I thought that a good site to visit toward the beginning of my tour in Korea would be The War Memorial of Korea right off post in Yongsan-gu. It is more than just a memorial but a very well-done museum with most signs and descriptions in Korean, English, Japanese and Chinese. What really struck me about the memorial and museum is how they honored not just their own Service Members who served and died but also -to the extreme- those from other countries who came to Korea to help preserve their freedom from Communist rule.
The museum features exhibits and artifacts from the earliest Korean history all the way through their involvement in Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. Here are a few pictures from my visit, but there was way too much to see to preserve on film (or digits)! To keep the post from being too long, I’ll divide it up into outside and inside pictures.
Alright, I finally found that elusive McDonald’s in Itaewon! I got a Double Bulgogi Burger meal for just ￦5500 (about $5) and it was delicious! Not only that, my Coke came in a hard plastic (not-disposable) glass!
I know that this isn’t “real” Korean food, but it is unique to Korean McDonald’s and “bulgogi” is a Korean-seasoned beef (and…I like McDonald’s).
Staying at the hotel, then once moved into my quarters and not having time to get to the commissary I’ve been having to eat out every meal. This is getting old! Finally today after work I had time to get to the commissary to get some food. I was limited on how much I could get since I had to take a taxi to my quarters, but at least I got a start.
I was surprised at how large and well-stocked the commissary is. I could find just about anything I was looking for, with the exception of turkey lunch meat, which I thought was odd. It could just be that they were out, but the only packaged lunch meat I found was roast beef and salami. Curious.
At any rate, I was able to get some food in the frig and cupboards so I can eat at home more.
I guess when I was setting my alarm last night (half asleep) I set the time an hour ahead too. I didn’t notice until I went to an office wondering why they weren’t open yet! I didn’t think that I was bothered by jet-lag, but I was up early and it didn’t feel odd, so I guess maybe I’m not adjusted yet!
I didn’t want to be stuck in the hotel or on base all weekend, so I just went a little off post on Saturday, but walked for about 4 hours. I saw just a small part of Seoul, Yongsan-Gu. It was really hot and frankly, the walk wore me out but it was nice to see this side of Seoul and experience the culture just a little bit. My one interaction was buying a bottle of water. I don’t know what he said, but gave him a large enough bill that I knew it was enough. I counted it up later and I think that bottle of water was just about a quarter!
Here are some pictures from my walk with descriptions below them (coming soon):
After seeing the apartment where they wanted to put me and feeling so down and wanting even more to go home, I got to thinking about other possibilities and looked up AR 210-50, “Housing Management” where at 3-6, n. it states, “Unmarried chaplains and unaccompanied married chaplains will compete equally for AFH [Accompanied Family Housing] with sponsors within the appropriate grade category.” Could it be? Dare I hope?
This provision has been used primarily for Roman Catholic chaplains who seldom have family and shouldn’t be stuck in single-Soldier housing just because their faith demands they remain single, but the provision “unaccompanied married chaplains” opens it up to any chaplain, regardless of marital or religious status, to be eligible for family housing. There is a variety of reasons for this, to include the need for study space away from the commotion of the office, accommodations to meet with Soldiers when they can’t meet at the chaplain’s office, Bible Studies or “presence” social gatherings. Essentially, often the chaplain needs additional space for the performance of his duties much like a commander does, so this provision in Army regulations allows for it.
I went in to talk to the housing office about it and referenced the regulation but the representative I met with didn’t know anything about it so referred me to her supervisor. When I sat down with the supervisor, she looked at my cross (I was in uniform) and said, “Oh, you’re a chaplain! Let’s see what we can do.” She then gave me two duplexes to look at and told me to let her know if either would be acceptable. I looked at the first and it was in a great location with an abundance of trees and seclusion. It seemed to also be a two-bedroom, with the 2nd bedroom used as an office. But it was older and worse for the wear but the size and location made it leaps and bounds better than the 1st apartment they showed me.
The 2nd duplex looked newly remodeled from the outside. When I got inside it looked as though nobody had stayed in it since it had been remodeled. It had all new appliances, cabinets, shelving and bathroom fixtures. I couldn’t believe it! It didn’t take me long to decide on this one. I rushed back to housing, afraid she would give it to someone else before I confirmed that I wanted it. We set an appointment for Monday for the inspection and to sign for it.
I feel much better!
Here are a few pictures of my new -better- home for the next year (a little askew, sorry…I like them straight and in order too):