I’m thankful for:
- Being able to sleep long naps on the plane along with the toddler.
- A spanking new airport (Hamad International Airport).
- An empty seat (i.e.: extra space) on the Dream Liner for our last leg.
I’m thankful for:
We moved to Singapore over two years ago. Since then, my sister, Tamarah, has been praying that the Lord would open up an opportunity for her to visit us while we are living here. Last week we had the incredible privilege of seeing the Lord fulfilling the answer to the prayer.
As is the case with many flights from the east coast, hers arrived after midnight. This meant Andrew was able to stay home with the little guy while I went to pick her up.
It took some waiting as I got to the airport around midnight (early enough to still use the train to get there) and her plane didn’t arrive till after 1am. But my wait wasn’t as long as her 24hr-ish trip!
In any case, the wait was worth it!
Gideon didn’t get to meet his aunt until the next day, but he was happy too!
This was the first relative that he got to meet in person besides his grandma who was here when he was born.
And wouldn’t you know, even after all this time apart, we still share similar tastes and dress alike!
Even though it’s been a few days since she arrived, we’ve already made so many memories and been on quite a few adventures. Hopefully I’ll get to post more pictures and stories soon!
It’s funny how the Lord uses circumstances to change your perspective from complaining to thankful. I wish I could say that I was quick to be thankful… but my stay in Shanghai reminded me that I am often quicker to turn towards complaining, even if it is inward & in my heart.
Almost a month ago now, I was heading back to the States for my Christmas break. To save money we bought a ticket that would fly me to Shanghai, keep me in Shanghai over night, and fly the rest of the way back to the States in the morning. While I checked in my luggage in the Singapore Changi Airport I was notified that I would have to un-check and re-check the luggage at my lay-over Shanghai. Initially I wasn’t too pleased about it. Apparently the reason for needing to re-check my luggage later was that my connecting flight was after midnight while my initial flight arrived before midnight. Oh well.
I made it to Shanghai fine. But that’s when trouble started …
Somehow (I am still puzzled as to how) within a minute of getting off the plane I noticed a pain on my finger. I looked down to see a small chunk of skin a few layers deep missing from one of my fingers. Great.
A minute later as I was walking to go find immigration/customs/etc, my flip-flop decided to break. Not just like a simple “top starts to release from the bottom.” No, this was a “the middle of the flip flop wouldn’t stay in and there was no way it was going to stay on my foot.” The good news, I was right about flip-flops being easy to take on/off for the purpose of traveling. The bad news, I didn’t consider that one of the pairs would break. Thus I ended up walking through the airport with one bare foot. I am sure I looked ridiculous walking through immigration with one bare foot while everyone around me had donned downy coats in preparation of the cold weather.
This is the first reason I became thankful for un-checking my luggage: I had shoes/socks in there! I fixed my shoe situation and continued walking.
After I got out of customs a polite lady at a random counter asked if I need help. Come to find out she was trying to convince me to stay at a hotel. I tried to explain that I was spending the night in the airport and that I couldn’t not leave the airport as I didn’t have a visa. (Perhaps I might have been able to go to an airport hotel for the night without a visa… I don’t know. But either way, I wasn’t planning on leaving the premises.) She said, “oh, but it will get very cold here.” I helplessly responded that I didn’t have much say in the matter, and thanked her for her time.
She was right. It was cold in the airport. I had already put on my jacket from my carry on… but it didn’t take long for me to realize it was nice for me to have my checked luggage with me. My coat left the checked luggage and went on my back. I settled in on a chair for the night. (2nd reason I became thankful for un-checking my luggage.)
Thanks to my thoughtful husband, I had a engaging book to keep me occupied during the night when I wasn’t napping. (Although, I am embarrassed to say that the book was found in the teenage section of the bookstore! Oh well, the “Inheritence” helped keep me occupied during my long haul…)
Morning dawned. The airport that held people napping through the night like myself awoke. And it thankfully started to warm up. (I guess they believe in energy conservation.) As the bustle increased, I got ready to go to my next destination: a gate. Luggage re-check went well, and I passed security fine.
I took another nap and read some more. Finally about 12 hrs after I had gotten off my previous plane, I boarded the plane bound for the US.
The plane left the gate. We got about 300 ft. from the gate. Then we stopped.
From my window seat I could see 5 workers walk out to under the plane. I don’t think this is a good sign.
We waited more.
We finally went back to the gate being told that there was a mechanical issue. (Note: they said “mechanical reason” but “issue” makes more sense.) This was not the gate I was looking forward to seeing again so soon. After more waiting (about 2hrs after we initially boarded the plain) an announcement was made that we were letting us off as the mechanical reason was not something that could be resolved right away. The announcement was accompanied with reassurance that they would let us know once they had more news.
