We are trying hard to figure out what God is trying to teach us. Traveling to and from Africa is never easy, but this has been downright ugly. We were scheduled for about 32 hours of travel, but we have far surpassed that.
It started poorly when the first meal came to me an hour into the 6 1/2 hour flight from Addis to Frankfurt. I chose the pasta because my experience with the meat on earlier flights wasn't so good. Within 1 hour of eating my stomach went crazy. The vomiting and diarrhea began. Just what you want to be doing on an airplane. It continued throughout the flight and into the 6+ hour layover in Frankfurt. Not sure how I was going to survive the 10 hour flight to Denver, we boarded. It went okay and I only had a couple of issues. The whole time I was thinking, "get to Denver and we're only 1 1/2 hours from home. In Denver, I was finally able to hold down food so things were looking up.
Then the delays began...
They pushed our flight back every 15 minutes for 4 hours. Finally they cancelled it and rescheduled it for 7:00 this morning. As only the US airline industry can do, they begrudgingly reserved a room for us in a hotel 30 minutes away and told us to grab the shuttle. It doesn't take a genius to figure out how long it will take to get a planeful of people to a hotel 30 minutes away with 1 15 passenger van with luggage. Getting sick of waiting in the 20 degree temperatures, I used my African negotiating skills to find a van which would take us and 2 of our fellow travelers for $40.
We made it to the hotel, hoping for the first 5 hours of uninterrupted sleep for several days. At midnight, a text came from United stating that our 7:00 flight was now cancelled. So at midnight I pleasantly spoke to a United person on the phone so they could reschedule us.
Currently I am sitting on the wheel well in a van full of new friends. They were planning on putting all of us on their bus until it didn't start in the cold weather.
But, at the end of the day, my wife has reminded me of our family montra in these situations..."I get to..."
I get to ride on the wheel well of a van because most people in the world don't have that ability.
I get to travel 46 hours to get home because most people in the world would travel 2 weeks to get to the US if they could.
I get to reach into my pocket for my last $20 to pay for a van that I shouldn't have to buy last night because many people in the world don't make $40 in a month.
I get to put on dirty clothes today which smell of a combination of coffee (from the packed gifts for our family) and vomit, because many people in the world struggle to compile multiple sets of clothes to put on their back.
I get to miss my kids at home for one more day because there are many people who desire to have kids or more than 1 and can't or aren't allowed to.
We are trying hard to keep everything in perspective and stay positive. Hoping to be home soon!