Friday, January 25, 2013


Okay, here goes.

Pae and I have wanted to visit the States for some time now, since I moved to Thailand in fact. Six years and plans every year to buy tickets and go, but our plans get cancelled every year for some reason or another. The past three years that Pae has been employed have been nearly impossible, due to our differing schedules and vacation dates. My vacation always falls during April, but hers is just whenever she can get it. And her getting vacation involves requesting it several months in advance.

This year, Pae's vacation is requested and mine is late March to late April. The semester starts in mid May, so I may be able to take unpaid leave from school if our vacations don't overlap. This is not really much of a problem at the moment. We just don't know if Pae will be given 2 weeks or 3 weeks vacation...big difference as far as planning a trip half way around the world is concerned.

This year we are trying harder than previous years, to be perfectly honest but not doomsdayish, because Bill's health over the past two years has been very on and off with heart surgeries, etc. I haven't seen the guy in nearly TWENTY years, and I think it's time that I spend a day or two with him. I've also spent probably a total of two weeks with Mom Betsy in the same TWENTY years between BYU graduation, and a few tiny visits after I got back from Hawaii!!! Crazy when you think about it!!

When planning our trip to the U.S. I have been a little worried about not being able to visit everybody, hurt feelings, etc. But Pae and I have to be realistic and make sure we do three things 1) see Bill 2) try to enjoy our vacation while doing what we can with who we can and 3) spend quality time together, just the two of us, on what might be our last big vacation for the next 4 or 5 years. Is that selfish, I don't know. Is it what we're gonna try to do? Yes.

When we thought about visiting home, this is how the "dream" visit would have gone...***FANTASY*** Fly from Bangkok to Korea. Stop two days in Korea for food and Cherry Blossoms. Korea to Honolulu. Hike through the bamboo forests to Manoa Falls together, visit Maunawili falls, ride horses on the windward side, eat Waiola Shave Ice, L&Ls, moonlight beach walk, and now that Rae and Ro are there, visit with family for a day, high five some Marine buddies on the way back to the airport. Honolulu to NYC. Bronx or Brooklyn Zoo, Statue of Liberty, go to the place where we first met, picnic in Central Park, walk together in Central Park, the lights and frenzy of Times Square, Day trip to Niagara Falls, Day trip to Boston, Red Sox game, visit Family (Anne Marie and Auntie Judy). NYC to Florida. Visit Bill, Shark fishing or just regular fishing depending on health, Visit Mom and Katie, Tubing Ichetucknee, Disney. Florida to Utah. Visit Dad and Utah family, take Pae hiking up the canyons, too early to go to Seven Peaks probably, Hawaiian food dinner prepared by the Uda family (I'll massage the pork), Day trip to Las Vegas, night on the Las Vegas Strip. Utah to Chicago, visit Naomi's fam, Becca's fam, have a run with the family runners. Chicago to NYC. NYC to Bangkok...

Now, this FANTASY itinerary would have to cover a two to three week period, minus a day before and two days after just to be safe in case of cancelled flights or delays...Pae cannot miss her next duty after her vacation finishes and I can't miss my first days of the new school year although my employers would be more flexible on that.

This FANTASY itinerary already has 8-9 travel days or days where there are flights!!! HOLY CRAP!!! How does this work??? How can this "vacation" be anything but AIRPORT SECURITY stress, BAGGAGE CLAIM stress, CHECKING IN AND OUT OF HOTELS stress, GROUND TRANSPORTATION stress, etc. For me at least...I mean, Pae does this every day...but it's a vacation, she's supposed to be getting away from this, right? Am I sounding too negative and dramatic here? Too much TSA grabbing your junk and bell boys giving you dirty looks because you don't tip them well = grrrrrrr, no?

I dont' know.  Recently, we found out that several of the Utah sisters are meeting in Chicago in late April. This, plus hoping that Mom and Dad Utah would perhaps be able to fly out at the same time, would take Utah out of the equation, meaning that Pae wouldn't be able to meet lots of family like Auntie Dink, Uncle Bobby, pregnant and almost delivering Scar and Jake...and not sure if Sarah is going to Chitown or not? Miss some of the family and Vegas, but save a flying day and Utah days.

Florida, again, is a definite...but the amount of time that we will likely spend there is less than three days, mostly because of the travel...same with Chicago, less than three days. We want to spend most of our time in New York. I guess you can call the New York segment of our trip "our time". And again, I don't want this to sound selfish. If it is, then it is, but we have very few chances to be together and New York holds special meaning for both of us.

