Wednesday, March 31, 2010


So we are officially checked back in from our amazing vacation.... physically at least. To be honest we weren't ready to leave but I am positive they would have kicked us off anyway. The cruise was amazing and for anyone thinking of doing one I am here to tell you we loved it. There was so much to do each night and thanks to the Welk's we were always entertained playing cards, getting some watermelons, ice cream cones, reading, laughing and just plain having a great time. Our Cruise was eight luxurious days, and porting in some of the most beautiful places (Cozumel, Costa Rica, and Panama).

Our Vacation got off to a rough start, at many points I found myself wondering if we would even make the cruise at all. To explain this a little further, we checked our fight right before leaving on our way to the airport ( this is Friday afternoon) and it told us that our first flight to California was delayed by an hour and a half. Well due to that first inconvenience we missed our connecting flight which took us to Fort Lauderdale, Florida. So immediately we all start to stress... Rand and Jace Welk get on the phone with Delta to solve the issue. Delta fed us a load of crap over the phone and said there was no way to get us there and we should have left a day early.. okay first of all we were leaving a day early, and second its not our fault your plane is delayed!! Delta's phone service people were no help (NEVER FLY DELTA), so we went into the airport after Jace and Rand being on the phone each for 1 hour a piece. We finally got talking to Deltas most valuable employee .... who helped us significantly. Lets just say we talked with her for 2 hours trying some way to get us to Florida to make our cruise. She tried through Seattle, Kansas, Atlanta and I am sure many others. Nothing came through for us, that is when reality started to set in that we really might not make the boat. Finally she came up with a solution, it was tight but we didn't have much time. She suggested that we take a flight from SLC airport to long beach, jump off the plane grab a taxi and then drive to LAX to make our original connecting flight; mind you we only had 55 minutes to make our plane. So we go for it, she sends our bags straight to fort lauderdale. We take off booking it through SLC airport (since we were already late for the flight to long beach she called ahead and told them to hold the plane for us) finally jump on the plane. Relieved we start talking to the stewardess about how fast she thinks we can get there with traffic. She thinks about 30 minutes or so. As the plane pulls in to the long beach airport the stewardess gets on the intercom, "for those of you who don't have to make a tight connecting flight, we have a couple of passengers who need to make one if you all wouldn't mind letting them get off the plane first that would be appreciated." We were all so thankful to people for being considerate for us. A lot of people on the flight wished us luck as passed them getting off. So of course the running game begins, we grab the nearest taxi pay $60.00 (a rip off) to get us to LAX asap. We arrive at LAX after 25-30 minutes of driving like crazy people weaving through traffic. Run through security which honestly had to be hilarious! We were throwing things in bins, rummaging out pockets beforehand and jumping through the scanners. Don't worry we made the plane thankfully... ha ha... longest night thus far in my life.

We arrived in Fort Lauderdale, Florida around 6:00 am or 3:00 am Utah time. We were told when we checked our bags they would most likely beat us there. Once off the plane we took a little nap (nothing like the hard concrete airport floor for comfort!) before grabbing the bags. Around 9:00 am we went to pick up the bags. Of course they weren't there yet, the lovely( I mean this in the nicest way... cough cough) Delta airlines lost baggage lady told us they are on the 11:30 am flight from Atlanta. So of course we wait and pass time by wandering around playing on the Internet and thank heavens for iPhone people! So that flight from Atlanta arrives... no luggage. They tell us the next flight then the next one after that. We waited until 2:30pm (mind you we have to check in on the boat by 3pm) this was the last flight we could wait for until we absolutely had to leave to make the boat. Finally Jace's bag shows, then mine, then.. wait that's it?! Where are the other two bags?! Oh don't worry they didn't make their appearance. So we let the LOVELY Delta luggage lady know we have to leave to make our boat that leaves at 4pm. They need to have our bags there or else they have to ship them to our first port. Lets just say some tears and frustrations were shared and we hopped in a taxi checked in and went straight to the room to detox a little before the safety speech began. We of course attended the safety meeting, since I found it necessary to know what to do in case of an emergency, I really thought our ship would end up like Titanic. We headed back to the room and magically guess what was there?! Rand and Jenna's Luggage!! Its a miracle...

