I’m back from Tanzania and have experienced so much! Too much for one blog post. So, I’ll just have to break it down day by day. Enjoy! 🙂
After 9 months of planning and preparation my alarm went off at 3:00 AM and I was hit with the very real thought, “Good grief this is really going to happen!” Dusty and I loaded up the luggage and we headed to Indianapolis International Airport. Let me just say a 5:45 AM flight is EARLY! I was to fly to Dulles Airport in Washington D.C. and after a 50 minute layover, fly to Kennedy airport in New York City. There I would meet up with my group and fly to Amsterdam. Three more hours on the ground then we would be bound for Kilimanjaro airport in Tanzania. Some background info: except for 3 days spent in Southern Ontario between Niagara Falls and Michigan, I had never been out of the United States. And let’s face it…except for the maple leaf flying from the flagpole and the fact that the speed limit is in kilometers per hour, southern Ontario is not that different fromIndiana. Also up to this point I had only flown once, and then I was with a person who knew what they were doing and I just followed them around.
The airport slowly crept to life and as they opened the gates to security, Dusty kissed me goodbye and I was off. I got through security with no issues. My checked bag weighed in at EXACTLY 50 lbs, and I settled in at the gate. After boarding the plane we sat…and sat….and sat. Seems that the crew that was to service the lavatories did not get their job done. So we waited for that. Then, we waited as they de-iced the plane. At this point I’m realizing that I’m not going to make my connection. I wasn’t too concerned because I knew there was another flight to NYC at 12:30 PMthat would get me there in plenty of time. We taxied out and then stopped. Seems a light came on and it needed to be checked out. United, I’m not thrilled with you at this point. We FINALLY got airborne with no chance of making the connection. We landed in DC as my other flight was taking off.
Off to the United Customer Service counter. (A job you could not pay me enough to do) Fortunately I got a woman who was trying everything to help me out. She cheerfully said that I was re-booked on a flight to NYC that would land at 5:30 PM.. No good. I’m scheduled to fly toAmsterdam at 5:45 PM. She then asked what airline I was on to Amsterdam. I said, “No, I’m meeting a group at Kennedy. I have to be in NYC by 3:00 PM. What about the 12:30 PM flight?” I was told that flight was overbooked and not an option. She then said that the best case scenario was to fly from Reagan (remember, I’m at Dulles) to Newark and then I could take a cab to Kennedy. At this point I start to get a bit nervous. What will that cost and I’m not convinced there will be enough time. As the words were coming out of her mouth she got a puzzled look on her face as she looked at her screen. “Hmmm….you’ve just been assigned the last seat on the 12:30 PM flight.” Well of course I have. J Too many people praying for this trip not to!
As it would turn out, while I was waiting for this flight I saw a couple with a Compassion trip guide just like mine. Harlan and Terry were part of my group to Tanzania. We got to spend the time visiting and getting to know each other. And instead of trying to navigate around Kennedy, I just followed Harlan. Worked out all the way around.
We landed in New York, met up with our group, and got ready to head across the Atlantic.