So saying goodbye was harder than I thought. And it lasted for too many days. If I had to do it all over again, I would've put on a good-bye party for ourselves and gotten it all over with on one night. I cried for about 3 days at random times. Or when I saw my sister-in-law cry and my niece and my daughter and my dad and my nephews. Then, at the airport, my niece, my sisters-in-law, my mother-in-law, and my mom. Makes me cry all over again...It breaks my heart to take my kids away from their cousins. But as we remind our children, it's not always easy to follow the Lord's call on our life. He never said it would be rainbows and butterflies, you know? (By the way, saying this to myself doesn't really help!)
Our flights to Seattle were great. I chose to check my 2 year-old's carseat on the plane. GREAT IDEA. If you're reading this and wondering about it-- check the carseat. Do not take it on the plane with you. It's too bulky and the kid will not want to stay in it. On our flight from Salt Lake City to Seattle, each person had headphones and a tv in front of us. That was nice.
We got to Seattle around suppertime. We dropped off as much luggage as possible at the USO luggage hub. While very nice to have this offer.....not nice that it only stays open until 3am. Which means, we had to get our stuff out of there before that time.
The whole Patriot Express ordeal/Seattle USO was a wreck. Not very well thought out for families I think. You would think with all the huge military flights coming out of Seattle, the USO would be huge. Not. (And I'm not blaming anyone by any means.) There was only 1 family room-- we shared it with another family of 4. Only 2 couches and then a bunk room. Kids weren't allowed in the bunk room. There were TONS of people who came through there that night, but there wasn't NEARLY enough space for them. I went to a bigger/nicer USO in Chicago. Also, some young soldier/sailor/marine thought it was a great idea to play guitar all night.
There's just no way to even sleep with the schedule. We picked up our baggage, then had to report at a ridiculous hour to check said baggage. Then, we went through security, ate a Wendy's breakfast (who knew?), then found our gate. Since we had about 3 hours to chill, the kids napped some and then played around.
Let me say that our flight to Japan was amazing. Our kids did well and everyone else's kids did well. There was a young baby behind us that cried almost the whole way. I felt so sorry for her parents. At one point, I offered to hold her and she stopped crying. I don't know why and I don't care why, but I am sure the parents and everyone else was grateful for the rest. But, alas, the parents took her away from me. Maybe something about a stranger getting too attached to your baby...I don't know... :)
The flight over the ocean was a breeze when compared to the flights in Japan. My daughter almost had to be quarantined. Since she got sick on the ocean flight, when we stopped on mainland, they called her and Steven to front and questioned them about why and when she got sick. Apparently, if she was sick before our Seattle flight, they would have detained here! Yikes, that was scary! Thankfully, it was just airsickness.
Anyway, we got off the plane once, hung around for about 1 1/2 hours in the terminal, got back on the plane, landed again, got off again, hung around for about 1 hour, got back on and then finally landed in Okinawa.
Everyone was exhausted by the last 2 flights. My whole family fell asleep. For some reason, I just could not sleep on the plane. I don't know.
When we arrived at Kadena, we had to ride a bus to the terminal. Our first time in a Japanese style vehicle. Then we had to show our passports and orders. Then we had to wait FOREVER for all of our luggage. We had something like 18 bags, one umbrella stroller, one carseat, and one booster seat. While Lincoln did not spend much time in the stroller, it was very helpful in carrying our luggage from terminal to terminal.
It was so great to have new friends greet us at the terminal. We had SO much luggage to load up. I believe there were 3 cars waiting for us and our luggage. We were introduced to a lot of people that night, but we were so tired that we didn't really remember their names. Well, at least, I didn't. Steven probably did. They drove us to a McDonald's and then dropped us at our lodge.
We were so glad to be done with that part. The 2 days of travelling had come to an end. The Lord was good to us. Not too much sickness and all our luggage made it. Some of it beat up, but contents intact.
If you have found my blog by chance and are making this trip in the future, just plan on eating at the USO and then finding a quiet place in the airport for sleeping. I wish we would've known to do that. Bring a blanket or two in your carry-on for comfort.