Thursday, August 12, 2010

WE MADE IT!!!!!!

It is my extreme pleasure to say...
WHEW!!! We made it to the land of the morning calm, though maybe not altogether so calmly.

Our journey started at 6:20 AM EST with our good friends and most capable house sitters Qifei and Wei Wei helping us load up both the truck and the Hyundai. They then were kind enough to take us out to the airport and send us off with hugs and good tidings. After about an half an hour of trying to get passports in order and tickets printed out, we crossed over the security line and really felt like we were leaving.

Goodbye Knoxville!!

The kids were antsy to just get on the plane and start the trip. Little did they know what was in store for them. Actually, it wasn't all that bad. Our first leg of the journey was a 2-3 hour flight to Chicago O'Hare  International ( by the way is one of the airports on my hate it list) which was relatively uneventful considering it was Chicago O'Hare. However, there was a bit of confusion when we had to leave the airport to get back into the international flight area. There was a bit of consternation only because in Knoxville we were told that we were not assigned seats on the next plane and had to request them in Chicago. What a drag! Once we passed the security (after getting seat assignments of course) all seemed to settle down. The kids sat quietly and played their ds and dsi game systems as I tried to nap a little and David read.

The Korean Airliner we flew in was immense!
I have to commend and recommend Korean Air to anyone who is traveling over here. It was great! First of all, the plane was so large that nervous flyer like me felt comfortable. Second, the service was unbelievable. The flight attendants were polite, helpful, and offered everything in two languages! Third, who can beat free movies of your choice the whole flight. I got to see movies I probably would have not otherwise with free -yes everyone free- earphones, blankets, pillows, meals, snacks, and wine. I availed myself to the free wine! On top of that, the children got to choose from kids movies, video games, or children's television programs on their own little screens. They particularly loved seeing Pororo, a popular children's television character here. But, I will add a little caveat, when travelling for 14 hours on the same flight, it can get a bit tedious and if you are a sleeper like me (meaning you don't sleep well on planes or in cars) no service or flight can be truly enjoyable. The children did better than I did flying. They slept at least 3 or 4 hours.

We finally landed at Inchon International Airport and wearily made our way through customs and down to our luggage. Up until this point, we were relatively spoiled because most things were in both Engilsh and Korean. Now we were left to navigate our way through signs and billboards will a few English blurbs placed in areas that seemed to make little sense. Yet, our wonderful and truly life saver of a friend Taek was there to greet us and procure a vehicle (via Yonsei/Fulbright) to our apartment in Seoul...1 hour away from Inchon.

Well, I have to admit I saw little of the cities of Inchon or Seoul as I quickly fell asleep when the driver started the motor.  I guess over 20 hours of no to little sleep can do that to a body.

We arrived at our apartment and made arrangements to procure card keys and arrange various other items that will be needed for our year here.

I could really use a shower and a bed right about now, but I'll smile because you are pointing a camera at me.

We really are here, but when do we get to the apartment mom??!!!

So after all of that, we tumbled into our apartment and tried to settle down. Our apartment is small but very nice. My only complaint right now is that there are so many buttons and electronics that I'm having a hard time just figuring out how to turn the lights on. It doesn't help either that even though I can read Korean, I don't know exactly what is being said..

As required by Korean custom, we must take off our shoes before entering the house. There is a little entryway and closet just for that purpose. Neat!

Living room.

Hallway to kitchen and rooms.

First bathroom. Check out the bidet toilet!!



Check out those instructions and buttons!! Hand wash anyone?

Well, I am getting tired and I promised the kids we would check out the pool and the driving range in the building. So I will add more pictures and information as our life in Seoul unfolds.

We already miss everyone and our home, but we are hopeful for our days ahead and the experiences they will open up to us.

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