Monday, March 26, 2012

The Saga of Getting to Yap

     So, I suppose it's obvious that I didn't get a blog posted before heading to Yap. Some of you know what it's like making preparations for a three-week trip when you're leaving the kids at home. Well, that's what I've been up to. The good news is that I am officially in Yap State, the Federated States of Micronesia. Instead of repeating the interesting factoids about Yap, I will refer to the blog we posted on March 15, 2011, since it contains all of the necessary background information. It's called "The First 24 Hours on Yap."
     Let me simply begin by stating that getting here this time was nothing shy of a miracle. In fact, it really seemed like someone didn't want me here! Go figure. In a nutshell, here's the saga:
  • 6:00 a.m., March 16, I arrived at the Santa Barbara Airport (SBA) to catch my flight to Guam, and was told that my flight had been canceled and there were no other options available to get to Guam except to return on the 17th. 
  • 7:00 a.m., March 17 (next day), I arrived at SBA, caught my flight to Los Angeles (LAX) and missed the connecting flight by five minutes. The agent said, “Why was your flight late, it shows you left Santa Barbara ahead of schedule?!” No explanation was provided, but I was informed that once again, it would be impossible for me to reach Guam on that day; I would have to spend the night at a local hotel and leave on the 18th. I suggested they have me stay the night in Honolulu (1/3 of the way to Guam). 
  • 3:00 p.m. Boarded a plane in LAX, heading to Honolulu.  I was seated in a row with a couple who were inebriated, and an hour into the flight they became extremely belligerent.  They demanded more alcohol from the flight crew who were refusing to serve them. Infuriated, they yelled, cursed, threw a bottle, and, among other things, ripped up the in-flight magazine and threw it all over the floor. Five hours of intense conflict filled the flight, ending with police entering the plane and removing the unruly couple.
  • Upon arrival in Honolulu, it became painfully obvious that my luggage had been lost.  At 11:00 p.m. (3:00 a.m. PST), after 20 straight hours of either being in an airport or on a plane, I was too exhausted to continue the battle for my luggage.  So, with no change of clothes or toiletries, I left for the hotel.
  • Noon, March 18, still no luggage, I am praying that I will, in fact, be on the 2:25 plane for Guam.
  • 6:00 p.m., Guam time. I actually arrived, just about on time, but I had no idea if my luggage had caught up with me. As I held my breath at baggage pick-up, low and behold, it appeared before my sight-sore eyes. Finally, something had gone right!
With some smiley PIU students.
     The sad reality, however, is that by now I was three days late. The essential time I had carved out to spend with PIU's women's dean was now whittled down to a few hours. The leisurely hours I had set aside to hang out with the women students, now nearly shot. It was a grand reminder that, despite my well-laid plans, ultimately, I do not call the shots. Maybe someday I'll learn what that was all about.
     So it seemed as if I had just arrived when I found myself shuttling back to the airport to meet Eric for the 11.59 p.m. flight to tiny Yap (his trip to Guam was smooth as glass!). From here, everything flowed. Greeted with the traditional flower leis once in Yap, we were brought to the mission house by our wonderful friends and co-workers, Asael Ruda and family. If all goes as planned (!), we will dive right into a men's retreat, a full day of preaching, lots of fellowship and consulting, and then the big parenting and marriage conference. 
I even got to sing in chapel with Jaynee!


     At least I made it . . . with my luggage in tow. More to come.

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