Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Emmigrating Part I

Wednesday, August 22 - 6:25pm Houston, 7:25pm Miami, 4:25pm California, 8:25am Seoul

Part one of my trip is complete - I made it to San Francisco, and am now on my next flight to Seoul. So far, fairly uneventful. I woke up at 4:20am and did my hair, but skipped the makeup since I figured it might be coming off later at the airport. My parents drove me to the airport, and I ended up checking both my large suitcase and my small suitcase, and moving the essentials to a handheld duffle. $70 extra but my parents were kind enough to pay the fee. (thank you dad!) 

Saying goodbye to my parents was a little easier than I was expecting. Everyone was determined not to cry, and although I can’t say there were no tears, it was reasonable. Only when I hugged my mom right before security did I start to tear up. As soon as I turned away from them, some more tears came, but I dried up for TSA since they might get all weird on me if I was bawling in the metal detectors. My silly parents waited on the  other side of the glass while I got through security, and I had one last glimse of my mom before I left. That also brought tears to my eyes. 

Mommy and Me saying goodbye!
Then, there was the two mile trek to my gate. (It's always on the other side of the airport, isn't it?) The duffle on my shoulder, as well as the 15lb in my backpack were beginning to dig in. When I got to the gate, they were announcing that the flight was very full and encouraging people to gate check their carry-on rolling bags. I asked at the gate and she told me that they could check it all the way to Seoul. I wouldn’t be charged for an additional bag (thank goodness). So, I decided that rather than try to carry around the duffle through SFO (San Francisco Airport), I’d just cross my fingers that everything makes it to Seoul. I grabbed my fuzzy socks out of my duffle and stuffed them into my backpack (which I was of course keeping on me). 

When called, I handed my boarding pass to the woman at the gate, and she stopped me and said I had a seat change and handed me a new boarding pass. Since I had paid extra in order to choose my own seat, an aisle, I wasn't why I would have a seat changed. When I got to the seat, I found it was a window, exactly what I did not want. Not only was it a window seat, it was the worst window seat I’ve ever seen. Next to me was a plastic panel, and the only windows I had any view from were basically behind me and way in front next to the seat in front of me. Hopefully you can imagine this; I think I explained it poorly. But, basically it was a terrible seat. Annoyed, I called my mom and told her to request a refund, since I was not given the seat I paid extra for. After about 10 minutes I realized I probably got more annoyed than I should have, since I got the extra leg room anyway. 

The woman sitting next to me ended up being nice, although I had my doubts at first. She was funny and we made fun of United and how dated plane we were in was. The flight was almost an hour late in taking off, but am I surprised? No, United sucks. We commiserated about that some more, talked a little of Korea, and I went to sleep. I took about 3-4 20 minute naps that flight. For some reason, airplane noises put me to sleep. I’m definitely not complaining, I only wish that there hadn’t been a baby behind me that kept waking me up. Thankfully, it was not a horrible screaming brat, but only made a few sudden loud noises that would startle me from sleep. 

When we were getting close to SFO, we hit a bit of turbulence. The captain came over the speakers and pointed out Lake Tahoe, which my window seat allowed me to glimse about 2” of. Regardless, it was neat. I’ve always wanted to go to Lake Tahoe; at least now I can say I’ve seen it! 

We landed in SFO, which was pretty neat since the runways go out on the bay; it looked like we were landing on water at first. We were only 20 minutes late in landing there, so I still had a fair amount of time to get to my next flight. I was starving so once I got the general vicinity of my gate, I found a food court and got a little pizza (overpriced of course). I was pleasantly surprised at how good it was (or maybe I was just so hungry?) After I snarfed that down, I followed the arrows to my gate. 

As I turned a corner, I was suddenly smacked in the face with ANOTHER security checkpoint. I’d already gone thru security at IAH, so I wasn’t expecting that. And, it was kind of a long line (I’ve seen worse, but still...) I started to freak out a little bit, but ended up getting through it in about 15-20 minutes. At this point I knew they wouldn’t stop me about anything in my bag since I’d given up the bag with my toiletries in it. 

Once I got through, my gate was very close. My seat-mate in my previous flight advised me to ask for an upgrade on my international flight, so that’s exactly what I did at the counter at my gate. All the upgrades were claimed, but she put my name on a waiting list for an aisle seat. I ended up not getting it, but Asiana is way better than other flights I’ve had and I am pretty happy with the leg room I’ve got in my window seat. (Hey, at least it’s not a middle seat!) 

That flight was also slightly late in taking off, and the ambient noise was so loud that I fell asleep just waiting to get to the runway. Man, what is it with me and airplane noises? So, now I’m somewhere over the Pacific ocean, maybe near Alaska. My original attempt to sleep during the initial hours of the flight were thwarted by my need for a drink (pizza has way too much sodium...) so that kept me awake. Then they served dinner. I was rather looking forward to trying the Korean dish, but I was informed that all they had left was beefsteak. Oh well, I’ll take it. I ended up eating half the side dish and a cracker. Well, maybe some cheese too. I didn’t even touch the questionable looking entree. I’m probably being a diva, but I wasn’t into it. I also watched most of the Hunger Games during this time. 

So, that about brings us to the present. I don’t want my iPad to die, it’s at about 60% right now. And I’ve got another 8-9 hours to go. I want to sleep, like I said, but I’ve also drank like 2 Cokes. Even if the caffeine doesn’t keep me up, the need to pee will soon hit me. So, I decided to chronicle my trip so far... nothing too crazy or exciting. I’m tired, but emotionally, I’m just avoiding thinking. Of anything. Although, on takeoff from SFO, I did have a moment of “this is the last time my feet will touch American soil for a year.” 

Oh, speaking of which, the girl in the seat behind me is also going to Korea to teach. She of course was telling her seat mate about it and for some reason it annoyed me. Maybe I subconsciously resent her for the attention; I’d like to be the special one. I can’t think I’m the only one doing this though! There's hundreds of schools and thousands of teachers hired each year. Anyway, airplane noises drown her out thank goodness. Annnnd the guy in the seat in front of me just put his seat back and now I can hardly see my laptop screen. I guess I’ll update again when I’ve actually landed! 


  1. Enjoyed it. I'll have to say I actually had a tear or two just reading it and imagining (I'm pretty good at imagery) you leaving and your parents saying good-by. As my Dad used to say when he cried that "my bladder is too close to my eyes" Looking forward to your next chapter......Love.....Gram

  2. What a great post! I'm looking forward to reading these! Sounds like you actually had a pretty good trip and I'm so happy you caught some Z's!

  3. I miss you! Sorry about the window seats haha love love love you and I'm looking forward to hearing from you soon! xx.
    love, your little.


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