Chapter 8: Party Time

On June 14, 1979, the fourth full day of their trip, the American Friendship Force Ambassadors and their Korean hosts gathered again at the Shilla Hotel in Seoul for a banquet. My grandma describes the event in her typed notes under the heading "Partying." But I also recently got hold of her actual handwritten diary... Continue Reading →


Chapter 7: Apathy at the DMZ

While the 401 American Friendship Force ambassadors occasionally crossed paths while sightseeing in and around Seoul, they all met up on June 13, 1979, the third full day of trip, for a group tour of the Demilitarized Zone along the border between North and South Korea. Since my grandma spent the day apart from her host... Continue Reading →

Chapter 5: Fun at the Folk Village

After visiting the sights of Seoul, the next stop on my grandma's June 1979 tour of South Korea was the Korean Folk Village in Yongin, a suburb south of the city. While I lived in Korea for seven years, I never actually went to this attraction, though I visited similar ones. The Folk Village opened... Continue Reading →

Chapter 4: Sightseeing in Seoul

While staying with their Korean host family in June 1979, my grandma and her fellow Friendship Force ambassador were shown the sights of Seoul. Mrs. Lee's brother was a student at Dongguk University in Seoul, so he and a couple of his classmates served as interpreters and guides. According to my grandma's notes: They were studying... Continue Reading →

Chapter 3: Culinary Adventures

As any traveler knows, a big part of visiting a foreign land is trying exotic food. Judging by my grandmother's typewritten notes on her June 1979 Korea trip, she enjoyed practically every aspect of life with her host family in Seoul, including the food: Food and eating were a riot the first few meals. ...... Continue Reading →

Chapter 2: The Host Family

My grandma, along with another Friendship Force ambassador named Joby, spent the first week of their two-week Korea trip staying with a host family in Seoul. This must have been overwhelming, not only visiting a completely foreign land but being immersed in its culture 24/7. But I think my grandma really enjoyed it, and got along especially... Continue Reading →

Chapter 1: Flight of the Friendship Force

My grandma traveled a lot during her senior years, often with group tours, including those arranged by an organization called the Friendship Force. Founded in Atlanta in 1977, the Friendship Force is a nonprofit cultural exchange organization that now has chapters in 60 countries, according to its website. The Friendship Force chapter in Albuquerque, where... Continue Reading →

Up ↑