I can't believe I'm actually here all in one piece, but we made the wild journey from Seoul to Los Angeles, California (for 2 days), and finally to Seattle, Washington. The kids and I left Seoul on April 18th at 3pm Seoul-time, got into LA on April 18th at 10am LA-time (too wierd). Had the rest of Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday morning at home, then we left for Seattle on Wednesday, April 20th at 3pm. Whew!
My last weekend in Seoul was ok. On Saturday, we went with Erik and family to a lake "resort" near the DMZ (border of South and North Korea). I think it was called Sanchong Lake. The "resort" was actually a little cheesy, but the drive up was nice and the lunch we had there really good (Maya kept wanting everyone's squid!). On the way up, we actually saw mountains of North Korea and the highway we were on kind of just ended at the border. There were people on the South side and just no one on the North. A little eerie. And as the highway went along the border, we saw these things built on the sides of the road that had huge cement blocks on top that had explosive charges that would make the blocks come down and block off the road. I'll have to put up the pictures of those soon.
Anyway, we spent the day at the lake. We went in the paddle boats, walked along the path around the lake, and then took the kids on some carnival rides, like bumper cars. Drove back to Seoul and had dinner at U9, a restaurant that has wonderful dumplings and curry donkas (breaded chicken or pork). Yum.
Sunday I packed. Packed and packed and packed. Got it all done though, so I didn't have to worry about it on Monday morning. That night, the one night where I really wanted to make sure to get a good night's sleep, there was a huge thunderstorm that seemed to last all night! Kept me awake, but thankfully, the kids slept right through it! It was raining really hard and the lightning was bright and the thunder was really, really loud. Kind of neat, since thunderstorms are rare in Southern California, but I wished it hadn't been that night.
Monday morning, Erik picked us up at 10:45am. Took us to the City Air Terminal at COEX where we checked in our bags and got our boarding passes. Then we took a nice limo-bus ride to the airport. Along the way, I saw the cherry blossom trees of Yunjungno road behind the Yeouido Natinal Assembly Building. We had gone there the weekend before in hopes of seeing all the trees that line the road in full bloom, but they weren't yet. But on the day I leave, they were beautifully pink and full of blossoms. Figures. But at least I saw them. Regardless, we did have a good time that day we went to Yeouido (the 9th or 10th of April - don't know why I didn't journal that) because of the huge public park there and the Coffee Bean right across the street!
Anyway, so we get to the airport, return my cell phone which Chris had rented for me for my stay, and go to McDonald's for lunch. LOL After lunch, we head to the gate. After a surprisingly-not-so-tearful goodbye to Chris, we go through security and get to our gate. I gate-check the stroller and when the gate clerk learns that I'm travelling with the two kids on my own, he is super helpful. When boarding starts, he gets me, checks my boarding passes and puts me at the front of the 1st class boarding line and helps me board the plane! Service lives on in Korea!
The 10 1/2 hour flight actually goes pretty well. We take off, the stewardesses bring us drinks and activity books for the girls. That occupies them for a good long time. Then we get dinner. After that, I get Maya's movie started for her and get play with Nadia for a bit. She wants to lay on Maya and watch the movie with her, which was really cute. After about 1/2 hour, she gets tired and I nurse her to sleep. Maya's movie ends, so I put Nadia down in the empty seat next to us (YAY for that!), and get Maya to lay her head on me. She takes a while to sleep since, as she says, "I go to sleep when I don't know it, Mommy!" LOL So, I'm in the middle seat, with Nadia's legs on me and Maya's head on me. I can't sleep. I actually wish that I had packed some magazines (I didn't this time because I was sure I wouldn't get a chance to read them). I asked the stewardess for some and she brings me Business Week and Photographer. Not my usual fare, but what the heck, I'm not going anywhere for a while, I hope!
The girls sleep for about 5 hours. Not bad! At the end, I actually dozed off, maybe getting 1/2 hour or 45 minutes. Then we get breakfast, and before we know it, we've got only 1 hour to go! I don't remember how we spent that last hour, but I was amazed at how well the whole flight went.
We land at LAX at about 10am, get our bags (Maya was a huge help, pushing one of the carts with a huge bag, the stroller and her carry on), are greeted by Chris' parents and we're home by 11:30am. WOW! And then the big surprise: two of my good friends, Angela and Sam, are waiting at my house. Amazing that they are, they had sorted my HUGE pile of mail, swept and vacuumed the place and had some things to eat for me. THAT is why I don't want to move. What a great life I have here. *sigh*
My inlaws take the kids for the rest of the day. I thought I would need the time to clean up the house (I was dreaded the pile of mail that had built up and the pile of fur the cats had shed in the 7 weeks I was gone), but after what Angela and Sam did, I was actually able to use that time to take a nap (since I was going on 45 minutes of sleep in the last 24 hours!). That felt good. That night, had dinner at Acapulco's with my inlaws and the kids and the kids (both of them) went back to the inlaws for a sleep over!! WOO HOO!!!!! I actually grabbed the huge piles of mail and headed out the door to Angela's house for scrap n chat night. LOL
The next day, I woke up at 8am, got ready and started to unpack and repack for Seattle. The girls slept in until about 11am. Headed over to my inlaws' to pick them up and was back to the house at about 1 or 2pm. Did more things around the house while they played. At 4pm, took the girls to Ben & Jerry's for Free Cone Day and met Angela and Melissa there. About 6pm, went to my inlaws' for dinner. Got home and the kids into bed by 10pm. Did more things, finished packing and went to bed at midnight. But, I couldn't fall asleep until almost 5am! ARGH!
Wednesday morning, got up at 9am, under much protest from my body. Had to wake up the girls. Woke up Maya first, she talked to Chris on skype and was eating breakfast while I took a shower. Then woke Nadia up, got her ready and was out the door by 10am. Took Maya to visit her school. We got there and her teacher actually screamed when she saw Maya. I of course teared up cause I'm a huge mess. LOL Spent an hour there, headed back home where Cathy was waiting for me. We packed up her car (which was comical) and went out for lunch. She dropped us at the airport afterwards and we caught our flight to Seattle.
One glaring difference: people here don't help you even when it is their job to do so. My experiences at the Seoul airport and the Burbank airport were very different.
Anyway, got to Seattle, picked up by my mom. Met my sister, BIL and nephew and went to a relative's house for dinner. That was fun actually. Got to my mom's house and had the kids in bed by 11pm. Not bad at all. The kids slept all night.
Today: vegged at my mom's house. Nadia has a cold and a fever. No relaxing for me yet.