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Korea Update: Enjoying Spring and New Adventures on the Pen

While COVID-19 is still a reality here in Korea, we’ve been able to explore the peninsula and enjoy some new sights and adventures. On Resurrection Sunday, we were able to worship along with over 1,100 others at Agape Humphreys, our chapel community at USAG-Humphreys. Last year, we had to watch a livestream of our Easter service, so it definitely was great to worship in person this year.

Earlier in April, we visited Bear Tree Park in Cheonan about 45 minutes south of Pyeongtaek or 30 minutes south of our hometown, Asan. It’s a beautiful park, and there were sooo many bears! The kids enjoyed tossing black bears carrots as a snack. It was comical watching the bears raise their paws when they wanted us to throw them food. It was their way of calling for a snack. Then they caught most of them mid-air.

Also in April, we enjoyed a beautiful walk to Dangjin city. The trail was lined with hundreds of cherry trees in full bloom. When the wind picked up, thousands of cherry tree blossoms fell from the tree like snow. It was a gorgeous day for a nature walk. We parked outside the city, walked about 2.5 miles into the city, ate lunch at A Twosome Place (kind of similar to a Panera Bread or Atlanta Bread Company) and trekked the 2.5 miles back. We went with our Soldier Family Readiness Group, so it was good spending time with Soldiers and Families from our battalion.

I asked friends on Facebook if they had any questions, and hilarity ensued. All the questions came from friends currently in Korea, and there were actually some pretty good ones. I made the mistake of posting when most friends in America would be slumbering. Well, here are some of the questions I thought you might be interested in learning the answers to.

Why are the stoplights on timers instead of sensors?

I really have no answer here, but this is definitely frustrating to American drivers. We typically dutifully wait for the light to change, but Koreans treat stoplights more like suggestions or stop signs. If it’s a red light, and nobody’s coming, they’ll just roll right thru it.

Why are there only two main color choices for Korean vehicles (black or white)?

This is definitely a thing in Korea. Almost all the Korean brand vehicles (KIA, Hyundai) are either white or black. Kind of dull. I’m guessing they do it, so replacement parts are easier to acquire and are less expensive. Bongo trucks do come consistently in blue though, so there’s that.

Where are all the trash cans???

Finding a public trash can in Korean cities is like trying to find Waldo. They just don’t do them. In the West, we have trash cans on every street corner. It was definitely strange to this westerner being unable to find one, but Koreans just don’t do them. They are very environmentally conscious and recycling is a big deal here. Air quality is a consistent issue in Korea, so renewable energy and conservation definitely drive a lot of policy.

Have you used a squatty potty?

Koreans have these traditional toilets that are odd to westerners. It involves squatting. In more modern facilities, Koreans have western-friendly toilets. But in older areas, they just have the traditional toilets. As far as answering the question, no comment. 🙂

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