I have arrived.  After a very, very, very, very long day of waiting and sitting on planes and buses, I finally arrived in Fukuako where I hugged my very pregnant daughter and have the first opportunity to feel that little person kick up a storm!  It brought the whole grandma experience into real life.

I started my trip on Monday morning with the alarm going off at 5:00 am, which probably shouldn’t be all bad, but I had only crawled into bed around 2:00 am.  Jerry took me to the airport where everything went smoothly and we even had time for a Tim’s while we waited for me to board.

I arrived in Vancouver around 9:00 am and my flight to Osaka was to leave at 1:05 pm.  I saw Starbucks and decided I needed breakfast so purchased a Mocha and a Yogurt Parfait!  Enjoyed the yogurt, but after a couple of sips on my Mocha, I promptly dumped it on my Cream Jacket and beige skirt…great way to start the trip looking cool and professional.  I threw out the Mocha, as I was very exasperated, and headed to the washroom to do some washing.  I finally got my jacket fairly clean and my skirt…I took off my jacket but washed my skirt while wearing it!!!!  I then spent the next hour drying my jacket under the hand dryer and also my skirt without removing it!!!  What a wonderful way to start my trip!  I go to Gate 54 from which my plane is to depart.  I check the Departure Monitor and see it is delayed to 3:25 pm.  Hurrah…just what I wanted, a few more hours in the Vancouver Airport Terminal!  It ended up my flight didn’t leave until 6:00 pm, which was going to make it very tight to catch my connecting flight in Osaka.  Had a great window seat in the exit aisle, but did have to take a lesson on how to open the exit door if the plane crashes.  Believe it or not, we had great service from Air Canada…free pillow, blanket, 2 hot meals, cookies, snacks…it was amazing.  Got a little sleep on the flight, but was very worried about my connecting flight as I also had to go through customs and immigration, pick up my checked luggage, and get it over to the other airline to catch my flight to Fukuako.  The flight attendant said there would be people waiting right outside the aircraft to help me.  Well she was right!  I couldn’t believe the service I received from the flight people.  I went to talk to one of the agents and she had my name, connecting flight, how much luggage I had, and the running began.  She connected me with another agent who then told me how to get through customs and immigration.  It usually takes a long time, up to a couple of hours, but I was through in less than 15 minutes.  When I came through the doors from customs, there was my agent again, and both my checked bags were standing ready for me.  She said follow me, and then the race began, she pulled one of my suitcases, and I ran carrying the other two.  I had promised my friend Lesley Ayerst that I would take some stuff for her sister who lives close to Osaka, as I would have lots of time between flights to meet her.  I figured there was no way I would even see her, but as I am running across the lobby of the terminal, I hear my name called, and there is Bobby.  I didn’t have much time, so the stuff I had for Bobby I emptied on to the floor, she gave me a couple of packages, and then I kept running, including a flight of stairs.  We get to the Gate and the agent says, do you have your boarding pass…I said I think you have it…however, when I checked my passport there was my boarding pass.  I went through security and was ushered to a bus that was supposed to get me to the plane on time.  The bus left the terminal at 7:40 and our flight leaves at 7 :45 pm.  In the end I made it, exhausted and stressed, but I was on the plane.

Tamara was waiting for me in Fukuoka and it was awesome to hug my very pregnant daughter, who said it would be best to leave the picture taking for the next day, as I looked a little worse for wear!!!  We had to wait for the bus to leave at 10:30 pm.  I sat in the front, but most of the time, my head was bouncing around as I kept falling asleep.  We got into Sasebo at 12:15 am and we drove home in Tamara’s blue Civic.  I went to bed aat 12:45 am…slept until 8:00 am…got up with a headache so took some Extra Strength Tylenol, Gravol, Granola bar, crawled back into bed and slept until Noon.

We did some touring today.  It is an absolutely beautiful, awe inspiring, location.  Built around, up and down, on hills, that are lush and green, with water everywhere.  Canals running through the City.  Small City by Japan’s standards, but very beautiful.  It was overcast today and the temperature was beautiful.  Very humid, from my perspective, Tamara said it was good today, but moisture covered most of my body today.

Hard to believe that I am on the other side of the world.  Tamara and Benny’s house is very Japanese, with all the doorways being less than 6 feet.  When  Jerry gets here he will have to be perpetually ducking to save himself from hitting his head.  They have a beautiful Japanese garden around their house.  Lots of spiders outside, and we had a funny “something” on our kitchen ceiling tonight,  but so far so good!

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