New York is pure magic, it really is.
It was Thursday, our fourth day in New York, and we had a long list of places we needed to go to.
The big plan was to go to the post office and send off postcards and packages, go to the big Lego store, go to Macy’s to pick up goodies I had pre-ordered the previous day, go to Rescue Beauty Lounge and then go to High Line and Chelsea Market before meeting up with Peter in Chinatown so we can have dinner at Nha Trang.
The highlight of my day was going to be the trip to Rescue Beauty Lounge, which I have come to think of as my New York temple despite the fact that I’ve never set foot in it before.
Actually, scratch the New York part. It is The Temple. Period.
The woman behind Rescue Beauty, Ji Baek, was going to be there until 3 p.m., she said, and I was excited to meet her because she has become one of my big heroes this year.
But it was already past 2 p.m. and Jill was busy at her own temple – the big Lego store at Rockefeller Center. She went crazy taking pictures and videos and filling a cup with different Lego bricks. She had all kinds of Lego goodness in her arms and although she offered to leave immediately when she realized what time it was, I didn’t want to drag her away from all those minifigs. That would have been like yanking Charlie out of the Chocolate Factory before he even got to drink the crazy soda or watch Violet Beauregarde turn into a giant blueberry.
So we stayed at the Lego store.
By the time we stepped out of the store, it was really too late to go to RBL.
And that’s when it hit me – that I might have lost the chance to meet Ji. Sure, there was Friday and the weekend – but what if she wasn’t going to be at the lounge? And I didn’t want to bother her starting Monday, the day of the big RBL sale, because she will be insanely busy with the thousands of orders that are sure to come in. (If you don’t know about the RBL sale, visit http://www.rescuebeauty.com and sign up for the mailing list – that’s how you’ll get the sale code.)
Reality sank in and okay, I admit, I began to sulk a little.
We sat outside the Lego store, watching the people ice-skating and trying to figure out where to go next when a woman walking through the throngs of people watching the skaters. Nice dress, I thought. And then I looked at her face…
And oh my god.
It’s Sandra Oh.
Yes, Cristina Yang from Grey’s Anatomy.
“It’s Sandra Oh it’s Sandra Oh it’s Sandra Oh,” I whispered to Jill who immediately turned on her camera to take pictures of the actress walking by.
Photo by Jill Lejano
Sandra looked great. She had a funny look on her face – she was half-smiling, almost as if she was amused that she was able to walk through the crowd without people recognizing her.
But a couple of girls did recognize her and they immediately stood up to follow her.
Jill and I were soon on their heels. If they were going to have photos taken with Sandra, we were going to have photos taken with Sandra too.
I expected Sandra to disappear really quickly but no, she just stood under the flags outside Rockefeller Center for a few minutes. Then she spent time watching the ice skaters. She had such a peaceful, happy look on her face that I didn’t want to approach her for a picture. I’m glad the other girls didn’t either.
Soon, a man appeared and he and Sandra hugged. They talked for a bit under the flags.
“Aww, she’s on a date,” I told Jill. “Now I really don’t want to bug her.”
Soon they walked off together arm in arm. They looked so happy. And the look on Sandra’s face as she looked up at him? Pure adoration. Kill me for the cheesiness, I don’t care, she looked so in love. And her happiness was so powerful and tangible that it killed my desire to sulk.
Photo by Jill Lejano
A picture with Sandra would have been awesome but we couldn’t bring ourselves to mess with her quiet afternoon. It would have felt like a real intrusion.
Funny how magical New York can be. I was sad because I wasn’t able to meet one of my most favorite Korean women in the world but New York made me feel better by giving me an accidental encounter with another Korean woman I love.
Hours later, as Jill was checking her photos from our entire day, Jill noticed that Sandra looked up at the flags at Rockefeller Center as if she was trying to look for one before standing underneath it. So we figured, she and her date probably said, “Let’s meet at the _______ flag outside Rockefeller.” Which is romantic. And cool.
And now jet lag is killing me and I’m literally falling asleep as I type this and I normally stop writing when I get sleepy because I know I would just end up waking up the next day wanting to redo the whole thing but I can’t stop and I must not stop.
Because I need to tell you that I saw Sandra Oh today and that I love her and that I love New York and that I think New York loves me too.