Story Time: Lost My Passport in Seoul

The recent monsoon in Seoul has finally come to an end. Though I live for rainy days, it does get hard to run daily errands (ahem, shopping) when the torrential downpour prevents you from making it five minutes outside without looking like a drowned rat. Having had nothing to write about as of late, I thought it might be a good idea to transfer a short anecdote I’d posted on Facebook during my trip to Korea last April. This won’t be a long read, but I do hope it will be an entertaining one!


Posted: Wednesday, April 12, 2017 at 11:28pm

About four hours ago, I realized that neither myself nor my parents were carrying my black handbag. It had my money, DSLR, and passport inside. When I laughed and asked my parents whether or not they were joking, the look on their faces told me it was time to haul ass, stat. Our parents then proceeded to rip their hair out in our apartment and decide which hostel to dump me in the next day.

After changing out of our hanbok (out of respect for the 10°C temperatures​), my sister and I were tearing through the streets of Seoul. Upon reaching the midway point to our end destination, Gyeongbokgung Palace, I realized that we were too late. With my sister adamantly insisting she could make it, I told her quite frankly that it was a stupid idea. The palace had closed. So too had all the nearby tourist centers.

In desperation, I grabbed the nearest officer- a crossing guard- and asked for directions to the nearest police station. Upon arriving, I could barely get through a sentence. I was freezing, terrified, and exhausted. The police officer, Kwon, had to sit me down before I could retell my story in a Frankenstein-esque mutation of Korean and English. I explained that I must have left my bag outside the museum of Gyeongbokgung, under the cherry blossom tree at around 5pm. To my horror, he pulled up an app and began pointing at the multiple museums that matched my description. To hell if I knew which one it was.

(It was at around this point that my sister and I realized that the officer we were speaking to was ridiculously attractive- more so in person.)

With the help of some very useful 360° panoramas in the app, I was able to pinpoint the specific area I believed that I had lost my belongings. In my mind, I was already contemplating which Korean family spa ‘jjimjilbang‘ I would have to squat in and which convenience stores to be eating out of for the next few days. Answer: GS25.

After a series of tense phone calls that lasted about 40 minutes in total, Kwon looked over to me and said: “Luna? De, how old are you? What year?” At this point my sister was in tears. Sweet baby Jesus. “Looks like you can go home in the morning.” It was time for my gushing apology and endless tirade of kamsamnidas. He then called us a cab and instructed it to take us straight to the Palace. When we arrived, a man rushed out carrying my bag. Thankfully, all my things were safely inside.

Holy shit. I’ll be back, Seoul.

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It only took one week for my trip to South Korea to turn into the stereotypical premise for a Korean drama- complete with the careless damsel-in-distress, over-emotional sidekick, knight-in-shining armor, and sudden onset of protagonist hardship. I couldn’t have thought of a better end to the week myself.

And that was the pilot episode of my Korean telenovela.

Stay tuned for the next episode: ___ years later…

Ysobel.

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13 thoughts on “Story Time: Lost My Passport in Seoul

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