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A Pleasant Surprise

We hear from a kid who didn't want to fly anywhere, least of all to Korea to visit his family. Find out why he's now a Savvy Traveler.

A Pleasant Surprise
by Joseph Park

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Dear Rudy,

I thought Korea was going to be boring but it turned out to be great. My dad was born in Kawondo, South Korea and my mom was born in Seoul, the capital of South Korea. I was born in Los Angeles. I'd been to Korea once, but I couldn't remember anything. I was only three. In the summer, when I was eleven, my parents decided that my brother and I should go back to Korea for a visit. I didn't want to go, but my parents forced me. They said it would be a good experience to travel and see all my relatives. To me, Korea meant seeing old-fashioned clothes and meeting relatives who would be strict and mean. I said, "Forget you. I want to stay here and be with my friends." A day later I found myself on a 13 hour flight to Seoul. I was really upset. My dad couldn't go on the trip because he had to work.


I would rather go with my dad than with my mom. My dad was more fun to be with. He would buy me a lot of stuff my mom wouldn't. My aunt Suni met us at the airport. She was my mom's younger sister. She wasn't that tall, but she was nice and pretty. She wasn't wearing old-fashioned clothes, either. She was wearing a T-shirt and blue jeans just like me. The minute I first saw her, I knew she would be nice. Aunt Suni took us to a theme park called Lotte World. Part of Lotte World was inside a dome, the rest was outside. The rides were mostly the same as the rides at other theme parks like Six Flags, but the food was very different. For dessert, she bought a thing called popping soup. It was a bowl of crushed ice covered with bean paste and fruit juices. I really liked it. All the food in Korea was much better than Korean food in L.A. The kimchi was a lot spicier. The kalbi beef was richer, and the meuntang soup tasted like nothing I'd ever had before.

I realized I wasn't homesick, not yet. In fact, I realized this trip wasn't boring. This was the best trip I ever took. I couldn't wait to go back to Korea again. I really had fun. Rudy, if someone is debating whether to go on a trip, go, because you never know what's going to happen.

Your Friend,

Joseph Park

Joseph's postcard comes to us courtesy of producer Kitty Felde and the "Heart of Los Angeles" youth center.


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