Monday, August 15, 2011

감 사 합 니 다 - Thank You!

             It’s been almost two weeks since leaving Korea and I would be lying if I didn’t say there was an adjustment period back to American life. Being home feels great but at the same time I will certainly miss the daily activities that took place in Korea. The hardest part of adjusting was getting off a diet heavy in rice and cabbage and getting back into eating breads and drinking milk. For the first few days I could barely eat half of my Cheerio’s before going to work. In Korea we started work at 8am and in California I am at my desk before 6:30am, I definitely like the Korean hours more.
The flights home were pretty smooth and I flew business class on the new Singapore Airlines, Airbus A380. The seats were actually too big and they forced you to sit on an angle while watching the TV directly in front of you. The A380 was the long haul flight from Tokyo to LA but first I had to get from Busan to Tokyo on Japan Airlines. Japan was very comfy and they had some very exotic sushi and seafood for my meal. It was not that big of a deal to eat one more mystery meal before going home to LA.
JAL Lunch

The only identifiable items were white rice, Miso soup, and buckwheat noodles

Singapore's new A380

Business Class Cabin

Awkward, off-center footrests

A Singapore Sling to start the flight

Flying into LAX. The Channel Islands are off to the left

The same plane but for a different airline

            When I came home my plan was to surprise Courtney because she thought I wasn’t going to be home for a few weeks. She had a softball league happy hour about 30 minutes away in Pasadena and I had every intention of getting home around 4:00pm and then meeting her and her team for a fun night of socializing around 6:00pm. My plan went sour from the start when I walked through my apartment door. My car keys were not in the same place as I had left them and I soon realized she had them in her car. Thinking on the fly I emailed her that something happened in Korea and I needed to talk to her right away. This would mean she’d come home early from the happy hour so we could talk online. I never told her what happened, just that I needed to talk. Unfortunately at around 8:30pm when she walked in the apartment door and I yelled, “Surprise!”, she burst into tears. 50% was excitement I was home and 50% was sadness that I had made her so nervous by saying I needed to talk but never telling her about what.
           They say that Disneyland is “The Happiest Place on Earth” and it should also be known that Korea is “The Nicest Place on Earth”. Koreans should take great pride in the kind and welcoming personalities they have as well as what they have accomplished in their small country. Not once in the past three months did I ever feel unsafe, unwelcome, or unclean while living in the Korean culture. Coworkers, hotel employees, waitresses, and taxi drivers really seemed to all go the extra mile to guarantee my smile. The white background of the Korean flag stands for cleanliness and I believe this has a much deeper meaning than just clean sidewalks. Insides and out Koreans are a very clean and pure culture that wants to better themselves by helping those around them. My college fraternity, Theta Chi, stands for a Latin phrase that means “Helping Hand”. In addition to all the Soju and Hite beer, all of Korea really felt like college because of how outgoing and accommodating the citizens were.
Thanks Korea for such a great visit and please keep in touch if you are ever planning to visit America. It would be a dream come true to play a round of golf outside in California or to spend a day at the beach with all of the great friends I’ve met west of the Pacific Ocean.

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