Archive for the ‘Onnuri English Ministry’ Category

I miss Korea terribly. I lived there for a year from 2012 to 2013, and I still have dreams of returning. I miss the dangerously loose cobble stoned streets, the scenery, the museums, and the aroma of the fried street food that always mixed weirdly with the stench of the sewage. I miss being drenched in the language. I miss feeling connected to my heritage. I miss my friends and my church. I also really miss the beautifully run public transportation system (I hate driving).

In some ways it was kind of like the childhood I subconsciously wished I had.

Anyway, I’ve been going over my sketchbooks from the time and remembering what I was thinking or feeling while drawing. I might have posted these before, but whatever. These are better edited anyway.

Here are sketches from one of my favorite cafes called Chocoblossom. I was first introduced to it by a small group leader who actually remembered that I don’t drink coffee. As you might be able to infer from the cafe’s name, it specializes in different flavored hot chocolate and a few desserts. The menu was really short, and the flavors I remember were something like Normal, Bittersweet, Raspberry, Cinnamon, and Mint. The cocoa came in big bowl cups with a flower pattern somehow incorporated in with chocolate sauce. The desserts were some sort of a brownie with ice cream and a banana chocolate croissant thing.

I can’t remember how to get there off the top of my head, but it was somewhere in Shinchon and not too far from Edae. It was also underground, but there was a sign outside the entrance.

The layout of the cafe was memorable for me too. When you enter through the glass door, you can see a floor level seating area. There were lots of cups stacked behind the cashier and I remember the refrigerator in the back with different kinds of dessert ingredients. There were also two sets of stairs for higher seating.


The stairs at the direct opposite of the entrance lead you to a long, couch like plush area where you can cuddle with stuffed animals or friends under blankets. Here I drew a sort of birds eye view of the cashier. I threw in my feet too because they fit. To the right were more steps that lead to a bathroom. There was also that gray half wall on the left that I think was there for safety, and there were some iron bars fencing us in too.


If you scoot your vision over to the left corner, you can see a more private closed off seating area. There’s also the neon green exit sign to the right. I didn’t finish sketching the guy because he got up to leave a few minutes after I started drawing him. You can still see a bit of the gray half wall at the bottom.


But if you sit where the aforementioned boy was sitting and you turn around, you have a good view of the chandelier and the plush sitting area I was just talking about. Here’s a girl talking to her friend while hugging a pillow. You can also see a giant teddy bear with a Santa hat partially obscured by a blanket in the back.

You can also see the chandelier. It reminded of some spider’s web or an egg sac. If you’ve read Coraline by Neil Gaiman, it was kind of like how I imagined the container of the two fake neighbor ladies from near the end of the book. But less creepy.

Some of my favorite moments were just people watching. Since this was nearby two major universities (Yonsei University and Ewha Womans University), it seemed like a popular spot for blind dates.

Once I remember a girl loudly saying to her date, “You don’t speak English well? Don’t you care about your future?!”

The date ended shortly after.


If I’m ever fortunate enough to return to Seoul, I’d love to go back again. But I wouldn’t be too surprised if the cafe wasn’t there anymore. Shops seemed to close down and get replaced very often while I was there.

I suppose that’s life in a major city.



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What I essentially did today was clean and post a bunch of sketches. More can be viewed here.

tomato Yonsei waffleitupupstairs waffle1 shirtoppadak Kathleen foodcart Yonsei atmcds chocoblossomChocoblossomagain 021 018

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“Would you like to Waffle It Up?”- Judith to Sephora


One of my goals for this year was to improve my landscapes, and there’s no better way to do so than painting plein air. Lately one of my favorite things to do is sketching in cafes because a lot of cafes in Korea have the alluring appeal of free Wifi. I haven’t yet worked up the nerve to paint outdoors alone, but I’m hoping I will soon. Waffle It Up is a cafe that has two locations in Edae, and their stuff is pretty cheap. ¬†They mostly seem to serve waffles (surprise!) and gelato. Today was probably the third time I’ve sketched here.


As I was about to leave, my small group friend Sephora came in with her mentor Judith. Prior to today I’d never talked to Judith before, but I’d seen her often on Onnuri’s praise team. They were doing their one-to-one discipleship, and they were gracious enough to let me sketch them. I don’t know how the official mentors get picked, but they both seem to have a lot in common. Such as their penchant for singing and their hair color. The cafe got pretty dark at this point, so I tried to add a dark background. And that failed very badly. Lucky for me I also brought a Schmincke palette that had a color opaque enough to cover it after a few layers. Then I just scribbled away with a couple watercolor pencils.


As I left, I could see the waiter trying not to chuckle as he said goodbye to me. Who else spends around six hours in a cafe?

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