SeungGi has been in the army for more than 3 months, and I’m finally getting a chance to play catch-up. At this rate, I hope I’ll still be able to finish everything I need to do before he comes back in 17.5 months! 😆
Hong Kong Airen Jo is a relatively new fan, but she has quite enviably seen SeungGi many times in person! A big thanks to her for sharing her encounters and a big thanks to AY for translating it for us!
I found out about Seung Gi in 2012. I had two jobs at that time and after every tiring day, I turned to Kdrama and K-variety for relaxation. Starting then, Seung Gi kept me company every night. But I really did not have time to get to know him better. Not until 2014, when I gave up one of my jobs and I had more time on my hands, did I begin to read up on him. I went on Facebook, Twitter, Weibo…. and found a Taiwanese fansite. There, I traced back on 5-year’s worth of Seung Gi news.
I read about his personality, his passion for his work , his attention to every detail. Despite his crazy schedule, he never once complained. I was utterly amazed by him! He gave thoughtful and intelligent interviews; he had such a sense of purpose and yet, he was so young. Soon, I became an Airen and it opened the door to a totally different world for me. I had ‘lessons’ in IT, subbing, voting, fan support. My life became busy but nevertheless, happy and fulfilled.
Then I got news about Xi’an. I was losing my mind at work. It was a great chance to get away. Without hesitation, I bought the plane ticket and headed for Xi’an. Much of what happened in Xi’an has been said in other fan accounts. I just want to add that it was great meeting fellow Airens. The whole trip was insanely tiring. But extremely gratifying… Being with the younger fans, I felt like an 18-year-old all over again. Things that I had almost forgotten were recalled to life! This trip was definitely one of the ‘moments of a lifetime’ for me.
The other thing was that Seung Gi is really handsome in person! Every time I saw him, I was completely stupefied and just stood there gazing at him… I finally gathered up my strength on the third day and walked up to shake hands with him. He smiled and looked at me. So heart-warming….!!!!!
Goonghap Fan Support
After I returned from Xi’an, I was immersed in the publishing of the book for his birthday. Reading everyone’s letters made me laugh… and cry… Soon December came. And it was time for the Goonghap Fan Support. As it was my first time in Seoul, the staff from the official fanclub, who can speak a little English, came to the hotel to pick me up at 9 am. We got on a 7-seater and, together with a small van loaded with fan support supplies, we headed for Namyangju with Seung Gi’s songs blasting all the way. The Korean Airens offered us some bananas (later, I found out that was because we weren’t getting any lunch.. haha).
When we arrived, the coffee truck was already there. We unloaded the supplies and we started sticking the stickers, tying ribbons, putting name cards on the support gifts. As it was an outdoor fan event, all this preparation work was done outside at -5° weather. My hands were completely numb. After it was completed, the Korean fans took pictures and then distributed the gifts to the staff.
We were then told to order some hot drink to keep warm. As I could not read the Korean on the menu, I could only order coffee. Around 1 pm, the snack truck arrived. We continued our sticker-sticking task. At 2 pm, I finally took a bathroom break inside (it was the only place with heating and even so, we had to hurry so as not to interfere with the shooting).
After that, there was only waiting. When some staff passed by, we smiled. The Koreans chatted with them a bit. But since we didn’t understand Korean, we just stood in silence. I had never been out for such a long time in such cold weather. It was really, really cold. Talking with fellow airens made the time pass a little quicker. Around 4 pm, manager-nim came out. He talked with the Korean fans and gave us each a hand-warmer and then went in again. At around 5.30 pm, our Chinese Airen who knew Korean finally appeared (she came despite being sick) and translated the major messages to us. Seung Gi had a very important emotional scene that day and it would take a long time to shoot. He would not be able to greet us, probably not until 8 pm. He was afraid that it was too cold, so he asked his manager to give us the hand-warmer and to thank us… We were so touched. Even when he was crazily busy, he didn’t forget us.
After the sun set, it became colder. We took turns to get on the van for 20 minutes to keep warm (the van was too full of supplies to have room for all of us). We waited till almost 10 pm. The manager came out and said Seung Gi was still shooting, and he would come out in his costumes to say ‘hello’ to us and told us not to take any pictures. Immediately, we put away our cellphones. And he came… so handsome…. He really looked very good in period costumes. But I am sorry that I couldn’t take any pictures to show you. He shook hands with each of us, thanked us, and told us he really enjoyed the food. He was there for about 3 minutes and then went back to the set.
The Korean fans said they would continue to wait and asked if we were staying. Of course!!! At that time, there was only the coffee truck to keep us company. The snack truck left a few hours ago. So we continued to load up on caffeine as we waited. At about 11 pm, Seung Gi, still in costume, hurried out, muttering, “가,가 (leave)’ He waved his hand as he talked to the Korean fans and then went in again. He found out from his manager that we were still waiting outside. He was so worried about us that he came out without changing and told us to leave. He said, ‘It’s too cold. Leave. I will leave as soon as I change out of this costume too. You go home now. Too cold.’ I will never forget the look on his face as he said this. We were right to love this guy. He really worried about us… We hired a car and went back to Myeongdong for my first meal of the day (and thank you for the bananas from the Korean Airens).
After the fan event, it was back to work again. All of a sudden the news of enlistment dropped. I was taken aback. Feb 1!!! What should I do? It was the busiest time of the year at work! What should I do? Should I see him off? Could we see him off? I knew I would regret it if I did not go. But could I really afford to do it with everything that was going on at work? Oh well, just do it. I’d worry about work after I came back.
I boarded the red-eye flight on Feb 1, feeling a bit guilty. But I knew I needed to get some rest. Otherwise, I would not be able to make it through the day. I slept for 2 hours on the plane. Immediately after getting off at 6 am, I went to the meeting point at the subway station. I ordered a cup of coffee at a nearby Starbucks and waited for the day to break, my heart feeling empty. I was joined by other Airens at 8 am. We got on the No. 1 black coach bus. The fan club handed out water and cakes. The TV screen on the bus kept showing videos of Seung Gi. We chatted and laughed the 3-hour ride away.
When we arrived, we stood/knelt in our assigned spots, anticipating. At one, he came with his usual ‘bright-as-the-sun’ cheerful smile. He greeted everyone. He was smiling so happily that for a while, I seemed to have forgotten what he was there for. I kept looking at him talking, of course not understanding a word. As he finished, he came over to shake hands. Everyone was screaming. It was a bit chaotic.
I did not manage to shake hands with him. I just watched him come and then go. I didn’t cry at first. This guy was just too happy and I didn’t know what he was saying. I really did not feel anything. But people around me started crying. And I cried too. On the bus on the way back, it was so quiet. People were looking at his pictures with a tinge of loss and sadness. I went back to the airport, had a bit to eat, and boarded the plane home. I was so tired and I slept the entire flight home.
After I got off the plane, I was so pleasantly surprised to read about Seung Gi’s handwritten letter, “Our fans whom I’m always thankful to… I love you, and again, I love you. I’ll come back well and healthy^^ Everyone, be well and healthy -From Lee Seung Gi’. I cried again, all alone on my midnight journey home.
After going through all these with fellow Airens, l know we will continue to give each other support. Time flies. I know we really like him. So, let’s meet again after 21 months.
Fan account & photos by Jo
English translation by AY, special contributor to Everything Lee Seung Gi