Thursday, November 4, 2010

The journey that started with a heart attack

We spent the night at Em and Mike's house on Monday night in order to have a shorter trip to the airport in the morning.  It was really nice to have one last night with them, and to let the cousins play, even if it was just for a short time.  Carla came over to see the kids one last time after she was done setting up for the elections.  Mike got up at 3-something so that we could leave for the airport by 3:45am....we ended up leaving right at 4.  The drive down Capital and 540 was so nice because of the lack of the notorious Triangle traffic!  Thanks Mikey for being so awesome!

Once we got to the airport we tried to check the bags at the curb but found out that they only check international bags inside, so the nice porter took all of our 6 suitcases and 2 duffel bags inside for us while Mike and I parked the cars- Mom stayed with the bags.  Once we got inside with the kids Mom had been talking to the lady at the counter, and the lady looked at me and said "You can't go to Korea without a visa unless you have return travel plans".  I said "What? She has a return ticket!". (thinking she was talking about Mom)  But she said "No, YOU can't travel to Korea, the Korean government won't let you in without a visa, unless you already have a return flight booked.  You can't stay longer than 90 days".  HEART STOPPED.  I said "That's not what I was told, I was told we could get our visa once we got there.  Can I just deal with them when I get there?".  She just stood there with a sour look on her face shaking her head no.  Then she mumbled something about not having orders and I said "We HAVE orders!".  Now- what I meant was....(insert reason for lying to this woman's face HERE)....I meant that I had Marshall's orders with me, and our names are on them.  His orders say he are unaccompanied, but they say we are his dependents.  I had emailed the Korean consulate in Washington DC months ago to find out if we needed to get our A-3 military dependent visa ahead of time, and was told that YES we could get it ahead of time, but also had 30 days once we arrived in the country to get it.  So, rather than do all the paperwork ahead of time and have to ship our passports to DC and pay $45 each to get them, I decided to wait until we got to Korea.

As soon as I said we had orders the woman's demeanor changed instantly- we got our boarding passes, checked out bags and got the H3LL out of there.  The woman didn't even read the orders, she just glanced into my notebook to see that I actually had them.  Mom said "Oh, I'm sorry!  I thought you didn't have orders!"  and I said "No, we do!  Mom, you aren't allowed to answer any more questions *smile*!!!".  Mom felt so bad for scaring the piss out of me, but the truth of the matter is- she was telling the truth, and I hadn't warned her ahead of time.  I knew what I was going to have to say in order to get to Korea Non-Command Sponsored, and I also knew that people do it all the time.  All we had to prove was that we are military dependents and we will be granted the visa.  However, after that episode I started to become worried that something would happen upon arrival to Korea.

We had a very short wait before we got to board the plane in Raleigh.  Mike came through security with us, which was SO helpful!  If you are military you are allowed to be accompanied to the gate, so he was given a gate pass by the ticket agent and allowed to stay with us until we left.  Maddox gave him big hugs before we headed down the gangway.  I was so glad that I got a big stroller bag for our Phil & Ted's Sport, because it held the second seat, baby seat attachment, and roll bar all together.  We dropped off the stroller and boarded the plane and Maddox began to charm the flight attendants.  :)  There was no hope of her going back to sleep!

We left Mdx in her pajamas for the first flight since it was so early.

Mav just chilled, he was so easy-going!

Mdx with our plane in Detroit right before we boarded.

To be continued.......

No comments: