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Letters from Malaysia
Museum of Cairo — The Mystery of the Secret Passageway
By Nanthini Rajarethinam
Special Contributor
Tutankhamun in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo: Tutankhamun, Egyptological pronunciation Tutankhamen, is referred to as King Tut who ruled between 1334 BC and 1325 BC.
It was a few months before the final year of my Egyptology and Archeology Double Degrees Program at the University of Berkeley, California, the United States of America came to completion. I had previously applied to the Museum of Cairo in Egypt for a position as a curator and was awaiting a reply from the said museum. I had just returned to my apartment from my final class that evening. I checked my mailbox to see if there were bills to be paid. I removed the mails from the mailbox and headed to my apartment.

Once I was in my apartment, I removed my shoes to keep them in the shoe cupboard before entering the living room. As I walked into my living room, I hung my apartment keys at the key loop on the wall and placed the mails that I had collected earlier on the table in the living room. “Midnight!” I called out to my Siamese cat. My cat was sleeping in the cat house. The cat house was designed and built by my university mate, Andre LeBeau. Midnight woke up and ran to me upon hearing my voice. I squatted to scoop Midnight up into my arms. “Did you feel bored, Midnight?” I asked my cat while kissing her head. Midnight meowed and grazed her smooth head against my arms. I then set her down on her feet while walking up to the kitchen to get cat food to fill her bowl with for her to feast upon. Midnight waited patiently until I moved away from her bowl before she walked up to her bowl to have her food.

I then headed to my bedroom and set my bags on my study table. Feeling exhausted for the day, I entered my bathroom to soak myself under the hot shower. After the shower, I got dressed in my usual sweatshirt and shorts before heading to the kitchen to prepare my dinner. I opened the refrigerator and stood there to scan the contents of my refrigerator. “Hmm…what do I have here?” I thought to myself while rummaging through the refrigerator. I found some fresh tofu. An idea crept into my mind. I quickly walked back into my bedroom and got my mobile phone. I turned the YouTube on and started searching for a video on how to prepare sweet and sour tofu dishes. “Found it,” I thought to myself with a smile. I set my mobile phone on the kitchen cabinet and started to get the ingredients needed to prepare the dish. Once I got the ingredients lined up on my kitchen cabinet, I began to cook. While my Tofu was cooking, I cleaned some rice and set the washed rice into my mini rice cooker to cook some rice to have with my sweet and sour Tofu. I also prepared some Vegan Tom Yam soup with the readymade Tom Yam paste that I had purchased two days earlier. I added some vegan prawns and some vegetables to add to my soup. All my dishes for dinner were ready to be served. I took the bowls containing rice, tofu and soup and settled them onto the table in my living room. I sat myself down in front of the food and turned the television on and scrolled through the channels until I found the channel that I was looking for. It was Discovery Channel on the history of Ancient Egypt that I had recorded while I was at the University earlier. I ate my dinner while watching the program with much interest.

My name was Ko Ae-Ri and I was a South Korean girl. My father, Ko Ha Joon and my mother, Sim Soo-Yun lived in Gangnam, South Korea. I had traveled to the United States of America to pursue a Double Degree programme in Egyptology and Archeology to secure employment at the Museum of Cairo, Egypt before joining the Egyptian Archeology Department. I must say that being an Archeologist had been my dream profession since I was in High School. The fascination that I had towards ancient Egyptian history had led me to believe that I was able to quench my thirst for knowledge of Ancient Egypt by pursuing a profession as an Archeologist. I graduated from the Seoul Girls’ High School in 1995 and had applied to the University of Berkeley, USA to pursue the Double-Degrees Programme in Egyptology and Archeology. I was informed by the Officials at the University of Berkeley that I was free to apply for a profession as an Archeologist in any country of my choice once I had graduated. Following this advice by the Officials at the University of Berkeley, I had applied for the position as a curator at the Museum of Cairo, Egypt the moment I had enrolled in the final semester of my final year at the University. I was informed that it usually took a while for the Museum of Cairo to provide approval for my application. It had been three weeks since I had posted my application by mail.

