Ji-Young Lim, our visitor from South Korea
During a trip in 2006, around the Western states, I had occasion to visit my good friend in Las Vegas, Michael Stuben, who owns the server that hosts this website. His girlfriend had just returned from teaching music at Fresno state college in CA. She is from South Korea and had befriended a music student, Ji Young, from South Korea. Since the school year had ended, Ji-Young was taking some of her time to visit before going back home.
I asked why she didn’t travel around. It is not part of her culture for single women to travel alone. I explained that she had a great opportunity to travel and see this country. I invited her to visit us, as we loved to entertain foreign visitors. This idea was rather scary. Her Korean teacher warned her against the idea. Michael assured her that she would be safe, so she decided to do it. What she didn’t know was that I could get her high-quality invitations via my wide network.
Ji Young has repeatedly won international competitions with her piano-playing skill.
Her travel plan
She got this wonderful invitation to go to a jazz festival with a BMW family in Missoula, MT. Sunday, she will make her way toward Seattle, WA. There she has a great invite from another BMW family and also knows a woman in Seattle. From there, she will make her way down the coast.
Basically, she has two weeks to travel. She is with quite limited funds, but we suggest that she do her best to see our fine country and meet some very nice people.
More pictures to follow as she travels around the West.
This is her story
This shows Ji-Young in Las Vegas
Duane has two women
She is sightseeing in the old Chinese town of Locke, about 15 miles from Galt. It is the last such town left in California. The others burned to the ground.
The “International dinner” at our home
l. to r. Frank (a well-known winemaker in Lodi, the largest grape growing area of California), Linda, and her mother Ruth, Veronika (Czech Republic), and Ji-Young.
Don’t worry, she is not on the road.
She didn’t damage my car in her first or second driving lesson.
Watch out for this one.
I just had to show her the important things in America
She should be very proud of this result. Do you believe that this is her first attempt at shooting? Her first shot was not even on the paper, but as soon as I showed her the way it works, these are all of her subsequent shots.
Notice that I didn’t show my scorecard?
She is a serial killer
We have a lot of black widows in and around our house and shop. Because of safety reasons, I show all of our International visitors how to recognize the web and the spider. I often go around and kill them. This time I kept them alive until Ji-Young got here. She took to this activity and must have killed at least 10 of them.
Linda and I have a pool table in our basement. Ji-Young insisted on helping me clear off my BMW brochures so that we could play a bit. She has played pool before……….. don’t ask.
The guys all fell in love with Ji-Young, and Hershey was no exception.
Ji-Young at the Sacramento airport. She is ready to board her flight to Spokane, WA, and then the bus to Missoula, MT.
Ji-young in Missoula, MT
Through a connection with BMW motorcycle owners, Ji-young Lim was invited to spend some time with Pete and Michele Hand of Missoula Montana. Pete is a musician and plays bass for the Great Falls Symphony Orchestra, the Missoula Symphony Orchestra, and the Glacier Symphony Orchestra (of which he is a founding member), but his forte is jazz. He also ran tour boats in Glacier National Park. Michele moved from California to Montana to find better snow for running her sled dog team and now is Chief of Financial Operations for an architectural firm that specializes in western log lodges.
Ji-young arrived by bus from Spokane, Washington, late Thursday, June 15.
Friday morning, Pete left early to perform in Helena at the Jazz Jubilee (Pete, Ji-young, and bass photo). Michele and Ji-Young slept in a little and followed separately since Pete’s car was full of music equipment.
Missoula is in the Rocky Mountains East of Spokane. The two-hour drive to Helena goes over the Continental Divide. This is where rain that falls on the Westside will flow into rivers that become the Columbia River and flow to the Pacific Ocean, but the rain that falls on the East side will flow into rivers that become the Missouri River and then the Mississippi River and flow to the Atlantic Ocean (Continental Divide sign photo).
They arrived in time to see the performance in the park, but Pete wasn’t there yet; he got lost, so Michele had to find him (Helena park and Ji-Young in the park photos). After the concert, they checked into the hotel, and the clerk handed Ji-Young a map that was left for Pete to show him where the band would play.
Back in Missoula, Pete, Michele, and Ji-Young went to a park downtown where more bands were playing, and food vendors were offering samples as part of a community fundraising event.
