I’ve lived abroad for the vast majority of my adult life, and one thing I’ve always wanted to do was surprise my mom for Christmas one year. Well, this year was the year! After conspiring for months with my sister and getting our mom’s boyfriend in on the scheme, I managed to sneak home from Korea completely undetected.
The journey started with my heading to Incheon airport around 8PM. My flight was early in the morning and with no direct bus to the airport from where I live in the city, I would either need to take a taxi to where a bus was or walk there at god forsaken o’clock. So I decided to head to the airport the night before and just sleep on one of the many benches with all the other early morning travelers.
No one was on the train to the airport, so naturally I had one of those “I’m the only person on the traaaaaaaaaaain” moments. As someone who is used to chronicling all their travel in blogs and on social media, it was torturous not posting where I was or what I was doing. But I behaved, simply texting with my sister as I poked around the departure hall for food and snacks.
Sleeping at the airport is something I’m pretty used to. Some are far more comfortable than others. Incheon actually has a jjiljimbang in the basement that has private rooms and lounge chairs, but I just opted to pick a bench, plug in, and attempt some shut eye. I got a few hours remarkably, and around 5AM I awoke to the airport bustling. It was time to go.
As with any cheap flight around the world, there’s layovers, and big ones at that. I spent eight hours wandering Beijing’s airport… one I have spent FAR more time in than I want to admit in the past number of years. There’s not a whole lot to do there to be honest. Unless you want to shop duty free. Because I had such a long layover (AND I have a ten year visa for China), I very easily could have gone into Beijing for a few hours.
In hindsight, I really should have. However I didn’t know if my cards would work in China and I was rather tired, so I just wandered around like a crazy person. Eventually I found a lounge area (by gates E19 in the International terminal) and fell asleep for four hours. Like you do. Soon after it was time to board for the long haul flight. Thankfully it was pretty empty and with no one next to me, I managed to have a pretty nice flight all things considered.
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Sun setting over somewhere in Canada. My sister and I had plotted for months to sneak me home from Korea for Christmas. Last night we succeeded! I hid in a box in my mom's house and surprised her! It was so hard keeping the secret, but so worth it to get her reaction. Have any of you surprised your families for the holidays?
At the end of journey, my sister was waiting for me at Dulles Airport. It had been seven months since I left home. Seven very crazy months. I quit my job in Korea, for starters, and things had been kinda bizarre ever since. It was amazing to see her, and it was so exciting to know that we may very well pull off this surprise.
After vegan pizza, all the fruit, and lots of hugs, I fell asleep hardcore. The next day was going to be busy as hell. We had a mom to surprise.
The plan was to go buy a big ass box for me to fit in, which I would pop out of when mom returned home from her dinner date with her boyfriend. If he couldn’t get mom out of the house, he was going to order Korean fried chicken, and I was going to be the delivery girl. We had plans… just which one was going to work? After grabbing the box and heading to our hometown, Seester and I hung around for a few hours… quite a few hours actually.
Like total creepers. We staked out Mom’s house from various angles, waiting to see when they would live. Eventually they did, heading off to dinner, and that’s when we swooped in. First things first, I had puppies to cuddle. Once that was out of the wait, we frantically assembled and wrapped the box, figured out how I’d get in and out of it… and then waited.
I waited in that box for awhile. Mom’s boyfriend was supposed to text my sister when they were leaving dinner, but he wasn’t able to. Soooo thankfully I was IN the box, and my sister lightning fast taped it shut and then ran away.
Alas, Mom saw her. She completely bypassed THE GIANT BOX to ask her youngest daughter why she was here, who then was like “Did you open the box?!” Cue me in the box trying not to laugh and get ready to jump out. She actually said if I was in there she was going to freak out, but never did she imagine I actually was.
Least to say, Mom was very shocked and happy. There were tears and hugs and lots of curse words, haha. It was amazing though. She was so thrilled and said it was the best present she could have asked for. It made all the travel more than worth it.
I’m now enjoying two weeks covered in puppies and lots of home cooking. I think this surprise worked out for everyone.
Happy Holidays everyone!
Have any of you ever surprised your family for a holiday? How’d it go?!