I finished my dinner and took the empty plates to the kitchen for washing. I cleaned the kitchen before heading to the living room to check on the mails that I had collected earlier. As I skimmed through the mails one by one, I came across a white envelope with the seal of the Museum of Cairo on the said envelope. My heart leaped with joy at the sight of the envelope. I carefully opened the seal of the envelope as my heart thumped hard as though it would leap out of my body at any moment. I removed the letter from the envelope. I closed my eyes and prayed for a moment before opening the letter. I began reading the contents of the letter carefully, word by word, not missing out on any word. Tears flowed down my cheeks as I read the contents of the letter. Joy slowly crept into my heart that I felt like my heart would leap out of my body and make a somersault. My application for a position as a curator was accepted. The interview would be held via video-calling on Wednesday. “That is two days from today,” I thought to myself with much excitement. I quickly took the mobile phone to contact my parents in South Korea. “Hello?” A male voice asked. It was my father’s voice on the other end. “Hello, Dad,” I said to my father. “Ae-Ri? How are you, girl? It is so good to hear your voice,” my father said. I replied, “I am fine, Dad. I called to give you wonderful news. Remember the application that I have submitted to the Museum of Cairo, Egypt for a position as a curator? My application is approved and the interview is in two days.” “Oh! Wow! That’s wonderful news indeed! Let me get your mother here. Okay?” My father asked me. “Yes, Dad. Please do. I would like to tell her as well,” I answered him. “Soo-Yun!” I heard my father calling my mother’s name out through the receiver. Then, I heard them mumbling before I heard Mother’s voice on the receiver. “Hello, darling?” Mother said. “Hello, Mum. How are you?” I asked her. She replied, “I am doing fine with your father keeping me busy tendering to him all the time.” I laughed at her comment. Jesting had always been part of my parents’ lives. They had always playfully jested each other since I was a child. That was the best part of my childhood with my parents.

“Mum, I have wonderful news for you today,” I said to Mother for which she asked, “Oh really, darling? What can that be?” “My application to the Museum of Cairo is accepted, Mum!” I said to her excitedly. “WOW! That is great news indeed, darling! Congratulations! This calls for celebration. I will celebrate with your father here,” mother said excitedly over the phone. Happiness filled my heart. I was so lucky to have parents who had been supportive of my dreams throughout my life. “I am so happy, Mum,” I said to her. “I can imagine how overjoyed you would be at this moment. This is the first step to moving towards your ultimate dream of becoming an Archeologist,” Mother said to me. “Yes, Mum. I will be having an interview via video-calling two days from today,” I informed her. “Well, I am sure that you will do great, darling. I have confidence in you,” Mother said to me. I then said, “Thanks, Mum. I will call you again to update you on the outcome, okay? The letter from the Museum states that I will know the outcome of the interview on the same day.” “We will be waiting, dear. Take care now,” Mother said before she hung up. After ending the call, I walked to the window to look at the darkness of the sky. “Finally, my dream is beginning to come to fruition,” I thought to myself, with an accomplished smile dancing on my face.

The next few days, I had enjoyed my time during my classes at the University until it came to the day when the interview with the officials at the Museum of Cairo was scheduled. The interview took about thirty minutes after which I was put on hold for the interviewers to discuss the result of my selection. After about fifteen minutes, one of the interviewers revealed the results. I was selected for the position! My face brightened at the results and I thanked the interviewers. I was directed to fly to Egypt right after my graduation, which was scheduled to happen within the next four weeks since I was to sit for my final examination in a week. I contacted my parents to break the good news on my appointment as the curator at the Museum of Cairo, Egypt to them. My parents were happy upon hearing the news and suggested that I returned to South Korea after my examination to hold a celebration together. I agreed happily.

