Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Vacation Photos - Part 4

We had planned to leave Crescent City Thursday morning and spend the afternoon, evening with family, have all day Friday with family and fly out Saturday. That was not to be. By the time we arrived back in Eugene on Thursday night we only had time to check in, find dinner and let everyone know we were in town. 

Friday morning Michael and I shared in a Senior Class at New Hope Christian College. The class is "Ministry Integration" and we were to share how all we learned in college integrates with our current ministry. Michael had the bulk of that - my job was comic relief. "I'm a 1986 graduate," says which I added,"...and I'm a 1986 drop out." We shared the classes and such that we found most beneficial. I shared about the passion of Professors and how THAT impacts my current ministry. They asked questions and it was a fun time in all. 

Krista had a two hour window without classes. Michael left for lunch with his endorser (and I hated to miss that visit but Krista tops John on my list ::blush::) and to run a variety of errands he had in mind. The younger set and I hung out with Krista. Then Arielle and Jared spent the afternoon in classes  Krista (Biblical Foundations) and BreAnne (Drama). 

The littles (who aren't so little any longer.....::sigh::) and I went shopping for some Newman O's, Annie's treats and such to bring back to Japan. Yes, we tried to bring a suitcase of organic food again - praying THIS time it wouldn't be stolen in Seattle. ::snort::  Then we headed over to my Mom and Dad's for a final, afternoon visit. It was a good visit. Eventually, Bre, Jared, Arielle and Michael joined us. Then we had to zip back to campus to pick Krista up when she was off work. 

We went to dinner at Carl's Jr. This was Nolan's dream and one we'd avoided...but what a shock! That chain has changed. There were giant salads, hand breaded chicken, awesome shakes, waffle sounds like Chick Fil A. They even brought us food and drink refills. Josiah assures me they have not merged the companies. LOL 

We come home and played games, tried to think of what was to come next, circled up and prayed. The girls had a field trip at 7:30 a.m. on Saturday. We were leaving to pick up a rental car and head to Seattle to catch the airplane Saturday night. 

Ever played Big Doggies? It's a great game. 

Taboo was fun too - and all kept their competitive sides in check. 

Mom and Dad met Mike Saturday a.m.  at my brother Will's. We stored the van and they drove him over to the hotel to pick me up. Mom stayed with the kids and Dad drove us to pick up our two full sized cars. At the shop the Hertz man told he he was really sure we'd fit in a mini-van he had. Toyota Sienna. I like these things......7 passengers (it can fit 8), 8 suitcases and 7 back

It did take Dad and Mike a bit of work to get the jump seat set up front. 

We all fit.....

When the gray clouds clear the Pacific NW really is breathtaking.

We sat at the airport from 5:30 p.m. to 12:23 a.m. when we were told that you really CAN'T fit 80 people in 20 seats. Not sure why it took this long to figure this out.....and the plane was broken down again any way and wouldn't be flying for 14 - 24 hours - though we didn't have a seat. 

We networked with the W family, who shared our plight. We all ended up at the Clarion Inn - $65 a night.... around 1:30 a.m. We then had to book flights - chose the same flights through Vancouver and on to Tokyo and Misawa. I recommend One Travel for your quick, online, travel needs.  We hit bed around 3:00 a.m. The boys slept in Sunday - until around noon.  The girls and I were ready to go find a Denny's but had no car etc. When we opened the curtains at noon we discovered a Denny's across the parking lot. ::snort::

We jumped on the free shuttle and went to South Center Mall for a couple of hours, ordered pizza in and then played games. Michael and I both bought travel games at the mall.