People poured out of the plane and walked back to the boarding area, none too happy to be back in the same airport. I was thankful that I was off the plane in 2 hrs instead of 13… but I was hoping to get off in America, not China.
A multitude of passengers gathered around various flight attendants, each with their own version of what they thought would happen. I waited patiently away from the crowd that was growing in size & anger. It was unclear what was going to happen, and the poor flight attendants who seemed to have little more understanding than us were left to attempt to reassure the angry mass with empty promises.
Thankfully a sweet lady introduced herself to me and we struck up a happy conversation (while the unhappy dialogue continued apart from us). This lady was kind enough to let me hang around her and her group of American friends. Myself and the group held the opinion that there was no use getting angry at the flight attendants for a situation that was obviously out of their control. We decided to wait together until direction of what to do was more clear.
After a while the crowd dissipated (it seemed like many got fed up and left to go find lunch or a hotel or sympathy elsewhere). Snack & lunch were eventually served to those that were patiently waiting. However, there was no announcement of any sort, not even the notification that they were serving food. It was more like a realization that, “oh that person has food… oh they have food for us” … I was able to mooch off the group that let me stay near them.
I sort of lost track of time. But all we knew to do was wait.
The sun set.
I was thankful to have such a beautiful view. Had I not waited in the airport for so long I wouldn’t have seen such a breathtaking sunset. My pictures don’t do it justice though!
Finally sometime around dinner time an announcement was given to move to Gate 18. We dutifully obeyed the instructions, but with little knowledge as to the purpose of the move.
We waited longer at the new gate.
The next announcement that was given was, “Please come up to the desk to receive your compensation.” It took a while before we realized what compensation was. Apparently if we signed a form in Chinese and put down our phone number they would give us 600 renminbi (approx. 100USD) in cash for the inconvenience of waiting. When it was my turn to receive cash there was a sudden flurry of activity/talking amongst the flight attendants.
A few minutes later an announcement came over the loudspeaker, “We are now boarding.” Just like that. No preamble… well, unless you count the hours of waiting with a total of three previous announcements as a preamble. The flight crew was so rushed to get people on the plane and into the air that no order was given to boarding the plane. It was every man for himself; just don’t get left behind!
As there was no warning before they suddenly told us to get on the plane, several fellow passengers were unprepared. Members of the group I had become friends with had just gone out to dinner. Friends ran frantically trying to find and retrieve them so that they would be able to make it onto the plane in time.
Within a short while all impatient passengers had been loaded up. We were all seated and ready to go.
Paraphrase of Announcement #5: “Some luggage was incorrectly put on this plane. Please be patient with us as the luggage situation is sorted out.”
That was not exactly what we wanted to hear. But we were by now accustomed to waiting, so we took it in stride as best we could. Eventually the situation was sorted out. The plane (apparently a new one, not the old plane) left the new gate. We headed to the runway. And finally we left Shanghai… and not a moment too soon.
I was thankful for several reasons:
Today I woke up, said a teary goodbye to my Love, did some packing, went to work, had a blast for my last Computer class with my students, did some grading, went home…
That was all before I finished packing.
I was a bit stressed. I got home at around 1pm. My goal was to leave for the airport around 2pm. I don’t know what took me so long, but I finally remembered to go to the Lord in prayer about my anxiety about the upcoming trip.
I met my goal (5 minutes off the mark, but close enough) and left on time. I found a taxi easily enough. The taxi cab driver was chatty… which normally I don’t like. Today though, it was a welcome distraction.
I was worried about getting to the airport on time. When the taxi driver learned how much time I had left before my flight (a little over two hours when we started the ride) – he said, “Oh, you be there early, lah!” Apparently, he didn’t think I needed to worry about getting there on time.
As I got to the airport, I had no idea where to go. Wouldn’t you know, the first counter I walked upto happened to be the right airlines. Sweet. Thank you Lord.
I found out that they couldn’t check my luggage for the entire flight. Somethign about my flight’s layover being too long. So I’ll get to re-check my luggage in Shanghai. Woohoo. Oh well.
My nerves were slowly settling. I got to the gate and realized that they hadn’t even let people through the security check yet. I was early. (At least for Singapore airport standards.)
I sat down to wait.
And guess what’s playing on the speakers? Christian Christmas songs put to instrumental/piano music (ie: sans words). So calming. And the songs immediately bring the wonderful lyrics to songs like “O Come All Ye Faithful” or “The First Noel” etc… to mind. Just the reminder I needed to refocus back to Christ.
Thank you Lord for reminding me through the loudspeakers at the Changi Airport that I need not be anxious, but trust in you.
PS – Andrew come soon!