The journey back to the United States….Thursday two times 

Today was our final day in South Korea, it has truly been a blast and the alumni and faculty I had a chance to interact with were fantastic. I have learned so much about the culture and have gained a better perspective about how to engage our future and current alumni who are from South Korea. 

Before our flight we had one more meeting with a retired faculty member from Yongei University, who Carol and Junehee knew. It was a pleasure to meet her and learn about her career and what she is doing in retirement.

* South Korean fact

When a person turns 65 years old they must retire. Also in Korea you turn a year older on the first day of the new year, not the day your were born.

We dined at a Chinese restaurant that was in the Seoul train station. I have never been to a train station that had multiple restaurants, coffee shops and a mall. The food was once again delicious 

Green tea

This chicken was so on point…..

But watch out for these peppers…Ked and I both accidentally ate these and boy were we on fire. Never again!

Crab hot and sour soup

Beef and vegetables….more vegetables than beef

Sweet and sour prawns! Oh so good

Chinese Bun

Juicy Lychee for dessert

The time has come to head back to the United States. We had a blast but we are ready to get back home. We look forward to coming back to South Korea.

So our flight from Seoul was Thursday, June 22nd at 5:30pm and we arrived in Dallas on Thursday, June 22nd at 4:30pm. We had a 4 hour layover and it was not bad, because we could chill in the Admiral lounge, which is a whole new level for waiting for your flight.

We also had the chance to meet up with one of Kedric’s high school friends who lives in Dallas.

We finally made it back to Manhattan safely. I have swollen feet and a slight back ache, but we are blessed to be at home and in our own bed. What an experience we had.

I hope you enjoyed this blog series about my first trip to South Korea.

Until next time

Farewell Busan

Today was our final day in Busan and it was filled with more sightseeing, catching up with alumni, cultural history and of course food.

This tour focused on the west side of Busan which was where the local folk lived. As I traveled through Busan I was wondering where the everyday people lived and worked. The hotel we stayed at was more of a touristy area .

What I observed on this tour was the hills…..San Francisco ain’t got nothing on these hills.

Also no space is wasted, every nook, cranny, and alley is filled with a home, restaurant, mom and pop store, coffee shop or fruit stand. Being from the United States I can see why people see it as a place with a lot of open space. What a luxury.

While on the tour we experienced more beautiful views.

After the tour we ventured off on our own!

We ended up back at the mall and we saw kimchee refrigerators (I want one)

We were told that just about every household has  a kimchee refrigerator. Families will get together before the winter and make kimchee that can last them all winter.

I didn’t talk much about the driving here, but it is crazy….not as bad as Costa Rica. Here this taxi stops in the middle of traffic to pick this woman up. She had luggage to put in the trunk….smh

Ked and I learned that sidewalks are not ment just for pedestrians walking….its for driving and parking as well.

We took the city bus…..traffic was crazy

Here’s what a school bus looks like

We had a chance to experience the  world famous chagalchi fish market.

I felt like we were on the Travel Channel as we walked down the various alleys looking at the fresh seafood. 

We stopped in a small restaurant along the way and had some fried fish.

After we experienced the fish market, the night market was happening so we walked around and soaked in our last night in Busan.

Another observation Ked and I made was the love for miniature dogs that people in Busan had. We never saw a big dog….like never!

Now back to the hotel to pack and get ready for our train ride back to Seoul. Busan it has been a blast.

Until next time

Moving octopus and the best cheese tart ever

As many may know I can be an adventurous eater! I give thanks to my mother who started my siblings and I on diverse foods at a very early age. Instead of just lunchables, cookies and chips she had us also trying dried shrimp, toasted seaweed, raw sushi and so much more. That early exposure has created a palate that allows me to travel the world and have an open mind to try cultural foods. 

I truly believe that being open to cultural styles of food are an important piece to building relationships. I hear many business people talk about closing deals over dinner. I have even participated in those career development sessions on how to have dinner with your boss. Yet, I have never seen how to eat cultural foods you’re not use to foods events. As an individual you are on your lonesome to experience your relationship with cultural foods.

Living in Manhattan, Kansas I don’t have many opportunities to explore so I make sure to sharpen my skills when I travel.

Here are some of the foods we at today:

We stopped by  A local market and picked up a ginseng drink.

We ventured to Gwangalli Beach to go to Millak-dong Hoe street which is where approximately 300 restaurants serve hoe (raw fish).

We selected some fresh seafood and took it up stairs to one of the restaurants to prep it. What a sea to table experience.

Trying to sit in the traditional dining setting, Ked and I had a food adventure.

But first shoes 😂😂😂

Ked in these too small shoes

We tried the famous Korean San-nakji,  a hoe dish (raw fish dish) of octopus that still is moving after it is cut up.

Ked trying San-nakji

It was very chewy…..like really really chewy and it didn’t taste like anything but the sauce you put it in.

We had some other fish that I don’t know what to call them but here is what we bought and here is what it looked like after it was prepared.