If Pae's vacation comes back as three weeks, I am seriously tinkering with the possibility of flying through Honolulu on the way to New York...This would cost us a little more, and finances are a factor unfortunately, but two nights in Hawaii could be a wonderful start to our vacation, and we would even get to have dinner with Rachel's family...Pae is in Honolulu about once a month, but it's all Waikiki hotel based and sleeping after a cross Pacific flight and preparing for the next cross Pacific flight less than 24 hours after she arrives. So, unfortunately, she is unable to enjoy "my Hawaii" and unable to spend time with family there who she's never met :( but are literally within touching distance. The positive about her flying to Hawaii is that she is making a "her Hawaii" and someday we will be able to share our Hawaiis with each other!! After all, my Hawaii is a 20 year ago memory, back when dialling up to Yahoo to check email took fifteen minutes and mobile phones were the size of a brick!! It's a different world these days

I feel the same about Auntie Judy and Boston...If we're in NYC, we're so close to Boston, so close...I wish we could say, "Ah, we'll visit all of the people we miss this time around next year" but again, "next year" or "next time" for us is likely around 2016-2017! I think Aunt Katy lives up in that area these days too.

Aaaaah, right now I'm just thinking out loud, but at the same time, letting many of you know where we're at in our struggle to plan our travel to the states. We wish we could see everyone we care about. I hope everybody understands that if we can't make it to your neck of the woods, it's because we just don't have enough time. And if we are able to spend time with you, but it seems like it's just a hit and run, two days only, please forgive and know that we love you but are strapped for time. We'll try to make every moment of those few days count!!

We're gonna enjoy our time away from Thailand, we're gonna enjoy meeting with family where and when we can. We're going to try to nail down an itinerary that we feel is doable without giving ourselves too much unnecessary stress. We'll update everyone as our plans come together, change, or go the other direction (knock on wood that this doesn't happen like in previous years).



mardenheyjude said...

It would take more than a few weeks to complete your "dream vacation" Speaking for myself, if you let me know in plenty of time I would fly to Florida to visit with You and Pae and I could visit with your Mom Betsy as well. It would be so very nice to meet Pae and I think you were around 6 years old the last time I saw you in person. Love always, Auntie

Beccarigg said...

Okay, can I just say that I TOTALLY can relate to you on this one! Every year since Teya turned 3 we have been dying to take her (and now Brinley and Cam) to Disneyland. It has been our dream, but every year we end up feeling guilted into using all our money and vacation to go visit family in Utah and Colorado instead because we don't' want to hurt anyone's feelings and stuff. Teya will be 7 next month and we still haven't gone to Disney. It kills me. We have seriously thought so many times, why don't we take the $2500 we're spending on plane tickets to UT and go to Disney instead! We're getting to the point where that's what we're ready to do. I think at some point you have to be a little "selfish" to make sure you're making memories with your own little family. You and Pae are hardly together, you NEED some just you time, and I can tell you from me and Naomi that we would not be offended AT ALL if you made that your priority.

Also it seems that every time we go to UT we are pulled in a thousands different directions trying to see EVERYONE. Friends from college, highschool, living legends, Uda family, Rigg family, etc... When we try to see everyone who wants to see us we end up being over-scheduled and miserable, with no down time and no time to even really enjoy the visits we've scheduled. It's so stressful trying to fit everyone in and then you feel horrible if someone got missed. So yeah, now we just say, we're going to see this person, and this person, and that's it. If other people want to see us, they can come see us, but we can' t drive all over UT, CO, and AZ to see everyone who wants to see us when we're 'in town"

Now that we've limited it it's a lot better because we can actually enjoy the visits instead of rush through them. (we still have to juggle trips between UT and CO because Taber's family has to see us, but at least we're not trying to schedule meet ups with all our friends.) Anyway, I'm just rambling, but my point is, This is YOUR vacation, and you need to do what's best for you. pinpoint the things that are most important (Chris and Pae time in NYC, Visiting Bill, etc...) schedule plenty of time to make those things happen, then if there's any extra try to add something here or there, but know that we will still love you and not be offended if you can't see all of us. :)

Hope that all made sense, it would be better in person but typing will have to do. :) Love you tons bro!

Cindy Uda said...

Boy are you stressing! This should be relaxing and fun for you guys. A time for building memories and strengthing your relationship. Where is my "Don't worry be happy" boy? No one in Utah will be offended. We all love you guys and totally Understand your situation. There will be other opportunities. I think all of your sisters will be in Chicago and will just be happy to see you even for one day. Do what's best for you and Pae. She comes first. Hope this helps. Love you both and enjoy the journey!

Naomi Hanks said...

Oh Chris! I feel the stress streaming off your fingertips! Mom is right. Don't worry, be happy! we all love you and understand your situation. If you can make it, we will be thrilled! If it is only for a few hours, we will be thrilled! If you can't make it, there will be other opportunities and more motivation for us to save up for a trip to Thailand :)

Becca is right too. Make sure to visit Bill and get some alone time in NYC. Then whatever happens is just a happy added bonus!

As for visiting Chicago, if you do make it, all your sisters WILL be here (including Sarah) and would be delighted with any amount of time we got to spend with you.

Anyway, no more stressing brother! Just make sure to make some AWESOME memories with your sweet Pae and all the rest will work itself out :) Love you!

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