Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Times I Remember I'm in Korea

Living at the US Air Force Base, my first week on the road, has mostly seemed simply like a trip to a small US city. Add the American electric-plugs, US currency, Chilli's, Subway, and Taco Bell restaurants and most days at Osan simply feel like being in the states. However, there have been a few experiences, and times that I've remembered where I really am in the world. Here they are;

1. A Night at the Movies
Last night (Thursday night) I went to the on-base theater for an "American night" to see the new Angelina Jolie movie, Salt. The film was good. The theater was great. But, the major difference was that at the beginning of the picture, instead of the lights dimming, the entire house went light. Soon, the entire audience (myself included as not to stand out, were standing singing both the Korean and US National Anthems before the movie started).

2. My Room Without a View
Though my hotel room itself doesn't quite have a spectacular view. Walk out the door, out the front of the hotel, up the hill towards the gym and pool, and you can see the true landscape of South Korea. Just beyond the walls of Osan is a mountainous, rain-forest-like jungle. Sometimes, spending so much time with the people around the base, you forget you are staying on a site that was once 5 Korean villages.

3. 65 Years Since Hiroshima
It is not an anniversary that we necessarily remember, or even stop to recognize back home. However, here in Asia and especially among the base, today (August 6, 2010) marks the day that the first atom bomb in world history was dropped, 65 years ago, on Hiromshima, Japan. All of the newspapers, online articles, and on-base publications here mention the anniversary in a solemn manner, understanding its serious impact not only for our country and for Japan, but for the rest of the world. For us, most often December is the time we stop to remember the attacks on Pearl Harbor. However, 3 years and 8 months later, the events at Hiroshima changed the course of World War II and the landscape of the ancient land. So today I, who was again reminded today that I am in Korea, will stop to remember. In three days, I will do the same for Nagasaki, as I'll be only about 1,200 kilometers away.

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