Friday, October 31, 2009
What a day!! It went so fast, and yet almost in slow-mo, the way everything happened!
Brandon and Tannya drove down from Idaho, but first dropped Amelia off at Linda's (my sister, for those who don't know) in Layton.
Hyunjoo (Korean friend in my ward, and now new Primary President!) came over to help make a Korean "welcome home" sign. She had no idea how BIG this sign was going to be!! And she IS a perfectionist! ^_^ So it took a couple of hours to make the sign. The good thing was she was here when the phone rang and Kristy's voice said, "Ahn-yang, haseo!" I quickly responded with "Ahn-yang! Ahn-yang!! Oh wait! Just a minute Kristy!" I quickly handed the phone to Hyunjoo and said, "Talk to her in Korean!" Well, the next five minutes they talked and talked in Korean. I'm not sure who was happier, Kristy or Hyunjoo!
Kristy was SOOOO happy to talk to someone in Korean after she landed at LAX. She said it was very depressing when the one Elder she flew home with was greeted by his family and friends there at LAX, and she was left all alone for the next two hours. AND it was compounded by her knowing she would have another FOUR HOUR layover in SLC before she got home. Little did she know. . .
As we were talking, I texted Amelia (Kristy's sister) in Layton and said, "I'm talking to Kristy right now. She asked to talk to you. I told her you were in town getting some groceries for me...she's going to be calling you!! LIE!"
And so it went. . .Kristy thought Amelia was at the grocery store, but she was really getting ready to meet Kristy at the SLC airport! Sure enough, about 3:30 p.m. Linda dropped Amelia off at the airport...but the plane had already landed!! Amelia dashed through security, her boarding pass in hand, quickly found a sister missionary who happened to be heading out to France on HER mission, and asked her to video the upcoming meeting.
Amelia quickly put on her very stylish, short, black-haired wig (I had bought it a couple of months ago) and started to "mingle" with some other people, just in the nick of time!! Kristy came off the plane, saw Amelia -- didn't recognize her -- and thought, "Wow, that girl's haircolor does NOT go with her complexion!!"
However, when "that girl" stood in Kristy's way and kept looking directly at her, recognition donned on Kristy!! She dropped her bags and threw her arms around her sister!! She couldn't believe it!! (It helped when Amelia pulled off the wig and Kristy saw it really was Amelia!)
With a four hour layover, they had time to get something to eat (a man from Cedar bought Kristy's lunch for her when they were in line!), look at pictures, talk, and even spend time in the bathroom trying to clean up and get presentable.
Now, flashback to Santa Clara...
At the same time this adventure was going on in Salt Lake, we were having our own "adventure!" Dallin had gotten home from school a little early, so I suggested he go pay his "homecoming debt" before he answered the girl who asked him to Sadies. So he did...but while Brandon, Tannya, Natalee and I were working on the "popcorn box", I got a phone call from Dallin. I thought he was at the bank, close to the store, so I said, "Hey Dal, you're going to need some more popcorn." He said, "Mom, that's not why I'm calling." I could hear something in his voice, so I asked, "What happened...?" Yep, he had been in a wreck!! I asked if he was hurt, who's fault it was, and what happened. BLAST!!! Another car "totalled!!"
I quickly went down to the high school (it happened with all the traffic that occurs when school gets out...a sudden stop by the car ahead, and not looking at the wrong moment...suddenly the front end of his vehicle was under his windshield!) This was NOT what I had really thought of happening this particular day, but, oh well!! At least Dallin was okay (sore where he hit his head and his knee, in spite of his seatbelt, depressed at the loss of his car, and embarrassed that the WHOLE studentbody drove by and witnessed his smashed up car); and a year from now this will just be a funny memory!!
After that, time went by rather quickly and 8:45 p.m. saw us heading off to the airport, leaving our BIG (4' tall and 25' long) sign staked on the lawn and lit up by two floodlights borrowed from McPhersons.
We had also made a fairly large sign that said "Welcome Home, MOGLI!!!" to hold up at the airport.
When the plane landed NOBODY wanted to hold the sign...except for the OTHER sign that the kids had made which was about 2' x 2' that said, "WORD." Do YOU understand that sign???? What a strange family we have!!!
I was wearing a Hangbok (traditional Korean dress, big and fluffy, but also very beautiful!) borrowed from Celeste Reed.
Jacqui Moncrief was there, so she came over to my end of the sign and said, "NO, you need to be over there...I will hold the sign!" So she grabbed my end and I kind of stood in front of that end.
Then Kristy, with Amelia videoing from behind, came through the door!! Since no one else was moving, I quickly went up and gave her a big hug. She wrapped her arms around me and we cried. But after several seconds she backed away and said, "Wait!" She stepped to the side, set her bag down, and then knelt on the floor, and did a total bow with hands and head on the floor. I am sure, in the Korean culture, that must be the highest form of honor and respect. I was touched. Then she came back and hugged me like she would never let go. I finally pulled her back and Rod came over and she hugged him for dear life, too!
Besides Jacqui, Holly and Hilary Schram were there, Mykelle and Whitnee (her husband and baby, too) came, Hans Kirchhausen, and of course Natalee and Dallin, Brandon and Tannya were there, too! The funny thing was, there were other people there who watched and watched, especially when Amelia and Kristy reenacted how everything happened at the Salt Lake airport. It was HILARIOUS!! We don't have shrinking violets in our family, and they outdid themselves in their little skit!! Flet, almost, felt like we were there!!
Kristy loved the marquees at Ben Franklins and at Dutchmans, welcoming her home.
The spotlight on the sign at our house was PERFECT. She couldn't believe the sign!!! She loved seeing all the Korean letters and started to get emotional again. (literally translated, it said, "Kristy Sister, Congratulations on return Korea Mission!")
After stopping at the house for just a second, Rod, Kristy and I drove to the church. President Graf was in New Jersey for some meetings, so Pres. Esplin met us there to release her. As we drove up the street, with Kristy saying how hard it was to leave Korea, I said, "Well, let me see if I can remember a song, 'Nahn hah nah knee may chaw knee-yo...' " Well, Kristy joined in singing "I Am A Child of God," but by the time we pulled up to the church she was a mess!!
We had a good visit with Pres. Esplin. He asked Kristy if there was one experience she would like to relate about her mission...faith promoting, growing, or some such thing... Kristy thought for quite awhile, mumbling a bit as she thought through different things, then finally said, "Well, of course there are tons of things, but I have to come back to the amazing way the Lord helped me through every single day! It wasn't just once here or there, it was EVERY SINGLE DAY that I could feel angels helping hold me up...in fact, I think I have that on my plaque..." We talked a bit more, then we had a prayer together, and then it was time for Kristy to take off her name tag. Now THAT was hard for her. I finally said, "Remember what they told us at the MTC?" She said, "Rip it off like a band-aid?" "Yep!" I replied back.
Well, she didn't RIP it off, but she quickly took it off and held it in her lap as we talked for just a minute about her earning every single thought and feeling she was having right at that moment, and even though she was no longer a full-time missionary, NONE of her experiences and love for the Korean people would be taken away.
After that we went out to the church hallway to check her plaque, and sure enough, that was the scripture she had requested! Boy! Did she ever peg that!!
What a GREAT DAY it was!! We are THRILLED to have Kristy home. It's 9:05 a.m. Saturday morning, and Kristy has already answered her first phone call FROM Korea!! Now we're eating breakfast, going for a short (3 miles) run, then taking the horses out riding! WAHOO!!!