How do porcupines make love? Very very carefully!

Many cultures come together to make up the city of Coquitlam, BC. The Cross Cultural nature of our city is one of the best things about living here. I’m learning so much about the world, and I don’t even have to go very far. There are so many beautiful people from various ethnicities that leave me with such wonderment.

I lived and worked in South Korea for 19 years as a university ESL Instructor, Counsellor, Life Coach, Actor, Folk Singer, guitarist…etc. During that time, many friends, colleagues, employers, even strangers went out of their way to take care of me and help me along. So many stories I could tell. Of course, things weren’t perfect, but I did very well for myself. I thus promised myself that when I got back home to Canada, I would do all that I could to help the International community to feel more at home right here in British Columbia. I want to be a good example of a caring and thoughtful citizen.

Michelle, my wife is Korean and she continues to teach me a lot about Korean culture. She’s gone through immense culture shock since moving here over the last four or so years. It’s a very different world here. The Christian community that we belong to here is much more liberal in its theology than many churches in South Korea. Some might say that Canada is a post-Christian country.

Many Evangelicals here ask me about Christianity in South Korea and how on fire the church is. Actually, it’s quite sad. My own impressions of the Korean church are not very good. It is held hostage by much traditional Korean culture, Shamanistic and Confucian superstition, sexism, ageism, and early 20th Century conservative Missionary theology that make living in the 21st Century very difficult for many Koreans. I’m aware that many are very disappointed with my assessment of the country. Though I would also like to add that there are some very excellent liberal theologians that are taking the culture to task, but it is an arduous journey, to say the least. Change is very slow. Power is exercised from the top down. The eldest men generally have most of the power. Corruption is rampart with much graft.

Someone recently asked me; what tip might I offer a new Korean that has just recently moved to Canada? My response would be: Don’t take everything so personal. It’s not always about you. Many Koreans interpret actions as possible slights against them. It’s important to embrace mystery and say to oneself, I don’t know why that happened, it’s probably has little to do with me, and I choose to let it go. Many actions that happen may be cultural differences, and thus totally innocuous. Those who are able and willing to let go, forgive, move on, not jump to conclusions, and will therefore be much happier living in Canada.

For example: Many might believe that I am a very rude and stuck up person. They may see me across the street and yell hello and I simply ignore them and keep on walking along down the road… what a snob! They think. Yet the issue is a simple one: I am deaf in my right ear. I simply couldn’t hear them since they were on the wrong side of me. (I get that a lot.) So embracing mystery will help the person to ponder that maybe there is some unknown reason that I didn’t respond to them when they called to me. Having a bit of an imagination will go a long way. Ask open questions and be open to the mystery and grace that comes your way. That would be my recommendation.