The rest of the trip I have to say was as smooth as a babies bum after all that. Here are some of the adventures!

Jenna and Jace on the flight from SLC to Long Beach airport

Rand and I on the same flight

Us booking it to find our taxi that would make us make our next flight on time.

Nothing like sleeping on the concrete floor in Florida at 3 in the morning!

First day on deck, and our first time laying out in the nice sun at sea

First stop Cozumel! Loved the white beaches and the blue water!!

Cute Jenna and Jace on the beach

Jenna and her snorkel gear

First night in our formal wear

The boys all dressed up.

The girls!

These are the scooters that we drove around the whole island!

Getting ready for the zip line in Costa Rica

Jenna and Jace on the bus

Rand and I outside our ship

The stairway up to the first platform. This first tree we were in was about 300 ft from the ground once you got up there. Pretty scary!

The boys all cute in their "plastic" helmets

Jen and I all ready to go!

This is how excited we all are... my excitement is through the roof.

Jenna with all her excitement!

Jace was a little nervous, but he did great!

Rand is such a nerd!

Me no the zip line... I was feeling pretty confidant if you can see only one hand!

A Church a in Costa Rica!! I felt like i was at home for one minute while we drove past.

This is at the cruise ship that night, it was a beautiful sunset!

This is a church in panama, Where Jace served his mission

This is where Jace's last apartment was I believe, all cinderblocks can you believe it?

Jace at his old apartment door.... ahh the memories
These were two of the guys that Jace baptized in his last area

This is the whole clan. I can only remember Jason the one Jace is standing next to and David the one holding the darling little girl. Jace worked out with Jason when they lived in this area and they tried to teach him the gospel a couple times. I dont think he was ever really interested in the church so they just kept working out with him for friends and I believe to keep the "seed" that was planted so he was still in contact with the missionaries. When we went back he had joined the church and was now the elders quorum president. It was really neat for Jace to go back and see all these amazing guys and how they are all doing with the church and other aspects of their lives.

This is at the Panama Canal

Our Taxi driver took us to his friends house where he had a bunch of animals. We were able to feed them crakers which was really funny. We got creative by putting them on our hats or in our pockets and they would dig for it.

Rand feeding the Spider Monkey

He then drove us to his favorite restarraunt where we were served real Panamaian food. It was delicious, I loved the plantains!!

This picture pretty much sums up how poor it is in Panama. I cannot tell you how many times I found myself saying how grateful I am to have been born in the USA first and foremost. Second I would have to say how grateful I am to have the opportunity to have been born in the church. The gospel is the one thing in my life that has always been there for me, and will always be. I looked at some of these people who had no idea where thier lives were going, with emptiness in their eyes. I hope they one day are able to know of the love our Father in Heaven has for each and every one of them.

This is Jenna and I learning how to dance '60's style'

Jenna with the towel turtle

Me with the towel monkey, Jen and I loved these things

The final night with our waiters Joseph and.... oh I forgot his name.

The whole table together for a picture.

Overall this trip was our biggest adventure yet. We were able to see places we most likely wouldn't have had the opportunity to visit. We all came back with a better appreication for what we do have. It may not be much, but to them it would mean the world. We are grateful to all those whom we met on our journey, and their unfailing kindness to watch out for our saftey and for their lovely hospitality.
I loved seeing the church in a reality of the world. It was great to see churches and members along our journey. The church is so amazing and so wide spread. I am grateful that i have the knowledge and the testimony that I have developed. I am grateful that we
are members of this church and our families have the opporunity to be together forever because of this. This trip was such a testimony bulider for us all.