Wednesday, February 5, 2014

November/December Updates

I know...I's been ages since I've updated the blog.  No particular reason, I guess it just got away from me.  

So here's what you've missed...

By November, school was good and crazy!  I took over teaching 4th grade and quickly remembered what it was like being a classroom teacher.  I have to say that the transition wasn't so bad as I have a lovely class of 5 students (2 girls and 3 boys) and an awesome teammate.  Nevertheless, it was certainly time for a quick getaway to Mai Chau Lodge for the weekend for a little fresh air and greenery.  

 Beautiful mountain views
 The view from the mountain cave across from the lodge
 Some much needed rest and relaxation away from Hanoi
 Some of the locals we passed along the way
 The dirt road we traveled on our bicycle tour of the area

Bring on the holidays!  School ended on Friday afternoon at 3 and I was on the first plane home at 11 PM to spend 3 weeks with my family and friends.  Three airports and 25 hours later I touched down at JFK and was thrilled to be back in the USA.  Call me crazy, but two days later I was on yet another flight, this time to TX to pick up my nephew and fly back to PA with him so my sister wouldn't have to fly with both babies.  He was such a good little traveler.  

 A little juice...
and he was sleep before takeoff! 

The next few weeks were busy with Christmas shopping, holiday parties and way too much food!  By the time Christmas Eve rolled around, everyone was home and together for Christmas.  

 Jacob helping with the lights for the tree...yes it was as crazy as it looks
 Helping Mimi decorate the tree
 After several tries, this was the best one
Christmas morning!  Two little Santa's, neither of which wanted to cooperate for the camera!

After five months of cabs and walking everywhere, I was beyond excited to drive my car!!  Oh, how I miss getting behind the wheel anytime I want, adjusting my own heat and listening to what I want on the radio.  It was absolutely blissful!  First stop...the salon for a much needed haircut!  Thank you Erin! 

After lots of visiting with family and friends, it was time to head back to Hanoi :(  While it was sad to say goodbye to everyone again, I was excited to head back to my apartment and to get back into my Hanoi routine.  Little did I know, what an ordeal it would be.  When I booked my ticket flying in and out of JFK...I'm not sure what I was thinking.  Winter travel in and out of JFK can be tricky depending on the weather and sure enough we had a major storm the night before I was scheduled to fly out.  Of course, I checked the flight status before we left home and it was still listed as on time.  By the time we got to the airport (4 hours later, what should have been a 2 hour trip), the flight was delayed!!  Go figure!  Three hours later, I was finally checked in and the waiting began.  "Attention passengers of Korean Flight whatever, this announcement is to inform you that your flight has been delayed!  (No kidding!!)  Our new departure time will be 8PM!"  Needless to say, 8 PM came and went and I was still sitting at JFK.  Thank goodness for airport bars and credit cards!  By 11PM, the plane was boarded and we finally took off. Of course, you know that this means that I would miss my connecting flight in Seoul and despite my best attempts to find out any information before leaving, no one seemed to know when I might be able to get out.  By the time we landed in Seoul, I had been rescheduled on a flight to Hanoi the next evening, which meant a stay over in Seoul.  Korean Air was absolutely amazing, they rescheduled flights, made arrangements for my luggage to be stored, put me up in a hotel and paid for all meals and transportation.  Not too shabby!  I've been very spoiled traveling internationally...if I had have been stuck in the states, I would have been spending the night in the airport.  65 hours later I arrived back in Hanoi, just in time for work on Monday. 

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