Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Thoughts from Dulles...

I'm sitting at Dulles International Airport right now, where I've been for the last 2-1/2 hours. Well, I'm not actually sitting, more like stretched out across my backpack on the floor in the line that is quickly forming at the baggage check-in. When I got here at 10pm, I was the only person in sight other than airport staff. Now people are arriving pretty quickly.

I had a great bus ride up to DC from Roanoke. On the first bus I sat next to a lady named Teresa. She was a divorced mom of 6 who was enjoying a new career in the medical profession. She'd spent 22 years of marriage as a homemaker. She'd been somewhat isolated, and hadn't even gotten a driver's license before her marriage ended. Her enthusiasm over her new career was refreshing. We talked all the way from Roanoke to Lynchburg, at which time I settled into a semi-comatose state after my night of no sleep. (How can one plan a trip for 5 months and STILL be so unprepared when it was time to leave?) I woke up before we got to Charlottesville, we talked a little more, and then it was time to change buses.

On the next bus I had a seat to myself, as there weren't as many people on board. I napped most of the way from Charlottesville to Union Station in DC...Actually, I guess I roused up about 30-40 miles outside of Washington.

The last part of the trip, from Fredericksburg to Union Station I conversed on and off with the bus driver about city traffic, commuters, and the fact that I was going WAY out of the way by going to Dulles via Union Station. Oh, well! I'll learn for next time. About 30 minutes out I sent a text message to Aleena, my "adopted daughter" and Zip's best friend for the whole time we've lived in Virginia. I was hoping to hook up for a glass of tea or something, but she surprised me by offering to pick me up and take me to the airport.

It was really good to see her, and to meet her friend Amy who'd ridden with her. Aleena (who is from Pakistan) treated us to dinner (which Amy and I tried to stop her from doing) at a great Pakistani Restaurant called Shalimar just a few miles from the airport. The food was fantastic, and I ate too much! We laughed and talked and had a great visit. Amy treated us to juice from the market next door to the restaurant, and then we went in search of ice cream...but, alas, too late! =( Ben & Jerry's had just closed...on free cone day no less!


OK, it's 03:20 AM as I'm sitting here writing this. We (the whole crowd of Latinos and one lone gringa!) finally got to check our bags just after 2AM...I made it through the x-ray machine with only having to take off my shoes and empty my pockets, so I considered it to be a pretty uneventful check-in. I've got about an hour and 20 minutes before they start boarding. I have an aisle seat (my preference) on both flights today, and I'm very happy about that. I believe I'm right behind the bulkhead from the partial diagram that I saw online.

I think I'm beginning to feel the, "WHAT am I doing?" feeling...that same one I had in Ireland when I got to the airport and was sitting at the bus stop trying to find the right bus to take. Oh well, comfort zone? What comfort zone? I don't remember anywhere in the Bible where it says to only do things that DON'T stretch us and cause us to grow. On the contrary, that's the only way we do grow. And I always love a good challenge!

One thing I do want to know...I waited until 24 days before leaving to START to study Spanish...for WHAT REASON?!? Sometime I just amaze myself! "I really should have..." Never mind. ...Hindsight, it's great, isn't it!

Lest you get the wrong idea, I haven't lost my enthusiasm for this trip! On the contrary, I'm more excited now than I have been. And I guess part of it IS the opportunity to stretch myself past any perceived comfort zone. And it's the thrill of adventure, too!

Sometime I think about how many times God spoke to people in the Bible and told them to do things that, in the natural, didn't make sense. You know, like, "Hey, Abram! I want you to pack up your family and go to the land that I'll show you!" "Uhm, OK, God. Where we going?" "Oh, you just head in that direction, and I'll tell you where to turn just before you get there." "Dude, God, how am I going to explain that to my family?" "You just tell them you're doing what I told you to do." "But, they're going to think I'm crazy, God!" "That's OK. They'll be've got faith. And one day I'm going to base an entire nation on that faith, and your obedience to me." (OK, so I used a little bit of literary license there...that's my version of how the conversation may have gone!) =)

Well, they're going to start boarding soon, so I'm going to turn of the computer and get ready. I'll finish my update later today, and get this posted once I get to San Jose, Costa Rica.

PS, for those who are following my two "traveling companions", L.C. (a purple stuffed hippo) and Frankie (Troy's little stuffed ferret) they are doing fine! We're doing a children's series/book with pictures of the two stuffed compadres as they go on this South American adventure. It's for my grand babies to read and enjoy!

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