Friday, March 12, 2010

almost there

Travel delays to Palau.
We had a bear of a time even getting to Houston.
When we arrived at the airport in Rochester to head to Houston, we were told that the flights from Cleveland were delayed and that we wouldn't be able to make the connection to Houston.
Then we were told to go to Newark. And they began to reticket our luggage and reissue boarding passes. Then we were told that maybe the Newark flight wouldn't depart either...
We ended up staying on the Cleveland flight, making our connection, and arriving in Houston late and tired on Tuesday night but at least we were there.
Then, the next morning, we got to the Houston airport and were told that there was a mechanical problem with the Honolulu flight and that we wouldn't make our connection from Guam to Palau. We could either stay in Houston and try the next day or go on to Honolulu and either overnight there or in Guam.
We ended up going to Honolulu, making the Guam connection, and then arriving in Guam to what amounted to chaos.
The Continental gate agents at the Guam International Airport (bless their hearts) don't communicate very well with one another. We were told to go from the gate to the ticket counter. We did. No one there. We went back to the gate and were told to go back to the ticket counter because someone would be there. We did. No one was there. By now, a pack of people had gathered because there were folks heading for both Palau and Manilla who were going to overnight in Guam and needed vouchers for the hotels.
The crowd was getting restless.
And an almost mob mentality was developing.
Wonderful hubby and I kept our cool. I found a Continental flight attendant away from the other people and asked if she could possibly help me. She found a supervisor. The bottom line was we finally got our vouchers, were taken by van to the Marriott hotel in Guam (arrived around midnight,) slept for 7 hours, had a nice breakfast, got bathing suits from the giftshop (don't even ask...mine could fit in the coinpurse of my wallet,) spent 2 hours poolside, took a short walk on the beach, cleaned up, had a nice lunch, and are now biding our time in the President's Lounge at the Guam International Airport. We walked through the incredible Galleria Duty Free Shopping Area but kept on going since we didn't really need anything, especially with our new bathing suits ;)
The week before departure went really well. I made my lists each morning and dealt with what needed attention. I managed to fit in a yoga practice almost every day which helped immensely. And my mat is in my suitcase so I will be continuing my yoga in Palau. The lunch with Bishop Mhogolo was a wonderful success and my commitment to the Carpenter's Kids program is cemented. I look forward to my visit to Tanzania in July and am hoping to develop friendships that will span continents and decades--much like the relationships I have developed in Palau.
A couple of months ago, I was at a meeting where someone was challenging me on how to do the mission work that I did in the area where they lived.
I responded that I couldn't--their area wasn't my stretch of beach.
I was referring to the story that you all have probably heard of the little boy who is walking down the beach throwing the washed up starfish back into the water. When challenged by an adult who said he couldn't possibly make a difference because of the vast number of starfish, the boy responded, "yes, but for this starfish I made a difference."
We all have a limited amount of beach.
What we do with it is up to us.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Getting ready for Palau

8 days from now, God willing, darling hubby and I will be on a plane bound for Houston, Texas. We overnight in Texas and then begin our long treck westward on Wednesday morning, March 10. We fly from Houston to Honolulu, Honolulu to Guam, Guam to Yap, and Yap to Koror. We leave at 9 a.m. Wednesday and arrive at 10:20 p.m. local time in Palau on Thursday. I still can't wrap my mind around the whole international date-line thing--I'm just glad we'll be getting there!
And my schedule is pretty nuts in the next 8 days. I'm making sure to get in my yoga practices because it keeps me focused and more calm. Which is a good thing. Next Monday, I am honored to be welcoming the Anglican Bishop of The Diocese of Central Tanganika to our home for a luncheon for him to tell some local folks about the Carpenter's Kids program. I'll write more about that later.
In the meantime, It's off to dinner with the wonderful couple who will be tending to our home and the little reds while we're in Palau. God bless folks who are willing to help us so that we can take time off together and be adventurous. I promise to repay this favor when people need me to...
And, of course, this Sunday night is THE OSCARS!!!
I'll post my pics later this week.
In the meantime, if you haven't seen the documentary "The Cove," see it. Heartbreaking but also powerful. People who want to change the world for the good change my world. And make it better. And make me want to work harder.
Love, love, love,