From Here to There

Harder than you would think, apparently.  Let’s just say airports and my very presence don’t seem to be good friends of late.  In June, it took me 2 ½ days to get from Charlotte to Denver, Colorado.  In a plane.  (Make that 3 different planes and 5 different airports.  That’s a whole other story, probably best reserved for therapy).  That I didn’t immediately begin shaking at the sight of ticket agents and airline gates upon entering Charlotte Douglas airport was a promising start.  However, I didn’t get past the baggage check-in counter before there was a problem.  My carry-on bag was not small enough to be considered carry-on.  I had a heck of a week leading up to my leaving and apparently thought numbers didn't hold actual value anymore and 22"x12"x6" baggage dimensions requirement really meant whatever you would like it to be.  The baggage claim agent did not agree with my translation, however.  And this was going to cost me $150.  Just from Charlotte to New York City.  Then it was going to cost me my next paycheck and first born to ship it internationally.  Let's just say, I seriously did not have this money!

First miracle of my travel day: she let me take my luggage down to my gate.  Which short version, meant I could check it when I started to get on the plane, which turned out to mean Free.  Both myself and my luggage made it on the same plane to NYC and with no extra costs after all!  Phew, crisis averted, nothing but smooth flying from here on out!  

Oh wait, that would be ridiculous.  Because I am apparently the number one fan of drama.  I wasn't notified of this, but turns out I attract airport drama like a boss.  I spent a couple hours stressing over how I was going to get another teammate to check my suitcase so I wouldn't have to pay the extra cost, but looking back, that seems so silly, since I should have instead spent my time stressing out over this fun news: 

Somehow out of the roughly 20 member team going from Amsterdam to Entebbe, I was the ONLY ONE on a flight going through Nairobi.  A night spent all by your female self in the Nairobi, Kenya airport is crazy fun, said no one ever.  Um, had not planned on this sight-seeing adventure.  Now I was going to need to see if they would switch my flight.  For free.  And have seats available.  For me (not to be confused with a non-drama traveller). 

But because my Jesus loves me and did not want me to die of heart failure, or something worse, when we arrived in Amsterdam we discovered my flight to Nairobi was delayed.  Which meant the airline had to work much harder with me to accommodate what was now *their* problem.  And fortunately, we knew of the perfect flight to put me on for such accommodation purposes.  And because the flight was delayed and I wasn't just wanting to haphazardly switch flights anymore, the original $400 change fee was entirely waived.  Amsterdam airport customer service is the best!  And they were able to switch my bags to the new flight in time as well.  Traveling as if you are in control is so boring.  I like to travel in a way that forces God to show off!

Entebbe!!!  It was real and I was here!  At about 10:30pm, the airplane doors opened and I was struck by the amazingly cool weather.  Small, simple airport.  No trouble.  Got my official “I’ve been to Uganda” passport stamp and joined the mzungu (their name for white people, white lost wanderers specifically) parade of 20+ team members pushing over 30 50lb bags full of presents for the Uganda villages, plus our own personal luggage and video and camera equipment out the door towards the vans waiting to transport us to our hotel.  If I thought it took a long time to get 4 kids out the door, I have been outdone by getting multiple team members plus Ugandan locals anywhere!  We arrived at the hotel, introduced everyone, held a brief meeting and then onto bed.  I roomed with Amber and ended up sharing about my art workshops-in-the-making and as God orchestrates, turns out she has an interest in art and even had a book with her about art and healing!!  Connection #1.  Couldn’t wait to experience all that God had waiting for us.

Elle NeeseComment