Leaving America

Leaving America was a whirlwind of activity: packing, repacking, saying goodbyes, and going to the airport. After parting with my boyfriend, I entered into the airport to get my ticket, check-in my bag, and get through security. I thought the check point wouldn’t be much of a problem; I had been through airports several times this year. I left behind prohibited items, pre-measured my carry-on bags, and packed my travel-sized liquids appropriately. I even dressed in some comfortable work out clothes without pockets.

Although lines are always ridiculously long for the checkpoint, I was confident I’d be able to unload and reclaim my things in no time. I followed all the procedures and made it through the metal detector without a hitch. So I  stood at the end of the conveyor belt–waiting for my things.  I watched my bags getting scanned, and could even see the monitor from where I was standing. They took a particularly long time staring at my over-sized purse, but then (after what felt like five minutes),  they sent my things down the belt. YES! I was about to reach for my purse, when they snatched it up to resend it through the scanner…say what!?

They scanned my bag two more times before finally addressing me, “Can you please remove the box from your purse?”

I stumbled over my words in disbelief, “Do you mean my flute?” I saw a glimmer of surprise in some of their eyes as I withdrew the case from the purse and opened it.

I guess it looks really strange on a scanner?

“We’ll need to scan it separately.”

Back onto the conveyor belt they went: my flute case and purse in separate boxes. I watched the screen as my purse was glanced at then pushed out of view. As for my flute…they stared in perplexity for a solid two minutes. A little bit more discussion and analyzing until they finally let me go on my way.

After stuffing my feet back in my shoes, cramming my flute back into my purse, and figuring out the location of my departure gate, I noticed the sharp juxtaposition from the world I just left and the world surrounding me. I went from a flurry of activity to an eery calmness: people lounging around or sleeping, the quiet shops with few shoppers, and a few individuals walking a leisurely pace to their next destination.

There was even a stillness within me. I tried to search  inside of me for the excitement or apprehension for the adventure in Korea or even for the pangs of sorrow in leaving behind my pets, my family, and my friends. Instead…I felt bored. Perhaps it was because I knew that, between airports and flight time, I still had another sixteen hours to sit through before my year in Korea could officially begin.

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2 comments

  1. Anonymous · · Reply

    Miami florida security is the worse.. i don’t know how my brother does it who brings food and stuff. I pack only a backpack and still takes for ever.
    Overhear in the news all you hear is how N Korea is mounting up nuclear stuff always the same story..
    Wonder what they say about Panama.. probably nothing 🙂

    1. You can bring pre-packaged food; that’s not a problem. It’s really only drinks that are a problem (and I guess produce). Most Koreans I know can’t even point to Panama on a map. HA!

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