As military members, we are able to fly on military planes on a "space available" basis, sometimes called a "hop". In other words, as long as there is room available, we can travel at no cost to the determined destination. That being said, I was sitting at swim class on a Thursday, scrolling through my phone, and saw that there was a hop to Salt Lake City, Utah, my hometown, scheduled for the next day. I had never seen a hop to SLC listed in all the time we have lived here. After the initial shock wore off, I decided to go for it, and less than 24 hours later we were on a cargo plane headed to SLC!
Some cargo planes have airline seats in them, this one did not. I looked at these seats and thought "This is our seat for eleven hours?!" Help!
Lots of leg room!
One nice perk was being able to lay down. However it was so brutally cold, we couldn't relax enough to fall asleep. It was also extremely loud and we had to wear earplugs the entire flight.
You can pre-buy a box lunch for the flight, but there was no in-flight drink service. Haha! But the crew was great and very friendly. I felt 100% safe in their hands.
So, the flight was miserable, in a word, but the price was right. I would do it again. Landing and seeing the majestic Wasatch Mountains brought a tear to my eye. Ahhh....home sweet home!
It was a wonderful, if unexpected visit with cousins. We went to the mall (on many different occasions!)
I met a nephew, Alexander,
and a niece, Clara, who were both born within weeks after we moved to Japan.
We strolled the quaint and trendy mountain town of Park City, Utah.
While there, we visited my brother, Adam Hansen, at the Meyer Gallery and saw some of his amazing art.
I love this one. It is actually Europe, but reminds me so much of the train stations in Japan (minus a few thousand people, of course!) Isn't he talented?!
We had a fun day at the Hogle Zoo, with ALL the cousins (the only one missing was Jacob, on Matt's side of the family).
And last but not least, we did A LOT of baking. This is one of my favorite things to do, just sit around with my sisters and bake, laugh and talk. Ella was thrilled to frost the cake.
To save ourselves some space-a headaches, we decided to book a commercial flight home. We hung out in the Bob Hope USO at Los Angeles International to kill time.
We flew home on Singapore Airlines, it was very nice and the girls emphatically agreed they liked this flight more than our first one. They loved their own TV's and kept saying "we don't even have to agree on anything!" It's the little things.....
There was a choice between two meals, an American style and a Japanese style. Ella and I chose American,
and Eva chose Japanese.
But, the dessert was the best part!
After finally landing in Tokyo, we had a 2 hour shuttle ride back to Yokota Air Base. These were two exhausted girls after 24 hours of travel, they are such troopers!
We got home just in time to catch the tail end of cherry blossom season. This was one reason I debated going on this trip, I didn't want to miss cherry blossoms, which are everywhere and heavily celebrated in Japan. This is the street behind our house.
The blossoms looked like pink snow falling from the trees.