Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The Flight

Okay here is the update about the trip over. I got to the airport pretty early and made it through security without too much trouble. My glitter and my printer showed up on the xray machines as a problem, so I got to have the security person go through my bag. I was nervous about the bags, what would be a problem or whether my big backpack would be a problem.

I had a good time sitting, reading, working on the hand quilt that I brought to start on this trip. It was nice to not have any real responsibilities or people to tend to. The first complication happened right off the bat. The flight was supposed to leave at 5:25 pm. At 5 they told us that they were waiting to hear from the crew, but that there was going to be a slight delay. At 5:15 they informed us that the pilot had called in sick and they were waiting for the pilot that was going to take his place was tied up in Houston due to weather. The flight was delayed for 2 hours which would effect anyone with a connecting flight in Washington, so we were told to line up so we could try and get things worked out to get to where we were going. While in line the Flight was cancelled. I was a little stressed because I have never traveled internationally like this, so I didn't know what I was supposed to do. I was reminded that the world is not about me and that God is in control. That being the case I saw no reason to get upset. Others around me were getting upset, but I didn't see that it would help the situation at all to get upset or be rude. I just started praying that He would help me stay calm, not be rude and to work things out. As it turned out, everyone was instructed to go to the ticket counter to rebook, except those who were going to London or Boston. That was grace number one. Three of us were going to London. We were rebooked onto an American Airlines flight direct to London. We didn't even have to go to Washington DC. The Flight attendant told me that the flight left in 30 minutes, so I had to literally run to get to the sky tram to the other gate. Also, she told me she wasn't sure that they would be able to get my bags onto the plane before I left. The other option was to leave the next day which totally changed flights, arrival times, etc. I decided I could run and that I would chance the suitcases. When I got to the gate, the Flight Attendant put me in the back row with an empty seat next to me, that would be grace number 2. That was great; I slept like a baby in the plane on the way from DFW to London.

I arrived in London super excited to be there. I left the airport, took the Express train into the city and took off walking. Well, first I checked my rolling suitcase into a storage place; the guy at the storage place gave me a map. I really just wondered around the city. I really had no idea where I was going, but I was really content to be just wondering. It was quiet, there was no pressure to have to be anywhere or worry about where anyone else wanted to go or what they wanted to do. I really enjoyed the quiet, aimless wondering. I found a street with artist exhibiting and selling art. I really like some of the art. I bought a picture that was small enough to put in my backpack. I loved a bunch that I wanted to buy, but I just couldn't get them into me bag. I got the contact of both of the artist who had art that I really loved. Both of them said they could ship to me. The artist I bought from was really sweet and really grateful that I bought one of his pictures. He told me that 2011 had been a really hard year for him and that I had made his day and his year on the last day of the year because I bought a piece of his art. That made buying the picture even better. I bought the picture b/c I really liked it, he negotiated a good price with me, and as an artist I know that I put my heart and my soul into the things that I make just hoping that what I put into it touches someone else. Having someone love something I made and buy it from me really means a lot and makes my day as well. It just made it doubly wonderful that it meant so much to me. I also enjoyed visiting with the two artist for a little while. Here is the web site for one of the artists
. This is the one I couldn't buy from b/c his pieces were too big. I really wanted a couple of them and hope to be able to purchase from him when I get back.

I found a park and decided to sit down and write about what had happened so far in my journey. At the park a squirrel came up literally a foot from me. I will post pictures of that later. I wondered around some more, but I had worn the wrong shoes. My feet were beginning to hurt really bad. My back was hurting b/c my back pack was ridiculously full causing it to be ridiculously heavy. Once it started to rain on me I decided to call it a day. I had brought a rain poncho, but had left it in the bag I stored rather than having it in my backpack. Yay me!!!! I found some stuff to buy for the kids from London and headed back to the train station. By that point I was exhausted and my back and feet were killing me. I thought it was silly that I had not seen any real tourist spots nor taken a tour. I did enjoy being able to just wonder around pressureless. I had to pay to go to the bathroom at Paddington station. I thought that was pretty silly. I asked a lady to help me with which coins to insert and she said it was on her and paid for me to enter the bathroom. At that point I picked up my bag and headed for the train.

I got back to the airport with lots of time to spare and hung out waiting for the plane. Challenge number two came when the gate finally open for boarding. There I found out that our carry ons could only be 7 kilos. I had been totally unaware of this restriction. I would have definitely packed differently had I known that. I packed my carry ons pretty heavy so that my checked bags would be under weight. The checked bags ended up having like 15 pounds to spare. So when they weighed my bags to be 21 kilos and said the charge was 100 pounds or $200 dollars my heart was not so happy. What could I do, though. Either I pay the fee and check my other carry on or leave my bag (with my clothes, printer, some of my craft supplies and a lot of other stuff) in London. I had prayed an hour earlier for God to give me grace and help me be kind, and to behave in a way the honored Him and dignified the people that I encountered. I prayed that b/c I knew I was exhausted, my feet and back were hurting and I know it can be challenging to be kind and Christlike when in that state of mind. Standing in front of the airline guy who was telling me that I had to give him $200 for my bag, I was really grateful that the Holy Spirit had inspired and stirred me to pray that prayer. I heard a lot of people get really angry and mistreat the airline guy. I didn't want to be one of those people. It was a very large chunk of my mission trip money to cough up. I spoke silently to God telling Him that this was all His money anyway and that the bags were full b/c of all the art supplies and things for my missionary friends that my other bags contained. I told Him that all those art supplies and what I was going to be able to do with them was worth more than $200. In the end I was able to keep my cool and be at peace. God provided all the money for my trip and He knew what I needed to be able to pay my way in Ethiopia for two weeks and even knew that this money was going to be required of me even when I did not. I just had to see the $200 as a gift to the Lord which came from being able to bring art supplies and love on kids. He will provide and take care of me while I am here. I was able to pay the guy, tell him that I was really sorry that he was being mistreated by so many people and to have a great day. All and all God was able to help me take it all in stride, and not act un Christlike.

I will take up the flight from London to Addis Ababa later. I am out of time and there is stuff to talk about on that flight.

1 comment:

  1. I checked out the artist's website and there are some really nice paintings...Just don't know how economical it is to buy some art from England :)