Our next food adventure were these freakin delicious cheese tarts that are all the rage. I heard on the weekend the line is wrapped around the corner  and people can only get one box per person at a time. All I can say is, YES,  it’s the best cheese tart ever! It’s like a mini cheesecake with a cookie like crust. Dangerous for the wasteline…..but who cares…2 boxes please!

Tonight we tried Soju, a South Korean liquor made from rice…….stroooooonggggg and will put you straight on your bum.

We capped off our foodie tour with another trip to Sulbing and tried another one of their desserts. This was not as good as the first but still yummy.

Tomorrow is our last full day and evening before we head back to the states.  We will go on a tour of Busan and experience more of the culture.

Until next time

Guinness world’s largest department store and a seaside alumni extravaganza

It’s after midnight in Busan and we are just getting in from a great gathering with some K-State alumni. 

Today was another day of exploring Busan. We kicked it off with another early morning walk, this time to Dongbaekseom Island which is not too far from our hotel. This area was bustling with early morning risers doing their daily workouts and stretches while overlooking the sea. What a way to start your day.

After enjoying another God created day we enjoyed a buffet breakfast that had tons of food like bugiogi, a variety of kimchi, dumplings, rice porridge, fruit and an assortment of breads.

During the day we took the subway and ventured off to the Guinness World’s Record for the largest department store and I cannot even describe how massive this place was. All I can say is I had to take a nap when we got back. 

The main event for today was the alumni event. On the beach one of our alumni reserved a spot for us to gather at a place called Sam Ryan’s which is an American sports bar. At first when I learned about this place I chuckled because here I am going all the way to South Korea and we will end up at an American sports bar.

This was a great location and such a great vibe for K-staters to come together .  It was wonderful because alumni from different colleges, and class years were able to talk about there time at K-State. At this event I was able to engage in some great conversations and learn more about how to continue to provide engagement opportunities for our alumni….plus I think I will have a few visitors when some of them come back to the states to visit.

I am so thankful to have these experiences and connections and I look forward to more opportunities. 

Until next time

A morning on the beach and a day with Yebin Yoon

Today we woke up at 5:30am wide awake and ready to explore what Busan had to offer. With our hotel literally on the beach we took a stroll and observed the morning activity on Haeundae beach.

While enjoying the peacefulness of the early morning we were approached by some men, who I thought wanted Ked or I to take a picture of them,  but instead they wanted to take a picture with us! Lol

During this trip we have definitely experienced a lot of stares, secret photos being taken of us and a store clerk who flat out asked if we were famous 🙂 Ked and I have learned that this is a part of the travel and to join in on the fun and pose as if we are famous.

The water is a tad bit cool

After 10 tries Ked finally got a good shot

A rare photo pose of Ked….plus he got his feet out

After our cardio stroll on the beach we were hungry and looked for a traditional spot to eat. We rolled up on a little restaurant that was filled with older Korean people enjoying their morning meal and fellowship.

For breakfast we ordered the spicy octopus and beef hot pot and boy was it delicious and filling.

For the remaining of our day our friend and K-State alum, Yebin Yoon, scooped us up and showed us a few spots in Busan.

We went to a super posh coffee shop called Cafe Yoon! This coffee shop had amazing views of the sea. There were a lot of people enjoying the views and coffee. Lots of people took pictures including us.

While enjoying the company and food the three of us talked about Korean culture and observations we made and how Yebin’s life is going  after her time at K-State.

This banana pudding was super legit.

The next spot Yebin took us to was the 1376 built Haedong Yonggungsa temple. As the late afternoon set in and the day began to cool off it was the perfect time visit this temple.

When we headed out we bought this yummy sweet bread that had nuts in it and was pressed down flat on a griddle.

To end our day we took another walk on Haeundae beach and enjoyed dinner at this fusion spot on

which is a famous street for fusion and creative restaurants.

Tomorrow is our Busan event and I am looking forward to connecting with more K-State alumni.

Until next time

French Quarter,New Orleans,  South Beach, Miami, and a sprinkle of Time Square, New York…Welcome to Busan

A K-State pride that has carried on for generations! As alumni walk in with smiles on their faces, I can see in an instant how the hands of time transported our alumni back to a place they remember so fondly….the Little Apple…..Manhattan, Kansas. 

Handing out my business cards with two hands and a slight bow I had a chance to interact with alumni who graduated from the colleges of agriculture, engineering, arts and sciences, human ecology, and  business. I listened to stories from alumni who graduated in 1987, 1993, 2006, 2007 and current Ph.D students. It was truly a Wildcat experience!

After another beautiful meal we said our goodbyes and headed to the KTX and took a bullet train to Busan for the next leg of our adventure. 

While in South Korea we have noticed the massive high rise apartments EVERYWHERE. We have never seen anything like it. It would be interesting one day to see what it looks like inside and get an understanding of the community atmosphere.

Welcome to Busan

Busan is a beach city which is completely opposite of Seoul. While looking for some yummy food we experienced what a Saturday night in Busan is all about.

