Korea, Day One

Hi Readers,

Thanks so much for your patience! It’s hard to believe that it has been over a month since we were able to last post. We didn’t have the time we thought we would to update from Korea. When we returned, we were terribly jet-lagged, sick, and rushing towards Christmas! Thanks so much for your understanding during our long absence.

So we know you’re not supposed to live in the past, especially coming up on a new calendar year, but here we are! We will enter 2016 recounting our Korea trip for you. We promise it won’t be 14 different posts (one for each day), but it will be a series because there’s just too much to share in one or two entries.

Our long trip began exactly the way you do not want any trip to begin. The stuff of nightmares. We got to the airport before dawn for our 8am flight (shoutout to Tony for the early morning ride!) because we were nervous about the security lines on Thanksgiving weekend. We made it through pretty quickly and as we arrived at our gate, the airline announced open seats on a different flight, if we wanted to arrive in Atlanta earlier (our layover between Nashville and Seoul). We thought about it for a second but Lee had just taken his motion sickness medicine and was nervous about not having enough time for it to kick in. So we watched that plane take off and thought we would relax for an hour or so before our flight was scheduled to board. (Can you already hear the warning bells in your head? Life lesson: If you can board a plane guaranteed to make it off the ground, DO IT!)

Around 7:30, there was another announcement. Our plane needed a replacement part. It was on its way (aboard another flight) and they hoped we would only be delayed an hour and a half. Gah! We immediately queued up at the service desk to discuss our travel plans. Lee decided to get on the phone with Delta and Whitney stayed to wait to speak to the in-person rep. We were told we would “probably” make our flight, but it would be close. And if we didn’t make it, “yikes” because there wasn’t much they could do. We’d purchased our tickets through Priceline and our first leg was through Delta and our second through Korean Air. So maybe we should call Priceline or Korean Air? *sob*

We decided all we could do was wait to see if we’d make our Korean Air flight. Until the next announcement. Repairs were taking longer than anticipated. Our 8am flight was now scheduled to depart at 1:30pm. What?! Our Korean Air flight would already be an hour off the ground by then. We got back on the phone and in line. Again, “yikes.” Our itinerary sure was “tricky.” We should use their customer service phones to dial directly to Delta Help (even though we were talking to someone IN PERSON).

Whitney used their phone to call Delta. She was simultaneously texting Korea to say “Hold on, we are probably not going to make it on our original flight.” We finally got a super helpful representative. He said, “I think you can make it. How close are you to B4? Are you on a cell phone? Start running. They take off in 5 minutes.” She was mid-Korea text, trying to tell Lee to start running to B4, and trying to ask the guy what was going to happen to our bags. We didn’t have time to wait for an answer so we just took off sprinting and we were already sweating before we even took off from our home airport.

So much more to that story, but we are getting long-winded. We made it to our original Korean Air flight. We had no idea if we would have bags once we arrived. 16 hours later, we landed at Incheon safely with all 3 bags and made our way through immigration, out towards passenger pick-up.

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Already exhausted but so overjoyed to be on-board our original Korean Air flight!

Since most of you have been home for the holidays recently, you can probably relate to this: you know that giddy feeling when you are returning home and anticipating meeting your family at the airport? We felt that times 100. Our stomachs were turning. It had been 1.5 years since our last visit. We were simultaneously so overjoyed to be there, so exhausted from our trip, and so apprehensive to be foreigners in a land far from “home.” It’s a really complicated emotional experience every time that plane lands and you walk out towards the double doors.

Fortunately, all that goes away. As soon as those double doors opened, our family was standing there grinning like fools, yelling our names, running to meet us to give us big hugs. It is the absolute best feeling.

>>Click HERE to view video of our arrival in Seoul<<

We drove the hour from the airport straight to dinner. Were we up for 갈비 galbi? Please!

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Jeon family photo guarantee: at least one person will have their eyes closed…or your money back.

Settling in that night felt nostalgic. The door codes hadn’t changed since we were last there. (“현아 Hyun-ah (Whitney), do you remember the codes to get in?”) The box with Whitney’s Korean things (like a flat iron and razor) stayed in the same spot she left it. The same beautiful skylines existed out the front (한강 Hangang) and back (남산 Namsan) windows of the 14th story house. Our cozy corner of the floor was made up for us, ready to welcome us home after a long journey.

“빨리 자 Bali cha,” Omma chided. “Sleep quickly.”

“응 엄마두 잘 자 Nay, Omma du, chal cha,” we replied. “OK, Omma, you too, sleep well.”


Have you connected with us? Find us on these social media outlets and review all of our Korea pictures! We posted over 40 photos over the course of our two week trip!

© We the Lees, 2015. All Rights Reserved.

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4 thoughts on “Korea, Day One

  1. Ah!! I felt so anxious reading all of that!!! Like you know that scene in Home Alone II where theyre tryna get to their flight that theyre super late for cos they slept in and Kevin gets split up with his family in the terminal whilst tryna put new batteries into his tape recorder and he thinks its his dad in front of him but its some other dude with the same brown coat??? *sweats* Yeah its a very very real fear of mine!! Im so relieved for you guys!

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