It was time to sit for the final year examination. The examination was held for a week since I had chosen four subjects for my final semester. After the examination week was over, I flew home to South Korea with Midnight, my cat. Happiness filled our home during my stay with my parents since they had double happiness, the joy of seeing me in our home once again and the joy of my appointment as the curator at the Museum of Cairo. During my stay at home in Gangnam, I had also met my neighbor’s son who had lived across from my home since I was young during his visit to our home with his parents to congratulate me on my appointment as a curator. We had a hearty lunch that day. My neighbor’s son, who introduced himself as Lee Joon-Gi, worked as an actor in South Korea. After a while of observing his face, I suddenly had the recollection of seeing him on the television a few days ago in a South Korean Drama Series. “Ah! You sure are better looking in person than on the television,” I had said to him. “Thank you. So, my parents told me that you have just sat for your final year examination. What is your next plan, Ae-Ri?” Lee Joon-Gi asked me. I replied with a smile, “I was instructed to join my colleagues at the Museum of Cairo, Egypt once my graduation is over. Thereafter, I want to look for a team of archeologists to join as I am very much interested to join an excavation in Egypt to discover more about Ancient Egypt.” Lee Joon-Gi nodded his head while digesting my reply. “You sure have a different interest and goal in life compared to the other South Korean girls,” he said to me while looking at me with admiration that I could not help blushing.

Once the graduation ceremony was over, I had made preparations to fly to Egypt to join the crew at the Museum of Cairo as planned. The said museum was the home to an extensive collection of ancient Egyptian antiquities. It had 120,000 items, with a representative amount on display and the remainder in storerooms. Built in 1901 by the Italian construction company, Garozzo-Zaffarani, to a design by the French architect Marcel Dourgnon, the said structure was one of the largest museums in the region. I was welcomed by a tall and handsome Eqyptian gentleman when I arrived at the said edifice. “Welcome to the Museum of Cairo, Miss Ko Ae-Ri. My name is Darwish and I am the Chief Director of this museum,” the man said. “Thank you for the warm welcome, Mr. Darwish. When can I start working?” I asked him for which he replied, “I will assign a trainer to accompany you for the first three months to enable you to familiarize yourself with the system of this museum after which you will work independently according to your own style and system.” “It will be very helpful to have a trainer. Thank you for the thoughtful arrangement, Mr. Darwish,” I said to Mr. Darwish. Mr. Darwish then introduced me to my trainer, Mr. Husani. Upon finalizing the documentation of employment officially at Mr. Darwish’s office, I was accompanied by Mr. Husani to the office room assigned to me. “This will be your office room. Miss Ko. Mine will be right beside your room so in case you need some assistance, you are free to visit my room at any time,” Mr. Husani said to me. “Thank you, Mr. Husani,” I answered. Mr. Husani then explained the system of the museum briefly and informed me that he would be my work partner until the expiry of the three months. We worked well together as Mr. Husani was approachable and was ready to clear my doubts about the system at any time.

One afternoon, as I was making my rounds at the museum, I heard the sound of footsteps at the corner of the corridor where the antiquities of the late Pharaohs were kept. I slowly walked towards the place where the sound of footsteps came from, feeling nervous at the same time. When I reached the corner of the corridor, I did not see anyone there. Feeling confused, I looked around to see if there was any other passageway where the footsteps could have gone to but did not find anything. Satisfied that there was no sign of intrusion, I turned around to walk back to the main corridor when I noticed a small latch on the wall where a large painting of King Tutankhamun was hanged. Nervous and curious at the same time, I slowly lifted my hand to open the latch, when I heard a voice behind me, “Miss Ae-Ri! There you are! I have been searching all over the museum for you, said the voice. I quickly turned around to see Mr. Darwish walking towards me. Once he had reached my side, he asked, “What on earth are you doing here, Miss Ae-Ri?” I answered, “I was making my rounds as usual when I heard footsteps around this area. That is why I am here to check if someone is here.” Mr. Darwish looked slightly surprised. He then said. “Well, we don’t usually open the museum for visitors at this hour, Miss Ae-Ri. So, it might have been one of ours who might have passed this way.” I then said, “Well, it is okay if our staff walked past here but the sound of footsteps ended here. This is what has kept me wondering when I saw this latch on the wall here.” Mr. Darwish turned towards the wall where I had kept my fingers pointed. He looked clueless as well. “It is obvious that Mr. Darwish is not aware of this latch here,” I thought to myself while observing Mr. Darwish’s facial expression.

