Well it's final and complete. My plane ticket has been bought. When I woke up on Thursday morning I still had not received my work visa from the Korean consulate. Around 11:30 that morning an express package was delivered to me containing my passport and visa. I wrote an excited email to my Korean contacts that I was finally able to come to Korea. By 6 pm that night I had received a response telling me that they would begin looking for plane tickets to get me to Korea. I spent the rest of my night in an anxious swirl trying to figure out all the things I would need to pack while still not knowing what airline they would use and therefore not knowing exactly what kind of baggage (weight and dimensions) I would be allowed to bring. Further I kept thinking about showing up in the middle of the week and trying to start my job without having anytime to get my apartment together, grocery shop and just get to know the neighborhood I would be living especially the way to work. I was up until almost 3 am staring at the ceiling while listening to episodes of Will and Grace in the background. I finally dozed off and woke up around 9. Before getting up I just rolled over to my computer and checked my email and sitting right in my inbox was a flight itinerary from my Korean contact which he email me just after 3 am, ah the fun.
The first thing I saw was that I leave this Tuesday at 6 am. The flight has two parts. First from Denver to San Francisco on Untied and then San Francisco to Seoul on Singapore Airlines. I basically sprang up from my bed and began searching the web for Singapore Air. I found their website quickly and began studying all the baggage information they had. I soon found that my trunk, which I had been packing exceeded the dimensions that they would allow upon the plane. Of course I began to panic a little. My mind raced about finding a new box or piece of luggage that they would accept while also worrying about just how much it was going to cost me. Next I realized that while the international flight provided me a fair amount of free luggage the flight from Denver to San Francisco was considered domestic and I would have to pay to check any luggage I wanted to bring. The money began adding up in my head. I had not even bought a lot of what I would need for myself (cosmetics, medicine, office supplies). Within the span of 20 minutes I had lost a couple hundred dollars in my head. My mother had taken the day off in order to hang out and help me pack. I showed her the itinerary and she was excited. But she quickly realized that I was freaking out and she began to calm me down saying everything would be okay. She told me that anything that did fit on the plane they would ship to me and they would help out with the cost for checking luggage and even a trip to Target. Her powers worked and I began to breath a little easier.
The next 4 hours was spent shopping with stops at Costco, Target, Best Buy and Staples. I soon collected various cosmetic products, office supplies, a luggage piece and my medical proscription. During our shopping trip I heard the song Hakuna Matata from the Lion King, still one of my favorite Disney movies. I couldn't help but laugh when I heard it as I was still in a fairly tense mood. But I sat there and I sang it out loud enjoying every moment of it. The short song quickly ended but it continued to play in my head most of the day. We came home and found the USA hockey team up 6 to nothing over Finland and sat down and watched the rest of what was a fairly boring game. We found out that all our goals came in the first period during a 13 minute span. Oh well, we won so now on to the gold medal game. The rest of the day was spent organizing my stuff and trying to figure out what was essential for me to take. As the day went on I became more and more calm and the song never left my head.
I believe Hakuna Matata is one of my favorite songs not merely because it is from a great movie that I associate with my childhood but because every time I sing it I see how far I am from following its simple yet deep message. It is the simplest idea and yet I struggle constantly to not worry. Even when there is nothing to worry about I began to think I forgot something and my mind races to figure out if I am missing anything. Yet each time I look at my watch, whether in panic or curiosity, I remember this song and try to move a little closer to being a person who does not worry. In case you didn't know I wear a Lion King watch with Timon and Pumba on it, yes it's true.
So now the logistics. I leave Tuesday March 2nd at 6am Mountain Standard Time and I will arrive in Seoul, South Korea on Wednesday March 3rd at 6:40 pm. I will first fly to San Francisco on United Airlines and then I will fly to Seoul on Singapore Airlines. Denver to San Francisco is a little over 2 and a half hours in the air and San Francisco to Seoul is 13 hours in the air. So I will be in the air for almost 16 hours along with a 4 hour layover in San Francisco. That means the total trip time will be about 20 hours, not including getting up and being to DIA on time for my flight to San Francisco. But during the trip I will lose almost 15 hours of time jumping ahead into Seoul time. So the question is after arriving in Korea at 7 pm Wednesday night, getting my baggage, going through customs, being picked up and given a tour of the school/neighborhood and being dropped off at my apartment what time will it be and will the school expect me to teach the next morning? I don't know the answer but at least it gives me something to worry about for the next few days.