What was given as a Mother’s Day present -kids, husband, and father-in-law joined me to fly to Indonesia November this year- had turned out to be a nightmare.

[Early November]

Started with the ‘scare’ with the Bali bomber execution news. Feared that Jakarta might be full of demonstration protesting that decission, and possibly bomb threats in public places; my husband got worried and ‘erased’ the trip to Indonesia from our SE Asia family vacation plan. We were going to continue to fly into Bangkok, Thailand, have my Mom and brother join us there, then to Siem Reap, Cambodia.

Was I sad? Of course. Was I frustrated? You betcha. Did I pout? Just for a short while. I knew he was doing this for our family’s safety. Although I wasn’t mopping, I did not give up that easy.

I explained that ‘travel warnings’ usually sound scarrier than what really is happening there. By no means I meant to say that these experts did not know what they’re talking about. But having lived there for so long, I felt  frustrated everytime ‘travel warnings’ for Jakarta were posted on the net while nothing scary was really taking place. Heck, my friends and I were clubbing like crazy during that ‘warning’. 

I also informed him about these comments that were left on this posting; which basically the same thing, that the warnings were scarrier than what’s really happening in Jakarta. My mom and sister emailed me from time to time that things were  ‘so far, so good’ approaching the execution day. My brother told me that some morons were creating a hoax through cell phones’ text/SMS about false bomb threats in malls.

[Around Nov 18]

After the Bali bombers were shot to death, hubby learned that Jakarta was actually OK to visit. So the itinerary then changed to Bangkok-Chiang Mai-Jakarta, with my Mom and brother still coming to Thailand. I was as happy as a lark. We were going to fly out from Des Moines (IA) to Los Angeles (CA) day before Thanksgiving. Los Angeles to Seoul (South Korea), then finally Bangkok, scheduled to land there on Nov 28th. My Mom and brother were going to fly out from Jakarta to Bangkok on the 29th.

Everybody at work was excited for me, they knew that I had waited to go back home for a long time. And not to mention the drama… oh they love it! Not everybody in the clinic had to travel half way across the world to go home. Listening to my effort just to get there, is half the fun, they said.

[Nov 22]

After working half day, I came home to hear that hubby [again] cancelled our trip. Bangkok, the city we’d be flying into, was having some political unrests. “They’re talking about a possibility of military coup d’etat, curfews, and airport lock down. We really shouldn’t be there.” Oh for shit sake, give me a break. Ignorantly, I asked, “Can’t we just not fly into Thailand at all?” Hubby replied, “Unfortunately, we had lost some money from the first cancellation. There was some penalty that we had to pay in order to move  flights around. Ours from the US and your mom’s and brother’s from Indonesia. I don’t know if we can afford buying new-destination tickets. The airline company will let us change the destinations at all. The dates, yes, with penalty.” We lost the down payments for the hotel in Bangkok, the villa in Chiang Mai, and the apartment in Jakarta.

Crushed once again, I called my mom and brother to tell them that everything was cancelled. My mom was bummed not to be able to see her grandkids, and my daughter cried that she wasn’t going to see her grandma. I told myself, once again, better be safe than sorry… it’s to keep our family safe.

[Nov 24]

I wasn’t sure if it was his guilty feeling or what, hubby apparently kept on trying to make it work. Mid afternoon that Monday, he called me at work and asked,” Have you told your manager that you’re not going at all?” I said, “Yes.” Which means I had withdrawn my request for time off work and that I declared that I do not need a coverage for my absence. “Well, if I still can get us to go, would your manager OK it?” It was not a problem. My manager understood and okayed it. So I went home that day, surprised, and still thinking that we’re leaving on the day before Thanksgiving. Just like the original plan. Or so I thought.

Got home with the kids and everything, hubby welcomed me with a question, “Can you pack tonight so we can leave early tomorrow morning at 3:00?” Holy shit! So that night, while hubby’s working on last minute bookings for hotels and domestic flights, I called my boss and asked her permission to leave early. I called my mom again that we’re back on. Packing’s always hard for me, I tend to overpacked every time we’re on vacation. Took our dog to a friend to take care of while we’re gone. Did a last minute trip to Target to get stuff like travel-size toiletteries, kids’ books and games for the flight, snacks, etc. We did not sleep at all. We got everything ready just half an hour before we need to leave the house at 3:00 am.

…to be continued…