Beau dropped me off at the Des Moines airport around 10am. We knew from our last flight there just isn't a need to get there a gazillion hours early like other airports. It's Des Moines. We said our really, really, really hard goodbyes. We just sat in those pathetic four rows of chairs at the bottom of the escalators and talked for a bit, prayed together, and then I cried and cried. I've never had to say goodbye and not know when I can see someone again, let alone my husband. Who also just so happens to be my very best friend. I've always and a return ticket with a date. As soon as we parted ways I said to myself, "Ok Lord, it's you and me. You and me. Let's do this." (Note to future self, don't ever look back. Tears fall faster and harder. Then the boarding pass checkers look at you funny.)
I found my gate only to realize it was delayed. It either happened while I went through security or the person checking me in failed to tell me that. I was to leave at 11:30. The screen said delayed until 12:50. Then 1:20. Then 1:45, 2:00, 2:15, 2:45, 3:00, 3:15, finally staying put at 3:30. Every single time that changed I saw my "plans" for seeing Carver and Macy, slip away. It doesn't help that the caretakers told Carver I was coming, three days ago, and told me that now 'every time a vehicle drives by, he looks out the gate to see if it's you'. Oh my. Stop.
Finally, I talked to the gate lady in DM. Who rebooked me on an AA flight to London for 6:20 from Dallas.
The screen may have said 3:30 but we didn't board until 4:00. It just so happens, the gal assigned to the seat next to me- is also trying to get to (Dallas) London. And the Des Moines staff rebooked her to an 8:30 London flight. Not sure why my lady didn't do that one for me either. But I texted out a plea for prayer for God's will.
Mid-flight I decided to ask the flight attendant on my flight what I should do since we would land at 6:00pm. She said that we would land in terminal B. But both London flights were in terminal D. So I need to catch the train thing to D.
She told me to talk to the clerk at the gate right after landing and see if they could do anything about letting the 6:20pm flight know I was coming/"here"or getting me on the 8:30pm flight. We landed at 5:56 and when I turned my phone on I got an email that my 6:20 flight was delayed to 6:35. Yay! Hope!!
And then the captain came over the PA and said, "Attention passengers, I'm not going to sugar coat it for you, I am just going to tell you.... but we've been told it will be up to, or more than an hour of a wait until we are able to get to a gate. So we will be waiting here on the aircraft on the Tarmac." We were the first of 10 flights waking for a gate, on the ground.
Two minutes later the flight attendant came on, "Also passengers, the lavatory on the plane is also not working. There's nothing we can do. I am sorry for the inconvenience."
While sitting there I decided to call American Airlines and see if I could get my name on the ticket for the 8:30 flight. They were busy, no doubt from all the delays, but the automated lady said they will call you back and you won't lose your place in line. So sure enough, 11-17 minutes later, I heard from them. The nice lady rebooked me for the 8:30. Praise Jesus. He got me one step closer.
Unfortunately, I miss my connection to Uganda by ten minutes. Yes. Ten.
I land at 11:30a Wednesday and my connection leaves at 11:20a. So the only flight out is the next day at 11:20. On Thursday. That means the whole day/overnight in London.
The only other option was to stay and overnight in Dallas and then get to Entebbe the same time the 26th. Pick your poison. I knew Dallas was getting more bad weather Wednesday, so I decided to get ahead of it and overnight in London.
I prayed and prayed and prayed, put a plea out on Facebook and texted friends and family, to ask them to pray that The Lord would make a way for me to make my connection. The last two times I've flown to Amsterdam, we got there a half hour early due to a tailwind. I didn't care how God would do it: delay my Entebbe plane, make the London flight land early, who knows.
Shortly before landing I asked a flight attendant if there was anyway I could get off the plane ASAP after landing, ("LET HER OFF THE PLANE, LET HER OFF THE PLANE!!!!"....any 'Friends' fans out there? Hehe!!!) because it was showing we would land at 10:53. He said, "You can move up three rows."
Thanks dude. (I must not be able to go through the sacred first class section, lol) I wasn't taking any chances and prayed over my path and steps and grabbed my luggage and moved three rows closer.
I didn't bring my new gym shoes I received for my birthday, but I knew I was going to make a run for it- if I had any chance, after talking to the first gate lady or lad I saw! After all I have 24 hrs to recover sitting at my gate if I don't make it!?
That hope was lost when we went from being a half hour early to land, to being on a ten minute hold, circling London. Then our gate was occupied when we did land. By the time our plane rolled to a stop and docked, my other flight was taking off. Might as well have. I had no idea how my luggage would have ever made it to Entebbe with me if I had made that last flight anyhow.
