The Perfect Day
by Matthew Ambrosia
I`m one of those guys from the other side of the world. Though, sometimes it feels like I`m completely from another world. I even have the card to prove it. I`m a registered alien. Moving to a different country exposes us to many new experiences. And while some hit me negatively and took time to get used to, others were surprisingly refreshing. I caught myself saying, "Why don`t we do things like this in Texas?" For example, one of those was eating out of the same stew bowl with others at my table. It made me feel close to those with me. Even my germaphobe friend was dipping his spoon in the same stew bowl with me before long. This new world was full of new experiences to have.
Another set of great new experiences were at the ballpark in Sajik Dong. I like my baseball as much as the next guy, but this was so much more than just baseball. You may say, "Actually baseball really isn`t my thing." That`s okay. I`ve met several people who love going to the baseball game and still don`t know the rules. There are many other things that attract people to baseball games than just baseball. It`s like a party. Busan is a baseball city so fans are really passionate about the Lotte Giants. They cheer, shout, sing, boo, chant and yell even if they don`t know the rules. And there is a cheer for every player. If you`re lucky enough to score some tickets on the first base side you can see the sexy cheerleaders dance and cheer. It`s enough to get any red-blooded American guy`s heart pumping... or any guy for that matter. Other events between innings keep the fun going like kiss time, dancing king, and other performances by the cheerleaders and other mascots.
One of the first things I noticed about Sajik Stadium was all the vendors outside the stadium selling food and drinks. Can you really buy food and bring it inside the stadium? Yes, you can! Buy chicken, kimbab, beer, or pizza in front of the stadium or go to the nearby superstore get what you want there, but avoid bringing glass containers into the stadium. And in case you didn`t bring enough food, don`t worry the food in the stadium is not too expensive either. Unlike at a MBL game, you don`t have to get a mortgage for a mid-inning snack.
Also the admission is very reasonable. General admission tickets are only 7,000 won and tickets along the baseline are only 10,000 won. The average Major League Baseball ticket is now almost $27. And with those monster stadiums in the west, you still may not be able to see very well. Sajik stadium only holds 28,000 fans, you are always close to the action. However, the games on the weekends are often sold out so you have to get your tickets soon. A Korean friend can help you reserve tickets online or you can buy tickets up to the day before the game at Busan Bank.
Most recently I went to a game with my girlfriend. Thanks to a Kim Ju Chan homerun the Giants jumped to an early lead and held on to win the game 6-3. Later that evening, I slipped a ring on my girlfriend`s finger. She agreed to be my girl forever and help raise our own team of little baseball players. The Giants won their game and I won my girlfriend`s heart. It was a perfect day. A day I will never forget.
This alien is feeling less and less like an alien and more and more like an authentic Busan citizen. I`ve had many exciting, new experiences in Busan, and I know I will have many more in the future.
My name is Matthew Ambrosia from Houston, Texas. I was born on September 23rd, 1976. I became interested in Korea when I was attending graduate school at Texas A&M University. At that time I had several Korean friends and was drawn to their food and culture. I first came to Busan in September, 2001 as a Baptist missionary. In 2005, I got a job teaching English at an academy. And now I work at the Catholic University of Pusan as a professor in the department of Environmental Administration while I finish my PhD at Pusan National University.