This is the FACE TIME epilogue! DO NOT READ THIS IF YOU HAVEN’T READ FACE TIME! Originally when I wrote this book, it had a version of this epilogue at the end, and I followed the advice of my beta readers and editors to leave it off. But then FACE TIME never felt truly complete, and many reviews stated that it ended too soon. So I decided to bring it back!
As of July 1, 2015, the FACE TIME ebook files on all the vendors have been updated to include the epilogue, and I’m publishing it here for anyone else who missed it. The paperback version will be updated within two weeks (I have to take it off sale and reformat it in an entirely new trim size with a new ISBN, so it will take awhile).
Read on for the epilogue!
I had to commit Lee’s office location to memory so I could find it each day, and staring up at the glass behemoth, I sip on my coffee and wonder where he is in there, what he’s doing, and what number meeting he’s on for the day. Glancing at my phone, he’s an hour from quitting time, so probably meeting number fifteen or sixteen. Some days he can’t even break for lunch.
A plush armchair near the window invites me to plant my weary, travel-worn butt in it, so I sink in, remove my MacBook from my messenger bag and set it on my lap. It’s time to update my blog and celebrate eight months of being on the road with Lee but my email comes first. First up, the five emails from Theresa with photos and news about her beautiful baby boy, Jeremy. I smile over all the photos and write her back. My mom’s emails detail her daily routines with Aunt Sally. Since she sold the apartment in New York, the two live together in Connecticut, and much to my surprise, she’s taken up yoga and become a vegan. Must be Aunt Sally’s influence but I don’t care because she’s the nicest she’s ever been. And finally emails from Justin about the new guy he’s met and how he’s “the one.” I giggle as I write him back. Justin is in love.
I open the dashboard to my blog and take a look at all of my most popular posts for the past eight months. Around the second month on the road, my blog got pinged by a really successful travel blogger, and I’ve had a dedicated audience ever since then. I take a lot of photos of all of our locations, but the personal stories of my romance with Lee are the most popular posts.
The one I wrote about our first month on the road still gets traffic all these months later. I inserted a ton of photos amongst the text, and the comments section is filled with people remembering their own trips there. Opening the post, I sit back in the chair, sip on my coffee, and read…
Tokyo was a blast. I wined and dined Lee’s clients until they couldn’t see straight, and, once he was done with work, we spent several days walking all over Tokyo’s outskirts. Then we boarded the shinkansen from Tokyo to Kyoto for a week of relaxation at a ryokan and onsen. It was so quiet and peaceful and exactly what we needed after a stressful time in the States.
From Kyoto, we went home to Seoul. I got to know his friends and coworkers. I sat with Cori while she was on bed rest and took Evie to school and the playground. We hired a moving company to get my things from storage in New York and have them shipped across the ocean by slow-boat where they showed up five months later. I swear they went the long way around.
I love Seoul. It’s everything that New York City used to be to me: exciting, fun, and new, but cleaner and more polite. When I’m lost, I can always find someone to help me, and there’s no place I go that I feel threatened or unsafe. Really, Seoul is like New York got an extreme makeover to look like a hot Korean guy. How can you go wrong? I fell in love with it right away, as fast as I fell in love with Lee.
I smile, stare out the window, and wipe a sappy tear from my eye. It was not long after that Jin and Mimi, Nari and Daniel, and all of their kids visited us in Korea. I was overwhelmed with love for their bright and happy family. We rented a vacation house in Busan where we spent long, hot summer days exploring every little town and quiet evenings drinking soju and tea. I cooked for all the kids and took them to soccer games. On days off, I went shopping with Nari and Mimi. We had a fantastic time, and I barely missed Lee’s mother. We still don’t speak, but some things can’t be helped.
Scrolling through the dashboard of my blog, I find the next most popular post: my trip to India accompanied by a photo of me handcuffed…
India was fun and frustrating: fun for me, frustrating for Lee. It’s the only time we’ve ever fought. He told me not to take public transportation, and I yelled that I was a big girl and could handle anything. And then four hours later, he was called to the local police precinct to retrieve me. An old man felt me up on the bus, and I almost broke his arm before putting him in a head-lock.
I know we laugh about it now, but he didn’t speak to me for a few days. Our newest warning every time we enter a new country is, “Be careful. Laura fights back.” I know Lee was angry because he just wanted me to be safe, and I promised to rein in my sense of adventure so he wouldn’t worry about me all day. I still love India. Let’s hope the next time I’m there to study yoga, I heed Lee’s word and walk or take the “women only” buses.
Chuckling at the photo of me, tired, annoyed, and standing next to an Indian police officer, I cover my mouth with my hand to keep the coffee from ending up everywhere. Boy was I stupid to do that. I’m glad they let me go with no issues.
I hum along to the music in Starbucks and pause as I realize it’s Radiohead. Again. Just like my first date with Lee.
Oh, I know what to write today because I have big news to relay. I set my cup aside and start a brand new post…
Today, I spent the day in Bangkok, visiting all of my old haunts from years ago. I went to Khaosan Road and walked the length of it. The internet cafe I spent time in is gone but the hotel I stayed in is still there. It continues to surprise me that I lived through those days. I was so broken back then, so incapable of taking care of myself. I never thought I’d live to see my thirtieth birthday, much less be back here again, a whole person. After Khaosan Road, I crossed the street as fast as I could among a group of orange-clad monks, which is the safest way to cross any street in Bangkok. I burned incense at the giant golden reclining Buddha and took the train to a cafe across the street from Lee’s office.
I keep looking down and catching sight of my new engagement ring. Yes, surprise! We’re engaged! It doesn’t seem real yet. Lee’s proposal on the beach in Ko Samed last week was the most romantic thing that’s ever happened to me, and I haven’t blogged since then because I don’t want the magic of that day to evaporate. The truth is that I can’t wait to marry him and have kids. I want to take them all over the world with us and show them that life is complicated and beautiful. But I’m skipping a few steps, aren’t I? First, I have a wedding to plan in Seoul and arrangements to make for my long-term visa now that I’ll be teaching English in the new year. Nicole is so excited we’ll be around homebase more often.
And Lee starts a new job in a month! From here, we go home and prepare for a whole new adventure. We’ll be staying in Seoul more, with less travel, but it’ll be good for us. After our next trip to India, all trips will be for fun, and maybe Lee will get to enjoy the cities and destinations as much as I have these last eight months.
Okay, I see Lee leaving work, and, even from across the street, I can tell he’s tired. Time to close up my computer, take him by the arm, and show him this amazing seafood place I found today right on the Mekong River. We can have crab curry and drink Beer Chiang and watch the sun set on the boats floating towards the night market. Hopefully, he’ll relax, and, tomorrow, we have one more day before we head home.
I’ll be back soon with photos and more news of our upcoming trips!
I hit Publish, close my computer, drop my empty cup in the trash, and exit the cafe to the humidity and heat of Thailand. Lee awaits me with a smile, his sunglasses on, shirt sleeves rolled up, on the opposite side of the street, and the first words from his mouth, “Hey, gorgeous,” draw me straight to him.