Generally speaking, I'm the dreamer in this marriage. Jeff is what I like to call "my reality check". I talk all the time about all the places we'll visit, the things we'll do, how I'd like certain situations to go, experiences that will come our way, what we'll be like when we're older, and so on. I know I don't have control over what life throws my way. And it must be said that sometimes things come our way that are much better than I've dreamed (I'm really not that creative!). Regardless, it's fun for me to dream and hope things go accordingly.
So when I heard from our friends that they might be coming to Utah for Conference weekend, I hardly dared hope it would really happen. If fact, after talking to "my reality check" we determined there's no way they could get the proper paper work and plan their trip in such a short time, so we hoped that they would make it in six months for the next conference. THEN, it started happening. Visas were given, passports obtained, flights purchased, and temple dates set.
When we had to say goodbye to Napa and Dipu in Thailand, (the post in this link is long...you've been warned) I bawled. I felt terrible for taking our children away from people who loved them so much. We promised we'd be together again, that they'd come to Utah, and we would stay in touch. I knew staying in touch was a given, but could they really get to Utah? Really? I hoped, but I remained skeptical. It's amazing what the Lord can make happen though, is it not?
We weren't sure what Jane (our extremely unpredictable child) would do when she saw them. Would she remember how much she loved them? All the memories? She was only three! Jeff took her to pick them up from their hotel, and she ran right into their arms, just like no time had passed. We spent the evening assembling 3-D puzzles they brought for the kids and catching up on their traveling adventures.
They arrived just in time for conference weekend and attended all five sessions. I was lucky enough to attend the temple when they went through for the first time, and the following morning, they were sealed in the Salt Lake Temple.
At the Oquirrh Mountain Temple, we were surprised to meet the man who would be sealing them the next day. Turns out, their son is the one who taught their temple preparation class in Bangkok before coming to Utah. Small world.
You'd think coming from Thailand, they wouldn't know too many people, but these two have people who love them all over the world. Missionaries, parents of missionaries, ward members, and even the branch president of Nepal (Dipu's country) who just happened to be in town receiving a humanitarian award. Talk about the stars aligning. It was one happy gathering.
This is shortly after coming out of the temple. Napa always smiles, but this was an entirely different plane of happiness.
The happy couple.
The whole thing was such a whirlwind, but we did have some time just to be together at home as well. We played a little soccer in the backyard...
The kids gave them a concert... (Jane hadn't started violin yet when we left)
... Jane discovered that there was a reason Napa is still learning to read English... because she usually reads in Thai! Jane was AMAZED Napa could read the Thai books we have around the house that we usually just look at.
... and I even caught Napa and Jane passed out on the bed from pure exhaustion. If it seemed like a whirlwind to us, I can't imagine what it felt like after all the traveling.
When Jane first met Napa and Dipu, she wasn't much older than Alice is now. Those memories seemed so fresh as we watched Alice fall completely in love with them, just like Jack and Jane did.
I think this is my favorite picture.
Jack: Mom, Dipu and Napa are our family, right?