“Why have I not noticed this latch here before?” Mr. Darwish wondered loudly. He then took his walkie-talkie out of his blazer pocket and called out for the security guards to come to where we were standing. Within ten minutes, the security guards came to us. Mr. Darwish then touched the latch. The painting then moved to the side along the wall. We were all shocked to see a passageway behind the painting. Mr. Darwish then turned to look at me with a serious expression and said, “This looks like a very serious matter, Miss Ae-Ri. We need more people here to ensure our safety before we venture deep into the passageway.” I nodded in agreement. Mr. Darwish then used his walkie-talkie to summon Mr. Husani and a few other people to join us. Once Mr. Husani and a few other men joined us with torch lights, we all began walking into the passageway with Mr. Husani leading us. As we walked along the passageway, Mr. Husani said loudly, “Watch your steps, people.” We all replied to him, “Okay, Mr. Husani.” The passageway had a neat flooring, like the flooring in the streets of Rome, as though the passageway was constructed along with the Museum itself since the passageway did not seem old or rusty like in the movies. Ten minutes had passed since we had walked along the passageway. Mr. Husani then stopped at a wooden door in front of us. At that point, the security guards attempted to open the door. The knob on the door was locked. The security guards broke the lock on the door and opened it. To our dismay, we had all witnessed that the door led us to the heart of the town of Cairo.

At that point, Mr. Darwish said, “Wow. Looks like there have been some illegal incidents taking place at our Museum all these years.” Mr. Husani then commented, “This door solves the mystery of the unexplained thefts in the Museum over the years, Mr. Darwish.” “Yes indeed, Mr. Husani. I am rather shocked by this discovery. Looks like the alarm system in our Museum is not at fault. This must have been an insider work because no one can enter the Museum without a thumbprint identification.” I nodded in agreement and comprehension of the whole situation. At that moment, I said to the men around me, “I think we need to keep a close watch over every staff besides us here and observe the CCTV camera for 24 hours if we are to identify the perpetrator.” All the men nodded in agreement. Mr. Darwish then instructed the security guards to contact a locksmith to repair the lock on the door to imitate the exact lock so that the perpetrator would not suspect intrusion at the passageway. Upon returning to the corridor where the painting was, Mr. Darwish invited Mr. Husani and me to his office. Behind closed doors, Mr. Darwish said, “Mr. Husani and Miss Ae-Ri, I would like to entrust the mission of capturing the perpetrator of the thefts in the Museum to the both of you.” Mr. Husani suggested, “Yes, Miss Ae-Ri and I will be delighted to help. I would like to suggest that Miss Ae-Ri and I be entrusted with the duty of observing the CCTV camera from tomorrow onwards to keep a record of the people who enter the Museum.” I then added, “Yes, I think this is an important step in identifying anyone suspicious.” Mr. Darwish further suggested, “I will also engage my most trusted staffs to observe the records of the staffs at the Museum to investigate the background of the staffs. I don’t think we need to alert the police as yet. We need the evidence first.” Mr. Husani and I nodded in agreement. I had also said, “Mr. Darwish, Mr. Husani, I suggest that for the next few days, we should spend our nights here if we are to observe the CCTV camera here for the night since we are not sure as to when the suspicious incident takes place.” “Yes, this is the best solution if we are to observe the activities in the Museum here. I will prepare the necessary at the Control Room for the both of you. I will spend my night in my office room,” Mr. Darwish said. With that said, the discussion ended. Mr. Darwish had allowed me to return home to pack some clothes and necessities whereas Mr. Husani had his servant deliver his clothes and necessities to the Museum later that day.

