Tuesday morning the 29th was the day I woke up early, packed my car, and hugged and kissed Beau goodbye for the next 11 days, to meet our kids. I drove a mere 11 miles to my moms to pick up one last thing for the trip...and sobbed the whole way. Beau and I haven't been apart this long since being married. Some have said, but you were in Malawi all summer long when you were engaged. Yes, but this time is different. I'm used to seeing him each morning and night. Talking throughout the day through phone and text, and coming home at night to the norm.
Man. This was hard. Not to mention traveling the journey alone and being in Africa experiencing this all alone as well. Thankfully, my wonderful sis in law called me and kept me occupied for almost two hours of my 5.5 hour drive to Chicago.
Chicago: totally forgot about tolls. So lame. Your welcome, state of Illinois. I also got lost "in" Chicago O'Hare. I say "in" because the airport is the size of my hometown. I got lost trying to park. Called Beau in a straight panic- sobbing again. (I was a true wreck that day) Like, what was he going to do 5.5 hours away having never been to Chicago/flown once in his life to our honeymoon? lol He was the best sport, supportive the whole way.
Flight to Amsterdam: 8 hours. I thankfully had an isle seat. I'm not much for the windows. It was a massive double decker, 3-4-3, for 47 aisles of seats. I was the 3rd wheel to an older Ukranian couple, traveling back home to visit their children and grandchildren. They spoke a little English. And I don't think, ever, stopped talking. Lol sometimes in other accents/languages you think they are mad the majority of the time. (?) I helped them figure out the remotes to the TVs and they asked about my reasoning for traveling- which I got the usual: "oh that is so Nobel of you" and "but you will have your own children correct?" (I would graciously respond) and then "oh why? Why not? Yes, you have to?" I had ample time to pray following that. ;)
There was ONE episode of my most favorite show on the plane- a little piece of home. Don't ask how many times I watched it. ;)
Landed in Amsterdam, also another massive airport. Where I might add, they do NOT accept the Starbucks scan to pay app. Dang it. (I had loaded a gift card intentionally before leaving the house) I had a 4 hour layover and parked it at the wifi bench and texted everyone I loved that I knew was sleeping back home. ;) and watched some Netflix.
Amsterdam to Kigali, Rwanda/Entebbe, Uganda: 8h 20m flight, then you stop in Kigali for an hour and let passengers off/on, while you wait for it- SIT SOME MORE and wait....
Let me tell you- this was THE WORST FLIGHT I HAVE EVER EXPERIENCED. The worst turbulence ever. Like spill your apple juice the flight attendant just handed you, captain comes on and tells you to put your seatbelt back on, and for cabin staff to return to the cabin as soon as possible, and to buckle in. That's the stuff I've only ever seen in movies. When those said flight attendants look at one another with sheer panicked faces, and are grasping the luggage doors...I straight up started crying, and breathing in and out deeeeeep breaths and gripping the arms. This happened three times for more than 15 minutes during our trip. Each time I would switch off my movie and go to "Flight Tracker" to see where we were. After the news lately- I've been a total wreck about the flights. I wanted to know where my plane was going to crash and if I survived, where I needed to swim too. ;)
Anyways- I clapped along with the others when we landed.
I landed in Entebbe at 10:30pm. This is the type of flight where you get off ON the TARMAC. This was no rinky-dink small plane either. Paid for my visa and took in all of the African smells that quickly flooded my Malawi memories. Praise God all luggage made it!!
Now, this is where it gets real interesting. I was supposed to find my ride from a friend I'd never met, to the hotel, at the exit of the airport holding a "KENDRA" sign. Well. After searching and scanning the crowd, pushing my cart of luggage back and forth...there was no such someone. It can get quite intimidating when you see three dozen Africans staring at you with signs from hotels, taxi companies, not speaking your language. I got so panicked at one time I thought a sign that read "Kristina" could be me??? No? Maybe they just- ya know, got the name mixed up or wrote it how it sounded? Lol well that came up empty and shook their head no when I asked "Elias???".
Haha!! I stood there, all but hugging my luggage cart and the glass of the giant sliding exit doors. Praying. And praying. And praying. God please show me where Elias was. Remember, I have never met him, and my phone doesn't work in Africa. I started looking in my phone for a picture of Elias to remind myself what he looked like over and over again. I would look at my phone and into the crowd of shouting men on the other side of the rope. (It was almost like being a celebrity on the red carpet. Without a glamorous dress and beautified in makeup.
Well, at this point I now have other men asking me to "Just give me a chance, I will take you to good hotel in no time!" Ummmm HECK NO! you may have the best intentions in the world but I don't know you from....well- I don't know who my friend Elias is either who is to also pick me up. LOL but "NO!" I will not go with you haha!! He then asked if I had Elias' phone number to call. Oh my word. I didn't. Nope. What was I thinking? Well, I was thinking IT DIDNT MATTER IF I HAD HIS NUMBER because my phone wouldn't work! Didn't think about someone else's phone working. Lol
What could have been only a nudge from The Lord, I decided to check if this wonky airport had wifi! (Are you kidding me?) and if so- I could iMessage Beau or Jessica to get ahold of Lise to get Elias' phone number. BOOM! They did!!! Yay! And not only did iMessage work, but so did Facebook. In a matter of 5 minutes I had everyone worrying and then BOOM "Kendra, Kendra!" There was Elias.
Sadly, I didn't even think about letting all who were panicking that he had arrived. I was just so glad he was there and we took off! Whoops!!
Away we went to a "resort" for the night. Here is a picture of the view outside my window of this "resort".
I cried myself to sleep that night missing Beau so much and panicking that he was panicking that I was being trafficked at the airport. My word. I truly had to rest in The Lord that night and asked Him to give Beau peace that I was ok, because I couldn't.
The next morning I woke up and showered off my airplane scent. ;) by shower I mean stand in a tub and pour water over your head. Then we were off to buy me a phone that would work in country. We bartered for the cheapest one we could find and I was texting Beau from the longest phone number known to man to let him know I was alive and well and missing him.
We left the craziness and traffic-jam that Kampala is and headed 3.5 hours away to where I would soon meet our children.