Published: December 11th 2011November 23rd 2011
On the morning of November 23rd, we walked away down main street at Gyeonggi English Village. A sad yet happy morning. Closing out 15 months of living 45-minutes outside of Seoul, South Korea. An hour and a half later we sat down for a mug of coffee at Cafe Pasculucci in Incheon International Airport until Shauna's plane departed.
Bouncing from Seoul, to Beijing (China) then across the Pacific Ocean to Vancouver, BC (Canada) arriving in Edmonton, Alberta (Canada) on the afternoon of November 23rd. As Shauna flew to China and onto Canada, I sat in Incheon Airport scribbling notes, writing blogs and waiting for my flight. Eventually, I packed in my laptop, drug my one check-in bag to United Airlines counter. Baggage checked. Boarding pass in hand. I whistled my way through customs. Sitting down. I ate my final bowl of BiBimBap (비빔밥) after stopping at the pharmacy known as yon (약국) for a few nasty Korean drugs to knock out my head cold.
On board... disappointment set in as United Airlines (Continental Airlines) doesn't provide headrest entertainment to its international guests. Sitting on the inside of the plane for the first time in 12 years of
international travel, I lucked out sitting next to two petite Thai women returning to Michigain. We chatted about English Teaching, South Korea, Japan, Thailand and numerous other topics until dinner time. Happy for my "single serving seat mates," I smiled with relief.
Landing in San Francisco on the morning of November 23rd, I slapped myself in the face as I deboarded the plane in search of a bathroom, hot water (for medicine mixing), fresh fruit and my next gate. Standing in lines I began to notice things: I could understand everything I was reading! I could hear the people around me speaking. And I KNEW what they were saying.
Smiling. I walked away. Around. And over to various displays just to read notecards, signs and things. Laughing I stumbled on board the next flight to Las Vegas wondering where Shauna might be at that very moment. Stopping I picked up a magazine, fruit chips and a candy bar. Purchasing only a bottle of water. Climbing onto the next plane, I stuffed my earplugs in and rested my head comfortably for the brief hour and a half flight. Prior to landing in Vegas, I began
to worry about missing my connecting plane. How was I suppose to be on one plane, off it and onto the next plane if the plane I was suppose to be on departed while I was still seated on the second plane? Damn! Damn! Damn United Airlines.
Running up the gangplank at a rapidly slow pace as my head thumped with the fermented head cold still lingering in my nostrils. I stopped. Looked around. Vegas! Slot machines set up to take your final coins as you await your plane to depart. Suckers! Where the heck is my next gate? Spinning around I caught a glimpse of a sign. Denver 2:30p Gate A45. Spinning around, I realized gate A45 was the gate I just walked out of. Its the same freaking plane. Well cannot miss a connection when your sitting on the plane you are connecting with! Perfect. I ran for the bathroom. Grabbed another piece of fruit. Received some hot water for more hot "nasty" Korean medicinal tea. And sprinted around in circles until my head throbbed again. Checking my watch. I smiled. Only 1 more flight. Only 1 more hour of travel time. Only 1 more
Seoul, South Korea
nap and I'll be in Denver, Colorado!
Landing in Colorado was a sweet experience. When we departed we were 45 miunutes late. By the time we landed we were 15 minutes early. Explain this "pre-planning strategies" to me again? Oh Well... I stumbled off the plane. Wondered through the airport. Listening to people. Intercom messages. And singing songs. As I arrived at the baggage carousel searching for my bag it fell out after only a couple of minutes. Soon I was standing on the arrival sidewalk watching vehicles drive-by knowing my brother would be there shortly. I found a payphone. Paid .50 cents and called to see if he was near. He wasn't. But I was early. Laughing I told him where I would be standing. He arrived. We hugged. Tossed the bags in. And climbed into the 4Runner for a 45 minute ride back to his house through 6:45p traffic.
There are more photos below