Being with Britt and Chris was truly wonderful. I am incredibly proud of them both but maybe even more so of Chris who is juggling a lot of responsibility - and is still guy-smiley. I am so glad I went. It helps to be able to picture them in their surroundings. I love those newlyweds and I think they're doing great!
It hit me on the ride to Dallas how much Britt grieves the loss of her siblings and her time with us here. I knew how I felt about letting go of her, but I think I now understand her hurt too. She enjoys her role as big sister and feels sad to be missing out.
Saying goodbye to her (remember I do not excel in this area) was horrid. I feel sorry for the guy that served me at the TGI Friday's at the DFW A Concourse - you could tell he wished he did not have to come talk to the sobbing, snotty, ugly-faced lady in his section. I tipped well to try to make up for it. Poor fellow.
I used a miles ticket, which means you have really bad choices and get stuck with an overnight in Florida. When they give you something free, they want it to suck so you don't want more things for free.
Sleeping in the Fort Lauderdale airport is not possible. I layered all the clothes in my carry on (five shirts two pants) and still got hypothermia inside the building. I am 100% certain the area hotels cover the expense of dropping the air conditioning to 45 degrees to try to force more business their way. It is a conspiracy, I know it. I prevailed, though. No hotel got my money.
I slept from 1:15 am until 2:42 and it was totally relaxing and awesome*. The wood bench was so inviting, the massive industrial vacuum coming by acted as white noise and the workers emptying the trash and talking about me in Creole was super-relaxing too*.
At 3am I considered breaking the meat and cheese out of my cooler bag to lay on that and try to warm up. At 4am I gave up and just started walking in circles to stay warm. When I got in line to get rid of my bags again at 4:30, I learned that I am not very polite in an airport after no sleep. Some woman jumped my case for being in the wrong line and "cutting" -- I assured her there was nothing more in the world that I wanted to do in that moment than to BLESS HER*!
It turns out that I could not cut in line because they don't check Port au Prince passengers in the main ticketing area. They do it downstairs off to the side. I can only speculate it is because there is much packing, unpacking and re-packing that happens when people come back to Haiti. No one in their right mind is coming back here with one ounce less than 100 lbs of something good.
I must have looked horrific ... the puffy eyes, the layers and layers of clothing ... something ... Because the guy that finally helped me re-check bags at 5:39am (not that I was watching the clock) decided to upgrade me to first class. It was then that I figured I would for sure see someone who supports our work and they would think I spend their money on first class airline tickets and other super fun things and they might think I went to Disney World too and I would fumble and be awkward trying to tell the story of how I got upgraded without even asking ... and it was a free ticket and I only went to see my kid and ...
But that did not happen. So that was wasted worry. I tend to be tortured when tired.
I drank 72 ounces of coffee between 6am and departure time ... which meant I could stay awake and enjoy my HUGE reclining seat in row 6 with the other fancy people - and the hot towel that came with it.
It. was. awesome.
While I am operating on just a couple hours of sleep, as unwise as it seems, I am going to make a MAJOR confession. I know I have friends who will be offended, but I feel the time has come to finally admit publicly ....
I hate matching t-shirts for mission team members. Truly. A lot. I feel sad for people every time I see it. These folks made me frown at gate F6 today. They went to Jamaica all yellow and matchy.
Troy likens it to what Vince Lombardi said about being in the end zone: "Act like you've been there before!"
Aaaaaahhhhh. That felt good. Off my chest.
And now, I am home...Where people are sick and the bugs are thick. (Troy is not better yet. Lydie has something.)
I did not find the mosquitoes to be so horribly insensitive in Texas, I don't understand what sort of terrible upbringing these Haitian mosquitoes had. They have so much unresolved anger.
Hopefully a night of solid rest will make angry bugs and illness seem like a tiny little thing tomorrow. I can hope.