Early in December, my family has learned that my grandfather had been very ill, and at any time, he was ready to go. Before I made any money, 2 of my grandparents had passed away. I never even got to say hi to one of them, and there was nothing that I could do when each passed away. My parents had prepared their visas so that they could go when the "moment" arrived. It's very difficult to just fly back and forth, being on the other side of the world. I thought to myself why should we wait for the moment, but lets try to make an effort while it's not too late. It had been 15 years as a family we traveled to Vietnam and visited the majority of our extended family members. Stella and the children have never been there either, so it just made sense to try.
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It would take a week or 2 to get the appropriate visas, which allowed us the ability to find affordable flights. It was really the only opportunity that the whole family could go at once. So it was decided, that we would all go in January. However, instead of just going straight to Vietnam, we always try to check some things off the agenda. We have season tickets to the Arizona Cardinals, and we also already bought tickets to a Black Eyed Peas concert at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. So we thought it was a good idea, to go to Glendale for the game, then drive to Las Vegas for the concert, and then drive to LAX for our flight. It was a lot of things to do, especially having 2 young kids restlessly squished in a small minivan with 5 other adults and their overstuffed luggages, but we managed. Thank goodness Rakki and Helen were around in LA. They picked up our minivan at the airport and parked it at their house while we were gone, saving us a lot of time and money.
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So our itinerary consist of visiting my dad's side of the family in Central Vietnam for a week, we go tour the North and Nha Trang for a few days, and then down South for a week for the maternal side. A pretty packed agenda.