“Okay, do you have everything?! Phone? Passport? Wallet? Make sure you call us right away when you land and don’t talk to any strangers, and be sure to-”
“Mom! Relax, you’re stressing yourself out. I already have everything I need, I’m only gonna be gone for 3 days.”
I explained to her as she kept holding my hand throughout the airport. I could feel how nervous she was with how strong she was gripping me...
It was very difficult to convince my mom about me going to Korea. But for this last week, I was fortunate to have my Father help me with that, but deep down I know my mother doesn’t want me to work outside the country. I understand why she’s worried, even now I could see her scared expression. Even her tears that she’s trying so hard to hold back were becoming noticeable, I swear my mother is only making this harder on me...
“I know it’s only for a few days but...your gonna be so far away from me and your father. So, of course, I’m gonna worry about my baby leaving to a different country...”
My mother cried out as she pulled me in for a tight embrace. Hearing her sniffles, I knew she was finally crying. So I immediately hugged her back and felt my father wrapping his arms around us as well.
“It’s way too early in the morning to be this emotional...”
I heard Samantha say as she reached out to grab my hand. And once I heard my flight being called, my parents immediately gave me one last hug goodbye before I grabbed my bag...
“It’s gonna be a long flight, so make sure you try and get some rest...”
My father said to me as he began to walk me towards the entrance of the doors that led towards my flight...
“I will, thanks, Dad. I’ll call you once I land there...”
I responded with a nervous sigh, I’m sure my father could tell how scared I was since I never left America before. So he placed a light kiss on my forehead in a way of comforting me, once we parted I began to board the plane. Waving goodbye to my family I gripped the strap of my backpack tightly as I prepared for my departure. In 12 hours I’ll be in a different place, where my father was born in, South Korea...
I was expecting to have a panic attack once I felt the plane beginning to take off, but surprisingly I felt calm. Yeah, I was a bit nervous at first, but that feeling went away once I saw how beautiful the sky was. I have never been on a plane before so this was a different experience for me, and within time, I grew comfortable that I didn’t even realize when I fell asleep. It felt nice being able to catch up on sleep since I’ve been so nervous these past few days about this interview.
It’s crazy how much time had passed since I left America, it was so early in the morning when I left, the sun wasn’t even out yet when I took flight. And now that I’m waking up, I could see that the sun was beginning to go down! Looking at the screen above me, I saw that the plane was about ready to land! Holy shit! I didn’t think I would sleep for so long!? I guess I must’ve been mentally exhausted this whole time...
Grabbing my backpack, I began to board off along with everyone else. Reading Korean is still a bit of a challenge, but at least I could communicate well if I need help. But luckily for me, I was able to find the exit of the airport without any issue. Though I wasn’t sure how to call in a taxi, though I was surprised to see how many cabs were lined up outside! I wonder if I just walk up to one, will they give me a ride?
“Uhh, excuse me...umm do you know where this hotel is at?”
I asked the driver standing next to his car, showing him the map on my phone. He immediately nodded and offered to take me there, so as he opened the taxi door for me I took a seat and began to call my mother...
The call with my parents didn’t last long since I didn’t want my parents to pay so much for the phone bill. I’m sure that calling from overseas isn’t cheap, so I made sure to just text them for the rest of the time I’m here. Letting out a sigh, I leaned my head against the glass window as I looked at the many buildings I was passing. This is so different from what I’m used to, the big city seems so easy to get lost in. It would be cool to sightsee where my father grew up in Seoul. But I can’t, I need to prepare for tomorrow...
“Thank you so much, have a nice day,” I said to the cab driver as I paid through my phone.
Fortunately, I could pay so easily here, I don’t have to worry about switching American money to won. Thank you high tech!
So the moment I got off the vehicle, I was in shock with how bright the city lit up! You couldn’t even see the stars of the night skies! It was already getting late, I guess that saying is true. Big cities never sleep, there’s so much going on around me. So many people were still out and about, many restaurants were still open, including stores. It’s so hard not to walk around and see my surroundings, but I need to go over the website for tomorrow’s interview and see what time I need to show up...
Entering the hotel, I confirmed my reservation for the next few days I’ll be staying. As I was given the key card, I made my way towards my room. It was a very small hotel building, completely different from the 5-star hotel Lizzy booked weeks ago when we went to the concert. The building did look a little run down, but it was the cheapest thing I could find. So the moment I entered my room, I took off my shoes and laid myself on the stiff mattress. I wasn’t surprised by how uncomfortable the bed was, even the springs were so old that you could hear the screeches.
