Bucheon at night. This is right around You Jeong’s family’s home, about a 40 minute bus ride outside of Seoul, 1 hour by subway. If I’m not hanging out with You Jeong around Seoul, we’re usually around this area, just due to the many coffee shops/restuarants/bars. When I first asked You Jeong about her hometown after meeting in the states, she said…”well…it’s dirty” I tried repeatedly to get more information from her but it was hard to get more. Later, I suggested the possibly of teaching in Incheon/Bucheon, where she lives. I asked how it is there and she said “Well, you just need to watch out for gangsters”. Now, having got to know the area a bit, we have a running joke that one way to dispose of trash is “bucheon style” meaning, everywhere is a trash can. The area is full of strip after strip of stores, bars, men’s clubs, massage parlors, etc. Yet, nonetheless, I have a fondness for Bucheon. Everytime I visit at least a few people say hi to me and giggle, or young school girls laugh and wave at me from a distance. Yesterday, a (around) 5 year old boy came running to me and said hi with a big smile on his face, soon after running back to his mom.
It’s a massive city, but as a very visible foreigner, I can feel the “smaller town vibe” from Seoul. I find the city both very ugly, yet appealing, and its not to discount there are a few wonderful, large parks for recreation in the nearby area. Beyond this, housing prices are significantly lower, so I’m considering the possibility of moving out here next year to save some cash. Anyway, I can understand You Jeong’s reluctance to say a lot about this place, but still, I’ve got a heart for it and always enjoy my time here.