CAMP MOBILE, South Korea - Many soldiers face the hardship of being separated from their family and friends during the holidays.
Soldiers deployed to Korea have the same difficulty, but spending the holidays in Korea can be more enjoyable than they think.
Fresno, Calif., native Sgt. 1st Class Maria Estrada, a maintenance supervisor assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 70th Brigade Support Battalion, 210th Fires Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, enjoys her life and holidays in Korea.
At first, she was unsure how much she would enjoy her tour in Korea.
However, now that she has spent time here, “It’s going to be hard to leave,” said Estrada.
Even though Estrada is stationed in Korea and away from home, she has been able to enjoy many of her favorite things with her new friends Ahn young-sil and Cha Eun-jeong, who are a married couple she met during a golf tournament.
Since then, she spends a lot of her time with them exploring new things.
“I have spent most of my time here in Korea with them,” she said.
Estrada learned more about Korean culture with her friends during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, including a visit to Seoul to watch the original Korean musical "Miso."
“I was so excited to see the popular musical, and it was so beautiful and had great music,” said Estrada.
Estrada added that the Korean musical "Miso" had traditional Korean instruments and clothes.
She also enjoyed a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner with the soldiers of 70th BSB, followed by a traditional Black Friday shopping trip to the Camp Casey for a taste of home.
Even though she wasn’t able to spend time with her family, Estrada found a different way to enjoy the holiday season. She feels lucky to be able to come to Korea and experience a culture that people back in the states don’t.