Finally, a place with free wifi again! You know, I am very thankful, though, that this is the first long wait for a flight that I’ve had, and it’s the last one! Since I have about an hour until the flight, it was best to post now before jet lag takes over too much. I’ve got a Starbucks in hand to get through the home stretch.
But let me first elaborate on my last hours in Romania. Once again I was very blessed by my students Friday morning as I said my goodbyes. I got hugs, exchanged emails, and more gifts. And since I spent the night before getting everything packed, I was able to spend the afternoon with the student I have been closest too on this trip. She, and I, and her friend (who also became a friend of mine) spent the time just walking around and taking pictures. I can’t wait to share those. It was a lot of fun, and when I had to say goodbye, it was definitely the hardest one 😦
Friday night we took a train to Cluj to catch our flight the next morning. That was a really nice ride! The countryside was beautiful and going through the mountains was beautiful! Definitely my favorite ground trip in that country. I even got to eat a fresh from the farm peach from a nice Romanian man who was sitting near us. It was the best! When we arrived, the preacher in Cluj who also hosts WEI campaigns took care of us. He took us to our hotel for the night, walked me to a shop for a bite to eat, and gave me a quick tour of the church before I went to bed. It was a nice little hotel and I got a decent amount of sleep. I was disappointed I couldn’t get on the internet that night though. Oh well.
I have to stop here for a moment because I’ve left out an important detail about those last hours in the country. My traveling companion, a.k.a. one of the other teachers, had been sick this past week. You may have seen my request for prayers on facebook. We were all very worried for her, especially with the upcoming trip and how the flights would affect her condition. We prayed very hard for her. And may we all give thanks to God because by the morning of our flight, she was practically her normal self, and has been through this whole trip home! It’s amazing and she looks and feels so much better than even yesterday morning! It has been an absolute, “THANK YOU GOD” moment! Not only that, but we had great seats on the long flight from Munich, and have had smooth sailing up to this point. So everyone who has been praying, be sure to give thanks to God today, because it was by His hand that she is well again.
So, rewind back to some experiences I had during this long trip home. First of all, the sun hasn’t gone down for nearly 20 hours now. It followed us home, so it definitely feels like a really long day. As I saw the landscape below when we departed from Cluj, I felt mixed emotions. I was very eager to get the states to be able to get back in touch with my boyfriend, and even more eager to be home again and with him. But at the same time, I felt sadness, which is not surprising. I’m going to miss it. But more than that, I held this hope and assurance that this would not be my last trip. That despite the fact I was ready to go home, I know I want to travel again, do mission work again. Maybe not the same campaign, but definitely something. And I will return to Romania someday. I don’t know when, but it will happen.
Even though it has been a long day, I knew there would still be a lot of new experiences a long the way. Namely, the multiple customs checks we had to go through. In Munich, we had to have our passports checked and answer a few questions. And in New York, we had quite the process to go through. First was getting through passport control. Then, we had to pick up our under-carriage bags. After that, we had to check-in again in order to get our boarding passes for the next few flights, which meant in the end we had to go through security again. By the time we were through and heading to the gate, we had about 20 minutes before we were on the next flight. So, our lay-overs have been perfectly timed and its been very smooth travels.
Having a window seat on the long flight was really great. I got to see the ocean and some good views of the skyline of New York when we arrived. I managed to watch 4 movies, take a small nap, and enjoy the food. I should have done more constructive things, but I wanted to enjoy my last 24 hours of freedom before having to plunge into my normal life again. But as I looked out that window, feeling joy when I saw the familiar landscapes of America, I also started to realize that this trip has changed me. I knew it would. And in that moment I looked at America, at my extremely blessed life with different eyes. I have a far greater appreciation for what I have, and I feel a sadness for those who never look beyond themselves.
I’ve learned so much, gained new perspectives, and expect to have some really deep reflections in the near future. I hope to share them, at least in part, and it may even generate some great conversation. Either way, God has been very good to me this trip, I have been very blessed, and I will never forget this experience!
My flight is boarding, I must go. Hope to share more once I get over jet lag! Thanks everyone for reading!