Ji-Young and Pete in the capitol building.
They had lunch in Last Chance Gulch, the original gold mining area of Helena, and then they visited the Capitol building (In the Capitol photo). Michele served for 6 years as the Governor’s appointee to the Montana Motorcycle Safety Advisory Committee. She explained how any citizen in Montana could help make the laws and testify. This is unlike Sacramento. In Montana, the elected legislators only come to Helena once every two years for 90 days. Then they go home to farm or sell cars or whatever it is they do for their businesses (Capitol front and us on the steps).
Montana is wrapping up three years of celebrating the bicentennial of the Corps of Discovery, Lewis and Clark’s expedition to find a navigable water route from the East coast to the West coast of what is now the United States of America. They followed the Missouri River upstream and discovered what became Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks. A Native American Indian, Sacajawea, accompanied them, and Ji-Young learned Sacajawea was kidnapped as a young girl and was reunited with her brother while on this expedition.
The flowers in front of the Helena Capitol building show the Missouri River and the route taken by Lewis & Clark. They passed through Missoula and went near what is now Michele and Pete’s neighborhood (Lewis-Clark photo).
Later that evening, the Jazz festival resumed with Pete’s band starting, and followed by a band that turned out to be from Fresno! Imagine Ji-Young’s surprise, a band she never saw or heard of while at school; she had to come to Montana to meet them. She talked with their piano player, who is a classical piano student in Sacramento; she got his email address so they can stay in touch.
Saturday morning, while having breakfast at the hotel, Ji-Young got to meet some of Pete’s band and learned that none of them have a music degree, and the piano player never even had a piano lesson! On the drive back to Missoula, Michele and Ji-Young stopped off the freeway to see if they could spot the Bison (Buffalo) at Gold Creek, but they were off in the far field and hard to see.
Ji-Young got to sample gumbo (it was a bit too hot for her) and a Viking (a local treat: a Swedish meatball on a stick, breaded and fried). Everyone had some of Earline’s homemade lemonade, too.
Then they went to the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation Visitors’ center, so Ji-Young could see Montana wildlife, just not in the wild. She learned the difference between a deer and elk and got to see a Rocky Mountain Sheep with curly horns and antlers from elk and moose. She heard a recording of the elk bugling, which is how they call each other in the woods.
Back at the house on Saturday evening, Pete and Ji-Young finally got to talk music. Ji-Young played some of her Gershwin pieces, and Pete showed her some of his jazz sheet music, which didn’t have much written on the page. Ji-Young asked Pete about improvising in jazz and taking solos. Pete said, “Well, there are only 12 notes. How hard can it be?”
While Pete was cooking buffalo burgers for dinner, Michele put a DVD of Oscar Peterson, on television, a Canadian jazz pianist, from the 1977 Montreaux Jazz Festival. Ji-Young was fascinated, “Look at the size of his hands!” She asked why he used two bass players at the same time, but of course, Pete thinks that is what everyone should do.
The front of the house and beautiful flowers next to Ji-Young.
After dinner, Ji-Young talked to Duane and Ben, her next friend to visit, and decided it was time to get her bus ticket and move on. Early Sunday morning, Michele took her to the bus station and sent her on her way to Seattle.
Ji-young stayed with Ben McCafferty and family on Bainbridge Island, WA
l. to r. Mom Kathryn, son Ronan, and Ji-Young
Ned and Jane Bedinger in Southworth, WA
When I heard from Duane that Ji-Young, was coming to Seattle to visit, I sent her an invitation to visit my family at our home in Southworth, across Puget Sound from the big city.
A few days later, Ji-Young phoned from Ben’s house on neighboring Bainbridge Island. She said that she would be starting her journey south soon and would like to accept our invitation to visit our home. No problem; I told her we were eager and anxious to meet her. Over the phone, she and I discussed the options for her journey from Bainbridge to Southworth. There were several possible routes by water and land, but the land option (drive over to pick her up at Ben’s) was a bit more complicated than it appears when you look at how close together they are on the map. I can see Bainbridge Island a few miles north along the shoreline, but the only bridge to the island is on the other end, and the drive is approximately 100 miles to go there and back. Ji-Young, being an intrepid sort of traveler, had already taken this into account. She said, “I have planned the trip. I’ll take the ferry to Southworth.”
