Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The differences I see between Korea and the USA - a year after leaving Korea

Let me give you all some background, some know this and some don't. I lived in Korea for 3 years and loved it the whole time. I was never "ready to leave" like some people are. I cried many times just thinking about leaving this beloved country. I dreaded coming back to America because there is such a richness in Korea that is hard to put into words and I didn't want to leave it. God blessed our lives there in so many ways. I've been back in America for a year and I'm glad I'm back, but thoughts of Korea come to mind everyday in some way, shape or form and I would go back in a heartbeat... even right now with the "threat" of war, if I could.

Before coming back to America, my children had never learned about "stranger danger" because that mentality is so opposite to the Koreans. My girls would have been considered rude to refuse gifts of candy and food from strangers (Koreans) or for pulling away when Koreans reached out to touch them. We felt so safe in Korea... really, really safe! I did not want to have to inform my children of the evil that surrounds us in America. I did not want to tell them that everything they knew and all their behaviors regarding strangers were now not safe. Strangers could be dangerous and you always have to be on the lookout, prepared to scream and kick and fight to be safe!

I knew there was always a chance of N Korea attacking. They attacked S Koreans twice while I lived there. Even then, I never felt afraid. I did feel mad. Mad that some foolish decision by some crazy guy might cause me to need to flee this country I loved! But my daily life was not impacted. I still felt safe.

Americans live with a similar background fear, but it is the "stranger danger" fear and it's different. It makes you look at people funny. It makes you not trust those around you that you don't know and even some you do know. It makes your daily life different. You parent differently because of it, I parent differently because of it. My parenting is very different from what it was in Korea. Most Americans don't even notice it because they have never been free from it. Those who have lived in other countries and have come back to America notice a difference.

America is not a safer country to live in, but we believe we are safe here because we don't have a bad guy threatening to cross our border and attack us. Our family was almost stationed in Colorado when we left Korea. A few months later, a little girl, my daughter's age, was kidnapped and killed in a peaceful, "safe" neighborhood as she headed to school. A gunman killed and injured innocent people in the "safety" of a movie theater. In another state, college kids going about their day were stabbed and killed on a college campus - in broad daylight! And we can never forget about the people on 4 different airplanes who were killed when terr orists chose to use the planes as weapons to fly into buildings. And the thousands of people that got safely to work that morning who died in their places of employment when planes flew into those buildings. These are just a few examples of how we are not safe, even in the great land of America. We do have evil here, it just looks a little different than it does in Korea.

Please pray for those in Korea. They need our prayers. They may have to run for their lives someday because of N Korea. Pray for us as Americans, too. We may have to run for our lives from the guy next door or the kook from another country who hates America. We are all living in a dangerous world!

Friday, September 24, 2010

"I'll be back"

I was fortunate to get a chance to see one of the most famous movie stars of my generation, Arnold Schwarzenegger. He came to Asia to talk trade with China, Japan and South Korea. While he was in the area, he came to thank the troops and their families at the Yongsan army post on Sept 15.

I asked my friend, Melanie, if she was interested in joining me for this little excursion. We made arrangements for the kids to be watched and jumped on the subwayWe were quite giddy to be out without the kiddos for a girls night out on a "school night".

We got to post at 5:45 and headed toward the gym and saw this...

The line getting in to the gym an hour before he was to speak was about 50 people long. We went in expecting to be standing in the back of the gymnasium and were quite surprised to find the place mostly empty! We got a seat about 8 rows back from the stage!

There was a lot of excitement in the room while we waited for Arnold to come in. Music playing, kids dancing (and crying), cameras shooting everything that moved, and necks craning every time the door opened on the side of the gym that Arnold would be coming out of.

Arnold said that he always tries to makes time to go see the troops whenever he is traveling around the world. "It's wonderful to be here. For many of you who don't know I came over here to Korea on a great mission to pump up our economy in the great state of California. But whatever I do - if I go on a movie promotion or if I go on a business promotion or under the trade commission, rallying for the Special Olympics - whatever it is I always go and visit our Troops. I love visiting our Troops, I love it! I love visiting our troops and the reason is: I am a big fan and a big admirer of yours. You see, I play in my movies the action hero, but you are the true action heroes." said Arnold.

Arnold also gave a great shout-out to thank military families for their support.
“I want to say thank you to all of you for the great service that you provide for our country. Not only the men and women in uniform, I know also who your true partners are,” said Schwarzenegger. “You true partners are sitting out there: the spouses, the children, the families. You are making the same sacrifices, you are doing the same things, always working for our great country. That is why I say thank you.”

He spent some time talking about his childhood in Austria and coming to America with almost no money and big dreams. He praised the freedoms that are found in the United States that had given him the opportunity to be a body-building champion, a movie star and a chance to become the governor of California.

“Where else can an Austrian farm boy go and end up being governor of the great state of California? Only in America,” said Arnold Schwarzenegger. “There are so many people who always debate: who is really responsible for making American the greatest nation? Is it the political leaders, is it the scientists, is it the educators, is it the press? Who is it really? I say it is you.”

He talked about how much he personally cares about the condition of Califonia's economy. He said his trip to Asia was not paid for with money from California and that he is not receiving a paycheck from California for being the governor. Gotta respect that.

Before he left, he did not let us down, he said the most famous words most associated with Arnold Schwarzenegger, "I'll be back".

Monday, June 28, 2010


Recently, while I was in Seoul, my friend, Melanie and I decided to walk over to Itaewon. I have not been there since I came to visit my husband in Korea about 12 years ago. It looked quite different to me. Lots to see, lots of shopping and lots of food! We had a gyro-like sandwich for lunch (which was yummy) and Cold Stone Ice Cream for dessert! 6/3/10

Flower boxes along the way

Entrance to Itaewon. It was election season. See all the campaigners in blue?

McDonald's open 24 hours. They have cones for 40 cents!

Melanie found a pair of shoes she likes

Shoes wrapped in plastic just like your hamburger in the deli case. lol!

Embroidery shop

Burger King and Reebok, what a combination!

Garden Statue

Hangover soup with Oxbone

Grilled Stomach (Tripe)

Beef Tripe and Intestine Soup

Interesting light- A bag full of incandescent bulbs
with a fluorescent bulb shining through them.

Chocolate shop with delicious chocolates inside

Coffee Shop next door

Carriages in the antique section of town

A cool-looking house

Banners welcoming you to Itaewon in several languages up the street

Thursday, June 24, 2010

ACU Tote

Once again, I have made an original design. I had a gal here in Korea ask me if I would help her make an Army purse. I sat down with one of my husband's old uniforms and played around with it. This is what I came up with. Not bad for my first try, even if I do say so myself.
I am praying for you, AM.




Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Going to the dentist in Korea

I know... we all hate going to the dentist. But I have really good news for you if you live in Area 1. We have a fabulous dentist here in Dongducheon by the name of Dr. Gary at Chicago Dentist. He was raised in the states, so his English is perfect, but married a Korean gal and stayed in Korea. He has state-of-the-art equipment, a friendly staff and a kids play room in case you have to bring the kiddies with you. He also treats kids.

His prices about knocked me over! A crown in the states a year ago cost me about $1,000 of which I had to pay half. The crowns at Chicago Dentist are $350 and I have to pay half!!!!! Now that is much more affordable! And he is Tricare approved.

I went in for a root canal today. Dr. Gary did a marvelous job! I barely even felt the shots for the Novocaine! He did excellent! If you need a dentist, give him a call at 031-859-2859.

Now, if my face would just stop being numb...