Outta Gas - like Rush Hour

Monday a.m. we headed for the airport again. They weren't so sure that they'd let Mike travel. They did. Then at the gate the boarding agents weren't so sure Mike should fly - we educated - he did. In Canada the flight attendants sent us all to the wrong immigration - continuing flights do NOT have to go through the one spot. This lady  informed us they should have given us JAL boarding passes in SEA (but we were on AK Airlines).....we talked our way through....went to the counter and got boarding passes. Mike had to talk his way on to the plane again without a passport. Military men on orders fly on we went to board the plane they stopped us. This time they were concerned that the kids and I didn't have visas to stay longer than 3 months in Japan. We explained, again, about SOFA....we don't need visas - showed them the stamps from Japan....showed them my nifty multiple re-entry stamp.....they still made us wait to get final I wondered if Mike would make it and we'd stay in Canada.  We all got on. In Tokyo we had NO TROUBLE AT ALL with Mike's lack of passport or our lack of VISAS - they UNDERSTAND SOFA (status of forces agreement). LOL 

We left at 9 a.m. on Monday and arrived in Misawa at 7 p.m. Tuesday night. Shew.....Was space A worth it? Yes!!! Even with the added night in the hotel and paying one way saved us $5,000.00. We couldn't afford to go home without it. It hurts to have to pay that $5,600 for tickets....but it sure is better than 10K. LOL 

One mishap on the trip home is my ipad. Stacia was playing games with it, hit turbulence, she dropped it and the power button was sheared off. Apple is sending a new ipad to the girls. I sent my old ipad to them and we'll swap. I'm praying I can get all my kindle ap books to load on the new one.....

I find myself really glad to be home. I feel like I lost October and November - not really lost them - just lost my normal routine and connections. Hard to explain...but I'm looking forward to being home, reconnecting with friends, school and decorating for Advent/Christmas. 

Yesterday, we picked up mail, groceries and Michael and I went on a date. Today, I was supposed to be at MOPS - but we can't find my car keys. We're we're doing laundry, catching up on some regional PWOC stuff I need to do, playing games and relaxing another day. Actually, I've been up since 1 a.m. and I'm going to go to take nap. It's good to be home. 

I loved Kristine's comment when this posted on FB and thought I'd add it here, "Whirlwind trip, whirlwind travel, your life is a whirlwind of blessings!" 

Choosing Joy!
©2010 D.R.G.
~Coram Deo~
Living all of life before the face of God...


Kim said...

It's cool to hear that Japan has become home!

Renee said...

we own an 8 passenger Toyota Sienna.Love it.... we travel in it all the time and stuff fits... glad it worked for you

Renee said...

Japan understands SOFA because it's their agreement with the US... each SOFA is different - I doubt we have one with Canada as we don't have installations there.... I talked to dh and he always used his personal passport for personal travel. Then he usually used his ID and copy of orders for re-entry into his assignment nation. Glad Mike was able to talk his way through....

Linda said...

Greg's cousin has a Sienna. It is NICE!

Jen Guyer said...

Did you make it home with the organic food? :-) All your Kindle books should be stored on Amazon on your Kindle account and will just sync right back.

Anonymous said...

bet Tony/Smy could help you if you both were in the same state. :):):) So glad lyou are home. Praying all goes well with the transfer of Ipads and your information. love/prayers - Mom T.

Lois said...

What a trip! I'm glad you made it home (to Japan) safely. Did you all opt for the full body scan, or the pat down? LOL

De'Etta @ Choosing Joy said...

Renee - it all became muddled as we were not traveling TO Canada...didn't even have to go to their immigration we were traveling TO Japan and were in keeping with STATUS....and did EXACTLY what we are told to do by our commanders on our base. BUT from now on, Mike will not follow those directions. LOL

De'Etta @ Choosing Joy said...

Kim - Yes, Japan is HOME! God help us when we have to uproot from here....that is a serious prayer.

De'Etta @ Choosing Joy said...

Jen - YES!!!! Looks piddling when you put it on the shelf...but you know.

Will all the kindle go back on an ipad - as I don't have a kindle but a kindle ap?

De'Etta @ Choosing Joy said...

Lois - neither were necessary....though the man in front of me got the treatment. I guess they figured no terrorist would be dumb enough to travel with 5 kids and thus call much attention to self. ::snort::

When I was pregnant I was patted down many times and that was 5 years ago. LOL

mel said...

I love hearing stories of your family priorities - and that includes storytelling, photos, and games as much as possible. You encourage many, to the glory of God!