Mr. Husani and I were at the Control Room where we were assigned by Mr. Darwish, unpacking our necessities. Mr. Darwish had delivered two small camps and sleeping bags to the Control Room. Although the task that I was entrusted with was risky, yet my heart was filled with excitement since I had never encountered such an experience in my life. Mr. Husani helped to set the camps for both of us while I kept my eyes on the CCTV cameras. Once he had the camp set, he took over my task in observing the CCTV cameras while I kept my clothes and necessities inside the camp allocated for me. Mr. Husani and I observed the visitors and staff who had entered the Museum for the whole day. It was about 7p.m. I had gone to the washroom to clean myself. As I walked back to the Control Room, I heard footsteps. As I recalled, Mr. Darwish had instructed that the usual staff assigned to the Control Room were relieved from their tasks for two weeks and were assigned to the task of observing the visitors at the entrance instead. Feeling curious, I slowly walked towards the sound of the footsteps, while holding my clothes in my hand. I saw a figure observing at the door of the Control Room. “Hello there!” I called out to alert Mr. Husani whom I had assumed was in the room. The figure quickly ran off from the Control Room door but he was too slow for Mr. Husani who was apparently out in the corridor as well. Mr. Husani caught the man while holding his hands tightly. Mr. Husani took the man into the control room to tie him against a chair. Meanwhile, I contacted Mr. Darwish to pass him the message on the unknown man that we had captured. Within a few minutes, Mr. Darwish arrived at the Control Room. Mr. Husani asked Mr. Darwish, “Do you know this man, Mr. Darwish?” Mr. Darwish observed the man’s face before shaking his head and replying, “No. I have never seen this man at the Museum before.” Mr. Husani then turned his attention to the unknown man who was already tired from all the struggles before his capture earlier.

“Who are you?” Mr. Husani asked the man. The man looked at Mr. Husani. The man’s face was filled with arrogance. He sneered at Mr. Husani. He then said, “You can beat me, or you can hand me over to the police but you will never get any information from me.” I was rather shocked at the man’s confidence and arrogance. For a captive, he was definitely brave. Mr. Husani turned to Mr. Darwish and said, “Mr. Darwish, I suggest that we should hand him to the police and inform them about the situation here but that we will proceed with our investigation discreetly before alerting the police once the real culprit is identified. What do you think?” Mr. Darwish nodded. He said, “This is the best solution to the current problem. I will speak to Mr. Imhotep from the Police Department about this.” Mr. Darwish contacted Mr. Imhotep and informed him about the captive and the problem that we were facing as well as Mr. Husani’s suggestion. A moment later, the police officers arrived at the Control Room to escort the captive to the Police Station. That night, Mr. Husani and I took turns in observing the movement at the Museum through the CCTV cameras. We had dinner ordered by Mr. Darwish for us that night from a local restaurant. The food was exquisite. At around midnight, I was observing the CCTV cameras while Mr. Husani was taking a nap in his camp. He was exhausted from the long hours of observing the CCTV cameras and the struggles he endured in capturing the captive earlier that evening. Suddenly, I noticed a movement near the painting that had concealed the secret door to the secret passageway. I quickly alerted Mr. Husani who jumped to his feet instantly and ran out to the place where the movement was captured on the CCTV camera. I was instructed by Mr. Husani to keep an eye on the figure while he reached the place and to alert him in case the figure moved anywhere else through the walkie-talkie provided to us by the security department.

