It is hard to believe we have been here for two weeks already. I have been so immersed that I have barely come up for air much less to write down my thoughts. And then today, I got a wake up call, a very cold and sandy wake up call…and so I decided it was time to write.
I am enamored with South Korea…from the tips of the toes that touched the East Sea (ugh, that wave moved fast) to the top of my windblown head. My love affair began with the Korean Barbecue near Yonsei University in Wonju. The food was delicious (think thick slabs of bacon cooked in garlic) but more impressive were the owners. Without a common word spoken, they managed to take care of all of our needs and seemed so happy to share their culture with us. Oh and the Kimchi, my happy food dance can’t be contained.
The next of Cupid’s arrows came when I met my Korean co-workers at the Alpensia Biathlon Center. Our “chief” was so excited for us to be there and to learn about biathlon, he didn’t stop talking for 15 minutes. Again, no common words but I found myself rapt with attention to his story. The Korean language is so very beautiful and full of inflection and gestures, you can be lulled into thinking you understand. Snack time is the bewitching hour, I have yet to find a Korean snack I don’t love. But again, even more delicious than the snack is the way my new Korean friends find such joy in my enjoyment of their culture. This trip has been a whirlwind matched only by the wind outside on the mountain. Right now as I think about what I have learned only one thing repeats over and over in my mind…this will not be my last trip to South Korea.
By Salli Hamilton, Assistant Dean of College of Arts and Sciences, Posting from the East Sea of Korea