We Survived!

We Survived!
Warning: This is a long-winded rant about a few long days of traveling. Don’t feel like you have to read, I mostly doing this to document it before I forget!
There are events in your life in which you just have to make it through. Flying to Korea was one of those. 5 flights spanning a day and a half can really mess with your body. Before the flights even started we had to return a rental car and get us and all of our luggage checked in. 8 bags and 2 adults + stroller = chaos. The way from the rental car drop-off to the ticketing counters was outdoor and way too long of a hike if you ask me. Those SmartCarts are also too small. We needed two of them. Can you picture us now ? We were so happy to have the luggage gone and get going with the flights. Flight number 1 was from Norfolk to Washington D.C. The most important task on that flight was to keep everyone awake because it was such a short flight. I think Dan had the hardest time with that ;) There was a quick layover in D.C., just barely long enough for us to get dinner for the next flight. Flight #2 was from D.C. to Seattle. We had a slight delay on the runway and then made the 5 ½ hour flight. Alex slept for about 15 minutes and Cade for about 30, all at the beginning of the flight. We watched movies and played some games to pass the time. We landed at about 8:30 (11:30 to our bodies) and had to reclaim our luggage. The circus of two smart carts and one double stroller ensued as we walked for forever to check in to our AMC flight that would take us the rest of the way to Korea. Count on the military for extra paperwork and requiring us to retag all of our bags, including every little carry-on before we could check the luggage. Also imagine some very tired and cranky kids having to sit still while we do all of this in the middle of the night. After that ordeal we made our way to the USO provided for us at the Seattle airport. It really was a godsend. There was hot (free) food and drinks, an area for the kids to play, a place to plug stuff in, and they even had showers and a bunkers to sleep in. It was about 10:00 when we got there and had to leave for security at 11:30 (or so they said) so we didn’t sleep. The boys enjoyed being able to move freely and we sat on a comfy couch and stretched out. Then we went through security (again) and walked what seemed like a mile to our gate, and Alex had fallen asleep. We had like 45 minutes until our flight boarded so I was a little ticked that we HAD to go through security so early, but it turned out to be a good thing because we had left one of our carry-ons up at the USO and Dan kindly went all the way back to get it. I fought to keep Cade awake until we boarded b/c it would have been impossible to get down the tunnel thingy with all of our bags, stroller and two sleeping kids. Once we boarded I started to get a little, um, emotional. The plane was small considering how long we were about to spend in it. We had seats together, but on a plane that has 3 seats on each side, 4 seats together means 3 and 1. I did the motherly thing and sat inbetween the two kids and dan sat across the aisle. The 3 ½ hour flight to Anchorage was the sort of flight where everyone slept. They kept the plane dark and there were no movies or anything to distract. All of us slept, but I’m sure I got the least sleep due to my inability to sleep when people are touching me. Cade was laying on me and Alex woke up about an hour in and screamed until I took him out of his carseat and held him. We landed and were allowed to deplane and leave luggage behind. There was one little store open where we bought some toothbrushes and we found an area to let the boys run crazy. Dan slept on the floor and I entertained the kids. We switched roles, but of course the kids kept climbing all over me, and when Dan went to ‘take them on a walk’ they told us we were boarding. I was starting to feel a bit delirious at this point. I knew we were in for a really long flight next and I wasn’t sure how it would go. We boarded at 6:30am and the pilot came on and told me the best thing I’d heard in days. He said our flight time to Yokota, Japan was 7 ½ hours. 7 ½ hours??!! I had miscalculated! I don’t know what I did to figure that our flight time would be 15 hours, but I’d never heard such a wonderful thing in my life. 7 ½ hours we could survive, 15, no. It still wasn’t a piece of cake. Alex fell asleep right away and stayed that way for about 45 minutes. When he woke up Dan and I switched seats in hopes that I could get some sleep. Instead Cade and Dan fell asleep and Alex wouldn’t stay put. Dan and Cade slept for about an hour and then Dan and I took alex back and forth trying to get him to sleep. Finally about four hours later Alex fell asleep and I got a little shut-eye. That was the hardest part of the whole flight for me because I was SO tired and couldn’t do anything about it. Cade ended up sleeping for 5 hours and Alex about an hour. We chowed down some lunch and landed in Japan at 7:30 in the morning. We all sat in a collective waiting area in Yokota AFB (with no bathrooms) until it was finally time to make our last flight! We were all so excited. We landed in Osan, Korea at 11:30. The flying was done. We went through customs, claimed our luggage (this time with only ONE little cart available) after it was sniffed by a german shepherd. This portion was hard for the boys because all of us from the flight were stuck in a small hangar while they unloaded our bags and they were done with being still. We finally got on our bus and started making our way to Seoul. The hour long drive was fun b/c we were seeing an area that we’d never seen before. My very first impression of Korea is that it is beautiful. The second impression that you notice almost immediately is the amount of highrises here. I mean, I knew in downtown Seoul there were a lot of high rises and that we’ll eventually be living in one, but the land is covered with them! And there’ll be be like 7 or 8 of the same design of highrise all next to eachother. There are mountains and rolling green hills mixed with the modern. The traffic looks insane and the air is a bit hazy. We got checked in at our lodge and dan immediately went over to some in-processing meetings. At this point it was about 3 in the afternoon. We kept the boys up as long as possible and tried to get a good night’s sleep. Alex woke up a few times and then was up from 2:30-4:30 and we were all up at 6:30. It looks like it will take us awhile to get adjusted, but we’re all excited to get to know Seoul and everyone here! If you read this, I’m impressed! The rest of my posts won’t be like this, I promise!


erin said...

Woman, you a.m.a.z.e. me. What a trip. We flew to Kansas City earlier this year with the 2 kids and that was way more than enough for me. I am glad that you all made it safe! I love hearing about your new adventure!

Robin Conner said...

I couldn't help but read the whole thing! I'm so happy for you that it is OVER!!! What a crazy time you had of getting to Korea! You are a super hero mom! Way to go! I hope you can get used to the new schedule and get comfy in your new home! Loved all the pics too! We miss you!

Kristina said...

So glad you made it -- traveling with the kids is the pits and you guys survived a LOT of travel! Looking forward to hearing about your awesome Korean adventure!

Rebecca Lilly Reese said...

My friend and your husband referred me to your blog since we will be PCSing to Korea (Casey). I'm sorry the trip was so hard but I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. You write in a style that is so entertaining. (I don't have that gift.) You should sell books or something. I hope that is not offensive in any way, because I mean it as a compliment.

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