I continued to observe the movement of the unknown figure. The figure was tall and large which indicated that the figure was a male. He was at the room where the antiquities of the Pharaohs were exhibited. He was packing some of the gold antiquities in his bag. I informed Mr. Husani about his location. The figure then was caught by three other men using a large net held tightly by the three men since the figure was struggling to escape. I had noticed that Mr. Husani was already there and he was encircling the figure with a rope to stop the figure from escaping. I then informed Mr. Darwish that an unknown figure was captured. Mr. Darwish said over the phone, “Alright, Miss Ae-Ri. Come to the room fast. I will contact the police to come as well.” “Okay, Mr. Darwish,” I replied and ran to the room where the figure was held captive. A few minutes later, the police had arrived to escort the captive to the police station. Mr. Darwish followed the police officers to the Police Station while Mr. Husani and I stayed back at the Museum to handle the affairs at the Museum in Mr. Darwish’s absence. The interrogation at the Police Station took about two hours. Mr. Darwish then returned to the Museum. Mr. Husani welcomed Mr. Darwish at the entrance and we all headed to Mr. Darwish’s office. Behind closed doors, Mr. Darwish said, “The man was our previous employee, Mr. Husani and Miss Ae-Ri. His name is Hager Jabari. He was dismissed from his position as the manager of this Museum when he was caught stealing the artifacts found in King Tutankhamun’s tomb to sell them to foreign smugglers. He had also confessed that he had constructed the secret passageway during his service at this Museum by using the funds allocated for the renovation of the Museum.” Mr. Husani and I looked at each other with a surprised expression on both our faces.

“So, what is to become of the man, Mr. Darwish?” I asked Mr. Darwish. Mr. Darwish replied, “Well, I need to discuss with the Board of Directors regarding this matter. We need to retrieve the stolen artifacts from the man because if those artifacts are not found, the Museum will lose its reputation.” I nodded, understanding how the Museum of Cairo had its own distinguished reputation in the country. The next day, Mr. Darwish contacted the Board of Directors to call for an emergency meeting. Mr. Husani and I were invited to attend the meeting as the main witnesses to the whole course of events the night before. The Directors had come to a conclusion that the Museum would lodge a report against the man who was identified by Mr. Darwish as Hager Jabari for theft, the misuse of the museum’s funds and unlawful construction of the secret passageway without the permission of the Board of Directors. The Board of Directors had also agreed that the secret passageway had to be sealed and that the door which was found at the end of the passageway was to be heavily sealed to ensure that no illegal entry was made possible.

The next few weeks, Mr. Darwish was kept busy in handling the case against Hager Jabari while Mr. Husani and I were entrusted with the duty of maintaining the peace at the Museum and handling the duties of Mr. Darwish in his absence. Upon proper investigation, the police officers had successfully caught the smugglers who were involved in smuggling the artifacts of King Tutankhamun. All the artifacts were successfully retrieved and placed at the Museum to the pleasure of the Board of Directors. The reputation of the Museum was once again protected by Mr. Darwish and us.

A week after the commotion at the Museum, I was called to Mr. Darwish’s office. In Mr. Darwish’s office, I was handed an envelope. I opened the envelope to find a letter from the Egyptian Archeology Department, wherein I was invited to join an excavation in Egypt organized by the Egyptian Archeology Department. My eyes filled with tears as I was not expecting this great news. The letter had also stated that I was appointed as a member of the Egyptian Archeology Department. Mr. Darwish said, “ I have written to the Archeology Department and recommended your name under the Board of Directors’ direction. This is a way to show our appreciation for your relentless contribution in capturing the culprit who stole the precious artifacts of King Tutankhamun and safeguarding the reputation of this Museum. I understand that joining the Egyptian Archeology Department is your dream. You have proven from this incident that you have the dedication and love for ancient Egyptian history. As an Egyptian, I thank you for protecting our nation’s treasures and in safeguarding our reputation.” “Thank you, Mr. Darwish. Thank you is not enough for what you have done for me. It has always been my dream to join the Egyptian Archeology Department and you have realized that dream for me. I am truly grateful for your assistance, Mr. Darwish. Thank you,” I said with tears rolling down my cheeks. Mr. Darwish felt sentimental at my sight that he quickly stood up from his seat and pat my shoulders with a glint of admiration playing in his eyes that I blushed slightly. “For your information, Miss Ae-Ri, you are the first foreign employee and the youngest employee who has joined the Egyptian Archeology Department,” Mr. Darwish said, smiling. I was shocked. “Wow. Really, Mr. Darwish? I am not aware of this at all.” Mr. Darwish nodded and said, “The Board of Directors have never recommended the employees of this museum personally because the museum has a rule that every employee must honestly earn this position. However, your dedication and effort in saving the reputation of this museum have greatly affected the Board of Directors that they felt that realizing your dream will be the way that they can convey their appreciation towards your contribution in this Museum.” I was lost for words as I listened to Mr. Darwish’s words. At that moment, the words of my parents came into my mind. “An honest living is what will earn us the credit and reputation in this world,” my father had said to me when I had graduated from the University. “Please convey my appreciation to the Board of Directors for this gift, Mr. Darwish,” I said to Mr. Darwish. “By the way, when are you expected to join the Archeology Department, Miss Ae-Ri?” Mr. Darwish asked me. I checked the letter once again and replied, “I am expected to report to the Archeology Department in three weeks, Mr. Darwish.” Upon thinking for a moment, Mr. Darwish said to me, “In that case, I would like to offer you a two-week leave so that you can spend some time with your family.” My face lit with joy at the news of my leave, as I had missed home as well.

