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Travelling Adventures

by:Rachel

Packing seems to be my current life calling. I’ve been packing, unpacking, and repacking for the past month and I’m glad to finally be seeing the light at the end of the tunnel–at least for the next three months. We are currently at John’s sister’s place in New Jersey after arriving in the States Tuesday night and on Saturday we’ll be settling into our friend’s place in Syracuse until we move to Scotland in January.

jet plane“Leaving on a jet plane…”

Our travels were far from smooth, but God gave us grace and favour as we needed it in turn. We left India on October 2nd, taking an Indian Airlines flight to Mumbai (Bombay) and then transfering to British Airlines from Mumbai to London, London to Glasgow. I’d heard many poor reports on Indian Airlines’ reliability, but kept my fingers crossed as our layover in Mumbai was four hours long. The reports didn’t lie and I found myself caught in what seemed to be a bad dream. After a delay of over an hour we were finally settling into our seats on our flight when we were informed by the captain that we would have to wait while the grounds crew checked out a “minor technical difficulty”. Ten minutes later we were told that the “minor” problem now had the plane grounded and that we would have to wait in the departure area for an hour until another plane could take us to Mumbai and that yes, we would miss our connecting flight. I was beside myself and couldn’t look at anyone for all the tears crowding my eyes. However, God gave me the grace and peace I needed and I was prepared to wait the eleven to twelve hours in Mumbai airport until the next flight to London. We were not the only ones on that connecting flight to London and a large group of men had gathered around the airport manager, yelling at her and verbally abusing her for something she had no control over; such a outburst would have been quickly quelled in the Western world.

enraptAria is delighted and surprised at the strangeness of plane travel.

We finally boarded a plane and were now over three hours past the original time that we had been meant to leave. Because I had been able to accept the delay, the flight was much less stressful and I was able to enjoy Aria’s surprise and delight of the ground growing swiftly farther away below us as we took off. She bounced from one small oval window to another, occasionally taking a quick break to slurp some juice through the straw of her juice box. When we landed we were informed that just maybe we would be able to make our flight to London, but we’d have to hurry as we had to pick up all our luggage and get from the domestic airport to the international one, which just happened to be in a different part of the city. As John called British Airways to let them know we were going to try to make it, I grabbed a cart and Aria to get our luggage. Ours was among the first to show itself and I quickly piled our bags on the cart, setting Aria on top, and then raced across the room to where John was. We hurried outside, found a taxi, and were soon heading out through the streets of Mumbai in a small yellow cab, our bags piled around us. The pollution in the air seemed much worse than Hyderabad and the humidity caused by Mumbai’s close proximity to the Arabian Sea had us sweating by the time we reached the airport. We gave our driver a good tip, then hurried up to the check-in desk. Only when we were assured that we’d make the flight did we feel like we could really breathe again. Out of the many people from our first flight who had the same connecting flight to London as us, we were the only ones who took the chance that we’d make the flight–and we did! I felt like God honoured our good attitudes toward the air crew whereas many of our fellow passengers took their anger out on whoever they could.
But, this wasn’t our last problem of the day. The next issue turned out to be our luggage. After all the time and effort I’d put into meticulously checking and rechecking the weight of our bags (I used a post mail scale that was extremely accurate), measuring our bags, and checking for any changes regarding baggage allowance on the British Airways website everyday, we were told that we had one too many bags by the man at the desk. We argued and pleaded with him, but he wouldn’t budge. Our choice came down to repacking our bags and leaving 18 kilos of our stuff on the sidewalk outside, or paying three hundred dollars for the carry-on in question. Thankfully, a manager came out and finally had mercy on us, checking the bag for free. God is gracious. You must realize that our luggage allowance in leaving India was one-third the amount that we had been able to take with us. Losing 18 kilos would have been a big deal!

jet lagThe best way to recover from jet lag.

