Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Long Awaited First Posting about Korea from Korea!

OMG Where do I even begin. I think I have started to try and write another post for this blog at least 4 or 5 times and I just never really have time. Well since today I am sitting on CQ with nothing to do and all is quite at the retreat center what better time to write a post than now. I must warn you all right now though this one is probably going to be quite lengthy being that we have been here over a month already and I haven't written anything. So here it goes...I will try my best though to make it easy on those eyes.

THE PLANE RIDE: Well I suppose I should just start from the begining huh?! The plane ride here was not nearly as bad as I was expecting to be. It was very very very long though and if you add about 11 more very's onto that thats how many hours it took us to get here. The night before I got very little sleep I was full of so many diffrent emotions it was insane. I ended up being up for just about 48 hours straight, I took a little nap here and there on the plane but it was just way to uncomfortable to sleep. Kason did AMAZING and I do mean AMAZING on the plane. He slept the whole time pretty much and like usually the only time he really cried was when he was hungry or just wanted to get off his but. Him having his own seat was extremely helpful I couldnt even imagine myself holding him for 14 hours straight. Dont get me wrong I love holding him but 14 hours is to long. lol  Well anyways once we got off the plane and made our way through customs and immigration and we got our bags and everything my sponsor came to get us. It was pretty interesting trying to fit all of our crap in his little car but we managed. Now I was under the assumption that once we got to base we would be able to go to the hotel room...boy was I wrong. I had a briefing and some paperwork that I had to do if it wasn't bad enough that I had no sleep got to South Korea at 430pm on the 9th didnt get to base till about 6ish  I had to wait to go to the hotel. I did'nt get there till about 730 which is'nt to bad but I had some serious jet lag going on and just wanted to go to bed. (PICTURE: Taken towards the end of our plane ride as you can see I was tired!)

THE FIRST WEEK: The first week was spent inprocessing to was 4 EXTREMELY LONG days of Briefings. Well actually 3 of them were briefings and I suppose they were'nt to bad. We got out at a decent time everyday. No later than 5 but usually 4. One of the days was a briefing on Korean culture which wasnt to bad, we got to learn some Korean and the do's and donts of Korea. Did you know that if you play "I got your nose" that is the equivelent of giving the finger here. I thought that was pretty interesting, guess I have to be careful cause I play that ALL the time with Kason. :) Anyways after the class we went and walked to the Korean War Mueseum which was pretty interesting Kason was at day care so he did not come but we will be making another trip. This year Korea is celebrating the 60th Anniversary of the Korean War so the Mueseum is free all year long the actualy anniversary was June 26th though. Im sure as many of you know North and South Korea are still at war technically. But I dont think any one has to worry about Kason and I to much North Korea doesnt have the man power nor the equipment to last more than 2 weeks in war and China has already stated that they are staying out of this mess. Seoul is a huge City FULL of all diffrent kinds of embassys so if they blew up South Korea they would also be doing the same to many other countrys. It would be trouble for them. Alright anyways back to the first week. At the end of all of our briefings everyone got there pinpoint assignment and many people that I inproccessed with were going to a lot of the other parts of Korea so not everyone stayed here. Mine of course though read that I was going to the Religious Retreat Center also known as the RRC. (PICTURE: a statue that sits outside of the Korean War Museum).

RRC: RRC....this is the place that for the next 3 years I will be calling the work place. Its a beautiful place, secluded on the top of a hill and about 5-10 minutes away from post. The staff here consists of Chaplain of Course, 5 US Soldiers including myself, 6 KATUSA's (Korean Augmentation to the United States Army), one civillian lady Ms. Lopez who works in the offices with us and  many many more Korean Civillians who work as cook, waiters, housekeepers, and all sorts of diffrent things. My job will basically be to help out with the retreats. Seems easy enough. I am excited to say that my first retreat will be in August. (PICTURE: This is the Gazebo that we have sitting out front.)

KATUSA- Korean Augmentation to the United States Army: Over the next 3 years you will all prolly hear me talk about KATUSA's alot so let me explain to you what they are. In Kore it is the Law the all Men between the ages of 18-30 serve at least 2 years minium to their government. The only exception to this law is if they are United States Citizens. So there are many Koreans in the States who may have immigrated to the US but if they are not official citizens yet they must come back to Korea to do their time. They have 3 options in doing this though (there might be more but I know of 3 for sure) they can either 1) Be a police officer 2) Join the ROK (Republic of Korea) Military or 3) Become a KATUSA. From what I understand from talking to my KATUSA's the 3rd option is what most prefer. The ROK Army is extremely stricked and if they work with the US although they still follow some orders from the ROK Army they are mostly under US guidance and adhear to US regualtions and what not. Basically they wear our uniform (except they have the Korean flag) and they work with us. From what I understand the KATUSA program is very hard to get. They have to pass several tests and they must be pretty fluent in their English. (PICTURE: Kason LOVES our KATUSA's this is him and PFC Kang).

WEEKENDS IN SOUTH KOREA: Well I think I covered pretty much everything except for this. Being that we have not been here for to long and I of course work during the week we havent done a whole lot yet. We do have some friends here April and Damien and there 3 soon to be 4 children. Kason and I have gone out with them several times already and we enjoy it. Although its getting harder on April to do to much since she is 32 weeks pregnant. But we still enjoy there company. When we fist got here they took us to Itaewon which is like a huge shopping street that they have right outside of post. Its pretty nice and everything there is for the most part farely cheap. But the one thing that we did do which was the most fun was venture off in the subways of Seoul to go to the CoEx mall aquarium. Kason tends to love the aquarium but he wasnt to immpressed this time even though I think it was the best we have been to. I think he was just sleepy that day. So we will try again. But it was big and they had a ton of diffrent fish there that I had never seen or heard of before. I may hate fish myself but I did have fun there. And watching Aprils kids just made me even more excited to see Kason at the age they are and having a blast. We also got to spend the 4th of July together and watch the firework...but those really werent that great. But regardless it was still exciting being that it was Kasons first fireworks and 4th of July. :) The best thing that we have done so far in Korea though was go to Gyeongbokgung Palace. Kason and I went there with John who is my boyfriend...but I wont really talk about him to much in this blog. Anyways the Palace is BEAUTIFUL and its big. I think it was almost to much for Kason to take in even. lol We had ane extremely enjoyable day there took lots of pictures even. This is actually the palace that in a few weeks Kason and I both will be getting proffesional ones done at. I wanted our first ones in Korea to be Korean themed of course so what better place than a Korean Palace. I am sure that there will be many more adventures that Kason and I go on here though.
This is just all we have done so far. There is lots to do and so much to be seen. Part of me wonderhow the heck will we be able to accomplish all that we wan to do in only a matter of 3 years. But I guess we will just have to wait and see. Korea is a beautiful country and I am so glad that I decided to make the choice to come here. I have yet to regret this one bit. There is so much more that I could write but I am sure you have all read enough from me so far. I promise though I will try and get better at writing this. I want to keep you all updated. (PICTURES: Top Right- The begining of Itaewon. Top Left-Kason (sleeping of course) but some finish at teh aquarium, Bottom Right- A gazebo thats at the palace...beautiful I must say and as you may notice the one Kason is sleeping by at the aquarium looks just like this picture.)

                          Heres to making it through month one of our 36 month Journey in Korea.

 Miss and love you all back in the US of A.

Lexi and Kason!

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