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On September 14 we began our extremely long trip home from Korea. We started the morning out early, meeting up with some friends at our favorite jimjilbang (Korean bath house). It was rainy and dreary outside, but it felt so refreshing to start our long day of traveling feeling so clean and relaxed! After saying goodbye we walked over towards our favorite Kimbap Nara (24 hour diner that serves cheap and comforting traditional Korean food). On our way Eric exclaimed how wonderfully fresh and clean he felt, moments before a car sped through a massive mucky rain puddle, completely drenching him from head to foot. It was sad, but after a while kind of hilarious. We picked up some Kimbap, then headed home for some last minute packing. …And playing with our video doorbell:

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By the way, everything is a lot more difficult in the rain.

We hailed a taxi who then dropped us at the mall in Yawoori. The bus station is below the mall, and we had to drag our heavy bags, making multiple trips, through the rain along the courtyard to the mall entrance. From there it was again multiple trips into the mall and elevator, then multiple trips from the elevator to our gate. It wasn’t until we were on the bus that we could relax a little and begin to dry off.

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(Rice fields between Cheonan and Seoul.)

The bus trip from Cheonan to the Incheon International Airport near Seoul is around an hour. Once there we were able to grab a baggage cart, exchange money, check in, discover we’d be charged an extra $100 for each extra bag (not super thrilled about that), go through security, and finally get to our gate. We boarded around 5:00 and discovered that not only were we both in the very center two seats in a row of ten (so, as squished in as we could possibly be), but also that, unlike our flight to Korea, we didn’t have our own personal TV. I agree, it’s not really something worth complaining about. But after such an amazing and relaxing trip on our way to Korea, I guess we were just expecting better. And despite the flight being over 10 hours long and across our night, neither of us found sleep. By the time we arrived in San Francisco we’d been awake for close to 24 hours. Eric was doing a lot worse than I was.

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Then, our flight was delayed. Well actually, we were sharing a gate with an earlier flight that was delayed. And delayed. And delayed. Finally they switched us to another gate. And it was still delayed. We ended up being only about 2 hours delayed, but it seems a lot longer when they keep telling you “maybe 15 more minutes”. Also, once our plane landed in San Francisco they pulled off the quickest turn around I’ve ever seen to get all of us on and back in the air again!

And the views were amazing. San Francisco is seriously gorgeous to fly over, and as we neared Vancouver the mountains looked like the backs of great whales streaming through the wispy clouds. This was my first trip ever the the West Coast and I was already seriously loving it.

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We finally touched down in Vancouver, collected our bags, and met up with my parents and little brother Nic, who’d been waiting in the airport for hours because of our delayed flight. They were the reason for our Vancouver detour before heading home. My mom just started classes for her Master’s at Trinity Western University in Langley, BC. They’re renting an adorable cottage not far from the school. And my brother Nic has just begun classes there as well as a transfer for his undergrad. Once at their cozy little cottage Eric & I forced ourselves to stay awake a few more hours, at least until 9:00, in hopes that we could beat the jet lag. We’d been up for around 33 hours, and we were so glad to finally be in BC.

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