1

A team of ten members took a ten day trip to Coban, Guatemala (April 18-28). The main purpose of the trip was to help build a dormitory room for indigenous students at a local theological training school. Most of the students travel from afar to attend classes and need a place to sleep for the next day classes. They are the aboriginal people of Guatemala (the Mayans). Our team helped level the ground for the foundation of the building and participated in the ground-breaking ceremony. Although physically exhausted each day they experienced a heavenly joy of serving others.

과테말라 코반이라는 마을에서 열흘 동안 원주민 (마야) 학생들이 쉴 수 있는 기숙사 방을 짓는 일을 하고 돌아 왔다. 육체적으로 힘들었지만 모두 큰 보람과 기쁨을 느낄 수 있었던 시간..