Anyonhaseo! What a debacle! I arrived at Wellington airport at 5am to check in for a 7.45am international flight to Seoul Korea via Auckland. “You do not have a visa to enter Korea”. OMG I had given ample notice to apply and although I had paid and put in an application the reality was NO! I had not received confirmation. So alas, I could not be checked in to Seoul, Korea flight on Air NZ. After a couple of hours of contemplating what to do, I decided to travel to Auckland anyway and apply for a Korean visa through a different agency whilst in Auckland. I checked into a hotel and applied, within 2 hours my visa was confirmed, Hallelujah. I then had to find a new flight to Seoul. The earliest flight I could get was the next day on Malaysian Air via Kuala Lumpur and then a connecting flight on Air Asia to Seoul, I went from a direct 12 hour flight on Air NZ to a 11 ½ hour flight to KL and a 6 ½ flight to Seoul not including airport transfer time. By the time I got to board Air Asia after delayed immigration, baggage, and customs, I arrived at the departure gate and the flight was already boarding. I was physically shattered, hot and sweaty. But thank God I had made it onto the last leg of the flight to Seoul (Air Asia was in a completely different terminal which I had to travel to by taxi). On arrival, I then had to catch the train to my hotel up and down umpteen escalators looking for exit 12. I’ve decided I’m going to catch a taxi back to airport on Saturday, no way am I going to go through that again, whew!
But, it was all so worth it in the end. What an amazing gathering of beautiful women (my name Feiloaigamatausala literally means the gathering of beautiful women) so that is what I am experiencing now. The first day we honoured our mothers and biblical mothers and their stories, yesterday was lamenting and explored the lamentations of women’s stories in the bible and among us. Today we rejoiced with our daughters. I was invited to a presentation. After much discernment I decided to share a story/journey of hope. I shared a personal journey of mine for the very first time, I struggled whether I would but the time felt right and the moment very sacred. I am yet to share this story with St. Andrew’s and I’m not sure whether there will be an appropriate place and time to do this as it is extremely personal. The context has to be right as it is a sacred story and this gathering of international women was where I felt called to allow this to happen. In a nutshell, at the end of my presentation the flood gates opened and the rest of the day was spent responding to all the similar stories that began emerging from within the gathering.
This is an incredible gathering of women theologians, biblical scholars from all over the world, I am honoured to have been invited to such an auspicious event. I look forward to sharing some of the pearls of wisdom on my first Sunday back next week.
Fingers crossed future travel home will go smoothly. See you soon, take care. Kamsahamida, Fei
You can read the full E-news here: https://mailchi.mp/3b4178e44eb4/this-weeks-newsletter-from-st-andrews-on-the-terrace-9194195