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Sunday, November 27, 2011

Hindsight: The Flight

Our home teacher came today.  He's such a good man.  He's been dealing with cancer, so we haven't seen him in a few months, but his companion has come faithfully.

While at our home, he asked about the Japan trip.  At this point, it was fun to relive a bit of it again.

Two things hit me as particularly miraculous, and I don't remember writing them down, so I thought I'd better do that.  Tonight, I'll write about the first.   I'll write about the other tomorrow.

On our way, when we got to the airport, since we were taking two different flights on two different airlines, #1 was on the opposite side of the airport from me.  I took her to her gate and then walked to mine to wait.  I called her and we chatted a couple times on our cell phones, but otherwise, we just waited for our planes to come in.

Right before my plane arrived, I felt this terrible, sudden squeezing in my heart.  The words, "It's not too late to RUN!" entered my mind.  For just a moment the insecurity entered my mind.  The thoughts that just the day before there had been a 6.5 earthquake in Fukushima and that the western coast of the island was flooding engulfed me, and I honestly considered following the impulse but realized that this was not like any of the other feelings I'd had that had brought me to that point, so I prayed in my heart, and my confidence returned.

I flew from Portland to Salt Lake City to catch my connection to Los Angeles.  I disembarked in SLC and heard, "Julie!"

There, sitting waiting at the gate I was approaching was one of the Warden's cousins that we were heading to Japan with.  I had assumed that he was already in Los Angeles hanging out with his brother (who had arrived from Texas) for the day.

Here's where all the miracles begin.  I got some things taken care of at the desk and then sat down next to him.  We compared tickets and found that he was sitting in the seat directly behind me--this was completely by chance as neither of us knew the other was flying on that plane.

As we flew, we discussed how we were going to connect with #1 in L.A.  Not being much of a traveler, I had no experience with LAX.  Jason, on the other hand, knew exactly what we were going to find.  Jason's wife has been finishing her doctorate at UCLA, and Jason, who lives in Salt Lake, travels frequently to be with her and her to be with him.

Jason warned me that it would be difficult (because #1's flight had been delayed by an hour--she was originally supposed to leave before me, but ended up leaving after, which made me nervous about the flight from Portland too--What if something else went wrong?) to meet up with #1 in that short period of time (less than an hour) and get her baggage switched from Southwest to Delta.  How were we going to pull this off?  We agreed that we would focus on getting #1 to the right place and leave her bags if we had to.

What I also didn't realize about LAX is that there are different buildings at the airport.  It wasn't like walking down a bit hallway to get to another gate.  It was a huge production which included shuttle buses, etc.  Jason shared that his wife was at the airport and that he would call her and make sure she snagged #1 and got her to our gate buildings away.  As I recall, we were at gate 1; #1 was at gate 5.

We contacted #1 on her cell as soon as her flight had landed and told her to grab her bags as fast as she could and meet up with Sarah (who she's only met once years ago).  Jason said it was very rare to get your bags quickly at LAX.  It would be truly miraculous if she was able to get them in time.

I sat in LAX on pins and needles.  It was the middle of the night at this point.

Within a half an hour there was #1 walking up the way toward me.  They had had no problems getting the bags checked in at Delta and meeting up with Sarah.  I was breathing a sigh of relief as I prayed a silent prayer of  thanks.

We boarded our flight to Japan.

It was around 1am.  One thing I'd been concerned about was the fact that we'd be too jet-lagged to work that first day.  I didn't want this to happen; our days were so limited there.  When I had arrived in Japan the last time I went (when I was a missionary there), we caught a shuttle from one airport to another, and I couldn't keep my eyes open long enough to even hold a decent conversation.  I was very afraid of this happening again.

We boarded a nearly empty airplane.  Jason asked permission that we move up to the front to the empty rows of seats.  The flight attendants granted it, and we moved so we each had our own bank of seats.  #1 and I sat together for awhile and watched a movie--Diary of a Wimpy Kid 2.  Halfway through it we agreed that we'd better get some sleep, so I moved a row back and laid across my rows.  I slept well.

We arrived around 5am.  Safe and sound and well looked after.


Kendi said...

Hi Julie, I just discovered your blog through Lia London's and it's so neat to see your family 15 years later! I'm not sure if you'll remember me, but when I knew you in Monmouth, the Hesses only had #1 and then you moved...then I did.
I love your blog..thanks for being an inspiration!

Kendi R. Hylton

Julie said...

KENDI!!! Of COURSE I remember you! So glad you found me. How are you?! Can't wait to catch up on you and your life.

Tonya said...

I always love to hear all your stories from Japan. Inspiring.

Oh ya, and you're awesome.

Kendi said...

Yay!! How can I email you personally?...I'd love to catch up. I promise I don't send spam or forwards...mine is kendih@hotmail.com...


Julie said...

Sending you an email right now, but if you go to the right hand side just about the photos of the fam, click on my name. It'll take you to my profile and a link to my email address is right there. This is SO GREAT!

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