color by numbers

mindless musings of a semi-creative guy

Flying

I like airports.  There’s just something about being among so many others, in one location, all heading to unknown destinations that is really quite exciting to me.  I like to watch people as they pass by, scurry by, and even some running by to catch their connecting flights.  Where are they going?  Who is with them?  Are they going to a business meeting or are they meeting with a loved one they haven’t seen for a long while?

Now, I’m not a stalker-type by any means, but I do enjoy looking at those going by and coming up with little stories about them and what lies ahead for them.  On the other hand, I often wonder then what others are thinking about me… I’m dressed comfortably yet presentable (jersey skirt, tank top, zipper jacket, and flip-flops are standard attire for flying), I have multiple carry-ons, and I’ve got my Mac on my lap.  Not to mention I checked several very large bags at the ticket counter and had my Passport out in full view.  What do they think my story is?  Who do they think I am?  I don’t know why, but thinking of what stories others may have come up with for me is sort of fun.

Enough about that, and onto our most recent flights.Brook-Sara-Ohare-225x300

We left Chicago’s O’Hare airport early afternoon on Monday, having said our final goodbye’s (well, not really final, but you know what I mean) to each of our families. We were waiting for an upgrade to business class, when they told us there would only be room for one of us.  Hmmm… we decided to both stay back in economy.  Unsure of
our decision, we were pleased to find out that we had the entire row (of 4 seats) to ourselves, and I quickly jumped on claiming those seats for the pleasure of stretching out my legs.  For the first time EVER, I actually slept on a plane!  And, Brook was gracious enough to let me stretch out the entire 13 hour flight while he tried to stay
awake for future un-jetlagging purposes.  Next, we arrived in Tokyo’s Narita airport, a place with which we are very familiar.  After about a 3 hour layover, we received some wonderful news… we got bumped up for the next flight!

Now, let me tell you, I have never been one to travel fancy, be pampered, or whatever else during travel, so this was quite the experience!  We were seated in the upper deck of a Boeing 747 where there were perhaps only 15-20 people.  It was quiet, uncluttered, and quite nice.  Our seats were about the most comfortable thing I have ever put myself into – imagine your favorite recliner and put it in an airplane – and were able to lay completely flat at the push of a button!  We had our own flat screen monitors, a large selection of on-demand movies and Tv Shows, as well as audio books and games.  We were greeted with a beverage and a snack, as well as a basket of amenities – socks, eye shades, ear plugs, toothbrush & toothpaste, etc.  I just could not believe it.  Oh, but then came meal service… what in the world was going on…

They brought around hot, lemon-scented towels to clean our hands, followed by miniature table cloths for each of our trays.  We were then given a cloth napkin roll with chilled silverware inside.  Next came our salads – leafy greens with radishes, almonds, and a French vinaigrette – and our choice of freshly baked baguette, garlic toast, or french roll, all on actual dishes, of course.   Then came the main course (of which we had 3 choices, not 2!), all served again on real dishes.  Brook got short ribs with garlic mashed potatoes and I got Honey-mustard glazed salmon with rice and green beans.  After clearing our tables, another attendant came around with dessert… Cherry tart with frangiapane and pistachio creme.  I just couldn’t believe it!

I know, I know, being a missionary is about sacrifice and giving up the comforts that you are used to having… at the same time, we are still human, and a little retreat, a bit of rest is important to keep us going every day.  We have just come off of 4 months of constant travelling, speaking, arranging, documenting, packing, cleaning, budgeting, and so much else, with the last few weeks being the most intense, adding in our goodbyes and tying up loose ends.  Knowing this sort of situation would lie ahead, we’ve been saving up our flyer miles for a few years.  So, after all the stress and chaos, we decided to use them to treat ourselves, and I’m glad we did.

Settling down into our seats on the plane, even when we were in economy, was the most relaxing thing we’ve done in a long time.  Just to know that we were done with all we could do to wrap up our lives in the States… just to know that we were finally moving forward in this calling on our lives… just to know how God had worked, even in the last minutes, to arrange everything that we could go on this adventure… was comforting.  We could finally take a moment to breathe.

Praise God for all He has done to bring us to where we are today.  Praise God for the little things like airline upgrades to give us some rest.  Praise God for taking care of our families and giving us good time to spend with them before our departure.  Praise God for friends who have already joined with us and encourage us daily.  Praise God for all He has done, and all that is to come on this new adventure in our lives.  And Praise God for each of you reading this, that He has placed you in our lives to be a part of who we are and who we are going to be.

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July 29, 2009 Posted by | Thailand | , , , | 1 Comment

Packing it all away

I don’t like packing. At all. Just ask my mother about when I started packing the first time we went to Thailand for 7 months, or about the time I went to live in Liberia for 2 months… Ha! I don’t start packing until a few hours before, and I pack until the moment I leave.

