Where the Seoul is…Incheon, Korea!

October 17, 2011

Having spent such good and significant time in West Africa, it is easy to get used to the expectations and pace of international travel.  Although a person may not have been to Africa, Black Americans are socialized in a manner that creates expectations of what they will find if they were to ever get there.  These expectations may be rooted in reality or mere delusions; however, they do in fact exist.   However, traveling to Asia poses a difference in feeling….a brand new experience, for me anyway!  Just using the lens of a Black American may cause a person to miss what they need to see.  The Asian experience requires the Human Lens.  In fact, in hindsight, the African experience requires it also!  Those multiple experiences in West Africa contributed highly to the development of my Human lens.  Over these next few weeks, I will need it 🙂

I imagine that many of the things I will find will have their similarities to previous experiences; however, they will be unique all the same.  A few days ago, a friend of mine, “Consuela Ward” from Georgia Southern, sent me a quote – “The illiterate of the 21st Century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.”  This is applicable in so many ways, but it screams relevance when we refer to our own cultural norms and how our ways of thinking develop.  Particularly when we never leave our geographic or cultural comfort zones so that the dynamics supporting our own personal underdevelopment can be left with out affirmation.  Experiencing deep exposure to other cultures and other ways of living allows us to refine the perceptions that drive our decision making processes so that we can improve upon our ways of thinking.

And so another journey begins!  Sitting in the International Terminal of the airport in Atlanta reflecting on this new journey….I am watching everyone rushing about.  Going from terminal to terminal; rushing to their planes, rushing to eat…and such.  However, when you fly International, you tend to adopt a different pace.  You come to realize that nothing is about to happen quickly.  As opposed to rushing you learn to take in the moment.  And so as I watch the rush, suddenly everything seemed so surreal.  Although they were rushing around me, it was as if I could really see all that was transpiring from a distance…as if I wasn’t sitting there….and it dawned on me, that I really was on another journey…to a new place on our planet….but, also a new place inside of me.

If you are from the United States, and you first go to Africa, or similar countries…color jumps out at you because there can be such an absence of variation.  Here I stand now, about to dive head first into a sea of Asians :).  Absent the lens of being Black or American, you realize the depth of their culture…its breadth….its variations…the fact that it has its own life with people that have their own cultures and stories that date the ages.  Now an opportunity arises to test my own literacy.  Can I learn, unlearn and relearn?….Particularly when it comes to those perceptions that can make me more of a global citizen.  Can we learn those things that can make us better people?  Are we willing? Or are we stuck in the narrowness of thinking that comes from being complacent and not actively engaging those aspects of our world that sit outside of our immediate reach.  How more complete do we become as Human Beings when we can step outside of our own narrow bounds to assume and take in the life experiences of those who live in an opposite spectrum.  Over these next few weeks, that is one of the things I am curious to explore….

And so, the journey now continues…. 15 hours later I arrive in Seoul, Korea.

While that is fascinating, what is just as meaningful was the trip to get there.  Charting the course of the flight from Atlanta, we crossed over the United States into Canada.  Then flew over Alaska into the Arctic; down through Russia and China into Seoul/Incheon Airport!  While we didn’t land in any of those places, it certainly placed a different context on Adam Smith’s, “The Wealth of Nations”, Marx’s “Das Capital”, “The Great Documents of Western Civilization”, “The Beijing Consensus” and an entire host of other writings.

The accommodations are most excellent!  Some of these trips deal all too often with the down sides of things.  So, it is refreshing to experience such quality on the other side of the world.

Inside the Hotel:

Fascinating place…currently, they are working on building a train to connect the development around the city with other economic opportunities.  From a planners perspective, it is awesome to see the work starting from the ground up…including the model they are using.  Many cities in the U.S. talk about doing the same thing…They are actually doing it!  Most Impressive!

Not the best picture, but the lights represent where the train will run….ok, the planner in me got excited…will get back to the other stuff 🙂

One of the first things noticed about Seoul is how quiet it is.  I’m sure this can change with the context of the environment, but one of the first things that stands out is the lack of “White Noise.”…no one screaming on their cell phone as if no one else is in the room…as foreigners say “stupid Americans”…laughing…just joking…but no for real…they do say that 🙂  What also stands out is how seriously many South Koreans tend to take the task they are involved in.  From the start, the professionalism and customer service screams excellence!  The personal respect given, the significance of the ‘Bow’, really brings a lot to mind in terms of comparisons.

It seems that in South Korea, everything has its place!  There is a sense of order that permeates this society!  I expect that as I venture through Buddhist, Islamic and Hindu cultures…and cross comparison will yield some interesting initial observations.  In this context anyway!

There will be much more to post about South Korea; but for now we proceed!

First Session is over, and now the potential variability mentioned in the project kicks in.  Seoul, I’ll be back!  Stay tuned!


4 Responses to “Where the Seoul is…Incheon, Korea!”

  1. Wow :-). It is about time. Glad to see you are back at it and sharing all the wonderful experience your are having. Most people will not get an opportunity to be able to travel over seas let alone travel to a different state. By you documenting and blogging your experiences you give a person the ability to dream.

  2. Daughter said

    Daddy your staying in a very nice hotel , it doesn’t look very poor in which it is sometimes portrayed to be. It looks nice , and where you are at doesn’t seem like there are a lot of HOOLIGANS running around. Imy! Cant wait for you to come back . Love yhu .!=)) ❤

  3. dlhoskins said

    Thanks for letting us see the world through your eyes.

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