said Handeul to me when we made touchdown at Incheon. I was super excited – not only to get OFF of that plane, but because there was definitely no turning back now, I was about to begin my new life in Korea!
Handeul and I walked together to Immigration, before having to part ways to go through our different lines. I was so nervous, having her there with me as far as we could go together helped to soothe me a bit.
I picked the wrong line at immigration – I don’t know what was going on with the girl in front of me, but in the other lines around me, at least three each had already gone through before I approached the desk. I was super anxious talking to the immigration officer, thinking that something about my paperwork and visa weren’t quite right and they were going to send me back home. The worst thing that happened is that I didn’t know the address or the phone number of my new employer, so I got a bit of a dirty look from the official, but he stamped my passport and I was off to baggage claim.
I got lucky in that luggage trolleys were free to use and that my bags came quite quickly. I loaded up my trolley and headed out into the waiting room to find my driver. I’d always wanted someone to pick me up at the airport with a name placard – and I got my wish! I found my name taped to the metal railing, so I stopped in front of it and motioned that I was the one on the name card. My monolinguistic Korean driver met me, took my trolley and we headed – quite briskly – to the car.
It was already after dusk by the time I left the airport, so I couldn’t take many pictures. I got a couple from the taxi though as we headed out of Seoul and into Suwon.
By the time we reached my (temporary) apartment, it was about 19:30, Korean time – I was EXHAUSTED at this point. My boss, Helen, and her husband met me at the front door of the apartment building. They helped me carry my things upstairs and into my apartment. They also brought me a housewarming gift of a few grocery items – so very thoughtful and appreciated! We made arrangements to meet the following afternoon, and they left me to settle in. Before completely passing out, I popped my head in to say hi to my roommate, Jubilee. She is an English teacher from New Zealand, but works for a different company than I.