As she elaborated on the route she was planning to take to my house, it was apparent just how intrepid a traveler she was. She had plans for a three-legged, mixed-mode trip from Bainbridge to Southworth (see map): the first leg (1) by ferry from the Bainbridge ferry dock at Winslow, across the sound to Seattle, the second leg (not numbered on map) overland by city buses from downtown to the West Seattle ferry dock at Fauntleroy, and the final leg (3) by ferry from West Seattle, stopping at Vashon Island, and then on to the dock at Southworth. She said that she positively was enjoying the novelty of transit aboard the state ferry system and that she was prepared to walk (with her luggage) uphill across downtown Seattle to catch a local bus toward West Seattle, making the necessary transfers in order to get to the West Seattle ferry. I knew the route she planned to take, and it was exactly right–she would arrive practically at my doorstep. Still, it was a time-consuming route, and she was only planning to stay a short time with us, so I proposed an all-ferry route (see 1,2 on map) that would bring her just south of Bainbridge Island on the way west to Bremerton, which was a relatively short drive from my house.
With that settled, we didn’t talk again until the next afternoon when the crowd of commuters had passed through the Bremerton terminal, and Ji-Young was left, with only a small rolling bag and a smaller backpack, dialing the payphone to call and let me know that she had arrived. She didn’t need to complete the call because we were there–my 15-year-old son Miles recognized her, and soon the three of us were walking to the car by way of Bremerton’s ‘leaping salmon’ water-front fountains, and the burrito stand where we stopped for takeout.
On the way home, we asked each other questions about work, travel, home, Duane, and so on. I learned that she is from Seoul, studied classical music in the US, didn’t speak English until she arrived here to study (I would have guessed she had spoken it all her life), and had gotten the travel bug for seeing more of the western states from Duane. She hopes to become a concert pianist and so spends virtually all of her time studying and practicing, driven by the desire to perform on stage.
Pulling into my driveway, Ji-Young exclaimed something I did not understand. Miles understood–she had been startled to see a deer standing there beside the driveway before it disappeared into the neighboring woodlot. It was the yearling deer that Miles sometimes chases out of the garden and stalks through the fruit trees. Ji-Young saw Southworth with fresh eyes. This was not the only time on this visit that she would be surprised enough by Mother Nature to exclaim aloud at seeing wild animals in the landscape!
We brought Ji-Young into the house, my fingers crossed, because my household, honestly, has not achieved that level of domesticity that says, “We straighten up the house every day, after every meal, etc.” The furniture doesn’t match, the parrot flies around loose, the cat comes and goes, and we’re oblivious to most normal household rules. But we’re friendly in a nerdy/Beachcomber/biker sort of way, and Ji-Young gracefully, effortlessly picked up on our way of life. She fit right in. Jane greeted her in self-taught Korean, which seemed to please Ji-Young genuinely. This was the keynote of her visit with us–she was very attentive and very good at listening and interacting with us. Most of all, she left no doubt in anyone’s mind that she considered and appreciated everything.
She stowed her gear in the guest room, and we were all soon settled around the kitchen table for big mission-style burritos and conversation.
I was curious to hear about Seoul, the city she calls home in Korea. I have lived and traveled in Southeast Asia. I have traveler’s tales and impressions from big Asian cities like Manila, Bangkok, Singapore, and Jakarta. Still, my Korean experience is limited (I spent three months among Korean fishermen, on the Bering Sea, aboard their factory trawler out of Pusan, S. Korea). So, I plied Ji-Young with my questions, interview style, hoping to evoke a sense of Seoul and her life there, and she did not disappoint me. About Seoul’s mass transit system, for example, I was curious. In my experience as a traveler, very few cities have good human-scale mass transit. I asked Ji-Young about this, and she provided lots of interesting examples of how Seoul is geared for mass transit. Seriously, she declared, Seoul’s mass transit is a perfectly viable alternative to owning/driving a car. Seoul’s subway and buses, she said, are safe enough for her to travel at any hour. The transit system there provides frequent service from everywhere to everywhere.
