I’ve learned that living in Busan is like living in Chicago or DC. It’s a huge city with it’s own subway system that takes you almost everywhere. It’s clean, prompt and quite nice. I feel funny when I speak English on the subway because I feel like people stare but I guess it doesn’t matter. They stare regardless cause I’m white. Some people love to be the center of attention, I’m typically not one of them but I’ve learned to just own it.
The week after I arrived was interesting. I kept trying to figure out my address and after a few days of translating and looking at maps, I believe I have finally succeeded. I can not receive packages at my Korean home address so I’ve only included my work address. Here it is:
Michelle Ivy (미셸 이아비)
부산광역시 서구 구덕로 185번길47 (아미동2가 37-4) 602-827
Methodist Busan Happy Youth Center
Attn: Michelle Ivy
47 Gudeok-ro 185beon-gil,
37-4 Amin-dong-2-ga, Seo-gu
The first few days of that week were interesting because I didn’t a Korean cell phone so my boss/co-worker liked to drop by my apartment to give me things/invite me to eat/check on me. It was nice but I learned quickly that I should always have on appropriate clothing just in case I have “visitors”. On Monday, my landlord came by to change the locks. I had on short shorts so I grabbed pants off the drying line really fast. Oops.
Then next day, I had a woman come and check the hot water heater. I have no idea why but I just said ne (okay/yes) and gamsa-hapnida (thank you) and stood in the door until she left. My next adventure that week was on of the Busan Bus tours. I decided on finding the bus and than eat. I ordered a Pizza Pretzel and an apple juice from a coffee place close to the bus. It was about $10 so it was kinda expensive but it has since become one of my favorite weekly splurges. I go to Tom N Toms Coffee and get juice and a pizza pretzel. 🙂 My mouth waters thinking about it.
After my lunch, I boarded the bus. It also cost about $10. The driver was funny. I told him I was from Texas and he said “The Rangers” cause we have a player on the baseball team from Busan. I’ve gotten pretty used to this. Usually I say Texas or Dallas and people say “Rangers!” Anyway, I was excited to see all the places the bus tour visited and introduced visitors to. The tour had the option of getting on and off as you wish but I chose to stay on until I got to the UN Burial Memorial.
When I first walked up to the gate, two Korean UN guards asked me what country I was from I said “America” and they said welcome. I was a bit surprised by this, if I had said, “Iraq” (not that I look or dress anything like an Iraqi woman would) I wonder if they’d have let me in? As I walked I saw there was a Muslim man praying in the area where the Turkish soldiers were buried, I assumed he was Turkish but I could have been wrong. Turkey is still on my “to see one day” list. I took lots of pictures and some selfies and even talked to a Korean woman who introduced me a local newspaper printed in English. She showed it to me and said she read it daily to practice her English. She said I was brave to travel by myself, which I also get a lot here. She then told me that 90% of the soldiers that died in the Korean War were Americans and pointed out some photos of interest. Afterward, I said thank you to the guards who saluted me and bought some juice from a soda machine while I waited for the bus. Here are some pics from the UN Memorial Ceremony.