Living in South Korea

azaelas in Gunpo, Seoul

We moved here directly from Germany. We immediately noticed quite a difference. We stayed in Seoul several days before heading to U.S. Army Garrison Humphreys. There were signs of poverty, fairly regular, in both the city and the countryside. The streets were far less clean in places. The crowds were much greater than we had ever experienced (we could not believe how many Koreans would cram into a elevator). But there was beauty, too. The azaleas came out that week.

We appreciated the friendliness of the people and the really different food — though a lot is too hot for me. We’ve learned to really love the people.

Before coming, we wondered how Koreans would react to trouble with the North. Most of the time, I would compare it to people in Central and North Texas being told there was a Tornado warning.  They just said, “OK” and went about their business — just used to it. Tell them a tornado has been sighted 5 miles away and you have their attention.

As I write this, there is more concern. North Korea has had several nuclear tests recently and tests of longer reaching missiles. Couple this with the local political scene being unstable at the moment and a new U.S. President and tensions are high.

Right now I need to check my NEO bag and put it in the car. I need to travel to another base and think I’ll take it with me, this time. It needs to be ready at all times, in case they evacuate non-essential Americans with the military community. It contains a few pieces of clothing, a gas mask, bottled water, snacks, and a lot paper work, which includes my marriage certificate and my last will and testament. The training has prepared us to drop everything and walk, not drive, to the building on base we are to gather in such circumstances and prepare to helicopter out of here. Training even included a thirty minute ride in one of these, a CH-47 Chinook, which turns out to be the fastest of the locally based helicopters. If we ever need it, we’ll appreciate that. CH-47 Chinook

Next post we’ll explore our reactions to dangerous times.

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