As a serious music student, she said, she spent most of her time at school and home studying and practicing piano but could easily travel anywhere in Seoul when she needed. “Yeah, that’s just like Seattle,” I opined, “we have good bus service, and the buses go everywhere.” “No,” she said, “I mean that in Seoul, you never have to wait for a bus. They run every few minutes. You can step out of your house and catch a bus to take you anywhere in the city.” Oh wow! I understood what she was describing–in Seattle if you want to commute by bus, the transit system gives you a very narrow scheduled window in which to catch the right bus, and if you miss it, you’ll have to wait 15 or 20 minutes, often even longer before the next scheduled bus. But in bustling Seoul, transit doesn’t have such built-in lag times–it is not a system that ever leaves you killing time waiting. Ji-Young’s Seoul is exotic, a teeming, thriving Asian capital. Like all of the glimpses of Seoul that she gave us, I liked this one quite a lot.
After dinner, we settled on comfortable couches and talked for a long time about culture. “Why,” Jane asked Ji-Young, “do you suppose it is that women in some cultures cover themselves from head to foot? In Pakistan, for instance, women wear black birkas.” We all had theories about this one, and most of our theories had something to do with men requiring women to do so. Miles and Jane gave us a good laugh when they reached the conclusion that men would never be the ones to require women to cover themselves at all. Ji-Young gave us pause to ponder when she speculated that if it was not men, then it must be the older women who required, the younger women to cover themselves so completely.
The conversation that evening also ranged over topics about the internet, which Ji-Young felt was contributing, through free music downloads, to the demise of live music performances–the audiences for live performances, she said, are dwindling as recorded works become easier to acquire. She was looking forward to performing as a concert pianist and hoped there would still be an audience for live performers when she was ready. Jane found this implausible–she felt that we all acknowledge the internet as an interactive medium that facilitates communication between people but wondered why, if that is true, the internet hadn’t become more of a stimulus to musical creativity, with musicians on different continents playing together in concert over the network. Ji-Young led us to the conclusion that a diverse group of musicians would do better being in the same room, where the vibrating air from each instrument stimulates and invigorates the players.
We all eventually wandered off to check email before bed, saying goodnight and heading off to our rooms for a snooze in Puget Sound’s famous 60 degrees (F) sleeping weather.
The next day, Ji-Young and I hiked through the blackberry thickets on our way down to the beach. “Do you ever have bears here?” she wondered. I told her that yes, they’ve been seen a mile or two inland, but never around the beach, as far as I know. She was interested in the wildlife and lore, so I further explained that if she did go to the beach alone and did come upon a bear, she should stand up as tall as she could, wave her arms, and make lots of noise, giving it plenty of time to see her and escape. “In Montana, I learned that I should lie down on the ground, cover my head and stay still,” she said. No, I told her, that is how to survive an attack, especially by a grizzly bear, but around here, you’re more likely to encounter a black bear–scaring them off is the best thing. More to fear around here, I continued, is Cougars. They have a reputation for attacking people and even hauling off children. If one grabs you, I instructed her, fight as hard as you can. I think Ji-Young was ready to turn and head for the house at this new information, but we went on down to the beach, and we saw no large carnivores, which is normal for Southworth, except for when a pod of killer whales swims by, but we didn’t see them either that day.
As we strolled on the cobble beach at Southworth Point, she once again exclaimed something I didn’t understand, pointing excitedly at a very large, immature bald eagle leaping up off the beach into flight, not very far away from us. I know this particular bird; I’ve been watching him since springtime– he frequents a snag in the woods by my house and is part of a group of 5 or so other mature eagles that hunt nearby. This bird hasn’t gotten his adult plumage yet, but he already stands out because of his extra-big size. As we walked along, he must have been just out of sight on the beach, no more than 20 yards from us, when he took off. Ji-Young was speechless at the sight, watching as this youngster flew low over the water, rising at the end of his flight to land on a piling by the ferry dock. “Is that an eagle??” she asked me, her voice full of amazement. “Yep, but just a baby,” I told her.
We took a few pictures sitting on the old driftwood in the grass above the tideline.
What a beautiful photo.
Ji-Young and Ned, the host.
We continued our walk, leaving the beach at the ferry dock and walking up through the village of Southworth, where I introduced Ji-Young to the postmaster and the shopkeeper at the general store. Everyone was very pleasant, smiling and saying hello when Ji-Young introduced herself.