Now, some of you may be having a fit after reading that last line, but let me assure you, my way of doing things is most certainly not procrastination. You see, I do plan ahead, because I am a list maker. I love lists. They keep me organized, straight, and prevent the absence of key items such as shampoo, deodorant, and that extra pair of socks you just might need in case of a flood. I start making my list (categorized, of course) of what will be packed up to a week prior to departure for said trip. I write it once, then leave it for a day or two, revisit to see if there is anything overlooked the first time ’round, then leave it for the set time of packing. I plan out how much time I need to do said packing, lay things out first in piles, then fill the appropriate piece of luggage in a timely manner.

It really is quite the efficient system. I get things done, things are not forgotten, and overpacking is usually avoided.

All of this said, I am breaking down my entire house, and 3 years + of belongings for both Brook and I, 12 days ahead of departure. You can imagine the thoughts and frenzy running through me at this very moment. If you are anything like me, you will know exactly what I am talking about!

Not only is it difficult to be doing this so “far” ahead of time, but there is also a LOT to be done. I have to not only pack things, but also decide what will be kept and stored for an extended period of time, and what I can part with indefinitely. What is to be sold, and what to be outright given away. What goes to whom, what will be stored in what type of container, and when are we supposed to actually get this all done? We are so booked over these final days, that I will have tomorrow to price items for this Saturday’s garage sale, and one day (yes, ONE day) at the beginning of next week to actually deal with what didn’t get sold and pack the few bags that are travelling to Thailand along with us two Mondays from now. Ridiculous, but hey, this is really how much of my life usually works, so am I surprised? Not in the least. Good thing, huh? 🙂

Hmmmmm…..

Also, my usually rather orderly and neat house now looks like this —–

DSC04736_2

July 15, 2009 Posted by | Personal | , | Leave a comment

Boxes, etc.

Who knew I would be spending my Monday packing up what lies within the cabinets in my kitchen.  Who knew I would be sorting through the things I have come to hold dear, deciding what will be kept and what will be sold in the yard a couple of weeks from now. worldofboxes

Who knew this calling I felt I had on my life from a young age would actually be so real. So close.
So… soon.

It’s true. I’ve spent a good portion of today packing away dishes and the few kitchen gadgets I will be keeping for the years ahead. But, the thing is, I’m not packing them to take with me on our move. Rather, I am carefully choosing things to be put away for a later time, many years from now, to come back to and rebuild our life here once again.

We are not taking much with us to Thailand. Little more than the clothes on our back… a few bags with necessities and clothing, Brook’s guitar, a camera, and our computers. We will literally be starting life over again. In some ways this is refreshing. Think of the excitement you once had when moving into your first home, purchasing your first set of plates and bowls, putting up curtains and placing rugs on the floor. It is exciting. It is all new, fresh, and completely your own creation. But, in other ways, it brings great sadness… do I really want to start all over?

Brook and I have been married just over 3 years now. We have built this life we have, all the while knowing that one day we would be headed back to Thailand for a long period of time. We have kept this calling to Thailand at the front of everything we do. Keep from getting too far into debt, keep paying off those student loans, keep life and belongings simple so we don’t get our roots set too deep. But, just how successful were we?

I think we’ve done a pretty good job of net setting our roots too deep, not accumulating too much in our few short years together in this home. But, we have still built our home. This house was a mere shell when we moved in. Dirty, old, falling apart… and we turned it into a clean, refinished, cozy little home. Siding, landscaping, porch, gardens, paint, plaster, fixtures, and the like. And yes, it hurts to be leaving our nest. Each time I go out to pick raspberries or prune my flower beds, I am reminded of the time and care I put into cultivating each of those things. I think about the vision I had to have to lay each garden out. The thorns I got stuck with trying to weave the raspberries through the fence each year so they would grow toward the yard and be easier to harvest. All of the time spent working on my hands and knees, watering all around the house, figuring out how to space plants so they would each fill in each during their respective blooming seasons, and this and that, and this and that. It almost seems ridiculous now, how much of myself I’ve put into this place…

… but because of my labor, now it will be here for someone else to sit back and enjoy.

Pretty soon we’ll be leaving our home, to set new roots in Thailand. We will have a new place to live, a new environment, a new language, a new climate, new animals, new bugs, new foods, new people. Pretty soon we will even start our own new little family… I honestly still can’t believe it’s true. This is really going to happen. We are moving to Thailand.

God continue to guide us as we move, keep us always near, and may we focus our eyes only on You. Even through tears and the breaking of our ties to this place, remind us of the calling You have placed on our lives, that You will provide everything we need, and we need not be afraid. Bless our families and friends as we say our goodbyes, giving them comfort in knowing that You are the One who has called us, and You will be the one to guide our every step. Give us peace in this journey, and the grace to make it through.

July 7, 2009 Posted by | Personal, Thailand | , , , , , | 2 Comments