After a year and a half of living in Busan, the week came for us to pack it all up and ship it all home.
I knew we had to take P's baby/toddler bed apart to be shipped back home, so the night before while he was sleeping, I went into his room and just sat and stared. Okay, I sat and stared at him and cried a little. I knew that this was the last time I'd have a baby/toddler bed set up in my house for the rest of my life, because I knew that we'd be getting a big boy bed for P when we moved back home. So I just sat there and reminisced about it being set up as a baby bed in our Texas house and at first in our Korea condo...that is, until the 2012 butter fiasco...and how it had served him well as a toddler bed as well. I could picture him laying in it as a newborn and now I was staring at him in it on the last night ever. So of course I grabbed my camera and took a picture so I'd never forget what his little boy body looked like all curled up under those pirate sheets. :)
The movers came four days before we flew back to the U.S., so in order to make things go as quickly and smoothly as possible with the movers (remember...there is a language barrier :) ), I separated things into sea shipment and air shipment piles. I also had to pull out all of the suitcases we'd be using to carry our stuff back to live on since our air shipment wouldn't arrive for a couple weeks and our sea shipment wouldn't arrive for possibly over a month. Let me tell you how easy peasy it is to keep two curious little boys from messing up designated piles of stuff...
Look at them the morning the movers were coming. They were standing at the doors to the balcony trying to figure out how to unlock the door to get out there and get to the stuff I had been keeping them from for days. Poor guys...
Two Korean men arrived to pack us up (they had to literally put all of our stuff in boxes themselves so they could write down what was in each box), and boy were they quick. They were in and out of our condo with all but our suitcases gone in like 4 hours. All I kept thinking was, "I sure hope the sea and air shipment stuff went the right way." But then I thought, "If not, that's okay. I'll be home at that point so I can just go buy whatever I need if it doesn't arrive the correct way." :)
Check out P watching this man like a hawk. :)
They had to weigh every box that was going air shipment, because we were only allotted a certain amount of weight. Anything over that had to go via sea shipment, which was the longer route. I couldn't believe it, but everything I set aside to be shipped via air came out to be within like 10 pounds less than our limit. Awesome!
At one point I saw P and realized he was not wearing his glasses. And he was playing in an area that was packed with stuff 10 minutes before that. Needless to say, I was freaking out trying to find his glasses and praying that he didn't drop them in a box that had been taped up already. Thank goodness I found them nearby. I wasn't looking forward to trying to explain to these men why I was cutting open the 23 boxes they had already taped up and set aside.
And just like that, the place went from looking lived in to looking like it did when we moved there a year and a half before. It was kind of sad actually. I had worked really hard to make this place seem as close to home as possible, and now we had to live in this empty place for four days.
The movers gave me "DON'T PACK" stickers to place on items that weren't going to be packed up and put in their truck. So I did. :)
It was hard to believe that our life in Busan was sitting inside this little blue truck downstairs outside of our building. And soon the two men drove it all away, and it was just me and the boys at home with the suitcases we'd be flying back with four days later. Now that was a reality check.
Here are some pictures of our last few days in Busan.
These signs were posted in the elevators in our building. The wording on them makes me laugh.
We shipped the boys' booster seats to sit at the dining room table, so we improvised with what we had for the last 3 nights. :)
The boys even got their last haircut from Soo. They didn't know this was the last time they'd see her, but I did. I hugged her a little tighter than normal that day. She'll never know what a ray of light she was for me when I was looking for a place to take my family for haircuts when we first moved there. I adored her.
This sidewalk lined with trees was my favorite part of walking to and from Soo's salon. I had to stop and snap a picture of it the last time I walked it. I remember one time I walked on this sidewalk and had to literally swerve around a woman who was burying Korean coins at the base of the trees and then praying over them on Buddha's birthday. I love when I remember those sorts of things.
The morning we were flying home, C got up, put his backpack on, and then proclaimed, "I have everything I need for the airplane." Ha! Um, I think you're missing something...
One last look at the place before we left to go to the airport. Empty. But soooo many good memories were made here in this 5th floor condo on the beach. This was the perfect home for us during our stay in Korea. :) Thank you, God, for the blessing we called our Korean home.
Two flights: First from Busan, South Korea to Tokyo, Japan.
Second from Tokyo, Japan to Houston, Texas.
Instead of breaking it up and spending the night in Tokyo as we had many times before this, we decided to just push through and get it over with all at once. It was such a good decision. The only other time I did that was when we moved to Korea, and that was based on just not knowing any better (wasn't pleasant or easy in the least). But now that the boys were a year and a half older and had been on MANY flights at this point, we felt brave enough to attempt it. Thank goodness it worked out well, even after the 2 hour flight to Tokyo, the several hour layover in Tokyo, and the 10 hour flight home from there! :)
C passed some time in the airport by untying my shoelaces. Whatever dude, as long as you're quiet and sit. :)
Check out the curling hair behind my ear...That only happens when either it's really humid or I'm sweating. Both were happening here as I wrestled to keep my 2 year old in line...we already had to chase him down and yank him back from an area he ran off to. Awesome. :)
The plane rides were a success. We had a little fussing when P was super tired and he was mad I had to go change his diaper in the teeny tiny plane restroom, but all I kept thinking was, "It's okay. Once you get off this plane to Houston you don't have to do it again. Just survive this. You can do this. We can do this." And we did. :) I was so proud of the four of us for tackling that day of traveling like pros. :)
Walking through the Houston arrival gate was always a happy moment, but this one was especially awesome. I was so happy to see my mom standing there waiting to drive us home. :)
I'd like to take this moment to thank Curious George and Scooby Doo for not only entertaining my kids on loooooong flights but also in the loooooong immigration line at the airport.
We were one tired family...
But no matter how tired I was, I managed to perk up a little when the immigration officer said, "Welcome home" and handed our passports back to us.
Music to my ears. :)