A surprise visit!!

As many of you know, I made the trip back to America for a very special weekend to celebrate my grandparent's 70th Wedding Anniversary (I kept telling people it was 75 years and I got way better responses..oops). Well here's my trip in a nutshell...

1. I left my apartment and took a taxi to the subway station where I waited about 20 minutes for the airport bus to arrive
2. Rode the airport bus for 1 hour and 45 minutes to Incheon Airport (Its technically not in Seoul but on its own island) 
3. Got checked in (I totally took the priority boarding line even though I didn't qualify for it~ If you do something confidently, people generally let you do whatever you want!), went to security, immigration and then took the shuttle to the next terminal. I was a little early so I just waited around until boarding time.
4. Boarded my plane which would become my home for the next 13 hours at 5:20pm on Wednesday. We were fed three meals and given a selection of over 30 movies to choose from. Needless to say, I had no excuse to be board. I sat by the window seat and had to crawl over my seatmates anytime I wanted to get out. bummer. I made friends with the flight attendants as I usually do on those long flights and I accidentally opened the bathroom door on a guy because the door latch was broken. Oops. 
5. Arrived at Detroit at 5:30pm on Wednesday (notice the time? yea, figure out what that does to a person's body). Went through security and immigration again, found my gate and settled in for my 5 hour layover. I had to borrow a stranger's phone to let my dad know I was in the country and he was kind but wasn't too keen on my asking. What ever happened to common courtesy? Some idiot ruined it for the rest of us I guess. 
6. Boarded a smaller plane bound for Kansas City and sat next to some adorable newlyweds. At this point I was in a slightly dazed frame of mind and cannot really recall much from this part of the journey except for the gorgeous natural display of lights made my the moon reflecting on lakes and streams below. It was breathtaking. Everything else is pretty much a blur. 
7. Arrived at Kansas City and had to transfer to the terminal that my parents and sister were flying into. I had to ask another stranger for a phone and this guy was awesome. He was so helpful and it was absolutely the cutest thing! I told him I was in from Korea and that I needed to connect with my dad. It was as if you could see a visible wall of protection come up around me. He was a cop and he took watch until I reached my dad. He helped me on the shuttle, told the driver where I needed to go, talked to me the whole way and then helped me off the bus. It was such a blessing from God! 
8. Finally got to see my Dad, Mom, Jamie and Jack!!!!! It was amazing! This has been the longest I have ever been away from my family. We got the rental car, drove to my aunt's house and spent the night. Believe me, jet lag hadn't even set in yet. I collapsed from exhaustion and slept extremely well! :) 

And there you have my trip there... Can I just remind you that I did this all by myself! Yes, I am a little proud of myself. Please just humor me for a second! :) 

The next day we set out on the road trip to South Dakota. Because of all the flooding in the midwest, our normal 7 hour trip took us a good 10 hours. Not too fun but I was just so glad to be with my family that I didn't really care where I was! 
This cracks me up because Jack was actually an amazing little traveler! 

Seriously, I can get any kind of food I want in Korea...EXCEPT... Cracker Barrel! 
Dad was so sweet to make sure we found one on our trip. Believe me, I enjoyed every bite! :)

And then the surprises began!! It was so fun seeing their faces! 

Grandpa Lyle

Grandma Lois

Great Aunt Bonnie 

Great Aunt Carolyn 

On Friday I enjoyed a little daddy time on the swings :) 

I loved getting to spend some time with my nephew! 
He is a ball of energy and fun and I loved being with him for a few days! 

Game Time!!
This was about the time jetlag started to set in so while 
they were playing games, I was downing my 13th cup of coffee *joke* 
and getting one of Aunt Bonnie's famous back rubs. 

Nothing like a Midwestern Sunset

Saturday morning brought a coffee date with a best friend. We always have a fabulous time together, no matter how many years have passed since we've seen each other last. That's what true friends are made of! Oh and the moment I surprised her was absolutely priceless, but it's way funnier when she tells it! :)

Anthony Arnold~ he's practically family
(I think he has been to every Howard family reunion I know of) 

Ashlea and I catching up on life :) 

I don't really have words to express how special it was to have this weekend together. Obviously I would have loved having the rest of my family there too but I loved every minute I had with the ones I did. It was truly a fabulous weekend. 


Grandma with her youngest and oldest grandchildren 
(there's 20 years between us)

They are an amazing example of the fact that marriage CAN last, no matter what comes! 
They were so cute too! He holds on to her so protectively and lovingly. Its such a love story! 

Grandpa's sister and her kids came for the party too
(I love the way Grandma is holding on to Grandpa~ so cute) 

Some of the most amazing people I know

Grandpa and Grandma


Out of 8 children, 4 are still living
Grandma, Bonnie, Carolyn and Jack 

A trip I will never forget...

Cousins- Mike and Laura and family

Great Uncle Jack :) 

The party ended at 4pm and by 4:30, we were on the road headed back for Kansas. We drove straight through and arrived at my aunt's house by 1am on Sunday. Dad and I got up again at 3:45am to head to the airport. Dad was exhausted but made the trip with me. He's just awesome like that :) He got a security pass to go back to my gate and sat with me for about 30 minutes. Those were some pretty special minutes too! I did everything I could to hold back the tears and just enjoy the time. My mind kept going back to 4 months ago when they dropped us off at the airport and I completely lost it. I didn't want it to be that way this time and so I did what I did on my wedding day, I refused to look into his eyes :) I made it on the plane tearless, but believe me, one look and I would have been a sobbing mess.

So,  I got to spend about 30 minutes of Father's day with the most amazing man in the world. He has been my hero my entire life and still has that place in my heart. The other day Robert was putting a piece of furniture together and said "W.W.J.D"? ~What would James do? :) I laughed so hard but I think its awesome that my husband loves my dad so much. I have always been surrounded by the most amazing men in the world and I love each of them so much! So here's to the amazing men in my life:
Robert Black, James Howard, David Black, Jason Howard, Brian Taylor, 
Jeremy Howard, Fred Bauer, and Lyle Howard 

I Love you Daddy! 

~ The End~

P.S. If you're wondering about my trip home, just put it all in reverse and you get the idea:) 


Tonya said...

Thanks for sharing this, Jenny! So glad you got to spend time with your family! You made me blubber over here about your Dad going to the airport with you!

By the way, when did you grow up? Seems like you should still be tagging along after Jeremy rollerblading around campus!! Miss you in Hobe Sound!

Doug said...

So cool! I really, really wish I could have been there. Seems weird that I was coming your way while you were going mine. Thanks for the good post and the pictures!