Warning: This is a super long post mostly meant for our family who really wanted to know more details! ;) Feel free to skim.
Tyler and I had such a crazy last year. On August 11, 2013, Tyler and I got engaged! From there, the craziness began! We began our part time student teaching in September with weekly trips to Corvallis for OSU classes. My sister Savannah had a marriage renewal ceremony in October, lots of family activities in November, took a 2 week vacation to Hawaii with the Mansour family in December, began full time student teaching in January, had a snow storm in February, ended student teaching and officially graduated from OSU in March, interviewed for a long term substitute position and Tyler began working again in April, started substitute teaching in May, walked in the commencement ceremony for graduation from OSU as well as began summer school teaching in June, got married and went on a wonderful honeymoon in July, and on August 12, 2014 Tyler and I traveled to Korea. It’s amazing what 1 year can hold and we are so grateful for all of those amazing experiences!
So back to Korea…..we left on Tuesday August 11th, 2014. After literally 45 minutes of sleep that night (we may have left a little too much on our to do list that night) we showered and left for the airport at 3am. Our flight was at 5:25 going to San Francisco. We said our goodbyes, which were really difficult, It was wonderful because we got to fly out with the some of Tylers family members (The Ho family!) who were responsible for upgrading both of our airplane seats to first class (Thank you Kandi and Greg!)! The first flight we slept the entire time….not so exciting..
Once we got to San Francisco, they took us out for breakfast. We ate some croissant sandwiches and made our way down to the United Club Lounge (because we had first class tickets!!!) and explored that area. The lounge area was nice because it was quiet and had plenty of outlets to charge our technology. They also had more free food, which is always a plus. J
We boarded the flight to Incheon 3 hours later and got on the coolest airplane ever. It was HUGE! Since we had first class tickets, we got the awesome lay down flat seats with pretty decent sized TV screens. We also got pillows, blankets, a travel toiletries kit, nice headphones, and extra storage on the wall side of the plane. We were thoroughly impressed!
|At the PDX airport waiting to leave!|
|Boarding the flight to Korea!|
|Enjoying our massive amount of space and comfy chairs!|
|Ready to go!|
|Lots of movie, tv show, game, and audiobook choices on our wonderful little screens!|
|Ice cream time!|
On our flight we were well attended to, constantly receiving snacks and/or three course meals. By the way, the ice cream was delicious! When flying into Incheon Airport, we noticed that the plane basically had to do a circle around the airport in order to approach the runway without getting too close to North Korea.
Once we arrived in Incheon, we still didn’t feel like we were in a foreign country because all their signs and announcements were in Korean and English. We took an underground subway to the main building to go through immigration, which was fairly quick. Then we had to track down our bags at baggage claim. After finding all our bags we walked over to customs where they had a dog smell our bags. Then we handed them our paperwork and we were good to go!
Soon after we found a place to set up camp with our bags, charge our phones, clean up in the restrooms, and explore the airport markets. Val and I found out that the toilets in the women’s room are nicer than those in the men’s.
After eating some interesting snacks (apparently everything here is very flavored here…flavored milk, flavored popcorn…) we found our large group of foreigners and eventually got on the bus!
|Val didn't know her's was flavored (something sweet, maybe vanilla?) but I got chocolate!|
They kindly brought a moving truck to transport all of our luggage, smart move by them! The bus was a charter type bus very eccentrically decorated, led lights and all! After driving for only about a hour we made a stop at a “rest stop” which is really more like a mini mall. They had a giant area filled with food places and upstairs there were shops with stores like North Face, Columbia, and Addidas. Weird. We got some mini churros and got back on the bus. We ended up stopping again at a very similar place with very similar restrooms. By that time is was already 10pm and we still had a hour to go.
|On the very colorful bus to Gwangju! Looking a bit tired... ;)|
Finally we arrived at the hotel, however, our luggage truck had not arrived yet. So we all got our room keys, dropped off some things in our room and went to wait for the luggage. Luggage arrived around 11:30 and it was a mad rush as everyone threw the luggage out of the truck and hauled it back to their room. We were so grateful to finally be in our rooms and able to freshen up and go to bed!
|The view from the Shin Yang Park hotel in Gwangju!|
The next morning we had an amazing western style buffet breakfast and started orientation at 10am! The day was filled with information about our contracts and life in Korea. It was long, but helpful! We even had traditional Korean lunch and dinner. It wasn’t too bad!
So that was our long day of traveling. We are so happy with how smooth every thing has gone so far and were really blessed with such a great travel day! Thank you all for your prayers!
~Val and Tyler