Family · Giving Thanks · Travel


I know that I promised you a recap of my Memorial Day Week (how else am I supposed to describe it) vacation in yesterday’s post.  And yet, here I am doing this week’s installment of “Thankful Thursdays.”  What gives?

(Well, if one cannot be thankful for an amazing week of fun and relaxation, I don’t know what to be thankful for!)

Still, this week’s “Thankful Thursday” is not about my fun week-long vacation, per se.  This week I am actually thankful for the people whom I spent my vacation with.

Meet the An family!

If you haven’t figured it out already (from the photo or the title of this post), the incredibly good-looking folks standing beside the Oompa-Loompa version of me (thank you, dark blue pullover for making me resemble a short, pudgy Oompa-Loompa) are my husband’s family.

Yes…the in-laws.  I am thankful for my in-laws.

While Hollywood likes to give folks nightmares about hanging out with one’s “married into” family (shades of “Meet the Parents” and “Meet the Fockers”), in my reality, I cannot be more blessed to call these individuals my family.  We may not always see eye-to-eye, what with the cultural divide between my husbands traditional Korean family and my American leanings, but they show me much grace and love in their own way while I do my best to return said grace and love to the best of my ability.

This past week, InChul (aka “the hubby”) and I had the opportunity to show these folks just how much we love and care for them.  It’s been almost a year-and-a-half since MyungChul (my brother-in-law) has seen any of his family.  InChul’s family is quite close…much more tight-knit than my own family…and we knew that the distance (not to mention difficulty in communicating due to time difference) was taking its toll on everyone, despite the brave faces they put on.

So we decided…it was time to bring everyone together…no matter the cost!

We had already made plans with hubby’s parents to bring them up to Michigan during our Memorial Day vacation week almost a year ago.  A few months before the event, hubby mentioned to his brother that it would be nice if he could be back here to visit at the same time.  I don’t know how serious their plans were at the time, but once the time came to purchase the parents’ plane tickets, they made their plans a reality.

MyungChul took a week off of work…and bought the plane ticket to Detroit, MI.
I think InChul just about peed his pants, he was so excited. 
(I may or may not be exaggerating a teensy bit.)

So the plan was to have MyungChul fly into Detroit the Friday before Memorial Day (when the ‘rents would be coming into town).  His early arrival was partially because we wanted to surprise the ‘rents, but also because we selfishly wanted some extra time with him…just the three of us (and at times, just the two of them).

After all…we both love this guy to death…my hubby just a tad more so than me.
InChul has quite the poker face…
Twins reunited!  😀
Not letting jet lag stop us!  Shopping and FOOOOD!!
Meeting the East Lansing friends…breaking sushi…

The true highlight of the week, however, happened as we went to pick up the ‘rents on Monday morning.  Due to a series of unfortunate events, we did not arrive at the Grand Rapids airport early to surprise them as we had planned.  However, we did drop MyungChul off a ways from where they were waiting at the terminal so he could walk up and surprise them.

This is where we SHOULD have had a video of the encounter…we even had our video camera with us.  Unfortunately, my shoddy video taking skills missed the encounter, and therefore I will just have to give you a play-by-play.

  1. We meet my father-in-law at the arrivals pick-up location outside of the Gerald R. Ford International Airport (the Grand Rapids one).  He walks towards the terminal entrance to let my mother-in-law know we are here (it was a chilly day, and they are from Tampa, FL…’nough said).
  2. As the father-in-law approaches the entrance, he notices a Korean male that looks a lot like his younger son walking by…but initially takes no notice. 
  3. Commence much giggling from myself, InChul, and MyungChul.
  4. Father-in-law finally calls out his son’s name as his wife walks outside.
  5. MyungChul turns around and greets them.  
  6. Mother-in-law is shrieking and carrying on, shocked that her younger twin son is actually standing in front of her.  
  7. Father-in-law looks a bit sheepish because he didn’t recognize his own son initially.
  8. Much hugging commences.  Lots of smiling and laughing occurs.  Tears of joy are shed.
Now how much better would it have been if I actually had a video of this!  
*sigh*  Alas…
There was no denying that bringing the younger son to the States to enjoy this memorable vacation was possibly the best belated Mother’s Day/early Father’s Day gift we could have given them. 
From that point on, much merriment and recreation were enjoyed.
From Grand Rapids…
Being Memorial Day, almost everything was closed.

…to East Lansing… 

The An family’s Biggby Coffee experience
Rainy weather forced us indoors all too soon

…to Toronto…
God held back the floodgates…mostly…  😀

…to Niagara Falls… 
A lot of walking…too much walking…
We were all, like, WOAH!!
The An Family “Blue Man Group”
The Butterfly Museum…VERY friendly butterflies…

…and back to East Lansing…

I didn’t make this gif…I have no idea how this happened…
It is an abomination to not visit the Dairy Store while here
And with that, the ‘rents made their way back to Tampa, FL.  It was a tearful goodbye, as we could not be sure when we would all be able to be together again.  But we were all still thankful that we had these four days together…that for a brief moment in time, we were within touching distance of one another.  Whatever pains, financial indebtedness, or general fatigue that may have arisen, it was all was worth it to be together. 
[Stay tuned, because the vacation story isn’t quite over yet!]

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