My notes said. So after realizing that no we don’t want to fly to Pusan I changed our flights to Seoul approximately 5 different phone calls later and with a slight penalty ($) later we flew to Seoul (with 3 kids, 4 backpacks, 2 luggage bags, a stroller and the two of us). The “short flight” went relatively well. Note to self…when traveling one should ALWAYS request the bassinet it seems (too bad I’m just learning that now).
Anyhow…I’m writing this to remember the chaos, the fun, the intensity we’re ignoring and to generally laugh at my mistakes.
Success 1: the invention of the travel day.
We landed an hour later than anticipated and got into the hotel around 7pm…again later than anticipated. Our free shuttle bus came with the perks of being free ie waiting game. But hey with littles, the time to run was perfect. I sat, wondered at how many people were shaming us for our kids antics but frankly…an hour bus ride with calmish kids…worth it.
Success 2: Adjusting Day
Considering no one really slept that first night (or any of the following nights)…scheduling a visit to a local palace in Seoul was a blast! It was so neat to compare architecture to our current host country called home. We spent a bunch of time on this day realizing that the KTX train (I’d followed directions but on location they couldn’t find my tickets…lesson learned…don’t rely on the internets) was largely sold out and to get to the Olympics we had to take said train. Somehow we scored THREE tickets to our location and grabbed the train. In that heightened state of concern somehow “PyeongChang 2018” meant PyeongChang train station in my mind. So we got off at PyeongChang and wondered why more people weren’t getting off. Fun fact…our events were in Gangneung and the station was called Gangneung. So luck, grace of God, amazingness, we got THREE more tickets at PyeongChang to Gangneung 40 minutes away.
Surprise 2: Wait What
Upon arrival at Gangneung station…1 hr later…Why we were being individually photographed by very aggressive photographers put us on extreme edge. George soon thereafter got an EMERGENCY ALERT in Korean on his phone….Close by there were about 100 uniformed police protecting people marching with American and Korean flags. A car drove by saying something in Korean with a sign about the political Olympics. A man was walking by with a mega phone saying something about Kim Jun-Un. Needless to say we were uneasy. Google translate on George’s phone wouldn’t work. Hastily we moved away from where we were standing and determined the emergency alert to be about fire safety (it was super dry). All was fine.
Again with the details…the distance from the train to our shared airBnB was …well it took us about an hour to go 20 minutes. When we got off at our stop, the bus announced we were at a prison. Oh ok fun. Check your location route too. A quick $2 taxi later, we piled out and arrived at our destination 2 minutes ahead of our friends.
Good, Fearless Friends:
Traveling and touring with good friends with kids was just incredibly awesome. The oh we are going to leave early so we get there with ten minutes to spare or late was just awesome. Good times, good friends. Fantastic. We enjoyed hockey, ice dance practice, Korean food (we swear we’re out of all food but somehow weren’t haha). Somehow Dabu was able to get day of tickets to see curling. That was a miracle feat in itself. Then to get six tickets together by the US curling team!!! So crazy! Our combined tribe of 4 kids did AWESOME! No real breakdowns. Ok Sweetpea decided she couldn’t walk. Elle wanted to EEEEEEE (eat) and Gretchen had a massive blowout requiring a full outfit change (sorry for that detail). The curling arena ran out of food so we eeked by on popcorn and prayed for peace. We bused home, ran to the convenience store raided their kimchi, rice and noodles and were thankful to BB for a delicious dinner….at 1am.
Other Moments of Awesome:
- You never really realize how important little details like the lack of curtains can directly impact your life. I’m pretty sure no one loved the 7am alarm clock. Thanks Elle.
- Walking back from dinner watching Elle yell “we go” every five seconds as she toddle-ran chasing after George/Sweetpea’s race…cutest minutes ever