Journal Entry: 5/22/2009
Landed at Incheon Airport on Friday; skipped a whole day in flight. As we went through security they checked our body temperature with a heat scanner behind our ear. I finally got a stamp on my passport–about time. Stupid Switzerland and France is too good for stamps. The exchange rate for won is 1202-1 U.S. dollar. Wooseob greeted us by taking pictures as we walked through the gate. His dad drove the girls as the boys took the bus to the train station. His dad doesn’t speak English but taught us how to say “Why are you so late” because Wooseob was late. We ate some sushi, kimchi, oodon soup, and fried rice at the train station.
The train ride is three house to Busan. The scenery is a lot of rice paddies and then small towns inbetween. Cars mostly are the same except for being smaller. Maintenance vehicles are very small in comparison.
Its customary not to make eye contact with others for an extended period of time. It is more for if you are interested in or hitting on them.
Arrived in Busan and was greeted by Mr. Shin, who works at Dongju College. He took us to lunch on campus and he informed us that he will be visiting Milwaukee and chicago in the month of July with some students.
Heard from several strangers on the street that I was beautiful and many people go out of their way to say hi. They elongate the word when they pronounce it; sounds like their mocking us.
At Dongju we got a tour of the museum containing artifacts of tools, pottery, tombs, and weapons. We got to meet the Beauty School coordinator, or perhaps dean, and learned about their program. We stepped in on a class and all the students were drying real hair on mannequin heads and styling. I asked if I could take a picture and a couple girls in the background did the “asian sensation” pose immediately. I guess it would just be the sensation pose because their ethnicity covers the first part. Instead of saying “cheese” they say “kimchi”. Kimchi is served mostly with every family-style or traditional meal. It is cabbage marinated in red pepper paste.
The other class we got to visit was a makeup removing, massage and aesthetics class. This was the first year students. After their “GRE”s they’ll then split off into hair and makeup or massage tracks.
After the classes we headed to the subway to downtown Busan. The smells on the streets are of food and exhaust. Unpleasant. The streets are way too small for cars. I pretty much think we ate 10 different meals at 10 different restaurants. I never seem to be getting full. Most of the food is really good and I already know I’m going to miss it. Well I know I won’t miss the kimchi–or these little fish.
In 2009 I traveled to South Korea to study abroad. I kept a diary of each day of my visit. When I returned to the United States, I created these digitized posts of my entries and the images that I took on each corresponding day. You can find all the South Korea journal entries here.