Missoula is not a racially diverse town. When I moved there a year ago from China, I felt like an outsider. Missoula has little to offer foreigners to make them feel at home. I can’t even find my favorite snacks or food.
When our group came to Seoul, I quickly found my favorite Japanese dried octopus snack. When I asked my classmate to try it, she nearly puked. Some of my classmates even went to eat McDonald’s in Seoul. They remind me of myself, living in a foreign country and craving food from home.
In my opinion, perhaps nothing defines Asia more than its food. During our trip, I have encouraged the group to try different kinds of food in order to have a true Asia experience.
It’s very interesting to see their reaction. Emily Martinek, one of my classmates, hates the texture of Korean cold noodles, which are a favorite here. But to be honest, I hate it too.
In Montana, outdoor clothing and flannels are the style. Asia is far trendier, with people often following what’s popular for the season. It’s very hard for me to explain the different perspective of beauty in Asia.
Overseas traveling is all about two different perspectives bumping into each other, and perhaps changing in the process. The traveler, and people in the host country, may reshape their perspectives or at least think about their differences. That’s how we experience the world and keep the adventure.
Blog and photo by Wenji Chen