“It’s only for 3 days...”
I said to myself as I pulled out my phone and began to look through the website, and from what I was reading it looked like the interviews will be held on the companies property. I’ll be required to wear a face mask and fill out a form once I’m there. It doesn’t say much other than the basics, but as I mentioned before I’m not very fluent when it comes to reading Korean characters. If anything, I’ll just have the people at the interview go over the rules so I could understand a bit better...
“Alright, I just gotta set up my alarm for 8:30 in the morning,” I said while getting back up, placing my phone by the nightstand.
I made sure to plug it into my portable charger as I went ahead to take a shower afterward. The interviews will start at 10 am so I need to make sure I show up on time.
It was a bit difficult for me to sleep since I did take a long nap on the flight. But within a few hours, I managed to take a nap, despite how uncomfortable the bed was. I didn’t let it bother me until morning when I woke up. Immediately texting my parents, I let them know how I was so they wouldn’t worry. Beginning to change, I decided to put a little bit of makeup on. Wearing my best heels, I put my hair in a nice bun before heading out the door. With my portfolio in my bag, I went to the nearest coffee shop I could find and grabbed a quick breakfast before calling out a cab.
I was becoming so nervous the closer I got to my destination, I’m glad I listened to my Father when he said to bring a face mask. I had no idea how many people wore face masks in public out here! There’s a lot I don’t know about Korea still, I should really educate myself on the culture. The atmosphere here is so different compared to America. Within a few minutes of being in the cab, I finally arrived at the company. I was completely shocked at how huge the place was!
I said to myself quietly. My eyes couldn’t leave the size of how big the building was as I got out of the cab! This is insane, I mean, I knew it was a company that worked in the Entertainment business. But I didn’t think it would be this enormous! Heading towards the front doors, I saw a group of girls standing outside. Are they here for the interview also?
“KAI! I LOVE YOU!”
“OPPA! JIN OPPA!”
“ZACK! PLEASE COME OUTSIDE! PLEASE SIGN MY POSTER!”
The closer I got, the more I was able to make out what they were saying! And they sounded just like my sister! But what surprised me was the names they were shouting! Why the hell are they calling out to them!? There’s no way that asshole is here, is he?! No, now isn’t the time to be thinking about that fucker. Shaking my head, I approached the front doors but was quickly stopped by one of the girls that quickly stood in front of me!
“Where do you think you’re going!? Who are you!?” She said in high defense as she along with some other girls blocked the door in front of me.
“Huh? Umm, I...I’m just here for an interview-”
“If you wanna see Kai, your gonna have to wait outside like the rest of us!”
“Yeah! Who do you think you are?!”
“ExEx Idol belongs to all of us, don’t think you could just walk in like your special-”
“Again you’re all blocking the door! Get out of here or I’ll call the police, this is private property!”
A man suddenly voiced out in anger as he stepped out of the building. As he got the group of girls to leave he turned toward my direction, but in closer inspection, I realized who he was!
“Are you here for the interview?” He asked while opening the door to let me in.
“Oh! Uhh, yeah. Sorry if I caused a commotion-”
“No, don’t worry about it, it’s not you’re fault. Those groups of girls are always out there, it gets really annoying sometimes. Anyways, have you filled out a form yet?”
He said as we both entered the building. My heart was beating a thousand miles a minute when I noticed that this was the same security guard that I saw back in America! I think his name was Jung?
“No, I haven’t...”
I responded feeling nervous as I followed him from behind, I don’t think he’ll be able to recognize who I am with my face mask on.
“I see, well here go. Make sure you fill out all the questions while your waiting. It shouldn’t take more than an hour since there are a few people that are currently being interviewed. My name is Choi Ki Jung, but everyone here calls me Security Jung. I’m part of security as well as staff, remember to keep your face mask on at all times, cell phones must be kept off during the interview and please be respectful to everyone.”
As he handed me the form along with the clipboard, he began to explain everything about the interview as he led us to the elevator.
Once we got in, he was very professional at his job as he spoke very properly to me. But that only made me feel more nervous, so all I did was keep quiet as I nodded my head in agreement with what he was saying. The moment the elevator doors opened, I followed him out as we walked down the hallway. Leading me to a room, I saw that there were a few people already waiting!
“They’ll be going in order by the seating chart, so just wait to be called next and make sure to fill that out and have your portfolio ready.”
He said while gesturing his hand to the chair next to me. Taking a seat, I made sure to thank him before he left. That’s when I began to fill out the form that I was given and with every few minutes that passed, a new person would be called in. I noticed that there were more male than female’s that were taking the interview...
