By Pfc. Jin Choi (USAG Red Cloud Public Affairs)August 18, 2010
DONGDUCHEON, South Korea - Dongducheon City and Casey Garrison's Community Activity Center officials are working to take the confusion out of an assignment to this installation in Warrior Country for new families who arrive in the area.
Thirty spouses of Warrior Country Soldiers were given an opportunity to explore Dongducheon Aug. 10 as part of a cultural tour billed as "Together With U.S. Army Soldiers' Families" - by the city's Particular Operation Region Division. It was the first time Dongducheon and the CAC have teamed up to offer an orientation tour.
"This tour will help them learn about and understand Korean culture, food and location where they live," said Suk Harper, a volunteer for Casey Garrison's America Red Cross and the CAC.
"I only have been here for two weeks, so everything around me is new and interesting," said Dawn Mcluckie, Army spouse. "I'm eager to learn about Korean culture today."
The tour began in Dongducheon City Hall with an introductory video about the municipality's history and landmarks, followed by a video greeting from Mayor Oh Se-chang. Afterwards the spouses were presented a handkerchief and hand mirror souvenirs from the city and were asked to complete a survey about how the city could best enhance the mutual friendship between Koreans and Americans in the community.
"Although they are American, we consider them our citizens, so we hope they enjoy their life in Korea," said Jeon Heung-sik, chief of Particular Operation Region Division of Dongducheon City government. "We will do our best to help them out."
The tour then moved to Lotte Mart. It is one the biggest and most popular chain discount stores in Korea and is similar to a super Walmart in the United States.
"I saw many different styles of food and products compared to America," said Sarah Nicholson, Army spouse. "The most interesting thing was a hairy crab. I've never seen it before. It was really ugly."
For lunch, the spouses dined on traditional Korean food that included a myriad of side dishes.
"I was shocked there were so many kinds of foods," said Laurie Hoffman, Army spouse. "Do Koreans really have every meal like this' It must be hard to cook food and clean up all the food remains, but vegetable side dishes were lovely for me since I'm a vegetarian."
The tour also included natural landmarks such as the Freedom Protection Peace Museum, Soyo Mountain - the most famous mountain in northern Gyeonggi Province - and Jungang Market - a traditional marketplace in the heart of the city.
Dongducheon and the CAC are planning to hold additional programs for new arriving U.S. Soldiers and their families in the future. Among those being explored are programs such as a traditional Korean tea ceremony and instruction in the Janggu - an hourglass-shaped drum used in traditional Korean music.