After a couple of trips to Korea, I formulated my retirement plan. At the age of 55 when I was eligible to retire, I would retire and move back to Korea. States and local governments all had different pension and retirement benefits. Depending on when you were hired, they were different even at the same agency. In my case, I could retire at 50. But the pension amount would be too small. At the age 55, I would get enough pension to cover expenses for myself.
I thought I could do some part time or contract work for Korean workers’ compensation program and collect social security benefits at 65. I even checked with my contact at Korean agency and they confirmed it was possible for me to work for them. At my age 55, Katherine would finish the college. So, the timing was perfect.
Maybe I would find a woman and remarry. Up until then, I never thought about getting married again. I had no opportunity to meet a person and did not want to create any conflict with my teen age kids. I was not sure how they felt about me getting married again.
It was a year I turned 50. I was driving home with my brother after visiting the parents. He brought up the subject of the marriage. My brother was single again. He said it would be better to get married before we turned 50. He said even a few years younger would make a difference. He was right. But you could not just go out, start dating, and get married. I chuckled and told him to get a woman for himself. It turned out he was seeing a woman, who became his wife later.
I met my wife in my 50th summer and married her next year.
I got a call from Eun Kyung who edited and publish my first book. She was coming to visit America during her summer vacation. A few days later, I got a call from Justice, an editor of a weekly paper where I wrote columns. She said someone I knew was coming from Korea and asked me if I could be their tour guide for a couple of days. She also knew Eun Kyung. Her friend who finished business trip would join Eun Kyung in Los Angeles. They would stay for a week.
I was responsible for their pick-up from the airport and would be their tour guide for a couple of days. I washed the car and went to the airport to pick them up. Eun Kyung was not alone. She came out with a woman with short hairs. I had no clue I would marry her in a year.
We waited for another friend, Ok Soon, coming from Chicago and I took them all to Justice’s apartment. After they unloaded their bags, I took them to Korea town and ate dinner with them. Next day, I took them to Universal Studios and we had dinner at Korean BBQ. Then, they would go on bus tour for next 3 days. On my way home, I noticed bright large moon was following me. I felt so lonely that night. For next 3 days, I thought them. And that’s how my new love life started.
A week went fast and it was time for them to go back. I wrote three letters, put them in my 2nd books, and gave them to three women. Contents of those letters were all different. The day of their departure, we spent a day at the Getty Center. And I was able to get her phone number.
Eun Kyung had no clue what was going on. I heard Ok Soon knew I was interested in her. After lunch, Eun Kyung had to go to the car to get something, and Ok Soon left us alone. She took a picture of us from a distance.
Few days went by and I did not hear from her. I called Eun Kyung to say hi and asked how her return trip was. Eun Kyung asked me if I wanted her phone number. Then, I knew they talked about me during their return trip. I took the courage and gave her a call. That’s how the whole thing started.