Friday, February 12, 2010
Layovers, Luggage and Laughs
Our Adventure began in the early morning hours of February 10th, 2010. About a half hour before our alarm was due to wake us for the day, Taylor and I were brought out of our sleep by the clanging of dishes in the kitchen. Apparently we were not the only ones anxious that morning, but no matter because we were ready to get up and get going. We arrived at the airport with 9 bags of luggage and a toddler in tow! Luckily, our family members were there to help lug and lurch our 300+ pounds of luggage for which we were very thankful. Corin did remarkably well for his first flight and we were off to our first layover. Upon arriving in Chicago, we headed to a Chili's in the terminal to sit and relax for the next couple of hours. We were all tired from waking up around 2:30, all of us except Corin that is. Corin was eager to go for walks and see the sights of the airport. While waiting in the seats at our departure gate, we witnessed the most enormous airplane pull up in front of us. It was HUGE... a double decker airplane, on which we would be flying for little over twelve hours. The Letts were conveniently positioned in the very back row, closest to the restrooms and "stretching" area. Taylor and I took shifts with Corin serving as his playmate, walking companion, and pillow. We were very proud of our little guy as he was very well behaved throughout the flight. He didn't throw fits, disturb other passengers, or refuse to sleep, he was very content being in his seat for the most part which was very surprising to me. After about a day of very little sleep, he finally started to whimper during the last 20 minutes of the flight as we were descending towards Tokyo. Before I go on.... let me just make you extremely envious by telling you that we saw some of the most amazing snow drenched scenes as we flew over Canada and Alaska. Amazing! And yes, I have a couple pictures, but they really don't do the images justices. Anyways, onto Tokyo. We arrived in Tokyo for our second layover and again, Corin was rearing to go for walks. Taylor was kind to me and my altitude sick(swollen) feet and took Corin for a couple of nice strolls. The last flight was awkward as Taylor and Coin were in a different row and Corin cried for me the first 10 minutes or so before we took off. Then about 10 minutes after the seatbelt light went off a young man came up and asked if I would like to trade seats with him so I could sit next to my husband. I took him up on his offer and found out that he was an ESL teacher in seoul from Taylor who had struck up a nice conversation with the guy. Anyways, we all kind of crashed for a bit in that back row before landing in Seoul. Once we landed, the real adventure began. We had to find a hotel to stay the night in before our next flight the following morning and we had to get there with all our luggage and Corin with no family there to help carry! :) It was only by God's grace that Taylor walked up to the right people at the right time. The lady Taylor was able to speak with in the middle of the baggage claim area happened to be some sort of relations representative and she immediately got on the phone trying to get us a room at the in airport hotel. That fell through as soon as they heard how many baggage pieces we had and so on to other options. She soon after got us a room at a very nearby hotel with a baggage service that would actually take us to the airport in the morning with all our luggage, and not only that, but for about $50 less than it would have been had we walked in to make the reservation ourselves. God is Good! The the problem arose that we had about 5 minutes or so to get all our bags and Corin to the bus that would take us to the hotel. Let's just say that between the bags falling over and Corin sitting down in rebellion when I made him walk despite his fatigue, we did not make it in time. It must have been pretty entertaining to those watching as either a bag or child would go astray. God then provided a taxi driver to us (at least we will say he was a taxi driver) who offered to take us and all our luggage to the hotel for a flat rate. He had already led Taylor to the ATM and grabbed all but a few bags from us as we accepted his offer. He loaded us up in a matter of seconds and toted us to the hotel in his nice little mini van. He hopped out unloaded the bags and was very kind in letting us know where to go and what to do. We were blessed that night with some sleep and a nice warm bath! Ahhhh. We all woke up about 4:30 in anticipation of the day and felt refreshed through God's mercy as we had only 4 hours of sleep from that evening. At 6:30 we loaded all our bags on the bus provided and headed to the airport for our last flight! Woohoo! It was a quick and easy flight lasting only about 30 minutes to Daegu. After we landed we had to load up all that luggage and figure out how to get to the local station to catch our train to Busan. So, Taylor and I sat out in the Taxi line and the drivers would drive up, look at our two carts full of bags and slowly drive on past us shaking their heads form side to side laughing. It was kind of humorous, but at the same time we needed to catch our train. So Taylor headed inside to find help at the tourist desk. Meanwhile a nice university student walked up to me and Corin and asked if we needed help in calling a cab to get to the station. I explained Taylor was inside making arrangements. He spoke English fairly well and informed me that he was headed in the direction of Busan as well if we needed assistance in our travels. Taylor and I thanked him for his help and concern in our travels as he tried to explain that the trains usually do not accept this many bags per customer. He was convinced that we would be forced to take a bus. So moments later a taxi shows up and starts shoving all our bags in... and off we went to the station to see how we would be getting to Busan. Bus or train? As soon as our bags were unloaded and the driver was paid, Taylor ran inside to buy the tickets and find a cart to grab all our luggage. Well... we were successful in acquiring tickets, but not a baggage cart. So, Taylor and a couple men came out and started dragging bags in the building in a very rushed fashion. I grabbed a handle and Corin and chased them to the elevator where I discovered that we had only a few minutes before the train would arrive. We got all the luggage to the platform and waited a very short time before the train showed up and the men along with Taylor heaved the bags onto the train as quickly as possible before the doors shut and the train departed. It all happened so fast it was crazy. Somehow we were able to get on the train along with all our bags and were in our last leg of the trip. Finally we could relax knowing the our friend would be there to help us from the station. Corin was good for the duration of the train ride as well. He had fun repeating what the little Korean kids around him were wsaying and the little ones were eager to try out their English on us all! Corin will be speaking before us for sure! We got to the station unpacked our bags... again having to make a few trips to the stock pile and then over to the elevator but once at the elevator a nice little old man, the only other person around by this time, stopped to help put bags into the elevator. We smiled in thanks and up we went to find our friend there a the top ready to help. We took his car to their apartment and will be staying here until the 18th when we leave for orientation.
In reflecting on our past couple of days, it is evident that only by God's grace have we been able to get to Busan. The fact that we have encountered only friendly, helpful, honest people so far here is just that much more testimony to His mercy in our travels. I am encouraged by the number of people we have met who can carry on a conversation in English, but am still very eager to learn the language. I have already been able to make a friend and am excited to see what God has in store for our young family! I ask that you would pray protection against the enemy for us. I know that we are on a bit of a high from all the ways God has abundantly provided for us, but we have yet to step out on our own and so the coming weeks will be the true test. I am praying that we will be fairly close to our friends here seeing as how I have just gotten to know the wife. It would be nice to have the opportunity to interact with her more often possibly in the form of a play-date. Anyways... we would like to thank all who prayed for us on our long journey here and would appreciate continued prayer on our behalf. I can't wait to share how God continues to work in our lives and through our circumstances! Praise God forever and today! :)
****P.S. When I was reflecting on the events of those two RUSHED days of travel, all I could invision were those British comedies where they chase each other through all the hallway doors to fast paced music at fast forward speed! At times Taylor and I would just look at each other and laugh after getting where we needed to!*****