“I think it’s unfair that they’re having you girls fill out more paperwork than us guys.” Said the person next to me as he looked over at my form.
“Huh? What do you mean?” I asked in confusion as I switch to the last sheet I had to fill.
“You haven’t noticed? We guys only had to fill out a non-disclosure agreement and just bring our portfolios. But when I saw the many rules you girls had to follow, I found it a bit ridiculous. I mean, I understand it’s to protect your privacy and your safety and stuff. But it’s insane that you all have to be married if you want to work for this company-”
I quickly voiced out in shock as I stood up in disbelief! The guy then looked at me so surprised but then was brought back to his senses when they called him next for the interview! Watching him leave, I noticed he wasn’t wearing a mask like the girls were. In fact, none of the guys that we’re in here were wearing masks! So as I looked back at the form, I read the last page I had to fill out. And it asked me to present my marriage certificate! I think my whole face grew pale the moment I read that, is it really true what that guy said that I have to be married to work here!? Why!? That’s so stupid!
“Can the next person please come in?”
Hearing them call me next, I looked around the room to realize that I was the only one left in the room! No, I’m not ready for this! What do I do!? Should I just leave-
“Excuse me, it’s your turn...” Said the person as they opened the door for me to follow them.
Feeling completely stiff, I awkwardly followed them as I felt sick to my stomach. Just what the fuck do I do?! Do I tell them that I changed my mind? No, I can’t do that or else this all would have been for nothing! Not only that, but the plane ticket was very expensive. My dad paid so much for me to come here, I can’t just leave now...
“Hello, before you take a seat may I ask for your name and portfolio along with the form you filled out.”
Being brought back to my senses, I realized that someone was talking to me! So I quickly looked around my surroundings and saw that 3 people were sitting down in front of me. They all held a very serious expression as they observed my every movement. Nervously handing them my paperwork I took a seat shortly afterward, I felt a cold chill run down my back as I clutched the ends of my shirt I was wearing. This is gonna be completely nerve-wracking!
“You’re a foreigner?”
One of them asks in shock as they looked at me. Quickly nodding my head I began to answer every question they were giving me. I answered as truthfully as I can before they asked me the obvious question I was fearing!
“Mrs. Lee, I don’t see your marriage certificate. You do understand that for us to consider you working here, you must be married.”
One of them asked as they began to put my papers away in the folder. I felt like my heart fell to my stomach as I clenched my jaw tightly. I don’t know what to say, I don’t wanna do this but...shit! I don’t have much of a choice. But I have to get this job to help my family with the payments. My parents aren’t getting any younger and I knew that my Dad is getting tired of working so much. So I have to do what I can...please don’t let me throw up...
“I...I am married, but the paperwork is going to take a while to transfer overseas. So it might take a few months, I’m so sorry for the inconvenience.”
I said without looking at any one of them as I deeply bowed apologetically. I almost felt like crying with how guilty I was feeling from lying to them...
“I see, very well then. Mrs. Lee, I’m quite impressed by your portfolio, despite your lack of experience in working in the entertainment business. You show great potential by your many years being in beauty school, I’m still surprised that you’re a foreigner. Your Korean is very good, however, there will be a different process with you if you get the position. You will be required to move here and an apartment complex will be assigned for you to live in. It will all be under the company’s pay in exchange for your services in this field. You would get paid bi-weekly as well, do you understand?” The man sitting in front of me asked in a stern voice as he looked intensely at me.
“Yes, I understand. I hope you consider having me work here.”
I answered nervously while raising my head to look at him. He then nodded his head in approval as he stood up and stuck his hand out towards me. So I quickly stood up as well and shook his hand in return...
“Thank you for your time, you’ll get a call from us once we’ve come to a decision. Here’s my card if you have any questions.” He said while handing me his number as he began to walk me out.
“Oh no, thank you! I truly appreciate it.”
I said to him as I bowed my head respectfully. Once he closed the door, I gave out a guilty sigh as I began to walk down the hall and looked at the card he had given me and read what his name was...
As I kept looking at the card, I wasn’t paying much attention to where I was walking that I accidentally ended up bumping into someone! Quickly apologizing, I tried to reach for the card that I had dropped. However, the person in front of me was a lot quicker in grabbing it. Why must I be so clumsy!?
“I’m so sorry for bumping into you like that, I wasn’t paying attention-”
I immediately held back my tongue the moment I realized who I was speaking to. It was those same green eyes again, only this time. He called out my sounding completely in shock ...