From 1984-87, I lived and worked as a journalist in Seoul, though I returned to Wisconsin from May 1985 to February 1986. When I returned to Korea, I took on two jobs in journalism-related work, both arranged by the same publisher. I also met some women that would play key roles in my life.

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     One of the reports I wrote for Morning Calm was about people power in the Philippines, which I visited with a Morning Calm translator and photographer for five days, immediately after a huge typhoon hit Manila that summer. Mr. Hur was my translator, and he and our photographer, plus a Philippine Tourism guide, took a taxi from the airport to a Holiday Inn in Manila, as it was still raining after the big winds had hit. A normal one-hour ride, there were so many detours due to flooding, it took us at least three hours to arrive at our hotel. I took some pretty fair photos in that country, as we travelled about, but when I was given the job of selecting photos, for our feature, I chose all photos by the company’s photographer; some of mine would have done at least as well, but the company man was paid to do photos, had a family, and I didn’t want to take bread off his table.

    Early that second stay in Seoul, David Johns and I visited a sports bar one night in Itaewon. We met two nice young women there, and got their phone numbers. Both were decent-looking, but David and I were both attracted to the tall, thin one: Jinny Kwak. During the next few months, Jinny and I would date; I don’t know if David Johns was also seeing her, but he hinted later that they had met afterward, too.

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     Jinny was an Ewha University graduate, with Ewha being the world’s largest all-women university. She worked in an office, but should have been a journalist. Her English was excellent, though she spoke somewhat as if she were shy, with an endearing accent. She apparently had a younger sister, but I never saw their family’s home. I’d often ride our taxi with Jinny to a spot near where she lived, never the exact location she was heading to. Korea had many interesting customs. The Korean woman I would marry (Suk-Hee, who worked near Namdaemun, or South Gate, then South Korea’s No. 1 National Treasure) later that year, never even let me ride with her to her neighborhood, which apparently was somewhere in Seoul’s Songbukdong district. I’d guess neither woman’s family appreciated American journalists, or Americans period.

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Or maybe they did some things they didn’t want me to know about. It’s a ‘great life,’ when your favorite women keep you in the dark. I’d say a lot more of that goes on, even in America among married couples, than some people would like to admit.

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