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.
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.