North Korea

Are you coming home?

The tail end of about 100 soldiers who I saw on my way home from school last week. I was trying to be discreet, hence the distance.

The tail end of about 100 soldiers who I saw on my way home from school last week. I was trying to be discreet, hence the distance.

I’ve been getting a lot of questions from friends and family regarding our safety in Korea.

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.

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6 thoughts on “Are you coming home?

  1. Thank you so much for the update, Allison! We sure have been thinking of you and Matt. Your news will make all of us feel way better. Thanks so much for sharing.

    • While we have a concern for your safety, we also trust your decisions to be based on good facts and logical conclusions. “Are you coming home?” has to be the most used phrase in the replies you receive. Your answer announces your “i’s are dotted and t’s are crossed”, that your determination to accomplish what to set out to do in South Korea is important to you both. Young adults get more questions than us old folks. Doing this is an adventure for each of you, but it is obviously an adventure not of daring but one that is close to your heart and part of your growth. Thanks for being adventurous in the good ways. Hugs and keep on keeping on.

  2. I appreciate this post very much as the boots on the ground often have the best feel for what’s happening when they are paying attention to it.

    Lu was in Korea at the tail end of the war, I was stationed there twice, once in 81 (down near Pusan) and again from 83-84 (Osan Air Base). I found Korea to be a wonderful and beautiful country and was blessed to meet several locals who gave me some very personal tours of places off the regular tourist grid. When looking back upon those years, I must say Korea was one of the highlights of my life.

    I was quite excited for you and Matt when I learned you were heading there and I was quite surprised when I saw just how north you guys actually were! There is so much to see in Korea and it’s quite rich in culture.

    War story: One day in ’83 we left Osan early early heading for the “z” where we would spend the day certifying on heavy weapons (50 cal’s, 90mm’s and mark-19’s). As we got close to the z, we stopped at camp graves and had some breakfast then went up to a place called North Carolina range to run the guns. It only took an hour or so for the North Koreans to start shooting on the other side of the hill (we were that close….). Apparently, if we made noise, they felt they had to do the same…

    It was crazy then, and its crazy now. Perhaps more so since Marvin the Martian is posturing and playing with his missiles.

    Ya’ll enjoy yourselves over there but keep an ear to the pulse. I hope I can go back and visit one day. I’m sure is changed a lt since the 80’s.

    Love, Jon and Maile

    • Thanks Jon!
      I’m glad you enjoyed Korea so much. It does have such a dynamic culture, and we have been enjoying exploring, seeing some sights and meeting different people.

      You war story does sound crazy. I haven’t actually seen any American soldiers here, but I see plenty of South Korea ones in our town every day. When we go to Seoul on the weekends, our bus usually has quiet a few soldiers on it as well.

      I hope you are able to come back for a visit. If you come before next March we have a second apartment for you to stay in!

      Alli

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