Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The time difference

A traditional Korean meal usually includes a main dish, accompanied by several “free” side dishes, referred to as “banchan.” Similarly, the near daily reports in this blog about students traveling in South Korea usually were the main course.

Now that we’re back at IU, this “reporter” has opened his notebook to share a few more fun “small plates” in the next couple of postings.

We arrived home safe Sunday night (March 22), after a 22-hour odyssey that began at 8 a.m. local time in Seoul (7 p.m. Saturday in Bloomington) and included flights from Seoul to Tokyo, Tokyo to Chicago (about 12 hours) and Chicago to Indianapolis.

The time difference between Bloomington and Seoul had deep meaning for one student on the trip – Dani – who celebrated her birthday Friday night. A twin, Dani always has been the younger sister, having been born a couple minutes later than her sibling. However, for the first time in her life she was the older sister.

Dani celebrated her birthday at the Chinese restaurant Din Tai Fung and into the evening elsewhere, while her sister obviously was sleeping. Also celebrating a birthday early was Ron, Rosanna’s husband.

"The highlight of my trip was celebrating my birthday in Seoul," she said. "Although it was tough to be away from my family, I was comforted by my many new friends and acquaintances. They graciously accepted me and celebrated my 'golden' birthday with me.

"It was very nice to know that everyone was so welcoming and friendly," she added. "The hospitality that I recognized, whether from those who traveled with me or those who were Korean natives, was a huge factor in my fantastic experience."

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