I wrote this post during our layover in Newark. It was a couple days ago now and we have arrived, but this is the first time I had both time to post and internet connection. I’ll try to write another update soon on how it’s going here.
NOTICE: Before I get more interesting happenings covered though, let me make a correction to our prayer card…somehow in writing down dad’s email address, I got two different accounts mixed up. So, his email address is NOT firstname.lastname@example.org. The real one is email@example.com . And we’d all love hearing from you! =) Okay…on to more.
Joy. Exhaustion. Deep sadness. Anticipation. Painful goodbyes and heavy hearts. Unchecked tears. All these we have experienced these last few weeks, today particularly. Well ‘today’ was yesterday. It’s all running together in a great big blur.
It’s a strange feeling, not having a place to call home. They say ‘Home is where the heart is’ and I guess I’d have to say my heart is still at home. But then, where IS home? Our now empty house is nearly ready for the next occupants, and my green room looks more like a cold, deserted cave than the inviting haven it was just a few days ago. And I don’t know much at all about where we’re going.
We are biding our time at the Newark Liberty Airport. Dear Forrest came to me a bit ago and asked, “When are we gonna go home?” “Remember though Forrest, we’re not going back home for a long time? Now we’re going to Cambodia, and that’s going to be our home.” “I don’t like Cambodia,” he said, a sad frown on his tired face. Poor child. I must say I know how he feels. Right now I feel like I wish I had never before heard of a place on the other side of the world called Cambodia, that I was safely curled up in my own bed at home. But I know that God has a plan for us, for me, in Cambodia, dark and unknown as it may seem at the moment.
Sunday was filled with packing, last minute preparations, and many goodbyes. Our departure goal of 5:30 am was stealthily creeping up, and we simply weren’t ready yet. When the last dear friends had left around 10:30, the job of getting truly ready before 5:30 looked absolutely undoable. We raced around shoving things in random half-filled boxes (at least I did – maybe we shouldn’t tell mom about that), stuffing carry-ons, and trying to bring some law and order to our chaotic house. I have been pretty much ignoring my phone notifications the last several weeks. The messages of encouragement you sent meant the world, but there simply wasn’t time to reply to them all, much less keep up with my email or Facebook. But Sunday night I took a breather and checked my notifications. I have new emails. Hmm. “Important Flight Information – Confirmation D7NXPP” from United Airlines, Inc…Hmm?? Probably one of their advertisements trying to make me worried… “One or more of your flights has been affected by a delay or cancellation.” What? And there it was…the real itinerary for a real trip. “Better check this one out, Lori.” So I logged in to my United account, and sure enough, there it was. “Your flight has been cancelled.”
Now you may not think it’s so amazing to find an email about a cancelled flight, but here’s why I do. Weeks ago when Dad was trying to set up MileagePlus accounts for all of us, he remembered that I already had an account from my prior globe-trottings, and asked me for my account number to give to our agent. I knew I only had a minuscule amount of points, and have always had trouble remembering my account number, as well as trouble finding it even with all the helpful “Lost your password?” links. So I felt like it would save time and effort to just create a new account. Laziness, really. But he persisted. I spent some time trying to find it one evening with dad looking over my shoulder. See, Dad? It really is hard to find. NOW will you just make a new account? Hmm. The next day, I think, he called me from work. “Why don’t you just call United and ask them to help you? I need to give the number to Davy soon.” Grr. I greatly dislike calling people I don’t know. I’ll try online one more time. And I found the number! Cool. Dad’s happy, I’ll be happy…The real point is, if I would have had a new account started, I wouldn’t have had my account set to email me updates, and I never would have seen the cancellation. We would have worked madly all night until it was time to go, and still not have been done, not to mention being bone-weary. We, and our friends coming with us to the airport, would have gotten up ever so early and driven to the airport, only to see “CANCELLED” on the board.
I think it’s amazing. Weeks ago, God had that all planned out. “Allen, you NEED to get Lori’s old number. No! Not a new one. Her OLD one. Yup. That one. I have this covered. Trust me.” Little light bulb moments like that make me wonder why I can’t trust Him more fully. And we still worked until about two, but oh joy! We slept that night – simply wonderful considering what could have been!