After having been up for twenty-three hours, all but one of those hours spent travelling or in airports, we finally arrived in Glasgow and were happy to fall into bed in my sister and her husband’s apartment. We spent a lovely, relaxing week with them, getting a bit acquainted with the area, celebrating my brother-in-law’s birthday (he’s only six days older than me), baking, eating beef, visiting Glasgow and Edinburgh, and getting to know and interact with some of the people of the church there. The weather, being cool, was definitely a shock to our systems, but it felt good to once again don a jacket.

Clancys in IcelandJohn, Rachel, and Aria outside the Blue Lagoon in Iceland, surrounded by black lava rock.

We flew out from Scotland on Tuesday and greatly enjoyed our three and a half hour layover in Iceland, where we took a shuttle to the Blue Lagoon and enjoyed a warm soak in the natural hotsprings that are fifteen minutes from the airport, compliments of Iceland Air! Aria has now visited five countries in her short life. It was nice to arrive in the States and see John’s sister’s smiling face at the end of immigration and customs lines, waiting to welcome us. We’ve been enjoying our short visit in New Jersey and I celebrated my birthday here yesterday, but it will be nice to unpack those bags.
No more major packing for me, thank you very much! At least for three more months.;-)

7 Responses to “Travelling Adventures”

  1. jayne
    October 14th, 2006 00:45
    1

    So good to hear you made it to the US. What can I say except when you travel in India it is always an “adventure”

  2. Tara Hills
    October 17th, 2006 15:55
    2

    Wow Rachel! I read that travel itinerary on the edge of my seat! What a writer you are. We were just thinking about you this morning, wondering where you were in your travels, and now I have the very latest. I’m so glad you get a pause in the midst of this travelling. Can’t wait to connect with you over Christmas! What a treat:) We just keep meeting all over this great big world.

    ps. have you heard about the latest Bethany pregnancy…I’ll make you guess. 😉

  3. Rachel
    October 20th, 2006 08:21
    3

    We’re now in Syracuse after a lovely train ride through the fall leaves between Philadelphia and Syracuse that involved a crazy lost purse scare that was miraculously found and returned in NY city station. We also enjoyed a quick stroll through time square before catching our connecting train. So here we are!:-)

    Tara, who is it—I don’t know!

  4. Beka
    October 20th, 2006 17:14
    4

    Rachel I have felt similar towards packing this past summer. I really had to not let hatred grow in me towards packing as we packing up our belongings in MN (some to oome with us, and some to store) and then spent 3 weeks in Ottawa, sorting & re-packing to go to Eureka. Then once again sorting, re-packing, taking things out, then re-packing and weighing once again! and again… and finally having our limit of luggage down to the pound. Upacking my things here in Ukraine felt lovely knowing it’ll be nine months until we have major packing again. I suppose moving 3 times in our two years of marriage should mean I have wonderful packing skills, but I still dread it horribly each time… But you know all about that too!
    I THOUROGHLY enjoy reading your blogs, thanks for sharing once again!

  5. Ginger
    October 26th, 2006 00:13
    5

    Glad to hear you made it! We will be moving in a week and know that the unpacking will be chaotic but I am so happy that it will be at least 6 mo. before I have to pack up again! Yipee!
    I love the picture of Aria sleeping. How is the wee one? You don’t look like you are showing yet.
    Cameryn is here on my lap , she says Hi too 🙂
    Praying for you!

  6. marina (CBN)
    October 30th, 2006 06:34
    6

    Aria and sleeping from Jet lag…. really sweet 😀

  7. Rachel
    October 30th, 2006 13:21
    7

    Beka… may your time of being unpacked be thoroughly enjoyable! I’ve found that I just have to do my best to be at home where I’m at, even if it’s just for a couple months. At least our wee families are with us through it all, eh?

    Ginger, best of luck as you’re packing again; I hope your new home is warm and inviting to you. The wee one seems to be well though at time it feels like a battle is taking place within my womb as the babe kicks about! The belly’s definitely popped out since we got here… I’ll have to post new pics. Hi back to you, Cameryn!;-)

    Marina, glad you like the pics.:-)

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