Koreans Along the Mississippi River

My name is Daniel. I was an English teacher in Seoul, South Korea, and am a writer who has
published three books including South Korea: Our Story by Daniel Nardini.
                          Koreans are quite familiar with Koreatown in Los Angeles, and with Koreans in
Los Angeles and California (along with Korean communities in New York, Newark, and in Chicago as
well as in Houston and Las Vegas). However, most may not be familiar with the number of Koreans who
have settled along the American Mississippi River. Although much, much smaller than any of the urban
Korean communities, Koreans have been settling in various towns and small cities along the mighty 
Mississippi River. Why is not hard to figure out—it is a reminder of the Han River in South Korea, has
plenty of cheap housing, and the chance to establish small businesses with less chance for
competition that is so true in the larger urban areas. Many Koreans simply follow the Chinese who have
also gone to the Mississippi River to get away from the urban areas to establish their own businesses.
I have known of a few businesses by some Korean families in towns and cities along the Mississippi River who have started anything from a beer and wine store to Korean restaurants. The thing that connects these small Korean communities are the churches. One church I know of, the the Korean United Methodist Church in Bettendorf, Iowa, is a place where Korean families, and Koreans married to Americans, go to meet each other and have special events held there for the preservation of their culture and customs. Whenever possible, some of these Korean families organize day trips to Chicago to not only visit the Koreatown there but also to do business and meet with Koreans who recently came from Korea. Even though it is a struggle in an area much more isolated
from the urban areas, and an area that is primarily white European American, Koreans have found a home
in various areas along the Mississippi River.