Last summer, Tim and I were watching DVDs from Devoted and I knew that I wanted to come home and go to the conference in person for 2017. Two years is a long time to keep Clarissa away from the grandparents anyway.
The obstacle was paying for the flights. But I got around that by signing up for two airline credit cards. The sign on bonuses gave us enough points to pay for my and Clarissa’s flights. While we definitely saved money this way, I don’t necessarily recommend this method. The flight times were not what I would have chosen.
We took the train from Daegu to Incheon Airport in Seoul. Thankfully we made a new friend on the train which made getting on and off the train with a stroller, suitcase, and 3 year old so much easier. Plus we had a friend to eat dinner with at the airport. They had a cool play area to teach about an emergency water landing.
We had an overnight layover in Dallas so we booked a hotel. Jet lag is always interesting and Clarissa slept about 6 hours on the flight so we only slept from about 9pm – 1245 am.
We had chickfila at the Dallas airport and then flew to Philadelphia. Clarissa was disappointed that there wasn’t a TV on the plane but she did very well.
She fell asleep on the next flight before we got to the runway. We were second in line to take off when they closed the Philadelphia airport. I was glad that Clarissa slept because the plane shook a lot during the storm. I think she would have been scared. Plus it was fun to have her snuggle/sleep on me. She is so tall now that she doesn’t really fit easily anymore.
By the time we arrived in Norfolk, she had been asleep 5.5 hours so she was ready to play. That made for some fun playtime with Grammy and Pappy before bed. She eventually kicked me out of the bed at 4am because she wanted Grammy instead.
Sunday was fun. My sister and her husband came over to celebrate my dad’s birthday. Clarissa was so tired that she fell asleep sitting up while playing behind the couch at 4pm and slept until 6am the next morning.
On Monday we headed to the Virginia Aquarium. It was pretty cool in that most of the plant and animal life is indigenous to Virginia. There are two buildings with a pretty cool nature walk in between. Clarissa loved it. Then we checked some things off my bucket list with trips to the Full Cup, chickfila, and Target. Clarissa tried to play in a fountain outside and was very confused when we explained that in America, you are not allowed to play in fountains like in Korea.
On Tuesday, we headed to the Virginia Zoo. Apparently there is a storytime every Tuesday at 11am called Zoo Tales. It was pretty cool. They read two books and Clarissa was able to touch a leopard gecko. I think if we still lived in Norfolk, we would attend regularly.
After the zoo, we went to the Book Exchange for some free books and then headed back to my parents’ house to see my two aunts that came to town. Clarissa took a little nap so she lasted until 5pm that day.
Wednesday one of my girlfriends drove up from Raleigh. We went to Mt Trashmore for a walk and then had a girls group reunion with some other friends at Plaza Azteca and Starbucks. I randomly ran into one of my Kentucky girls and then had dinner with another family from KPC.
By Thursday Clarissa started asking when we would return to her homeland (Korea) to see Daddy for real (instead of Skype). She asked that question every day for the rest of the trip.
On Thursday morning, we had a visit from another friend before we went swimming with Pappy. Clarissa really enjoyed the pool. Bow Creek Rec Center has a great kiddy pool with fountains and floats. It is also wheelchair accessible. You can pay for a day pass if you are not a member of the rec center.
Thursday night was the first time I drove this trip. It took me a few minutes to realize that I was not in Korea and therefore reasonably safe while driving before I enjoyed driving by myself while listening to the radio. I really enjoyed hearing Darlene Zschech speak for the first night of Devoted.
Friday was a full day of the the conference. As always worship was amazing and the teaching was great. In person is way better than just watching on DVDs.
During the break on Friday afternoon, I came home to see my brother in law’s sister and meet her baby. Clarissa had a great time playing with her.
Friday Clarissa also had a party with my parents. We have been in Korea for her last two birthdays so they wanted to have a Clarissa celebration.
Saturday was the last day of Devoted and I was able to visit Josie during the break. I think she remembered me and she let me sit next to her and pet her.
Saturday night we visited with an aunt and uncle that had come to see us. We also watched Hidden Figures which was an excellent movie.
Sunday morning we went to church with my parents. Clarissa looked sad during worship and when I asked her about it she said, “I want to dance.” She danced for a few songs before she got tired and fell asleep.
Then we had lunch with my family. Mom and I watched the latest Anne of Green Gables movie. It had different actors so we didn’t like it as much.
On Monday, Clarissa was invited to try a gymnastics class at the Little Gym. She absolutely loved it. She did a decent job of following directions too. The parents were even invited to participate in the last ten minutes of the class.
After class we headed to Norfolk to have lunch with Joe’s mom and grandma. Then I had a fun visit with another of my Kentucky girls and had dinner at Bangkok Garden with Shannon.
Tuesday morning we started the trek to see Tim’s parents in Pennsylvania.