Saturday, April 2, 2011

The Flight

The service was noticeably better on the Asiana flight between Los Angeles and Seoul than on the United flight between New Orleans and Los Angeles.  The Asiana flight attendants were, with no exceptions, tall slim attractive asian women.  Their uniforms were khaki, and consisted of a modest skirt, a long sleeved top, and sometimes a coat.  When they served food, they wore these feminine red aprons that seemed to tie the uniform together.  The flight attendants on the United flight were a mixed bag.  Two of the flight attendants were men, and the lone woman had short hair.  Both groups seemed to be hard working, but the difference was that the flight attendants for Asiana were always smiling.  It may have been forced, but it was pleasant, and it set the mood for the entire flight.

A story about one of the flight attendants:  When serving food they provided a choice between an American dish, and a Korean dish.  The first meal served was a choice between a small steak, and bibimbap- a korean dish consisting of rice, a variety of vegetables, and sometimes a meat, which in this instance was ground beef.  While explaining the dishes to others, she seemed to do so eloquently, and when it came time for her to explain them to me, she nervously stumbled through the explanation of a steak and bibinbap, and fully expected for me to choose the steak.  The two filipino women sitting next to me chose the steak, so I was able to see what it looked like before ordering.  I said, "I would like the bibinbap."  

"Are you sure you want this?  It is going to be really spicy,"  she replied with a korean accent in a pleasantly surprised tone, as she found it hard to believe that an american would choose the bibimbap over a steak.  She gave me a smile that was definitely genuine as she served the meal.

The next meal was a choice between a sausage egg and cheese omelet, and kimchi with rice.  Those who know me know that I prefer not to eat cheese.  When it was my turn to order again, she offered the choice, and I said, "I would like the kimchi with rice."

She smiled, and replied in a Korean accent, "But it is going to be very spicy."  She seemed very pleasantly surprised that I, an American, would prefer Kimchi with rice to a sausage egg and cheese omelet, as she once again gave me a huge genuine smile when she served the meal.  Needless to say, the flight was a pleasant experience.

I start work tomorrow.  It is a private school, called a hogwan, where parents pay to send their students in afternoons after their regular school, and also during school holiday breaks, such as summer and christmas vacation.  Apparently, (Somebody correct me if I am wrong on this.) Korean children previously went to school six days a week, and only recently have they been going five days a week.  So parents feel that students should make up for the lost time, so they started sending their children to these Hogwans, to learn english, and study for midterms.  I will teach some first graders, and primarily fifth and sixth graders.  Wish me luck.  It should be interesting.


  1. Chris, this sounds wonderful! Aren't you happy your Korean mom exposed you to the culture/food?? I wish you the best of luck working with those children. I know they will be more disciplined than mine are in fourth grade.

  2. Wow! I had no idea that you were heading over there. You didn't mention it at Ashley's wedding. I can't wait to read about all your adventures. Randa and I will be praying for you.