Walking back down the road toward my house with Ji-Young, I felt a new awareness of my surroundings, like I was seeing this familiar place through new eyes. I recognized for the first time that my neighborhood had been built with strong oriental design elements–the rooflines, the proportions, and even the colors and materials seemed to be very oriental. This awareness seemed to grow stronger and more vivid, which surprised me because I’ve walked down this road many times and never noticed the oriental influence. Still, it was undeniable: there, before my very eyes, I watched as my neighborhood seemed to become more and more oriental until it was so real and unavoidable that I felt as if I were suddenly and truly walking through a Korean village on my way home from the post office. I wondered seriously, and a little desperately, about whether this was real, whether I was experiencing a substantial intuition about other lives and other places, or having a flashback. Unable to decide, I said to myself, “Why resist? This is an eye-opener, a free trip to the orient, take it!” and I tried to shut down my analytical mind (like suspending my disbelief when reading fiction, know what I mean?) so that the experience could take root, undisturbed. In doing that, this sense of seeing through other eyes grew tremendously–I had a powerful feeling that I was no longer tied down in my little corner of the world but had diversified in some new way, such that I was now walking through more than one place. “If this is what it is like to host a foreign student,” I thought, “sign me up!” I don’t think I can adequately describe what I was feeling. Suffice it to say that it was a shockingly new awareness for me. It was thrilling–I wondered if this was what it was like to be in two places at once? Or if I could be more, even many places at the same time? Even as I was walking through my little neighborhood at this firmly fixed latitude and longitude.
At that moment, when I understood the distant extent of my neighborhood, I suspect that I, too, exclaimed aloud, an inarticulate, involuntary utterance full of amazement. I don’t know if I did, but I hope so. Such uninhibited expressions are a sure sign, I believe, of an experience that is very good for the soul.
Thank you, Ji-Young. We hope you enjoyed your visit with us as much as we enjoyed having you.
My stay in McMinnville, Oregon
Aurora and her husband hosted me. She has been a friend of Duane’s since she was only 6 weeks old.
Mom, I have this new job. I told them that I knew how to drive a car.
I am learning to take and give reports. This is all about the bad guys.
Don’t worry, mom, they promised to spend the entire morning teaching me to ride.
Mom, this has been a very important 10 months that you have allowed me to stay in the USA and learn about life. I have some important news for you and dad. Are you sitting down?
Staying with Paul and Margaret Cole in Independence, Oregon
Ji-Young, Paul, and Tanner at Moe’s Restaurant (Oregon’s best clam chowder) in Lincoln City, OR
Ji-Young is in the distance and gets blasted by the sand and the wind. Oregon is full of contrasts. It was 60 degrees and windy at the beach that day and over 100 degrees just 45 minutes away in Independence, Oregon. Ji-Young thought I was kidding when I recommended she bring a sweater that day!
Ji-Young went back to the pickup to get her sweater again at Depoe Bay, OR
Ji-Young and Margaret at Silver Falls State Park. Getting away from the heat again to a wooded area that has many falls.
Ji-Young in Portland at the youth hostel. It was another 100+ days and she and I and Tanner were really hot. We tried walking to Powell’s bookstore, but the puppy couldn’t make it in the heat.
This was also in Lincoln City. Paul and Ji-Young are watching folks make glass floats at a glass-blowing demonstration.
Hi Duane, 28 June 2006
How are you doing? I am at Portland airport now, waiting for the flight that goes to Oakland. I will go straight to my friend’s house, where I put all my bags.
It was one great travel. I had so much fun with the total strangers. All of the families tried hard for me to feel comfortable and have fun. Boy, I am impressed.
I cannot believe that I am leaving here the day after tomorrow. I have such good memories that half of me is reluctant to leave, even though I miss my family so much. Anyways, next time, I will email you from Seoul. Take care, and please say hello to Linda. THANK YOU!!!
(l. to r.) Father, Sister, Aunt, Mother, and Ji-young in Seoul.
Upon her return, she announced that she was going to dump her music career and go into business to start traveling the world and meeting people from all cultures. I assumed it to be a temporary craze, but no, she did it.
Update 30 March 2023