little green men
an email from my sister on april 23 2014:
“4. Alien Pen
I’ve been really liking this Alien character from Toy Story lately. If you happen to see it somewhere could you get me one? 😀 You don’t need to go on a hunt for them, but just if you happen to see it in your everyday life. I think the middle pen and the far right one are multicolour ones. HEHEHE.”
after receiving this e-mail from my sister, i began keeping my eyes pealed for any alien themed pens around korea. during one trip to kyobo (a big multi-site bookstore in korea) i hit the jackpot and bought all these pens for her:
but she replied, “that’s not the one i wanted!”
over the next couple weeks, she would occasionally send me a photo over kakaotalk of the alien pen she wanted with helpful hints like, ‘i think it’s in the japanese style fit pen section at kyobo’ and ‘it’s one of those refillable ones!’ determined to fulfill my mission (correctly this time), i went back to kyobo and asked an employee, ‘excuse me, do you have this style fit pen with aliens on it?’ and she said, ‘i’m sorry we don’t’ and just in case she was lying, i walked across to the other side of the store and asked another employee, ‘excuse me, do you have this style fit pen with aliens on it?’ and she said ‘no.’ and just in case she was lying, i scoured all the pens in the store but came up empty handed.
i kakaoed my sister the disappointing news:
me: hi unnie, sorry, this pen doesn’t exist.
unnie: it does!
unnie: -sends me multiple instagram pictures of people holding the pen-
hm. ok. so kyobo doesn’t have it, but maybe other stores do. i saved the pictures to my phone and later that week while i was in hongdae, i stopped by morning glory and showed them this picture:
“hmm yes we used to! but it’s so popular we sold out.”
“ok thank you.”
and then i went to artbox and pulled out my phone, flashing this picture at them.
“hello do you have this pen?”
“ok thank you.”
the next day i kakaoed my sister again:
me: hi unnie, sorry, this pen really doesn’t exist.
unnie: -sad face-
unnie: it’s ok harry
unnie: don’t turn seoul upside down looking for it
unnie: if it’s meant to be, you will find it one day when you’re not even looking
but there was one more place that i thought might have it. so this past wednesday, after writing a final exam in my irish studies class, i grabbed some isaac’s toast to go, hopped on the subway, and headed to bandi & luni’s (another big bookstore in korea). i walked through the revolving doors, full of determination and toast, and marched straight over to the style fit pen section. my eyes searched the sparse collection and then- wait- what’s that behind the goofy pens- omg- is it- wait- omg- it is!
success!!!!!!!!! there were only two of these alien pens left and i immediately grabbed both of them and took them to the counter. one is for unnie and the other for me to remember that time in korea when i hunted seoul to find the object of unnie’s desire. i could have cried. but i did not.
the moral of this story:
1) there is great satisfaction in completing a mission successfully
2) you might not find it the first time you seek, but the fifth time might bring a little more fruit
3) if unnie wants something in korea, i will find it
on another note, i wrote my last two final exams today and am officially done my semester as a ku student! it’s hard to believe, it went by so fast. thus begins my month and a half of pure chilling and enjoying and basking in the motherland before my return home at the end of july.