As my Korean friends drove me to Incheon Airport to send me home to JFK last Sunday, I expected them to just drop me off at the curb, and commented thus as they walked in with me. One of them said, “In Korea, we never leave you alone.” So true.
In future blogs, I’ll share more stories from my time in Korea.
The two women chatted with me in line as I checked my bag, while the two men took pictures of us as we weaved back and forth in the queue. After check-in I said, “Well, I should probably get in the security line,” which looked like it might take a while.
They said, “Let’s get some coffee.” I think they thought we still needed a few thousand more pictures. I said, “Sure” (although I don’t drink coffee). We wandered around the check-in area for a couple of minutes until we found a restaurant. I got tea.
While we were sitting there chatting (and taking pictures), my friends said, “You can go to the prestige lounge after going through security” (I was flying business class, which was not my decision). I pointed around at my four friends and said, “This is my prestige lounge.”
I hadn’t finished my piping hot tea, but it was time to get in line (a good place for pictures). One of the women said to me, “You are more attractive in person than in pictures,” which is perhaps the kindest way to say to someone, “You aren’t very photogenic.”
Usually when I get in the security line I discover that I have a full water bottle that needs to be instantly chugged. Fortunately, it was only half-full this time. Ah, but I still had a scalding cup of tea with a lid still on. Probably worthy of another picture. I poured enough cold water into my hot tea to make it drinkable for my wimpy lips, and then proceeded to guzzle. The women stayed with me in line as long as possible (we never leave you alone), and they then graciously offered to accept my donation of a trashed tea-cup.
They couldn’t stay with me in line, but they could walk along next to me on the other side of the rope, waving at me, until finally I disappeared from their sight behind a wall.
Once on the other side, they sent me some photos, including the two I’m using in this post.
I learned many things while in Korea, but this final lesson, the incredible value of simply being with people, never being left alone, was perhaps the most profound.
Upon my arrival at JFK, I tell Shannon, “When I come home, I expect you to treat me just like my Korean friends, like a king.” Her response, “Yeah, right.”