New York City street during hot, humid summer night…

My last two weeks in New York city was really humid and hot, oven weather. Usually, I would be sitting in the air conditioned office and working until sunset during summer days but, this time I was back for my summer vacation. I walked in the street almost everyday in the summer heat while going somewhere or doing errands. That resulted nice tanned sandal marks on my feet. 🙂 I was back to take care of some matters and work on my research projects with some friends and catch up with my friends in the city. The real reason I was back was that I need to keep that connection with this city.

Now I look back, 5 weeks has passed so fast… I haven’t realized how fast it passed therefore I have missed some friends during my stay. I hope they understand that I really wanted to see them all. I also got to meet some friends unexpectedly who I didn’t see that often. It was lovely. I met some new friends even during this short stay 🙂 I had so many generous helps and care from friends during this trip unexpectedly. I felt that I was very lucky to have such good friends… I was delightfully surprised about their largely generous effort to make my NYC stay meaningful and good.

I had some conversation with my dear friend who I spent decent amount of time together during my stay… I said, “You know, I love being in NYC but, I’m realizing that I don’t really belong here. Obviously, I don’t feel that I belong in Seoul, either.” My friend nodded and said he understood exactly how I felt and he also felt as if he doesn’t belong in NYC. After few seconds passed… “Actually, I don’t belong anywhere.” We almost said at the same time.

During this trip, I have grown closer to certain friends and I felt that our friendships have reached in different levels. It was so nice to chat with such a good understanding of each others. In contrary, I felt some newly formed distance with certain friends of mine who I consider very close… I guess it is natural process of different phases people have. I know we will turn around and our friendship will continue to grow again soon. I will miss them all.

New York still means a lot to me. This is only place I have came back after my first leave and lived the longest compared to any place in the world. 17 years. With my sentiments and other complex things going on inside me, my preparation to leave was again very hectic. On the day of leaving, 5 hours wasn’t enough for me to be back for my car service. After shipping two boxes of mail to Korea additions to other shipments, I was still running around to banks and organizing stuff.

My car service from Korean vendor was waiting for me about 15 minutes in front of my place. After apologizing my lateness to my car service driver, by the time I sat in the backseat, I was sweating like I was in Bikram yoga studio. (yikes, I know) I wiped off sweat on my forehead and drank up a bottle of Vitamin water then said, “JFK, Jet blue, please.”

Here is where my story turns…

The driver is about 50s – middle aged Korean American gentleman and he kept looking at me via back mirror. After few moment as I cooled down a bit, he said I reminded him of his ex-girlfriend who he really loved when he was a college student. I said, “Really?” half believing. But his eyes were serious… a bit even teary. I thought to myself, ‘He is serious.’

He continued, “I have a wife and two kids but, I still love her and I wonder how she is now…” ‘I guess he didn’t marry this love of his life.’ hmmm, I thought to myself again. On the way to airport, he spoke about her more reminiscing his past love.

How strange… I thought I was going to reminisce about New York on the way to JFK but, I ended up sharing his reminisce about his love who he still hasn’t forgotten.