It’s Jimin, dropping by to let you all know that I am doing well. I hope everything over in Toronto is fine! I really wish I was there for the church’s birthday celebration, so you guys better eat double the amount you usually do in remembrance of me (hehe)!!
So today was the first day of school. Nothing too dramatic or exciting, as this class had a lot of 2nd year MA students in it as well, so the prof decided not to do introductions or anything. But we did have a program orientation last Friday, so everyone was familiar with everyone…except I arrived late to the orientation because my internet technician was setting up my internet at my apartment, so I missed the introduction part! But the program director decided to put me on the spot and asked me to introduce myself when I walked in late. It was kind of nerve-wracking as I seriously had no clue who anyone was (and needless to say, the only asian girl there), but one of the PhD students recognized my topics of interest and asked “Did you write that essay about High School Musical in the U of T student journal?” Which kind of surprised me, but I was very flattered because he said he liked it and thought it was funny.
I think being the only asian girl in the entire program is kind of working towards my advantage, because ALL my profs seem to know who I am even though I have never met them. I suppose I will stand out – which is good!
So far I have made a few friends within the program. On the day of orientation, I just grabbed a couple people that seemed to be taking the same courses and negotiated splitting the cost of the coursepacks with them (they are soooooo expensive), because we have access to the copy machine in the office. I’m pretty sure that’s illegal, but we are all starving students!
Anyway, other than school, I have been attending Grace Montreal Church (gracemontreal.com) for the past 2 Sundays. The pastor (Chris Lee) is a 2nd-gen Korean from Toronto who planted the church in Montreal about 9 years ago. From what I can tell, his vision is to help students away from their home churches/families to stay on the right track with God, and make Montreal a more Godly city (he once referred to Montreal as “sin city”!) He is a very articulate and interesting speaker, but what I really like about him is that he isn’t afraid to get straight to the point and attack relevant issues. The church is very small (only 1 service on Sundays), but it has 5 very active small groups, and I think there is a pre-school ministry (but I’m not sure).
I asked Pastor Chris how to make our church more multi-cultural and multi-ethnic like GMC, but he said that it’s really hard in Toronto, especially when one is attached to a stereotypical “Korean” church. I suppose that the French-ness of Montreal brings a different spin to things. The annual GMC retreat is coming up in October and the topic is about marriage, love, and relationships, so I will hopefully be attending that as long as my school schedule doesn’t kill me.
Wow – this is getting long. Oh, but I have to share one last thing with all of you.
I’m sure all of you know that finances were such a huge worry when making the decision to move to Montreal. And I was even MORE worried when I found out that my tuition was $7000 per semester (I almost died of shock, to be honest). And then I found out that OSAP was only releasing $9000 for the entire school year, so I was really really unsure of what I was going to do. I was panicking trying to find random grants and bursaries, or even a part time job, but I’m basically ineligible for any job since I am not a French/English bilingual. But today, I found out that there is this silly online form that I need to fill out and nearly half of the cost of my tuition would be removed from my tuition. So YAY!
This was my first year having to seriously worry about finances on my own, and I felt like a sinking ship in a storm of debt, but God really does work in mysterious ways and taught me a lesson to always carefully read all instructions, to seek advice, and to trust in Him. Gee, if I only had done that in the first place…
I will repost soon with pictures of my apartment and some other updates. I miss you all and I can’t wait to see you all again!