by Henry B., Age 16 , Grade 10, Amery High School, Amery, WI USA
Teacher: Mrs. Ruehlow
My Personality Refresh
When I heard my mother holler, "We leave in fifteen!" I knew that our adventure had begun. I climbed out of bed, and came downstairs. While I was brushing my teeth, I realized how excited I was to see my sister Margaret, after all she had been in South Korea for almost a year. I said my goodbyes and we headed for the airport.
Business was usual when we arrived at the airport. We walked to the security level to grab our tickets and find our gate. As we boarded our flight, I thought to myself, "I'll be a different man when I come back home." Seconds later, the plane was headed for Los Angeles. We flew over the plains, deserts, and mountains before touched down at the LA international airport. I could see the haze from Los Angeles as the city is in a valley. It took us about half an hour to reach our next gate that would take us the South Korea. When we got to our gate, we waited for three hours before we could upgrade our seats into business class. While we waited to board the flight, I told my mother that we were going to be flying on an Airbus A380, the largest commercial jet worldwide. We found our seats on the top deck of the jet. Our seats were right next to each other and were very comfortable.
Right after we took off from Los Angeles, the plane came to life with a barrage of flight attendants. We were served a six course meal while being flooded with warm towels to relax us during our flight. Once dinner was finished, I watched a movie and dozed off to sleep. Suddenly, I woke up in the middle of our flight and soon after a flight attendant walked by and asked if I wanted a snack. I wanted to try some original Korea meals so I asked for ramen. About five minutes later, I was served at least a pound of noodles in orange liquid in a bowl as big as a barrel! As I took the first bite, my mouth was instantly pierced with steaming hot broth and tangy spices. I had no idea that Korean ramen was spicy. It took an hour for me to finish the ramen and it kept me awake for the rest of the flight.
The flight attendants were studios, and disciplined. It showed me that Korean people are a different culture and are unique people. They were the introduction of what we would experience in Korea. I was nervous and exited because I would be submitted to a different culture I would learn their way of living.
When we arrived in South Korea, I was exhausted. We still had to go through customs and find our luggage. I noticed that my suitcase didn't make it to South Korea! We were told by an airport officer that it would be delivered in two days. Margaret found us and we drove to her home. We dropped our luggage and had pizza in the living room. I was nervous because tomorrow we were headed for the DMZ.
The next day we toured the DMZ. I saw a North Korean soldier staring directly back at us. We toured a tunnel that the North Koreans dug. The North had tried to invade South Korea by moving bombs through the tunnels and detonating them in South Korea. North Korea never had the chance to transport the explosives and invade because South Korea quickly discovered their enemy's plan and had blocked the passages with concrete barricades.
I had a chance to go inside the tunnel to see the barricade at the bottom. As I descended into the tunnel, the air became damp and the walls were seeping drops of water. I got scared when the air became thin and I was so close to the old, and feared danger. When I saw the third barricade, I was reminded of the war and its significance in these tunnels. I realized how bad the tension between these two countries still is by the extreme measures took during war. Today, nothing has changed with the media displaying both countries as if it were a miniature cold war. I guess that’s why my mother didn’t come down with me.
On Sunday, we visited a Buddhist Temple. We saw how large it was and how beautiful the scenery was. The temple was silent and many South Koreans were there worshiping. The temple showed how many Koreans lived and how their lives circulated around a certain religion and how much it mattered to them.
Later, we went to McDonald's to get lunch and everybody around us was trying the new Shrimp Burger. I thought it was gross because I could see the shrimp poking out of the side of the burger every time someone took a bite.
Monday, we were off to the east coast of South Korea. We stopped at Pyeongchang where the Winter Olympics were going to be held. We grabbed a quick ride on a gondola. We picked out a live crab, and they prepared it with other side dishes and served it on a low dining table. I thought it was weird that we had to eat sitting on the ground but it was a lot of fun to experience a new way to eat.
Across from our table I saw a little girl about three years old and was a pro at using chopsticks. I was baffled by her skills, embarrassed that I couldn’t even hold the utensil in the correct way.
Before we headed for the airport on Tuesday, We said goodbye thanked my sister for the adventure we experienced. We just finished getting out of security when my mom got a text from Margaret that we could use her American Express card at the airport. Both of us decided on a lounge. I grabbed some food and snack a cup of Korean ramen to bring home. Our flight was just horrible on the way back. We got home late and the next morning we went into right into town to buy a new set of chopsticks. After that, I ended up eating ramen for a week.