Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Dad Comes to Korea: or, Frustrations with Traveling

As the title suggests, my dad has arrived in Korea! It was not without hiccups, however...
I left work around 8:50 last night to take the subway to Gimpo Airport. My dad was due to land at 9:30, but I figured I could be a little late (not that I had much choice, since I don't get off work til 9 anyway). The airport is about 1 hour away via subway, and it took me around 15 minutes to get to the subway station. So, around 10:15, I arrived at Gimpo and after a quick look around the arrivals seating area, I made myself comfortable standing directly in front of the arrivals gate.

I decided to video his arrival, since I was so excited. I turned on my Instagram and continued to refresh the screen so it wouldn't black out for 3 minutes, 4 minutes, 10 minutes... I'd been standing there around 15 minutes when I got a phone call from an unknown number. Since I've been in Korea, I've gotten loads of wrong number/spam calls and texts, so my instinct was to ignore it. However, since I was getting worried that my dad was taking so long in arriving, I answered.

Thank goodness I did, because it was a woman from Korean Air calling. Apparently, like his daughter, my dad's bags were lost by the airline. She needed my address for where to send the bags when they finally showed up. I struggled through telling my dad the address (since the woman gave up after 0.5 seconds listening to me try to tell her the address), and he promised he would be out in a few minutes.

So, around 5 minutes after that, he walked through the doors. It was funny because in my 20-25 minutes of waiting for him, I saw many feet approach the automatic door, and I judged each pair to determine if any were my dad. It's strange that even 11 months of not seeing him, I could tell by each one's shoes or gait that they were not my father. Finally, he walked out and I got it on camera. :) Too bad my blog is terrible with video...

After a big hug and finishing the video (waving to the camera, of course), we headed to the subway. It was actually probably a good thing that his bags didn't come through since it would have been a bit annoying to take them on the subway and bus on the way home.

We spent the hour subway ride back catching up. We got to my neighborhood right around midnight and I finally got some dinner (having forgone dinner in favor of picking him up from the airport). I got some ramen at the local kimbap shop. Finally, around 1am we got his air mattress blown up and got to bed.

This morning we got up around 8:30am and had a very productive morning. After getting ready, we hit up the Paris Baguette for some pastries, then went to the bank to exchange money. Conveniently, I'd been needing to go to the bank for a new passbook (account book that automatically records your spending via ATM) and to get a new card with a "Visa" logo so I can use it this fall when I leave Korea. We got all 3 things taken care of without a hitch.

We then went to the store and got a few things I'd been needing, toured the neighborhood a bit, and spent the remaining hour of morning before I had to leave for work relaxing in my apartment, talking to my mom, etc.

After I got to work, around 2:35, I got a phone call from an unknown number. Since my dad's luggage was still MIA, I answered. It was Korean Air calling to tell me "Sorry, we couldn't find your bag." Um, I'm sorry, WHAT>?! She gave me the phone number of Air China and promised to call if they found the bags. Not entirely sure why Korean Air had anything to do with the lost luggage in the first place, since my dad did NOT fly Korean Air. So, I had a crisis on my hands. I had class in about 10 minutes, a phone number to call but no flight information from my dad's trip, and the call center closed at 6:30pm. My dad didn't have a phone that could call Korean numbers, and there was little time left for action. I had to act fast.

After some frantic text messages to Romeo, I decided to have my dad walk to work and use my phone to call them himself while I was in class. I actually shed a few tears minutes before class from sheer frustration with the situation and not knowing how to fix it.

My dad arrived at school around 4pm (thank goodness for iMessage and WiFi at home), and I ran my phone out to him during my class. Everyone at work was very nice and understanding, even my director whom I'm scared of. After class, I got to talk to my dad for about 8 minutes until my next class. He finished with the airlines and the situation stood thus: Air China said his bags were still in Beijing (his second layover location) and they would arrive in Seoul tomorrow. With that settled (for the time being), I headed to class and my dad headed home.

They make my life so much sweeter...
I was extremely frustrated with the situation when I went into my first class, and that frustration was compounded because Jackie Teacher decided to watch my class. I was totally not in the mood to be happy cheery teacher- Chelsea, but put on a smile anyway. It might have been a good thing Jackie was there because my normally INSANE boys were moderately well behaved. By the time class was over, I was actually feeling better (if not good). I headed to my next class (the one my dad would interrupt halfway through), and the little girls all gave me amazing hugs. Koreans aren't the best huggers, I've realized, so I was overjoyed to get these from the little munchkins. These are my youngest kids and I totally adore them. Sometimes I have to take a step back and realize that I work with KIDS who don't speak my language and they can't always be perfect angels, but they're sweet and they try. So, by around 4:30, I had regained my cool and was feeling alright.

Finally when classes were over, I headed home. Romeo met me at school and biked home with me (loving having a bike to go to and from work on!) and I took dad to his first Korean BBQ. It was a success, I'd say! :)

Now, if we can just get his suitcases delivered tomorrow, all will be right in Korea.

1 comment:

  1. Hello to you and your dad from steaming hot Texas Panhandle! Sounds very frustrating but I would think your dad could handle it with all the adventures he's been on before! Ya'll have fun! :)
    Cindy Anderson


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