It’s hard to believe that only a few days ago I was sitting on the floor of some hockey house, looking up into the brilliantly smiling face of BTS’ J-Hope, who stood looking down on me, mere feet away, his sunshine smile illuminating my dark little world. It was a moment I won’t soon forget, that’s for sure, but before I can talk about that, I have to tell you how I got there because, as we all know, every good story has to start somewhere and this particular story is no exception.
My adventures in New York began as most of my KCON adventures usually do, with a mad rush to the airport and a whole lotta coffee. Unlike my adventures in LA last year, I was traveling alone this year, which is fine, but it did make the endless hours of waiting for my flight a bit less exciting. Even so, I was able to keep myself fairly entertained. With coffee in one hand and my well-worn copy of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice in the other, the hours passes quickly enough and before I knew it, I was on a plane, headed to New York City.
Lost in my book, the hour and a half flight seemed to take no time at all. Watching our descent into the Big Apple over the shoulder of my seat-mate, my heart leaped at the sight of the ocean and then began to pound as the reality of my situation finally began to sink in. This was it! I was here! In less than 24 hours I’d be surrounded by thousands of fellow KCON goers! I’d be meeting up with old friends! I’d be seeing my boys! Oh Crap! I’D BE SEEING JIMIN! The reality of it all hit me like a slap from The Flash and the excitement I felt inside must have shown on the outside because before I knew it, I was chatting with my seat-mate about who I was, why I was in New York, and why the heck I was smiling like a fool.
It was a pleasant conversation and one I was really rather sad to end, but with the plane safely on the ground, there was no more time to talking. Saying goodbye to my seatmate, I set off in search of my luggage and a bathroom. (Darn that coffee!) Once I’d had a chance to recombobulate myself, I set off in search of the bus that would take me to the other bus that would eventually bring me to my friend and mentor. I have to admit, it was quite a trek, getting from LaGuardia Airport all the way upstate to Kingston, but it was definitely worthwhile. The hour-long bus ride from the airport to Port Authority took me through parts of the city I’d never seen before and me, being the wandering soul that I am, enjoyed every minute of it. I gawked out the window as the city whizzed by, wishing, on more than on occasion, that the bus windows weren’t covered in that blasted sun screen. (Those stupid little window darkening dots kept me from getting any good photos of the city. Grrr!)
Weaving through traffic, the bus took me through dark tunnels and towering buildings, the bus driver and expert at navigating the horrendous Manhattan traffic. So thankful I didn’t have to worry about driving through such a mess, I sat back and enjoyed the view, my inner zombie squealing with glee as we began to make our way towards Times Square. It had been almost eight years since I was last in New York and as my last trip being something of a nightmare, as I trekked through Manhattan in 90+ degree weather with two small zombies in tow, I’d vowed then and there that the next time I came to the City, I’d come sans zombies. Having never really expected to return to New York, to find myself in the heart of a city I’d wanted to desperately to explore all those years ago, I kinda needed a moment to collect myself. As boutiques full of adorable clothes whizzed by, I found myself wishing I could jump off the bus and do a little shopping but alas, my adventures in Times Square would have to wait for another day. By the time I got off the bus at the Port Authority bus station, I had just enough time to snap a couple of quick pics before setting off to find my next bus.
I have to say, navigating the Port Authority bus station requires some sort of degree in terminal navigation. That place is as confusing as heck but thanks to a friendly stranger or two, I was eventually able to find my way to my next bus. Joining a queue of weary-looking commuters, I soon found myself comfortably settled on a bus headed north. It was a two hours trip up to Kingston, but it passed by quickly enough and before I knew it, I was being warmly greeted by a very dear friend. Welcoming me to her charming little home, I was overwhelmed by her hospitality. Treating me to a delicious homemade dinner, my friend and I took this time to catch up, chatting about anything and everything.
There’s something to be said to spending an evening with someone who is not only your friend, but also a very respected colleague and a highly esteemed mentor. It’s not something I get to do every day, though I wish I could. To bask in the knowledge of one who’s been where you are, who’s struggled as you have, is something quite special but to know that person is also the one who saw something special in you, was willing to take you under her wing and help you learn and grow as she led you places you never dreamed you’d be, well, that is something almost too wonderful for words. To say it was an evening to remember would be an understatement.
After dinner I was treated to a little walking tour of this eclectic little town. Being a lover of historic places, I thoroughly enjoyed this walk through Kingston, and being a lover of ice cream, I enjoyed our stop at one of the local sweet shops. As enjoyable as this little tour was, it was really the company that made the evening so pleasant. Returning home, we both plopped down on the couch to watch Viki’s original production, Dramaworld. I have to admit, that little web-drama was way more entertaining than I thought it would be and was the perfect way to wrap up the day.
With the end of the drama came an overwhelming feeling of exhaustion. My day’s adventures had finally caught up with me and with a sleepy “goodnight” I was off to bed. With thoughts of tomorrow’s adventures running through my head, I drifted into dreamland. I wish I could say my dreams were filled with beautiful idols and ridiculous drama tropes but they weren’t. At least not any that I can remember anyway. But that’s okay because I was hours away from seeing beautiful idols in person and well, we all know that’s so much better than any old dream! (Except for maybe that one dream with… *siiiiggghhh*)