NOTE: I published this post a few days ago as a page. I am re-publishing as a post. Still trying to get the hang of the whole blog thing….More to come this weekend for sure…with pictures!!! 🙂
Yes, I have arrived safe & sound in South Korea. This is an email that I wrote my first Saturday here…which has now been 51 days! Man how time flies!!! Yes, it has taken me a few days to get this blog up & running, but now I have so much to write about. Hope you all enjoy it.
I am here & it is finally Saturday morning. Flight was a breeze-with a bit of turbulence but much smoother than I expected. And the few cocktails I had helped for sure! Just kidding. No alcohol really. A couple of decent flight meals. A couple of nice women to sit by for the 12 hr flight. I’d say the hardest part (other than the heavy luggage I toted around on my own…) was catching the connecting flight. I had a 2 hr layover, but we were delayed on the tarmac for the first flight for about 20 mins or so. To even catch the first flight I had to show my passport & itinerary a zillion times it seemed. At the tix counter, the security checkpoint, the gate that I flew out from…man! Then they say: put it away before you get on the flight! Pretty funny. I was telling the lady I sat next to all about Footprints & how I got to be sitting next to her on my flight to Korea. She was there for a few days on biz. When landing in Incheon, I had to go through an Immigration line..about a mile’s walk from the airplane I left it seemed. I had to pick up the two bags I checked (a huge roller bag & smaller suitcase, plus my binder (why I thought I needed to carry this I am not sure…what a pain!), my purse, my new laptop in it’s own carry case-which of course I had to unpack at each security checkpoint! And remove my coat & sweater. No problem!!! :-)) Oh and of course the shoes too…man! So I of course waited in the wrong immigration line…somehow thinking I am all of a sudden a Korean because I am here in Korea. Ha! No wonder people were looking at me funny. Blonde & with a a heavy orange coat on (well it was raining in SF when I left & I will need the coat here eventually..and of course it would not fit in my already over the limit stuffed rollerbag that only cost $50 extra! Thank goodness the flight was paid for! (and that I sold my car & computer!) I think my bag was about 13 or 14 lbs over weight. Oh to only be 14 lbs overweight! So I get in line at the right immigration line & I don’t have the form that I should have completed in flight that my neighbors were completing. But I was catching another flight, I thought only those that were landing at their destination only needed to complete this form. Nope. So the immigration man who spoke about as much English as I do Korean was trying to tell me to complete this form & get back in line. I was about in tears (frustration & tiredness..). Luckily thank goodness for the international language of near tears, I slid my way to almost the front of the line. Some young man who probably had seen me in the Korean immigration line let me get in front of him & 2 seconds later I see the man that sent me back to the line motioning to another immigration official that I am the one in near tears that has already waited in line once & has another flight to catch that needs to be processed now! So he pulls me aside & sends me to a counter that has no wait-maybe back to the Korean one I don’t know, but at least he processed me! Man!! So then I am off & rolling for a minute before running across my next hurdle of the Declarations line. Not that the line was long at all. But this guy of course wanted to see my passport & flight info & the declarations form. Hmmm. Again, he spoke about as much English as I do Korean. My eyes welling up again, more easily frustrated from being tired of lugging my stuff around & fearful of missing my flight..oh yeah, my cel phone only having single digit battery life left…and needing to keep in touch with my new Korean employer if anything goes wrong…such a broad term now given the day…So I step back to the counter to complete the declarations form & thankful that I did bring my binder of Footprints info because I needed the address of my employer/where I am staying..something like that…the only time this big binder came in handy… So Mr. Customs let me pass GO, leaving my $200 with him by way of those ol’ blood, sweat & tears again…Now…where do I go??? I am on my way to the final check-in, right? Wherever that is…I just know it seemed like I walked around forever in search of the elevator. Of course the info desk, a man who I had no clue who he was stopped me…did he want my $$$, my life, my soul, is he my employer meeting me here rather than Daegu?? Not sure. I just asked him where the elevator was & he pointed me along in the same direction I was already heading. I think I sopped at the next info desk too because seemed to be alluding me! And time was ticking…my bags were getting heavier by the minute…So I found the check in desk & was thankful there was no line. I cruise on up to a couple of airline employees talking. I told them I needed to check in they looked at me & said: can you see that we are closed here, no one is in line. No, I thought I was just lucky & that there was no line!!! Using every bit of diplomacy I had left in me I asked them where I go to check in for a flight to Taegu (Daegu-the same) at 7:20 pm…Around the corner, behind the current check in counter I was at. I wheeled my life over to this new check in line. A few people in line, not bad. It was about 7 pm. Plenty of time! I got to the counter & the man that helped me was very nice. Pulling out my passport, flight info & ID once again…I had made my flight! And no extra charge for the overweight bag!! (not me…my luggage!) :-)) A 55 min flight, being served a 4 ounce cup of water we had landed. I turned my cel phone back on & used the last remaining juice to contact the Korean school director to let him know I had landed & was here. He wanted me to contact him in 10 mins after he checked to see if the owner was at the airport ready to pick me up. I got off the flight & some man by the name of Eddy (I thought initially anyway) was there to pick me up & wisk me off to my new life in S Korea. That is all I knew. My planner had ended. Yes, I had unfinished tasks still on my calendar for the day. But once I was picked up…a new chapter begins…
I have to get on with my day. But yes, I am OK. Grateful for Saturday today. Much more info to come too. Everyone has been wonderful too.