Chasing Dragons: Insa-dong, South Korea

Chasing Dragons... 

October 2017 has been a whirlwind month. First it was a military ball, then it was a last minute wedding, then a wonderful reunion with my fellow comrades down in El Paso, and then a week later into South Korea with the military. It's been an incredible experience - almost like coming home. 

Nearly 14 years later I find myself back on Korean soil - the first place I cut my teeth as an Army Officer, brand new to this brave new world. I didn't know anything and I was lacking confidence to explore during those years. I was a shy wall flower learning how to be the Army officer I am today.  I had a great opportunity to work next to KATUSAs, Korean Nationals and US Soldiers moving cargo into and out of the peninsula. It was a year of learning how to grow up and learning how to become self sufficient - solving my own life's problems without friends or family around me. 

Fast forward 14 years, I am back here again running into friends from my days as an ROTC cadet to now, as an Iron Major. I've run into Melissa from my Canisius College days, Camille and Bryson from my contracting days, an old NCO and a fellow Lieutenant from my 2-12 CAV days and then Kevin from my Command and General Staff Officer College days.

Making things happen, Kevin took charge and drove up to grab me from the base I was working at. I'm not really one for eating out and never really been a foodie so I said we had to do something cultural. It had to be something to "see." So Kevin grabbed me for a little excursion out into the art district of Insa-dong to experience the culture and the Korean people.

It was a fun ride. The conversation was a lot of laughter, a lot of reminicising, debating topics of interest and tinged with a little sadness. A lot has changed in the last few years that I had last seen Kevin at CGSOC and life continued to rotate by. But experiencing life in a new setting always makes these times a discovery event for two people - it's like a bubble in time where everything that's bothering you is left behind and you can see and experience something with new and fresh eyes. 

So thanks to Kevin for being my tour guide and showing me a version of life that I would not have been able to take without someone coming to get me. It makes you truly appreciate life and the people that come into your life. I have friends around the world for life.