People want to know if we are safe, whether we are planning to stay here, and even if we’ll consider coming home. People want to know if we are concerned about North Korea’s threats.
The truth is that I am less concerned now — while actually living really, really close to North Korea — than I was while I was in the U.S.
Before we left for Korea in February, I read the news reports about North Korea’s underground nuclear test and then the sanctions placed on North Korea by the U.N. I wondered whether we were risking our safety by leaving the U.S.
We researched, checked the U.S. State Department’s travel warnings and decided the threat was not high enough to make us change our plans.
Since arriving in Korea, I have felt much more calm about the situation, even as the news reports increase and North Korea and Kim Jung Un make threats against South Korea and the U.S.
In South Korea, it is very much business as usual. My co-workers are not concerned. For them, they have grown up with threats from North Korea, and they don’t fear them.
I see South Korean soldiers daily, and the routines that I can see have not changed. The tone of the Korean Herald, which I read daily, is much less ominous than what I read online from the American media.
We are registered with the U.S. Embassy and will take any warning from it very seriously. As of now, the embassy has said:
The U.S. Embassy informs U.S. citizens that despite current political tensions with North Korea there is no specific information to suggest there are imminent threats to U.S. citizens or facilities in the Republic of Korea (ROK). The Embassy has not changed its security posture and we have not recommended that U.S. citizens who reside in, or plan to visit, the Republic of Korea take special security precautions at this time. The U.S. Embassy takes as its highest priority the welfare of American citizens in Korea. Should the security situation change, the Embassy will issue updated information.
So while I appreciate the concern and knowing that our friends and family are thinking about us — and I hate knowing I am causing people to worry — at this point we have no plans to come home.