I made it to South Korea on February 6th, 2014. After a 12 hour flight, I survived customs, and got my 47.5 pound checked bag all with no problem. Then I had to catch a bus from Incheon airport to Songtan. Which leads me to my first observation; Korean people (at least all the ones I talked to) are extremely kind and helpful. After I was the crazy American (in my hot pink coat) running around looking for the right bus, I asked 5 different people to point me in the correct direction, which they were more than happy to do! After riding on a luxury bus (the seats leaned back!) for 1.5 hours I arrived in Songtan, where Steve picked me up and we drove to his house. Mission accomplished!
On the 7th, I went to the Osan Air Force Base with Steve and got to see where he works. It was a little terrifying being in a dentist’s office again after my root canal and wisdom tooth removal. Later for lunch we ate at a Korean buffet on base that cost a whopping $4. The buffet included white rice, kimchi, some yellow fruit (?), fried pork, and a soup that I have no idea what was in it. It also included the Korean metal chopsticks that are nearly impossible for me to use; needless to say I will be eating my food a lot slower here. That night we went out into an area called Sinjang near the Base where a lot of Americans go. It’s like it’s own little village with shops, restaurants, and bars. Steve and I had dinner at an Indian restaurant (bizarre when I first thought about it, but of course Korea would have Indian, Mexican, and Italian restaurants). One thing that leads to a bit of system overload for me (along with all the neon lights) is the fact that stores are stacked on top of each other, so if you’re on street level you have to remember to look up because you’re probably missing at least 10 different restaurants or bars.
On the 8th, Steve and I went grocery shopping at “E-mart” in Osan, about a 15 minute drive from where he lives in Songtan. E-mart is a bit like Walmart in that it has almost anything you need: dishes, clothes, cosmetics, groceries, and a food court. Grocery shopping was pretty busy and there were free samples everywhere being handed out. There was also a lot of seafood…fresh seafood in tanks, seafood on ice, freeze dried seafood, etc. I was surprised at some of the “American” items they had especially when it came to cereal. Special K, Frosted Flakes, Cocoa Puffs–all written in Korean of course. Most of the food, however, is a big mystery as to what you’re getting. I know I got yogurt, but I have no idea what flavor it is (it’s also 1/3 the size of the yogurt containers I’m used to).