“Thank you so much for the leave, Mr. Darwish. I truly appreciate it,” I said to Mr. Darwish. “In that case, can I clear my office today?” I asked. Mr. Darwish nodded and replied, “Yes, it would be ideal since you will need time to also pack to fly home as well.” I then thanked Mr. Darwish and quickly returned to my office to clear my belongings. Upon packing all my belongings, I contacted the Egyptian Chocolate shop that I had noticed while taking a stroll in town one evening to order two boxes of chocolates for Mr. Darwish and Mr. Husani as gifts for my farewell. Once the boxes were delivered, I handed them personally to both Mr. Darwish and Mr. Husani and thanked them for their assistance during my period of employment at the Museum. Mr. Husani said, “Well, congratulations, Miss Ae-Ri for your accomplishment in joining the Archeology Department so soon. We are proud to have produced such an outstanding employee who has been elected to join the Archeology Department at such a young age.” “Thank you, Mr. Husani. I have had a wonderful time working with you and Mr. Darwish on the case since it is my first adventure in this area. I feel so good to have been able to assist in solving the mystery of the secret passageway in this Museum. This will be one of my treasured memories in my life.” My sincere words moved the hearts of Mr. Husani and Mr. Darwish that both of them gave me a hearty hug and a pat on my shoulder for my accomplishment.

My parents were overjoyed at the news of my appointment at the Archeology Department in Egypt that they had a party to celebrate the great news. I met Lee Joon-Gi once again. At that time, I had decided to convey my desire to wed him by professing my love to him. Lee Joon-Gi was surprised to hear my words. He said, “I have wanted to profess my love for you as I could not forget you after our previous meeting. I would like to spend the rest of my life with you and no other. Let’s have our wedding before you return to Egypt. I don’t think that I can await your return to be married to you.” I blushed at Lee Joon-Gi’s honest confession. “Alright. Let’s do it then,” was all that I had replied to him. Lee Joon-Gi conveyed our desire to be married before I returned to Egypt to our respective parents. Our parents were happy to hear the news. I had suggested to my family and Lee Joon-Gi’s parents that a simple wedding was sufficient for which both families had consented to upon considering my departure to Egypt in a few days.

Both Lee Joon-Gi and I were married in my parents’ garden with only close relatives as our witnesses. After our wedding, I booked the flight to fly back to Egypt two days later. We took a trip to Namiseom Island to spend our honeymoon period. After our honeymoon, we returned to Gangnam to spend some time with our parents. It was time for me to fly back to Egypt. After bidding farewell to my maternal family and the newfound love of my life, I boarded the flight to Egypt with a feeling of excitement at the thought of the adventure that was awaiting me during the excavation. “Life is good to me,” I thought with a smile.



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Ms. Nanthini Rajarethinam, attorney at law based in Penang, Malaysia, serves as a special contributor for The Seoul Times. She loves painting, reading, and cooking. The vegetarian lawyer is also writer of short stories. She lives with her mother.

 

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