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Before I boarded the New York-bound airplane in Incheon Airport in Korea, I looked around me, still in awe that I had the blessing to go to South Korea during my junior year of high school. I thought about how I had connected so fast and so well with my new Korean friends that I met at our sister school, Seon Deok Girls High School. As the plane took off I was already looking forward to seeing my friends again when they would come visit New York City in July.
Even though Korea is thirteen hours ahead of New York,, I still managed to talk to my friends, Byeol, Wooyoung, Siyeon, and Hyeri frequently. During finals, Byeol and I sent each other words of encouragement and wished each other luck on our exams.
Once our exams were over, we began to count down the time until their trip to America. They would be joining our school for “DP Amazing Race,” a game where we divide into groups to compete to complete missions. The months became weeks, the weeks became days and the days finally became hours until it was July 15th!
Ironically, the day of our meeting was the last day of my summer internship at a law firm. I texted Byeol and Wooyoung telling them that I didn’t think I would make it to the event. They were sad and disappointed, thinking I wouldn’t be able to come, but I secretly plotted with my classmate Antonino to surprise them.
DP Amazing Race 2016!
They were on a mission three blocks from my job so I ran like a madwoman to meet up. Antonio met me across the street and I put on my sunglasses and stooped down, walking behind him. Antonino said ‘I have a surprise for you guys,’ and then counted to three.
He moved and I popped out shouting, “Annyeong! Chal ji nae seo?” (Hey, have you guys been well?). They gasped and then they were screaming and I was laughing and smiling. It was a very happy reunion. Finally, I had met up with them again!
We took a detour from the DP Amazing Race missions to visit the Disney Store and MAC. They bought Finding Dory pillows, and Disney Princess lipsticks. At MAC, Antonio and I struggled to find the perfect lip gloss color for me, as Byeol, Wooyoung, Siyeon, and Hyeri navigated their way around the store asking for specific colors and making their purchases.
While we were in the store, Panda, the song by rapper, Desiigner came on and we decided to give them a taste of New York we were sure they had not experienced yet. I showed them how to “dab” and “milly rock”. It was so much fun!
Eventually, we made our way to Bryant Park. We hurriedly went to complete the last mission, taking a group picture in front of the carousel. I took a selfie of us as we all said “kimchi!” and smiled ear to ear.