In September, Tyler will have been in the Army 3 years! So much has happened. My friend and I were talking about some of the things we’ve seen and done since being in Seoul… It’s honestly overwhelming when I think about the last 3 years. I can say now, I am ready to leave but glad I came. My hometown of 500 will always see me as the way I was in highschool but I can assure you I’m definitely not.
Tyler threw me into this Army life that I was totally inexperienced with and only knew that we would travel, and travel a lot. I went from working 45-50 hours a week in Manhattan, for 2 family practice physicians to being a housewife. From there we went to Georgia, a state I wouldn’t care to go back to, to put it nicely. Then in Georgia we got our first duty asignment: Korea. Never been one to look at things negatively or be scared to try new things, I was excited and ready. Our parents were excited but sad. I remember thanking God that we got to attend my brothers wedding before we had to leave. When our 15 hour flight came to a close, we looked out the window and saw Seoul for the first time. We squeezed eachothers hand and smiled. “We’re really here.”
As we explored Seoul, we saw lots of differences. Not only the type of people but the atmosphere of the 2nd largest city in the world of 20 million. Quite the culture shock you can imagine. Here I’ve had many firsts: first visit to a foreign country, living abroad, major plane flight, public transit like cabs, buses and subways, my first few years of marriage, not being near my family, 14 hour time difference, speaking a foreign language, not being able to attend college, not working and the the list goes on. My new favorite saying is: Being cultured only makes you appreciate your own even more.
For example, Korean food is much different than I was used to. I’d never eaten kimchi or eaten things the way they eat them here. They love spice, cold noodle soup, slurping their food/talking with their mouth full, fatty pork (they eat bacon as a main meat), coffee shops, clothes, counterfeit goods, and rice. Many times while eating the simultaneously hold chop sticks and a spoon in the same hand. How ever they can’t do much else… like drive.
The traffic here is wretched. People still walk/bike on the highways, not seeming to notice or care about cars going 60 km/hr right by them. Buses are rude! Taxi drivers are so crazy that I get nauseous when I ride with them because I feel as though we are going to crash at any moment. Traffic signals and the like are taken as more of a suggestion than a rule. U turns can be anywhere. Many times its faster/cheaper to take the subway. They have reserved “group” seating: Mothers and expectant mothers sit together, old people, and wheel chair bound also have sections.
Now let’s talk customer service:
I was in dire need of a cut/color and forced myself to make an appointment at the local salon. I have never been happy with the outcome and they are highly over priced. But I was desperate. So as usual, 30 minutes late, the women tries to tell me how bad my hair is and tries to get me to spend and extra $100 on a “hair health package” “It very good for you.”, she said. I told her I wasn’t interested then she procedes to tell me that I need more layers and then tells me I need to cut my hair shorter than what I had requested and still goes on about how “damaged” my hair is… blah blah blah. This whole entire endeavor, nothing extra included, cost me $145 plus tip. I get buyers remorse each time I am forced to go in there. I am able to just, not go. I don’t like looking like I don’t care. So that is my most recent event in the area of excellent customer service. I may create a review online to warn others. Good idea eh?
I’m just glad fall is around the corner and home is getting closer. I can drive again, get my hair done the way I want for the price I want, go to a drive-thru (oh Sonic I miss you!) get groceries somewhere other than a commissary, go back to college, see my family and friends, watch football, shop at the mall, watch hulu or netflix, and best of all, be in America! Oh it’s going to be so great to be home.