So Monday morning we found out that our new flight was scheduled to leave at 5:39 pm. There was still lots of work to do so we worked feverishly to get things done before two. We finally left at 2:30 after a delayed email from our agent with the needed information check-in information. Hauled the piles of luggage into the buzzing airport, and dad got in the very long check-in line. Did I mention the long line? He ended up creeping along for about 2 ½ hours before they finally started the check-in process. Another little miracle there – Dad had been carefully weighing every box to keep them all under the maximum 50 pounds. The scales he used must have been lacking in the accuracy department, because most of the boxes were coming up to 51 pounds, give or take. But the man at the desk let them all go through without the overweight fee, which would not have been small. Granddads, Charles’ family, our ‘adopted sibling’ neighbors, and Rogers’ were there with us for most of the time, which helped the time go faster.
After being delayed two more times while we were waiting, our flight finally settled on an 8 o’clock departure…And the time came. Oh the painful goodbyes. My heart broke to see little Carissa and Karla hugging each other and crying, to feel dear Alyssa’s sobs, to hug Granddad and Grandmom one last time. The dam that’s been keeping me sane the last weeks broke, and tears flowed all around. But finally we had to go, and piled our tribe through security.I must say going through security with 11 people and 22 bags is a threat to my sanity. Our plane finally left a little after 8. Goodbye South Carolina. We love you and all your beautiful people!
Forrest was sitting with me on the plane…at first he was so excited! It was so much fun to watch his wonderment. Then when we actually started moving, he suddenly turned to me and said, “Lori, I think I’m scared!” =) A nice 2 hour flight brought us to Newark Liberty Airport in New Jersey sometime after nine. Our delays made us miss the San Francisco flight for tonight, so we’re stuck here until 6:50 am. I don’t like this airport. It’s different from any I’ve ever been to, and it’s deserted other than the uncomfortable number of bums, who seem to frequent the airport looking for a meal handout or a warm place to sleep. We found a Subway, and Forrest made fast friends with the cute old foreign man running the place, after Forrest asked me what that man’s name is. I told the man what he asked, and he told us his name was “Gus.” I guess it made him feel good that a little guy like Forrest took notice of him, cause he grinned and promptly pulled out a cookie for one delighted little boy. Later one of the boys was getting something else, and he pulled a juice box out of the fridge and said, “Give dis to my leetle friend over there.” Forrest was smitten. When we tried to stop him from wandering around, he said, “I’m just going to Gus!”
We found a corner in which to stick out the night, and it’s now 4 am. I haven’t slept a wink, but I’m feeling like I might be able to now no matter how uncomfortable my ‘bed’. The others sure have found ways to sleep.
I’m so excited to know that I’ll be able to read about yall’s life over there and how things are going. I wish I would have been able to see yall before you leave. We will be praying for yall.
Very well written Lori! Looking forward to more posts!
We’ve been missing Carissa in school! The kids will often mention her name. =)
Lori, somehow the fact that there’s an ocean and continent between us Ozark hillbillies and our awesome cousins makes me miss ya’ll a whole lot more. I’ve been thinking about ya’ll these last couple days and am quite glad to hear that ya’ll made it safely to Cambodia. I’ll be keeping ya’ll in my prayers as ya’ll adjust to life over yonder. – Marcia 🙂
Thinking about you this Saturday evening, (your Sunday morning) and wondering just what all is going on there??? 🙂 God bless you as you keep following the plan He has for you!
Ok. Tears. Finally settled down to read your blog thoroughly. Miss you and cant wait to skpe soon.hugs
Hi from across the ocean!
I loved this post and look forward to your continued updates. I think you are in for a cultural treat, and can’t wait to hear what all it includes. This post brought back a lot of memories of our trip to Liberia…even down to the throwing stuff in boxes cause we just couldn’t.get.done!
This was so interesting! I think y’all are in for a real cultural treat and I can’t wait to read what all it includes. This brought back lots of memories of our leaving for Liberia. We threw stuff in boxes too and were convinced that stuff kept multiplying 🙂
You are a great writer and photographer and I’m looking forward to keeping up with y’all,way over there.
Oh Lori – as I sit here with tears in my eyes I am so thankful for all your pictures and your chronicling of the trip and your new “home”. The trip was a challenge but everyone arrived safely – a blessing in itself. Wish I could reach out and hug you all right now. Give my love to everyone – Sherry