So I hopped off, went through security. Why do you have to go through security immediately leaving a plan, in which you went through security to get on? Can someone explain this nonsense? I forgot to take out my essential oils so my bag got taken to another inspection (funny how I made it through two other stops and it didn't pick them up then). Then went to the American Airlines desk. It's now after Noon. The lady worked her magic and booked me for a flight two hours later at 2:00pm for Egypt Air to Cairo, Cairo to Entebbe. I would arrive at 3:15am. (Rather than 10:40pm)
I walked 40 minutes to the correct terminal, took a tram, and waited for boarding. London is a massive airport, people. Massive. I got lost twice. They also have to be the largest employer of England. There were SO MANY FRIENDLY PURPLE WORKERS EVERYWHERE! Thankfully!
I went through security again. Then right before boarding I decided to ask if they could look up my baggage tags to see where my bags were. It was then the Egyptian Air worker told me that I didn't have a seat for the flight at 2:00. I told her how the AA worker told me it was today and I needed to hurry to make it to my gate on time. She did some calling and even in whatever language they speak (Arabic?) I could tell it was bad.
The AA worker had accidentally booked the flight for the next day, 2-26-15. I cried. Instantly. I couldn't even help it. They told me I needed to go back to where I started and ask them to look for another flight. Oh my Lanta. I was still sweating from the first trip over here. My phone was dying. And all I kept thinking was, "I wish Beau was here. I wish Beau was here. I'm so alone." I called him through FaceTime. The connection was bad so I could hardly get in a full sentence. I cried harder. So frustrated. So tired. I had NO IDEA how to get back to where I came from. Everything was so "one way" when I came. I found a purple person and asked through my tears if he could help me get back to terminal 2. He started telling me directions and pointing from his kiosk...then the hand of God must have touched him because he stopped and said, "let me take you part way to start." Bless you purple man, bless you.
I sobbed the whole 40 minute walk/tram back. The song "Forever Reign" by Hillsong popped into my head when I was reciting scripture to myself as I walked the empty halls.....so I started singing, dog gone it. Haha!!
I made the trek back. Sweatier than the first time. (Did I make that word up?) Went through security for the third time, this time forgetting my iPad was still in my bag. Can't win dude. I can't win. (Cried more) Over I go to the men with the wand and explosive detectors. Ha!
Finally got to the AA desk again. The little lady saw me coming and she instantly had this sad/regretful face. I just smiled at her with tears in my eyes. I knew it wasn't her fault. And me being frustrated was going to do nothing. (The Des Moines 4.5 hour delay taught me that!) She just blurted out "I'm so terribly sorry ma'm" in her British accent. (Which makes things better I tell ya!)
Since she knew they were sending me back she was already "on it" to find me a new flight. She knew this was for our adoption. Bless her. It was now 2:30, and she said had the Egyptian Air people stayed on the phone with her, she would have told me to stay in terminal 2 and told me to go to another flight leaving at 3:00. But it was too late now. I could never get back there in time. (I just prayed to myself, "Lord, MAKE A WAY if it's your will, please Jesus!") She eventually found at Kenya Airways flight leaving at. 7:00, landing at 8:00am in Nairobi. I would connect to a flight to Uganda and land there by 9:15am :) She surprised me with a food voucher with 17 pounds on it. Which meant nothing to me of course.
This meant no overnight in London. And getting there on Thursday at 9:15am rather than 10:40pm like it would have been again.
So I headed to my new terminal, #4. Back through security. Made it through no problems! lol Fourth time is the charm! Went to the Kenyan desk to MAKE SURE I had a seat. She asked all sorts of questions about my travel and after I gave the quick synopsis she said, "At least you still have a smile on your face!" I said, "yes! Well, I had a good cry before!" That was so a God thing that I had the ability to keep going...with a smile. I'm not normally a smiley person regardless. Haha!!
I had my boarding pass and still no idea where my bags are. Whatever. Time for food! I soon found out I had to use it all in one place and the sweet Italian restaurant lady helped me use all but .05 of it! Hahaha! I had tortellini, sorbet, and olive oil and bread! It was so much I couldn't even finish! (Well I finished the sorbet of course!) Thank you American Airline lady.
Three days, countless hours of delays and layovers, and four flights later- I am in Uganda!
My theme so far this trip is "rest in Him". There hasn't been much I could do to change or control things that were happening. I definitely was emotional, but I know God was with me through that and showed me many things through these rough few days.
Thank you for praying for us! On to the next step/day!