I live in America now!
As I'm certain you care deeply about the very minute details of my life and can't possibly continue living without hearing about every inch of my journey... except that... hmm...it seems like somehow you've managed to go on with your very busy and productive lives without an update from me. Do you want to hear how it went anyway?
I woke up at 4:45 in the morning. It was dark. I was lying on my left arm. I reached over to... whetw. I'm already tired of telling you things. I'm just going to skip to the interesting parts.
Last Thursday, I traveled with my 3 children from Daegu, South Korea to Seoul, South Korea to Tokyo, Japan to Los Angeles, California to Salt Lake City, Utah. It was 23 total hours of traveling, broken down into 15 hours of airplane flying, 4 hours of movie watching, 1.5 hours of sitting at airports, 2 hours of carrying 2 car seats and one child across about hundred jillion miles of airport hallways and 5 hours of line waiting, security, immigrations, baggage leaving and retrieving. Also, there was a little bit of pop-tart eating thrown in there as well.
When my nearly 3 year old got on the first airplane, she grabbed the arm rests on both sides of her really tight and yelled, "I'm holding on really tight." And then she started waving like crazy out the window and shouting, "Bye Daddy! Daddy-- I'm in an airplane! Hmm. Daddy not see me anymore." I told her that he also couldn't hear her and she said, "Daddy open your window! BYE DADDY!!!" On the second plane, she counted down on the runway, "3-2-1-3-2-1-3-2-1 BLASTOFF!!! I'M FLYING!!!" On the third plane she asked for candy at takeoff and by the fourth plane, she was asleep before we hit the air.
I almost didn't get out of South Korea because one of my children's entry visa stamp was in the wrong place. I was stuck in the passport office for nearly 45 minutes. Both of my youngest two children started crying and screaming after 30 minutes. I didn't try to stop them.
I lost my stroller somewhere between Japan and California. LAX has the longest distance to walk between the International Terminal and Immigrations. I was guessing it was 10 miles, but my memory might be a little tainted because without a stroller, I ended up carrying 2 car seats, 2 carry on bags and 1 child while trying to bribe my oldest two children into running so we didn't miss our last flight. (Through the help of a wonderful flight attendant that managed to sneak us to the front of the line at Immigrations, baggage drop, and security we made it with only 5 minutes to spare!)
We met so many amazing strangers. In Korea, a couple of ladies switched places with my son so he could sit by the window. On 3 out of 4 flights, a solo traveling man came up to me at the end and offered to carry one or more of the car seats off the plane for me. On the fourth flight, I had 3 offers. A complete stranger sitting a row away purchased a ridiculously priced bag of M&Ms for my brave 6 year old that was reassigned a seat 2 rows away from me. (Technically, I was reassigned seats with my 2 youngest because we were originally in an exit row.) People on the planes played peek-a-boo and smiled at my baby instead of being annoyed that they had to sit next to her. And I already mentioned the flight attendant that went out of her way to ensure we didn't miss our final connecting flight.
I cried when we got to California and the flight attendant said, "On behalf of Delta, let me be the first to welcome you to the United States." I can't tell you how much I love my home country.
I also cried later that day/night (time is still hazy for me) when my children all got the flu and started throwing up everywhere. And then again last night when my son fell off a pogo stick and might have broken his arm.
But everything else has been great. I've been walking around like a grinning fool. I say hello to every single person I see. It's fantastic to be able to understand everything going on around me. And, I have to say, people generally respond with big smiles and friendly greetings back. And you have center turn lanes here! I can't believe how much I've missed them! And I took my children shopping and my son couldn't get over how big the shopping carts are here. AND... they have them in the parking lot so you can just put your baby child right in from the car. Oh, and you don't have to pay for them. And there are Mexican restaurants here. And ICE. How I've missed cold water at restaurants. And my kids are loving the carpet in houses. I found them rolling from one side of the room to the other just to feel the carpet. And let's not forget the cookie cutters. I have been to 3 stores, and seen cookie cutters in TWO of them.You know.... like EASTER COOKIE CUTTERS!