Written on 8/25/2007
As we boarded the plane yesterday, I had no idea the emotions and thoughts that would run through my heart and mind. Africa? Really? Who let me do this? Where was my accountability? Why did I choose to do this? But, I guess this is where I’m supposed to be—in a small hotel room in London, trying to gather my thoughts on the eve of the greatest adventure of my life.
I left Seattle disheartened at the thought of leaving my family and friends behind, but also overjoyed at the prospects that lie ahead of me. Boarding the Boeing 777, British Airways non-stop flight to London, I realized quickly that this was it. Would I take my seat just like the sheep being herded around me, or would I turn back and run for the safe green pastures that I have always known? I couldn’t turn back. God placed me in this situation for a reason, and as ridiculous as a lot of it sounds, I couldn’t do anything but go through with it. So, I sat. I watched the in-flight navigation system on my personal headrest television as the tiny plane left Seattle, passed the Cascades, hovered over Kalispell, and eventually left the United States somewhere around North Dakota. I was on my way. But not without two sub-par (not as in birdie or eagle, but rather as in less than average) box meals and seven hours of uninterrupted sleep due to a strategically placed double dose of Benadryl.
As I de-boarded into London-Heathrow, I was astonished at how much of the seventies still existed. I’m quite sure that all of the carpet, furnishings, and art from that decade was shipped to London-Heathrow and put to good use. There were no bags to pick up because they are being transferred to Ethiopia on our next flight. So we left on bus H6 to Hotel Ibis just outside the airport. Upon arrival at 5pm, we realized that they only had one room for us with two single beds and that we could not sleep four in the room due to hotel regulations. So we were told to wait until 6pm when there would most likely be a few cancellations. When we came back at 6pm, we were informed that in fact the cancellation deadline was actually 7pm. So we waited another hour before we approached the counter again. This time, we were told that not only were there no cancellations, but that they were overbooked by 30 rooms, so even if there were to have been a cancellation, we would not have received a room. So we said, fine, we’ll go elsewhere. That’s when they told us that we could not actually receive our money back for the room we had reserved. So we devised a plan to sneak all four of us into and out of the room and we worked over the system.
After our scheming was done at the hotel, we left to downtown London. Little did we know, the tube was going to be incredibly slow, and the only food we would find that wasn’t a million dollars was McDonald’s. So we ordered our quarter pounders with cheese, fries and medium diet cokes, and walked through Trafalgar Square down toward Westminster Abby. Then out of nowhere, the largest clock I’ve ever seen pops from around a corner and stares me in the face. I’ve seen Big Ben on television, but it is much different in person. It isn’t that big for having such a description in its title, but it commands respect from the visitor and by that I was astonished. Our time downtown was short, but sweet and we headed back to the hotel.
And here I am, typing away. Tomorrow, I will be setting foot on a completely foreign land. The earth will feel different, the people will look and speak differently, at 8000 feet above sea level I will breathe differently, and I will love differently. Whether I am ready or not, I am being thrust into the most terrifying yet potentially the most fulfilling experience that I will have had in my lifetime.
I will share with you my thoughts, feelings, prayers and activities here on this blog. I hope you enjoy as you journey with me.