5/18/19- Seoul-Long Korea, Hello America

I thought that our initial day of travel from Pittsburgh to Seoul couldn’t possibly have been longer. However, I was proved very wrong by the process of getting back home again. This time, we were looking at a solid 35 hours; including 7 hours from Busan to Incheon Airport, 3 hours in the airport, 12 hours to Dallas, 2 hours in that airport, 3 hours to Charlotte, 2 hours in that airport, 2 hours to Pittsburgh, and 4 hours to drive home to good old central PA. All in all, 3 flights, 2 layovers, 2 drives, 17 hours in the air, and 11 hours on the road. But it would all be very worthwhile for the opportunity to sleep in my own familiar bed. The day got an early start, and after sleeping in as late as possible, we packed up our belongings and checked out around 7:30. Then, we boarded the bus, and after 7 hours on the highway that included 2 pit stops for bathroom breaks and refreshments as well as 1 major traffic jam, we arrived at Incheon. There, we checked in to our flights and said goodbye to our bus driver and guides who had made the last two weeks possible. The wait to check in was frustratingly long, but was made up for by the ease with which we breezed through security. After getting to the gate, I was delighted to see a Taco Bell in the terminal, and Cal, Dylan, and I proceeded to dig in. I got a quesadilla, which featured an additional sauce that the American version doesn’t that I couldn’t quite put my finger on in addition to being served with sweet, tangy corn chips instead of the traditional taco. It was interesting and different, but satisfying nonetheless. It was another hour or so before we boarded the jet and were bound for the USA. This flight was to be about 2 hours shorter than the one over (12 hours instead of 14), thanks to a generous tailwind. The flight went pretty quickly, as I slept for a good portion of it (very out of character for me), and watched some great movies including the critically-acclaimed Inception. However, when we deplaned in Dallas, we walked into a madhouse. First of all, the customs lines snaked around countless times because a bad patch of weather had just cleared up and tons of international flights were cleared to land around the same time. We were worried about missing our connecting flight to Charlotte that was scheduled to leave in about 90 minutes, so we were very stressed and rushed through as quickly as possible. However, it was all for naught as we soon got simultaneous texts that our flight was delayed another hour-and-a-half. Because of this, we would be unable to make our connection from Charlotte to Pittsburgh. Apparently, many people were in similar circumstances, so after battling an hour-long line to get to the American Air help desk, I rescheduled to a direct flight to Philadelphia. Sure, my bag was still going to Pittsburgh, but at least I didn’t have to stay the night in the Charlotte airport. I’d worry about the bag later. To their credit, the AA agents were very patient and accommodating, and made sure all of us got our issues worked out, and I was happy because Philly is about an hour closer to my house anyway. Satisfied, I scoped out a Chick-Fil-A in the airport terminal and enjoyed a nice dinner. Then, we boarded the flight and before I knew it, I met my dad and sister on the ground. After a 3-hour ride home that I slept through, I was back in my own bed again. All in all, a crazy day, but I’m happy to be home. See you later Korea!

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