First the scene is very diverse and there are people from everywhere.  We actually came across a few college students who attend Jackson State University and are studying abroad. It was so funny when we walked by each other because Ked said “Hi” and they said “oh……hi, yes some Black people who speak English!” Gotta love the SWAC

Second,  lots of babies out at 11pm. With tons of restaurants, people playing music on the beach and some of the best people watching, people were out and about.

While walking through Gunam-ro it gave me the feeling like I was in the French quarters of New Orleans with crazy people standing out on the balcony yelling at people while drunk. Also you could buy mixed drinks on the street. 

It also felt a little like South Beach in Miami because people were just walking up and down the strip dressed to impress while the cool sea breeze hit your face. Music of Bruno Mars and Rhianna were blaring out of pubs and hip restaurant spots. Then there was a touch and I do mean a touch of Time Square in New York. Lots of lights a wide walkway for people to walk and stand around with tons and tons of people.

I had a chance to eat some street food and experience this milky snowflake Korean dessert that was sooooooo good.

This one had a lemon sherbet, cheese and mangos 

Tteobokki (spicy rice fish cake….popular Korean snack)

Chicken on a stick with spicy mustard

Deep fried rice cake, shrimp, and dumplings

Fried chicken

Today was another long day and I look forward to waking up tomorrow and enjoying a nice walk on the beach.

Until next time

A Day in a Hijab

A few weeks ago I found out that the Muslim Student Association on my campus was going to host a “Wear a Hijab” event. I immediately said “yes I will do it”, and I am glad I did. After saying yes, I looked at my calendar and realized one of my most important multicultural leadership awards events was occurring and I was traveling to Atlanta on that day.

When I realized I was traveling that day I thought for a hot second…..”Girl are you about to get on a plane with all this foolishness going on in the United States with a hijab on?” My response was, “Yes, yes you are. Just like you can’t take your Black skin off….these women can’t take their hijab’s off in public”. I did not want to pick and choose when it was comfortable for my situation. It would defeat the purpose.

First let me say my overall experience was good. I was not ridiculed or harassed or treated badly, but I cannot lie and say that I did not get prayed up and get into a mindset to help me deal with whatever would come my way. During this experience I was stretched and learned some lessons. Take the journey with me:

Lesson 1: Race/ethnic culture participation is easy for me but religious cultural participation is new and a stretch experience. I know very little about the Muslim faith, so I did not have any insight on how to handle the intangible standoffness that individuals who wear a hijab may experience. I did not know how to not be offended by black individuals not looking me in my eyes at all, when typically I engage in non communicative conversation with black people as I move through different spaces.  “It’s usually a glance in the eyes that speaks “hi, if no one sees you I see you. Keep doing you,” I missed that today when I traveled.

Lesson 2: It’s not a big deal……I’m not going to lie I thought I was going to experience something negative and I found myself saying….”Girl these people are not stuntin you, how you choose to express yourself is your business” Now, I know that my Muslim friends do experience ignorance and hatred, but I should not be on the ready at all times. What I learned through this experience is about peace, and being comfortable with my choices. Things will happen and no one wants to be caught off guard but a peaceful person cannot live in that space.

Lesson 3: Wearing a hijab also is fashion

 Preparing for this event my husband and I watched You Tube videos to learn how wear it and I found all these cute and chic ways women were wearing a hijab. As I look at women in hijabs I have another level of appreciation for the art of wearing a hijab.

Lesson 4: It is a struggle to shop in Manhattan, KS for cute, suitable clothing. Participating in this event I also had to have my arms and legs covered. I stressed about this for a couple of weeks because I had an event this day and all I have are either cap shoulder or no sleeve dresses, or dresses that stop at my knee. I would be traveling a few hours after my event, so I wanted to be comfortable, and today Manhattan decided it wanted to be 83 degrees. Now, the scarf was not hot at all, but I had nothing to wear that was weather, job and event appropriate. I thought I would go to Dillards and find a cute long sleeve black shirt and wear some black bottom and allow the tan scarf to pop. Well that plan DID NOT work. The shirts that were long sleeve were either winter,  or women’s world fashion….not my idea of chic, cute. I was discouraged but it made me think about all of the women who dress like this everyday and cannot just run to the store and find something cute. We have a lot of fashionistas in hijab on campus and they either shop online or go on a shopping spree when they go home. Once again much admiration.

Lesson 5: My final lesson I will share is, the airport people don’t always know the rules. So I have pre-check status and as I was going through security and the TSA person  asked their colleague “so I just let her go???” the other TSA said “yea…..that’s what it says so I guess you have to let her go?” the TSA guy says “Oooookay???”

Pre-check means I did the work to get advance security screening, so I can participate in the expedited security check. So I found it odd that there was still question about me being checked.

Today was a good day, my event was fabulous, the Muslim Student Association had a wonderful event, I was stretched by this activity and I arrived in Atlanta safely.

Until we chat again