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Tuesday, November 17, 2015

TGBKA Day 60: THE SLOW PLANE RIDE TO KOREA (DALLAS FORT WORTH TOINCHEON)

Our flight was delayed by fifteen minutes when we got to the gate. Thank God! Otherwise, we would have had to reenact a scene from one of those romantic movies where the passenger arrives at the gate just moments after the airport employee closes the door to the plane. And we all know (from watching those cheesy romantic movies) that once the doors are shut, there is no reopening them. Can you imagine me running in slow motion to the gate, begging... PLEADING... that they make one exception? Federal laws be damned... I need to make that flight! We didn't need to beg... the flight was delayed.
Standing in line after we realized our flight was delayed. Looks like we're making it to Korea today after all!
I put up a status on Facebook asking my friends to bet on how many of my 15 checked bags would make it to Korea with my flight. The layover was too short, in my opinion, for my bags to get unloaded, transported, and loaded on the flight. Several of my friends agreed. Spoiler alert: ALL 15 BAGS MADE IT! At first, my narcissistic self thought the flight was delayed due to the bags that were still being loaded. But after the third delay notice (we ended up being delayed by a full hour) we were told that there was a chair of some sort that was blocking the aisle in Business Class. Thank God for random chairs in Business Class! The girls and I found a little corner at the gate and did some minor yoga. 

When we finally boarded the flight, we got to our seats and settled in for a long day. We were in a row of 5 seats between the aisles, and the girls and I were in the three center seats. There was a poor soul on either side of us that separated us from the aisle.
Ear plugs on, seat belts buckled, let's get this flight started!
If only she knew what she was so excited for: a whole lot of "no, you can't go run laps up and down the aisles".

I thought about asking the strangers if they wanted to sit in the middle (little bladders and short attention spans meant we would be bothering them a lot) but for whatever reason I didn't. I wish I had done so... I think the strangers slept the entire flight (except for when we woke them for emergency potty breaks), and we didn't really get to our carry on bags to get all of the entertainment and goodies I had thoughtfully packed. I was able to get our iPads the one time I was bold enough to ask the gentleman for help. Sometimes I'm just too polite for my own comfort.

The first thing the girls noticed about this plane was the personal televisions. They buckled their seat belts (safety first!) and started playing with the buttons to figure the thing out. The Elder saw that they offered Minions as one of the movies, and the Wee found Despicable Me 2. I sighed a breath of relief when we saw at least 2 movies that they would enjoy. The Wee's touch screen wasn't very sensitive, so she had to basically pound on it to get it to work. Poor fellah in the seat in front of her. He understood.

We bounced between watching movies and watching the plane's flight path. We talked about the rotation of the Earth, and that we would basically be "chasing the sun" during the whole flight even though we began our flight on Monday morning and would end our flight on Tuesday evening. The girls loved to watch the world move from darkness to light as our flight progressed.

We discussed the International Date Line, and celebrated when we made the jump from Monday to Tuesday without a sunset. We chatted about the different culture we were about to experience; the food would look and taste different, the city would smell different, the people would have different cultural norms. This last discussion was my "oh crap" idea because I was so focused on getting us to Korea that I forgot to prepare the girls for Korea. Every meal we were offered on the flight had an American option and a Korean option. We decided to get adventurous on the flight and try the Korean option every time. One of us had to order the Korean option, and if the other two didn't think it looked good they could go American. But
we all had to try the Korean option. Here's what we ended up with:
Snack. Looks like wine is an international treat. I was very happy to oblige. The girls got apple juice.
Meal #1: American Option. The girls chickened out and got the chicken and rice.
The American chicken and rice was quite tasty. I'll admit: I kind of wished I had ordered it. But I wanted to try the Korean option, and we did make a deal. So I grabbed it, watched the Korean gentleman sitting next to the Elder as he doctored it up for his taste, and followed suit.

I didn't want to share a bite with the girls. It was excellent!

They did try the kimchi, but weren't quite ready for the spice. I was happy to eat it for them!
Meal 2: Noodles and ice cream. Thank goodness for that ice cream! I neglected to read the "spicy" warning on label. We all ordered this, waving off the safe turkey and cheese sandwich. We all regretted that move. Eating this was like licking a campfire.

NAP TIME!
They'll punish me for this one day.
And I'm sure the punishment will be severe!


The iPads were a big success!
We were doing super well until about an hour before we hit the International Date Line. Suddenly, my legs were tingly from lack of movement, my hips ached, my back was tight... and the girls were ready to start bouncing off the walls from inactivity. We woke up our Seat Neighbors and walked to the back of the plane. The girls decided to ask every question known to man to the flight attendants, and I did some stretches. That got us settled down some, and we made our way back to the seats.

The eyes were getting heavy...

...and power naps were had.
We eventually landed. As our plane made it's way to the gate, I coached the girls on what we would do next. We had no layover, but the people around us did. Rather than rushing to get off the plane (and clogging up the system for those who had tight schedules like we had in Texas), we decided to intentionally be the last people off the plane. We took our time, and made sure we didn't leave anything behind. And we meandered our way to Sweet Baboo.

My biggest challenge was just ahead: picking up my 15 checked bags, and carrying it (along with our 5 carry-on bags) through customs with two kids.

ALL OF THE BAGS ARRIVED ON TIME! And my big helpers were amazing.
When we got to customs, one guy did help with one of the carts. That last 30 yards was a beast, and I was more than grateful for the help. But as soon as we went through the doors, the girls saw their daddy, and the customs agent needed to stay in customs, so I was left with three heavy carts and the chaos of greeting an old friend, a new one, and MY SWEET BABOO! Life was good.

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