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. ♥
I was laughing so hard !!! hilarious story XD
I could NOT believe it! Forgetting it once, ok. Forgetting it twice…come on, really?? When I look back on it, it was hilarious. Needless to say, I got my exercise that day!!
Gosh, what a story!! XD Must’ve been so stressful to live through, but it sure makes a heck of story! ;D
oh Michelle, wow, what a good read. Love this. Will you put this in CloudUSA?
I was emotionally spent after this, yes!! And, in addition to all of that, I did not want to leave! Lots of wild emotion going on! But, that umbrella is safe now here in my home and, I can say with pretty strong certainty, that is exactly where it will stay!! LOL!!!
Funny story! So how is your room looking now? Like a true Bi fangirl now? ;D
Oh, it’s getting there…LOL!!!
Michele, as I was reading I kept picturing what happened and seeing you run frantically. I was a mess worrying that maybe you were not going to be reunited but as you say… it is fate you are meant to be together. So happy for you! can we order that umbrella online? something tells me its a treasure one only finds if you travel to So. Korea. Thank you Thank you for sharing so much of your experiences, loved reading every single one.
Welcome Back to the US!
Toni..thank you!! Looking back on it, it’s hilarious that I got so frantic about an umbrella…but I did! The immigration and security officers must have thought I had completely lost my mind! But what an exciting end to a wonderful adventure I had while in Seoul! Really, it was the perfect ending because it was high intensity right up to the point I was to leave! And, I am usually not THAT dramatic but the trouble I went through to even find that umbrella..well, maybe I am a drama queen after all! LOL!! As for finding it online, I’m not sure. These K-pop/drama shops are so non-descript yet they most certainly have suppliers. I will look at some of the items to see if I can find a manufacturer name or something. That would be a good start to try to search online!
Reblogged this on Cloud USA and commented:
OMG! I WANT this! *DIES* *revives and dies again* — Stephe ^@@^
Every time I look at that umbrella, I will revisit the adventure I took to procure it and then try to keep it in my possession!! I am surprised I did not go find the nearest bar and throw back a few sojus after that mayhem!!
Great and heart thumping story. I would also like to know where to purchase that umbrella. I would carry it Rain or shine. I hope you can find some ordering information. Thanks Michelle.
You know, I tried to see if I could find it online somewhere I keep coming up empty. I thought there would be some kind of manufacturer label or something on it, but there is nothing. In fact, I notice on all of the Rain-laced goods I bought, there is no label or tag on anything!! I think someone is sitting somewhere in a dark backroom making this stuff!!!
That said, I can probably track down the actual shop in Seoul as I know exactly where it is at which may be a start and I can try to get in contact with the shop owner…somehow! I am always of the addage where there is a will, there is a way!!
Stay in touch with me via email at email@example.com.
There is absolutely nothing on that umbrella that marks where it is from or where it is manufactured. It’s amazing. I can probably work with some folks there in Seoul to see if I can get my hands on a few! I definitely will pick more up on my next visit…whenever that will be (soon, I hope)!!!!!
that beautiful umbrella!
It is gorgeous!! And, it is safely tucked away right now so I don’t lose it again! 🙂
..the story tickled me…i’m so late reading this ‘coz i’m so much focused on k-shot page..i could vividly see how frantic you will be losing that precious umbrella…you really found a treasure under that umbrella..eh, eh….:)
That umbrella had me running like a crazed fangirl throughout the expanse of Incheon!! I look at it in one of two ways: 1. It was simply meant to make the trip back home with me no matter how insane the obstacles or, 2. It was trying to send me a message that I should stay in Seoul I like option 2, but obviously it was meant more to make its journey to the US. I am contemplating putting it in a safety deposit box at the bank as this will most decidedly ensure no further mishaps by my own outrageous absentmindedness!! LOL!!
aaww!…you’re so CUTE!..;)…and option 2 is fun!…and that umbrella of yours is really that precious!.:)