We got to Reagan National Airport super early to check in, eat breakfast and start to miss each other already. I ate my Dunkin’ Donuts like it was the last I would ever have (Dunkin’ Donuts’ franchises were common in Korea, by the way). When it got closer to boarding time, mom and I said our goodbyes then me and my barely-made-weight luggage made our way clumsily toward the gate. Loitering in the terminal until departure time, I started to get anxious. Was I making a mistake? Had I heard God correctly? Those were important questions but I was more concerned about making the dreaded small-talk with my seatmates. At 6:20 AM the plane’s engines started and I realized there was no one sitting next to me! Hallelujah for the small things! I relaxed and prayed but I was too amped to sleep so I waited for the sunrise.
It took about 2 hours and 45 minutes to reach St. Paul International Airport in Minneapolis, Minnesota where I scurried about in the wrong direction, wasting a large portion of my 54 minute layover. Right as I was about to drop to my knees in defeat, in dramatic fashion, there came a little cart that would take passengers to their respective gates. I was uncharacteristically chatty and talked with the driver about my mission trip, family, and God’s role in my adventure. He opened up to me as well and told me about his mom and relationship with God as well. It was a pleasant experience and it made me smile to think that I almost didn’t get on the cart because I thought they were just for handicapped people. I wasn’t going to ask for a ride but I must have really looked like I was struggling because the driver offered instead. He left me at the gate and as he departed I just counted it a blessing!
I breathed a sigh of relief that I had made it on time and by 9:00 AM, I was on my way to SeaTac Airport in Seattle, Washington. This time I had two people sitting to my left. I thanked God for window seats and nodded off as my neighbors happily chatted together, leaving me alone, just the way I liked it. I woke up and snapped a few photos out of the window while the plane was landing. This prompted my neighbor to ask if I was a photographer I was flattered to be mistaken for such but alas, having been taking photos with my cell phone I was a bit confused…but whatever, I didn’t mind the conversation since it was only minutes until we could be disembark. My seatmate and I got to talking about traveling, teaching, and my mission trip. She was so excited that I got excited too and I felt bad for trying to be invisible before since she was so nice. We parted after grabbing our carry-ons and I raced to the boarding gate. I was sweating like a Coke on the 4th of July in my fleece-lined coat, with my 20 lb. backpack and little, wheeled suitcase while trying to navigate the huge terminal at Mach speed. I had shared my testimony twice at that point so I was feeling all warm and fuzzy in the spirit by the time the plane reached the airport. However, the warm and fuzzy feelings came to an abrupt end and were soon replaced with stomach-dropping dread.