Friday, April 15...
I spent the day packing and spending time with the kids. I dind't have a lot left to do, so I would work on a few things, then stop, grab a child, and sit in the rocking chair snuggling with said child. It was a nice way to spend my last hours before boarding a plane for South Korea.
Funny how sometimes you just want a quiet moment, well that day, I just wanted to hold and play with my kids as much as I could. I hadn't even left yet and I was already missing them desperately.
After some teary goodbyes from my kiddos, we loaded up all 4 giant suitecases and two carry-on's and left for the airport. I could't believe the good fortune we were having with rush hour traffic. We never really slowed down much and made it there in record time. Un-benownst to me...the good fortune was about to run out.
And run out it did!
Our American Airlines flight to Chicago had been cancelled. Cancelled! We have a 1 hour flight to O'Hare and a 14 hour flight to Seoul...and the first leg got cancelled! The weather was bad in Chicago and flights were being delayed on every airline...except American who just up and cancelled all of theirs instead. The lady at the ticket counter begged and pleaded, but every other airline was already overbooked and we just weren't going to get out on any major airline n St. Paul. We found a flight on Southwest Airlines that was still flying (although delayed) to Midway Airport in Chicago. The only problem....we still have to buy two tickets for the flight, they wouldn't let us do it over the phone, and it's at the other terminal in St. Paul. The ticket agent gives me a hug and says "Get going...you might just make it afterall!"
So I grab two suitecases, Kris (Jason's mother who had been our ride to the airport) grabs one, and Jason grabs one...and we all start running. With tears welling up in my eyes and my body shaking from all the stress and adreneline, we booked it out of that terminal.
We ran out into the parking ramp all the way to the end...no truck! Where's the truck?!? Where's? The? TRUCK?!? Kris realized that it was on the 2nd level...not the 3rd where we stood. I was pretty sure that I was going to throw-up on my shoes at that very moment.
Instead of going all the way back to the terminal, Jason decides that he is just gonna take his chances and run down the sprial ramp (yes, where cars go UP to enter into the next level for parking...and yes, where there is only room enough for a car to get by and not a human body running frantically by). Kris and I waited...and waited...and waited. By now I was barely holding it together. I wanted to scream. I was living a nightmare...wanting and needing so badly to get to Korea and nothing was working. After what seemed like an eternity, we saw the truck come up the spiral...only to see it not get off on the 3rd level! What was going on?!? It was like a cruel joke...watching the truck...so close and yet so far away. Then we saw Jason drive down the other spiral...this one didn't have any access to the 3rd level either! The truck came, the truck left, and we still were stranded on the 3rd level.
15 min. had just ticked by. We were losing time. The flight was departing in less than 1 hour and we still had to get to the airport, still purchase tickets, and still get on that blasted plane! If we even could get to the airport, get last minute tickets, and get on that
30 minutes later, we heard Jason yelling from below. I looked over the concrete barrier of the sprial to see him waving me down. Yes, down. The same UP spiral that he had run down. Seriously. I'm not a risk taker...and those of you that know me well know this about me. I had just seen a police car zoom up that spiral moments ago. Drivers coming up are NOT expecting a person coming the opposite way...it was a recipe for a disaster of epic proportions! Not to mention I still had 2 carry on's, 4 big rolling suitecases, and a mother-in-law in tow.
But my husband...he wasn't messin' around. "GET DOWN HERE!" And when Jason puts his foot down, you don't question the usually easy-going, calm, and controlled man. You do what he says and you do it at lightening speed.
The ticket agent at Southwest was very helpful and due to our plight, didn't even charge us for the extra two suitcases that are usually not free on any domestic flight. We got through security, got to the gate, then were told we didn't have boarding passes yet and needed to stant in that line. You know the line...the one that doesn't seem to move and has a ridiculous amount of people in it. Yeah. that one.
We had moved to the front at what seemed like a turtle's pace. The lady said "next!" and I moved. Except that an older lady budged in front of me, gave me a look of death, and said "I have been waiting a very long time!" And knowing that I was ready to karate chop her if she said another word, I moved back so I wouldn't be in striking distance. I'm guessing they wouldn't have let a woman on the plane who had just attacked another passanger. So...even though I wanted to let her know just exactly what I had been through, I let her go ahead of me.
We got our boarding passes about a minute (seriously) before we had to board the plane. Yes, it was that close. And they weren't waiting for nobody. That plane was already late, and once it arrived in Minneapolis, they turned it around so fast to board it and get it in the air, that they hadn't even cleaned the plane (at all) from it's previous flight that had literally just landed minutes before.
Miraciously, the flight took off and we were in the air. One hurdle down. But would we make it in time to make our connecting flight? The one that would ultimately bring us to our sweet Cora?
Second hurdle: We were landing at Midway Airport and our connectcion was at O'Hare...40 minutes away.
The flight landed and we booked it to baggage claim...knowing every minute was precious. Current plan: Grab bags, jump in cab, rush to O'Hare and try to make our flight. We stood right where the bags would come out, making sure we were the first to pick them off as they came out. 5 minutes, 10 minutes...the carousel wasn't even moving! 15 minutes, 20 minutes....still no bags. What was going on?!? Not a single suitecase had come out of the shoot! Honestly, I was on the verge of a breakdown. I was stressed, tired, and feeling not very hopeful at this point. To top it off, it was now well after 10pm and I hadn't had anything to eat since before we left for the airport many hours ago. And again, those of you that know me, know that I need my food!
After 30 minutes of waiting for our luggage, the carousel started turning. Get this: our four bags were in the first 8 bags that appeared. Thank God for that miracle! We grabbed them and ran outside, threw them in the trunk of a cab, and raced off. Our cab driver...well, I'm just glad that we got in his cab. He drove 80mph in a 55 mph zone...and at times maxing out at 85mph. He got us to O'Hare in record time. We were able to get our luggage checked, clear security, and get to our gate in time. Second hurdle down.
Third hurdle: So many flights had been delayed getting into Chicago...was our flight even going to make it out of O'Hare? Or were we going to be delayed or maybe even grounded? We waited and then the voice came over the loudspeaker: "Ladies and Gentlemen...we would like to begin boarding for Flight 235 with service to Seoul, South Korea." Oh sweet words to my ears!! We got on the flight, got settled in our seats, and I was asleep before the plane even left the tarmac.
I am now typing from my hotel room in Seoul. Enjoying the beautiful view out my window. It's only 6am here, but Jason and I slept a giant portion of the night. Which is amazing considering the jetlag and fact that our bodies really aren't adjusted to this time zone yet. We took a nap yesterday afternoon, went to bed at 7pm, and woke up this morning at 5am.
Oh..and that police officer I saw fly up that spiral ramp back at the airport? Well...come to hear Jason's side of the story...and I have a sneaking suspicion that the Officer was looking for my husband. Apparently, while I was waiting on the 3rd level, Jason had run up and down the spirals 4 times trying to figure out a way to get to the 2nd level where the infamous truck sat parked. Let me remind you again, they spirals are not made for people to be on them. At. all. And I won't mention any names, but there apparently was a crazy guy in a truck who, when dumped out into the parking ramp exit area (where you pay and leave the terminal) was honking at people, waving them to get out of his way, backing up into oncoming traffic, jumping the curbs and driving on the sidewalks, and trying to driving UP the DOWN spirals.
It truely is a miracle that we are in Seoul right now...and I give God all the glory for He is Good!
"I sought the Lord and He answered me, He delivered me from all my fears." Psalm 34:4