Thursday, July 23, 2009

The joys of flying

Well, I have officially made it to Be'er-Sheva, Israel, which is a huge sigh of relief. Getting here has been anything but easy. Sunday night I was left packing and re-packing my two bags that were still at my house, trying desperately to get them down to 50 pounds each. That was finally accomplished around 1 in the morning, giving me about 2 hours to sleep...that is if I hadn't realized that I had misplaced my plane ticket and hadn't been given back one important piece of paperwork about my international health insurance from the Israeli Consulate in San Francisco. So instead of sleeping I spent the next hour or so locating my ticket and trying to figure out what to do about the health insurance forms. Needless to say, I found my ticket, and ended up just giving up with the paperwork, praying that I could get a replacement somehow, which left me with about 1 hour to try and get some shut eye. Praise the Lord for Westmont preparing me in the all-nighter department.
I made it to the Sacramento airport without any trouble, but making it OUT of Sac was definitely another story. We were stuck at the gate for 2 and 1/2 hours because there was a broken fuel gauge and the pilot admitted that they really had no idea how much fuel we had because the people who had filled us up didn't record it in the log correctly. Then, as that problem was being resolved, the gauges on the lavatories stopped working, which caused them to shut off completely--another problem that had to be remedied before we could get into the air. When we finally pulled away from the gate, the plane seriously sounded like someone was trying to saw their way out of the hull and the air started to smell oddly like electrical stuff burning. But, we kept on going and luckily didn't have too many problems once we were in the air other than the intercom not working very well and some of the arm-rests being taped together. I really hope that they take that plane out of commission soon.
Once we landed in Minneapolis for connecting flights, I was informed that I had about 10 minutes to make it all the way across the airport to catch the last connecting flight to JFK that day, so I sprinted there, making it one with literally seconds to spare. That flight itself wasn't bad, but my luggage didn't have a chance of making it. When I got to JFK I was told that I would have my bags both back by 10 am the next morning, which was fine because I was spending an extra day in New York to catch up with Tim, a friend from Westmont who's living in New York and that would have left plenty of time for seeing the sites. So I waited, and waited, and bags, and no one who could tell me where they actually were or when I could expect to get them. My dad ended up spending all day on the phone talking to different people trying to track them down, and finally I was told that I would get them by midnight. Well, midnight rolls around, then 1, then 1:30, and I start to realized that maybe my bags weren't going to make it that night, which could pose serious problems considering that I needed to leave the next morning by 9 in order to get to the airport on time for my international flight. I couldn't leave the apartment just in case they came and I had to sign for them, which prevented me from even going out and buying a change of clothes to take just in case they didn't come in.
At around 1:30, my dad ended up tracking down the people who were responsible for delivering my bags, found out that they had them in their possession, and that they would be delivered sometime the next morning between 6 and 7:30. Apparently they were planning on delivering them in Boston somewhere instead of Brooklyn, so that had to be sorted out too. I finally get to sleep around 4:30 in the morning after trying to fix some computer problems while I still assured a decent internet connection, which once again gave me about 1 hour of sleep before I got up to wait for my luggage to arrive. Well, 6 rolls by, and then 7, and then 7:30, and I start to get a little panicked. After all, those bags held pretty much all of my stuff for the next few years, and them making it to Israel without me was highly unlikely. Finally, around 8:00 my bags get there, giving me just enough time to grab out a change of clothes, and get ready to leave for the airport.
Making it to the airport was another experience in itself, navigating New York subways, trains, and air-trams with 3 large suitcases (one of which I had mailed to Tim beforehand to avoid the $100 fee for extra checked bags on domestic flights) and 2 carry-ons. I Without Tim helping, I'm sure I'd still be on a subway completely lost or with a bag stuck in a door somewhere. I did finally make it, 15 minutes late actually, but that ended up being ok--Praise the Lord. I've wanted to give up and just stay at home so many times in the past couple of days that I can't even count them, but the one thing that keeps me going is that I know that the Lord is faithful, kind, and gives His children what they need to accomplish His will, that my strenght is found in Him and not me, and that He never said that it would be easy or that things would go according to my plans.
So now I'm here, with a group of amazing people, all of us feeling in a little over our heads, but looking forward to what the next 4 years have in store.