You know me, in anticipation of precipitation
Stack chips for the rainy day…
I never cease to amaze myself with the predicaments I often find myself in when going about my business of trying to find, obtain or do something, and the ensuing (and often amusing) adventures that invariably follow as a result. The tale of this umbrella is no exception.
When Myriam Morales over at This Is Our Korean Dream mentioned that she had found a Rain-inspired umbrella, I thought I should probably go check out the establishment where she found it. She also mentioned to me that she had spent all of her loot at the shop where she found the umbrella so I knew then that the place probably yielded some substantial Rain collectibles. Now, at this point of my stay I had already needed to buy a second suitcase in order to accommodate everything I had purchased to date. I really did not need to purchase another item. Nevertheless, I was intrigued and the area where this shop was held some historical value. Off I went to the Bukchon Hanok Village.
I seriously was so focused on finding that shop that I took only one picture along the way. Yes, only one. I was so completely lost trying to find the K-pop shop that I lost all reason to look and admire the quaint area surrounding the Gyeongbuokgung Palace.
On my way up the many hills I climbed that day to try to find the lady selling the Rain umbrella, I saw these guys in a courtyard. Bukchon Hanok Village is a throwback to the Joseon Dynasty era and dotted amid the more modern homes and businesses are traditional Korean homes. Since I was too ‘umbrella-focused’ to take a picture of one of these traditional homes, I will provide one here compliments of the internet:
So after taking the wrong exit out of the Metro station and walking for a good 30 minutes while Myriam tried to guide me via message and map, I momentarily gave up and grabbed something to eat. After lunch, I went back to try again. Yes, I am persistent.
This time I had a little more direction from a woman in a little tourist office along the walkway. Seoul is extremely accommodating to its guests. In addition to having many little tourist offices dispersed throughout the city, there will also be many young men and women walking about in bright red shirts adorned with a big i, holding clipboards. These young men and women are there simply to provide information and guidance. They are wonderful.
After my second attempt (and fail) to find the Bukchon Hanok Village and, namely, the K-pop shop, I finally asked one of my trusty i-friends. She mapped it out for me and knew exactly what I was looking for. What Myriam failed to tell me was that there were TWO K-pop shops on that road. I knew that if I found the shops, this was going to be an expensive adventure.
Indeed it was. Nearly cleaned out my won – but I got that umbrella. And it is quite a treasure because the photos used to adorn it are pretty nice. Have a closer look:
Yes, very nice.
Let’s fast forward now to my departure day. To begin with, I already had an attitude because I didn’t want to leave. Coupled with that, I had one very overweight suitcase plus a second suitcase and neither was able to accommodate the umbrella. I was going to have carry it on. This umbrella was destined to leave Seoul with me and I will explain why.
When I got to Incheon (BEST airport I have ever been in), my first stop after checking my luggage was to drop off the wifi modem I had rented. This was the first place I had inadvertently left the umbrella – yes, hooked to the counter. I was up the escalator and almost to the security checkpoint/immigration when it hit me…WHERE’S THE UMBRELLA?????? At the time, I could not remember if I left it on the luggage cart and thought that was exactly where I left it so I ran (YES RAN) back there first. No umbrella. At that point, I kind of resigned myself to the fact that someone had stolen it. But then I remembered my second stop and ran (YES RAN) back down to the modem return counter and cut in front of everyone to ask the agent if they had my umbrella. They said no, but a guest in line saw it hanging exactly where I put it and, me and the umbrella, reunited.
As my heart rate began to return to it’s normal state, I headed for security/immigration. Nice and easy process going through security at Incheon. You do not have to remove your shoes. They did however, want to look in my purse because something caught their eye. After I checked out to be safe, I headed to immigration, got my passport stamped and began to make my way to shuttle bus which was going to take me to the departure gate. I was almost to the escalator leading to the shuttle when it hit me…WHERE’S THE UMBRELLA?????? Really, Michele…AGAIN?? This time I knew I had left it at the security checkpoint so I ran (YES RAN) back. But here’s where it got tricky and I literally have no idea how I did not get arrested.
Once you are through immigration, you cannot walk back in there. But I sure did when I knocked on the sliding glass door and had the man on the other side step on the mat to activate the door open. He did so and I bolted in and immediately tried to get the attention of the security officers at the security check point I had gone through. I tried to explain to them that I had left something there, an umbrella.
They directed me to the very far, far end of the immigration area where I had to wait for an officer to call me. I then had to explain my story again which the officer did not seem to be buying. He took my passport and told me I could go through. I made my way back to where I was positive I had left that umbrella. Sure enough, there it was but now it became a suspicious item and had to go through the x-ray machine again. And, it had to be logged in their security manual which I then had to sign. Me and the umbrella, reunited (again).
See what I mean, always an adventure. But, I had my umbrella and I did everything but tape it to my body so I would not forget it again. What did I learn from all of this?
That Incheon Airport security officers are very patient and nice in the wake of facing an upset and semi-frantic fangirl looking for her umbrella.
That a fangirl’s love has no rhyme or reason, limits or boundaries.
That although I inadvertently deserted it not once, but twice, that umbrella was simply destined to be with me. ♥