Some things to remember when traveling internationally: 1. pray 2. potential friends and helpful strangers are all around 3.keep a strong mental note of your belongings (money, passport, boarding passes, and bag check tags, luggage, etc.) 4. think creatively about what you've brought and what alternative purposes it can serve.
One thing I learned about myself this trip: when I travel tired and with a big ol' sinus cold (making me a little loopy) it messes with my ability to do #3 above (but wow, I'm grateful for #2 and Gods grace and provision and how He got me through the adventures these last few days!).
First was the adventure of leaving my phone in my moms car as she and her friend Laurie dropped me off with 2 carry-ons and 2 bags of donations to check. Enter stranger #1 who let me borrow her phone (and my realization of how important it is to have those backup numbers memorized, like the number for mount hermon which I eventually called to get ahold of Laurie, since my mom is habitually phone forgetful). My phone was brought back to the airport (thanks mom), with plenty of time to catch the first flight and meet my snoring large seat partner who was really very friendly when he was awake.
After flying to Dallas and Miami, it was time to navigate the near-empty 12:30am airport and choose a spot to cuddle up on the floor (with a sweatshirt as a sleeping pad and a not-so-successful attempt to sleep with a tough looking scowl on my face). A noisy night of about 2 hours of sleep and then onto Haiti!
I was singled out and offered a free bump up to first class and it's lovely leg room. As we boarded, I met a Haitian man who befriended me, calling me "Santa Cruz;" i walked with some very kind missionaries through customs, and met my new friend again at the baggage claim. He helped me roll my bags outside the airport and talked me through each step of the customs checks ("hey Santa Cruz get out those bag stubs so they can see these are your bags). We made it outside and there was a tall, blond white guy (my brother Stephen) waiting to pick me up. I said goodbye to my Haitian friend, and then promptly stole his bag.
Accidentally of course!
I had helped him wheel his small bag as he carted our large bags out and in the hand off we both forgot that I was still carrying his bag. As my brother Stephen put it, "you can't trust those pretty, sweet girls.. Look away for a minute and they'll steal your bag!" Much ado and some time later, my friend Franc was rediscovered and got his bag back.
There were many awesome people to meet today, and Haiti has reminded me so much of Uganda actually, but with cleaner air and more expensive groceries. I am staying outside of Port au Prince with some wonderful international physiotherapists and health workers (Camille from France, Annette from Sweeden who lives in Ireland, and Colin from Ireland). These are my housemates for the next few weeks, and tonight we ate mangos from the tree outside, went grocery shopping, and got to know each other a little better. I am grateful to have these seasoned people to live with who can talk me through the ins and outs of living here. I'm also grateful to have wireless when I am at my lodging (so I am able to text or even FaceTime when the internet is up and working). And now that the music has died down it will be lovely to sleep ( :
Peace to you all,