Friday, March 2, 2012

Traveling to Korea (with a baby)

After a quick visit in Dallas with a slue of my side of the family and Owen’s brother and wife we shipped our car off and hopped on our first plane of the trip.

We left Dallas at 2pm and arrived in Seattle around 4pm (6pm Central). USO allowed us to store our seven very large bags with them, which saved a lot of trouble getting to and from the hotel. We finally settled into our hotel room around 6pm, ordered in and got a few hours of sleep. The alarm went off at 1:30am and we left the hotel around 2:15am to pick up our baggage from USO and to check-in. We then un-shamefully curled up and napped on the airport floor for a couple of hours.

The Patriot Express flight started boarding at 6:30am and took off around 7am.
The first leg of the trip to Japan was 12 hours. They played 5 movies and asked that everyone keep their windows down so it was really dark – which allowed Cooper to sleep for about half of the flight. The other half he played on, around and in front of his seat, visited other kids on the plane, watched Baby Einstein movies and walked up an down the aisle with mommy. He was an angel.

When we landed in Japan they said it would be cold - so we bundled Cooper up in his jacket and a light blanket and Owen and I wore our light hoodies. We didn't anticipate what came next – we walked out into sideways blowing snow, several feet of snow on the ground, and absolutely frigid temperatures. I held Cooper as close to me as possible and dashed down the rolling stairs, across the parking lot and into the waiting area. Um... brrr!

We landed on the military base so the terminal was just a large room with a couple of vending machines and chairs. Thankfully they also had a small kid’s play area with a few trucks where Cooper and some other kids spent the hour and a half layover.

The next leg was only a few hours but it seemed to be the most difficult – exhaustion had set-in for all of us. After boarding we put Cooper in the carseat and started giving him a bottle in preparation for takeoff and the altitude change. Problem was we didn’t actually take off for another 45 minutes on account of the plane getting de-iced but we still had to keep him buckled in his carseat. He finished his bottle but without the jostling of the plane to rock him to sleep while siting upright he was wide awake and frankly a little ticked off. This was Cooper’s 6th flight (11th if you count to and from) and he’s never fussed on one – until now. It wasn’t terrible but it was necessary to hold, rock, walk, and sing to him to hold back the wailing.

Finally, I found a set of empty seats and laid him down across two. After about 3 seconds of being able to get comfortable on his tummy he was asleep and slept the rest of the flight. For Cooper to stay comfortable I had to sit on about two inches of the front of the second seat he was laying across for the duration of the flight and gave myself a pain in the neck and back in the process – any parent can understand doing whatever is necessary to keep a crying baby asleep!

We finally landed in Osan! We sat through a quick briefing on completing the customs forms, went through customs, and claimed our baggage. Owen’s new squadron commander and Sponsor met us and helped us load and then unload our bags at the TLFs (Temporary Living Facility – or hotel room).

When we got into our room there were six pressing priorities: food, drink, Ibuprofen, shower, status update to the family, and sleep. We barely could get through the first five before falling asleep at about 7p.

We made it! We now call Osan, South Korea our home!

2 comments:

  1. See that you came up with a great name.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! Granddad helped make the final decision on the final four front runners :)

      Delete