It has been 7 days since I left. Well, I spent the first day in the airportS but that was another part of expedition. People asked me what’s my first impression or what I think about the US so far. What do I think? I let all the things flow through me. I see, I eat, I walk, I feel, but I don’t think hard. I don’t want to make any assumption. I want to flow with everything, sort of floating on the current. For celebrating a week of my travel, I wrote seven brief impressions I got while I am floating.
Long story short, I’m having a really good time. Here are seven things that I have to say at this point.
Just ‘talking’ feels natural. You might say that’s an odd thing to say, but it is true and I really like it. Koreans don’t do small talk with strangers. In fact, somehow look someone directly in the eyes is rude or something that not encouraging thing to do. But eye contact is really important factor of communication. Anyhow, yes, I like talking to people here and there, about random things. We met a nice man who loves fishing when we were at George Washington’s birth place. He suggested looking around Colonial Beach, and that’s what we did. Surprise surprise, few hours later we met him again at Colonial Beach! Turns out, he’s been to Korea several times for the tour. I am enjoying talking to friendly people here.
Since this is a diverse country with lots of different factors, there are unusual signs on the street. Signs that I would never see in Korea. I think I can pull out a whole post about the signs I saw. Please tune in!
I like these little things that people say all the time. They hold the door and say ‘thank you’ and ‘you are welcome’. Say ‘bless you’ when someone sneezes. People always say ‘Hey, how’s it going?’ when I come in to their store. Even though I don’t really know what to respond to that question – I know that’s just a friendly saying, not that requires an specific answer, it’s friendly, I like it. There’s a joke between Katie and I about ‘bless you’, so I said ‘being in the US remind me of that joke all the time. It’s killing me!’ and she said ‘oh right, I kind of forgot that people say that a lot there!’.
Not like Korea, the US cannot be described as a single climate. Summer in Seattle and Austin are going to be totally different atmosphere, I can tell. Fredericksburg Virginia, where I’m staying at is at similar latitude of Seoul, but of course atmosphere is totally different. This summer is important for me as well, moreover I got the feeling that summer is a special season for Americans. Everyone is saying ‘Oh summer is really good time to be in the US.’ And I think really is. People are enjoying this season very much in different ways. I love fresh feeling of summer in Virginia.
In general, so far, I noticed that restaurant food is more expensive than Korea. Coffee is much, much cheaper though. However the portion is just.. whoa! Talk about big hand! French fries come with a big brown bag instead of a little cup, grande size coffee is really ‘grande’, and the size of bread and cheese and chips and soda and well a lot of things. Everything is bigger. Do I like it? You tell me. 🙂
Multi-cultural is one of the great things about America. Naturally, people are open to diversity in many ways. Sometimes, have to prepare two or three different types of food due to religious or personal lifestyle reasons. People in the street are not lookalike. International food restaurants are everywhere. Grocery store is filled with international stuff that are not really considering as international here. It is international but those are normal things to be in a grocery store.
Well, I knew it. I can easily tell based of the thickness of the guidebook. 3 months is just not enough, I thought. But more and more I stay here, read newspapers, listen radio programs, and see all the maps, I realize it day after day, wow this is really a big country. Again, Korea, south-not the northern part, is about the same size of state of Indiana. Whenever I look at the map and try to make itinerary, the miles between two places surprise me, still. Fredericksburg to Chicago is 15hours of drive!
These are my brief impressions. In general, I’m really enjoying summer time in the US. I am more than sure that I will feel and learn more about this country and about myself. More stories are coming up. Please tune in!