The worst part about attending something as amazing as KCON is having to go back to the “real” world once it’s over. That was my problem when I woke up Monday morning and realized the fun was over and my life back home was calling.
The problem is, whenever I hear that “real” life calling, I tend to ignore it for as long as possible (at least when I’m in LA) so I got up, got ready, and went and had breakfast with Tanya. Yes, there are occasions when I actually have more than coffee for breakfast and Monday was one of them, mostly because I knew there wouldn’t be a lot of time for an actual meal anytime between my arrival at LAX and home. Breakfast was decent (I had a salmon, potato, leek hash with eggs on top… Ooh! Fancy!) and Tanya and I spent a good deal of time just sitting, enjoying what little free time we had before we headed for the airport.
After breakfast it was back to the hotel to finish packing up and then it was back to the lobby to meet up with Lola, check out and grab a cab to the airport. The trip to the airport was pretty uneventful, or it was until Tanya decided to crack a joke about our “Cab Man” (and that needs to be sung to the tune of B.A.P’s “Badman,” just FYI) and for whatever reason (probably a combination of a lack of sleep and a general state of emotional fragility) I started laughing so hard I cried. Spending my last ten minutes in the cab, gasping for breath as my sides ached and tears streamed down my face, wasn’t the way I’d intended to say goodbye to LA but it was far better than crying tears of sorrow so I really can’t complain.
Once at the airport (and semi-composed) it was time to check in and say goodbye to my sweet friend Lola. I hate goodbyes in general but having to say goodbye without knowing when (or if) you’ll ever see your friend again is the absolute worst. Of course Lola, being the sweetheart that she is, left me with one last token to remember her by. Handing me a photo card of one of my particular biases (I refuse to say who on the grounds it may incriminate me) Lola managed to stop my heart and break it as we said our last goodbyes.
Ironically, as I said goodbye to one friend I said hello to another. It turned out India (or as you may know her, Drama Debussie) was flying out of LAX around the same time Tanya and I were and since we were all flying the same airline, we spent our pre-flight free time grabbing coffee and enjoying each other’s company. The time flew by as we chatted and before any of us were ready, it was time for us to say goodbye. Once again there were lots of hugs and promises to keep in touch and all that comes with leaving friends you never know when you’ll actually get to see again in person. *sigh* (Have I mentioned how much I hate goodbyes?)
The flight from LA was short and uneventful (which is a good thing) and Tanya and I landed in Las Vegas only to find our connecting flight to Milwaukee had been delayed by several hours. With nothing to do but wander, that’s exactly what we did, checking out the little shops here and there. Eventually we decided food might be a good thing to have at some point and since all we had was time, we wandered past a little Mexican restaurant that looked good and decided, “Why not?” A giant plate of nachos and a bowl of tortilla soup later, the two of us were stuffed and ready to board our plane. Sadly we still had at least an hour to wait until we could start boarding but an hour spent with a friend passes quickly.
Eventually the time came to board our last flight home and once we were comfortably settled, all we had to do was wait for time to pass. The 3+ hour flight was fun enough as Tanya and I passed the time listening to music while playing Hangman in both English and Korean. I have to admit, playing in Korean was a bit tricky but it was also hilarious watching each other try to figure out the puzzles. (Apparently I make some pretty good faces when I’m concentrating… Who knew?) As fun as it was to try to stump the other, the hour of the day and the exhaustion of the weekend caught up with both of us and eventually Tanya nodded off, leaving me to entertain myself for the duration of the flight. (Thank goodness for free in-flight programs from the Food Network!)
Landing in Milwaukee sometime around 1 in the morning, it took another hour or so for us to catch a shuttle back to the car, stop for coffee and drive back to my house. As you can imagine, it was a rather uneventful drive back home and the moment we stepped through the front door both of us made a beeline for bed and fell fast asleep.
While the last day of my adventures was the least exciting, it gave me quite a bit of time to reflect on the past few days and I have to admit, on more than one occasion I found it hard to believe I’d actually experienced as much as I had. Did I see everything KCON had to offer? Not by a long shot! Did I still get to experience more than some will ever experience in their entire life? Yes and I’m extremely grateful for every single moment I spent in LA. I met up with some of my dearest friends, I saw some of the most iconic figures in the Hallyu world, I got to enjoy two nights of incredible concerts, I had life-changing coffee, I got to eat amazing food, I had more fun than any one person should ever be allowed to have in one weekend, and I’ve got memories that will last me a lifetime. All-in-all, I’d say I’m one lucky zombie. Now who’s ready for KCON 2016?