Sunday, April 06, 2008

Returning home

About a month back, around Easter and Lent, I decided to take some time away from blogging. In many ways, it has been a good time, to quietly reflect on my own. I needed a space away to let deep lessons absorb and settle down inside of me. But I have missed it. And I am again reentering this world with fresh vision--

For Easter this year, we traveled to San Antonio, Texas to be with my family. My parents drove over from Arizona and my younger brother drove from Baylor University where he is in his first year.

We had a wonderful time on my brother and sister-in-law's 5 acre hobby farm. We admire them a great deal and enjoyed the chance to peek in as they homeschool 5 kids, tend a flourishing garden, nurture pregnant goats, gather eggs, set their cow free for grazing. They lead a hand's-on life, and we enjoyed dipping into it (and basking in the sunshine!)

We had a wonderful time. But for the sake of story, I have to say that getting there was not as pleasant. In fact, we felt locked in a surreal twilight zone that took us a few days to recover from.

You see, we had heard hints of the US changing their border laws. But because we don't have a TV and don't see regular news, we didn't know of their recent "crack down". In February, they issued a "no-grace" policy stating that anyone without a passport, no matter their age, would be banned from traveling on an airplane into the US from any other country.

My husband and I have passports, but we only have birth certificates for the kids. Driving across the border is no issue with birth certificates, so we didn't think it would be a problem. In fact, I had mentioned to the booking clerk when I booked tickets, that my kids had birth certificates and she assured me it would be no problem--

Well, when we arrived in Vancouver to board, we were told the kids could not fly. For about 30 mintues, it all seemed tragic. I mean, my entire family was waiting for us, had driven for hours, my brother had booked off days from his busy medical clinic. My eyes were beginning to well up as I realized what was happening. Karumba!

And then, when it seemed impossible, an angel of an airline clerk did his magic (with the fastest typing fingers I've seen) and found us a flight out of Seattle for the next day. All without extra cost. One unfortunate issue was that he could only route us through Chicago with a 5 hour layover and change of plane. The other unfortunate issue was that the plane left Seattle the next morning at 6 am, which meant arriving at the airport at 4 :30 am.

But, we could get there! So we trundled on, reloaded out luggage and hit the highway south to Seattle.

But wait, it gets better-- (or bubbly or bulgy or bedraggled...)

We decided to sleep in a rather sketchy hotel and share a twin bed--four of us. It was already 60 bucks just to do that, and we couldn't imagine spending 80 for an extra bed. It was practically next door to the airport which meant a night of flashing lights and booming jet engines overhead. Needless to say, between the serenade and the jackknifing 2-year-old beside me, I got about an hour of sleep.

But again, we survived. We made the plane the next morning, groggy, but thankful, and turned our noses toward Chicago. When we arrived, we discovered a Spring blizzard brewing and a flight board full of cancelled flights in and out of O'Hare. Ours, thankfully was not cancelled, just delayed 6 hours. And on top of our 5 hour layover, we were in the Chicago airport for 11 hours.

But honestly, I can't complain. Because you know what? There was another family, in the good old Chicago airport play area, for 13 hours with 6 kids. One of which was a newly adopted baby girl from Vietnam. They were complete zombies functioning on extreme jet lag. Not only had they just flown from Vietnam, but they were delayed in Los Angeles and severely delayed in Chicago, and still had a flight to go!

The things we do in life. Oh my goodness.

After all that, we arrived in Texas and had a wonderful time. And our flight home was "normal", with no delays, and the kids slept almost the whole trip! Glorious. It all evens out in the end. It always seems to even out--

And now, we are home. And I am looking forward to Spring. And to catching up on the stories of the last month, here in this space--

If there are any lurkers out there, feel free to comment. If you don't have a blogger account, you can comment as "anonymous". I enjoy knowing you are out there--

photocredit: flickr-Steve Stone


Mari de Andrade said...

Dear Kell, I have missed you so much since you were away this space. I love your blog entries, the way you write so honestly and so well! Thank you for sharing, you make my days brighter!!! Lots of love, and say hi to Bryan for me.

elizabeth said...

so good to hear from you via words again! wishing you God's richest blessings.

melissa said...

Warn us you'll be going away next time! i was beginning to wonder! :-) Your trip sounds horrendous (the flying part, not the visiting part!). I'm glad you got there in the end, but oy vey, it must have been a trial.
Now I'm nervous about our flight next week. We all have passports. But a million other things could go wrong!

Anonymous said...

Hey Kelley! I missed your blogging! That reminds me, we still need a passport for our now 2 year old. what if we needed to leave the country in a hurry? :)

leah j

Jerusha said...

Hi Kelley! I recently discovered your blog as well. I was going to say that since you were in Chicago for so long, you could have called up Leah to visit. Then I realized she has been in St. Louis for the last few months...

I'm enjoying peeking into your life.
Jerusha Gittlen

Anonymous said...

Oh Kelly...what a lovely soul you are. Blessed to know you...what a trip. All turns out the way it is meant to be...what an adventure you had. Thanks for sharing...hope to see your lovely face soon!
Love Cat

L.L. Barkat said...

Your parents live in San Antonio? Tell me about it. (I'm thinking about taking a retreat outside of San Antonio this summer!)