Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Day 1 - 26 Hours of Travel

On Monday night, no one in our family slept well. We were all anxious and nervous.
I came home from a late night last minute meeting with YoungMin to find Emma "trying" to sleep on the sofa. She quickly pulled the blanket up over her head and pretended to be sleeping. About 1am, she said, "I'm ready to go to America NOW!"
Sarah and I finally fell asleep around 2, and we woke up at 5:30. We were out the door by 6:30am.
1st leg: 15 minutes in a taxi to the Cheonan bus station.
1st "layover": We killed about 30 minutes in Dunkin Donuts enjoying coffee, milk, donuts, and the oatmeal raisin cookies Sarah and Emma gave me for Fathers Day.
2nd leg: 3 hours on a bus to the airport in Incheon. This trip took an extra hour because of bad traffic. That was a little stressful because, by the time we got to the airport, we only had just over an hour before our plane left. Emma got a little sick on this flight and filled up a few coffee cups with the remnants of the Dunkin Donuts layover.
3rd leg: 3 hour flight to Japan. About 2 hours into this flight, Emma said, "Daddy, you said this was a short plane (flight)." Just wait till the next one honey!
2nd layover: 4 hours in the Narita airport. Gratefully, there was a great little play area in a quiet room away from the bustle of the crowds. We spent about two hours there, and Emma enjoyed playing with kids from all over the world.
4th leg: 14(?) hour flight to Chicago. This one seemed to take forever! Emma fell asleep at take off. Sarah watched some of "The Office." I watched, "Fool's Gold" - don't waste your time unless you're stuck on a movie and you're only other choices are cartoons or Japanese films. Emma did not puke this time, but about half way through she began to feel pretty pekid. Mostly, though, she was a real trouper. She didn't cry at all. She stayed in her seat and wasn't noisy. Sarah slept some after a while, and finally 10 hours into the flight, I was able to sleep a little out of sheer exhaustion. I had been reading a very good book, Breakout Churches, which kept my mind racing, so I'm sure that's part of the reason I couldn't sleep.
3rd layover: 4 hours in Chicago. We found another play area - this time a mock airport. Emma loved it, but she spent most of her time in the mock icecream parlor. Near the play area, there was a medical clinic. I tried to get my Yellow Fever vaccine for Tanzania, but they said you have to go to a clinic that is registered with the Center for Disease Control for that one. Nice try.
5th leg: 1 hour flight to Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Getting on this plane was a bit of a shocker. It was so small it only had room for 3 seats in each row, 1 on one side of the aisle and 2 on the other. That was a big change from the huge international plane with 11 seats per row. This flight was so fast, they barely had time to pass out drinks and pick them up before we landed.
4th "layover": We landed about 20 minutes early. Our bags didn't come through on the luggage carosel, so we thought they might be lost. It turned out that they had been delivered on an earlier flight. I wondered why we couldn't have been bumped up to that flight also! Sarah's dad arrived to pick us up after about 20 minutes. Emma gave him a beautiful running hug. We immediately headed to Walmart to buy a carseat for Emma. Less than an hour outside of an airport in the USA, and we had already finished our first trip to Walmart (complete with the purchase of a wide assortment of US snacks and goodies). I guess we really are Americans. By the way, I kept raving to Sarah about how cheap the produce and other foods were. We paid just over a dollar for a thingy of sourcream, but we would have gladly paid $5 for the same thing in Korea.
6th leg: a 45 minute car ride to Marengo, Iowa. My eyes finally gave out, and I nodded off most of the way. (Sorry, Dad.) Surprisingly, the flooding is not very bad in Sarah's hometown. (For those of you who don't know, Iowa has been experiencing record levels of flooding over the past week.) Evidently, most of this flooding is because of river levels. However, the levies in Marengo are very high, so that is not a problem. Marengo floods when there are heavy rains because the town is so low, that it can't drain the water fast enough.
We arrived at almost 9pm - very tired but very happy to be here. We were in bed by 11, and we slept until almost 6 - not bad for the first night. We probably could have slept longer if it weren't for our 3 foot high alarm clock.
(I took some pictures, but we forgot to bring our camera cable. I'll try to add some in when I can find a cable that's the right size.)
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