Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Across the Big Pond

Across the big pond.

I have to admit, when the Brits or anyone from Europe uses the term “across the pond” from now on, I’ll think of crossing the Atlantic in a whole different light. It seems like a commuter flight compared to crossing “the other pond.”

I remember the first time I went to Hawaii. In my head, I just thought “off the coast of California, a few miles over water, then you’re there.” Right? Wrong. It’s another five hours of flying time from LA to Paradise. You just have to hope the plane is in good mechanical order. I mean, in case of any failure, you would hope for that gentle approach to the water, lightly kissing off the waves then coming to a floating halt among the whales, but really, what are the chances?

So when it came time to start thinking of flying to Hong Kong, then on to Manila, my little brain, again, started to calculate and envision this flight. “OK, so I’ll fly Houston to San Francisco, then from San Francisco to Hong Kong (I know it’s way past Hawaii!), then Hong Kong to Manila. No sweat.

When you pull up google earth and start spinning the globe around from San Fran to Hong Kong, well, let’s just say, it’s a big spin . . . “Yep, there’s Hawaii and . . . and . . . and. . .OK, there’s China! Gulp. Where are my floaties?

I departed Houston on the 1st of September and arrived in San Francisco around noon. I checked into the hotel for a few hours before our flight left for Hong Kong at 1:30 AM on the 2nd. It’s noon on the west coast, so I took off on foot to find a quick lunch before trying to catch a few hours of sleep in the quiet, still environment of my hotel room. I would check out around 11 PM and go back to the airport.

Walking from a hotel in a place where you’re unfamiliar is an adventure. At least I called it that. After what took place in the Philippines and China, I’ll be careful what I label “adventure” from now on.

So, you walk a few hundred yards, then a few hundred more with no food in sight. Then you rationalize the failure with “Well, at least I’m getting some exercise.” Then you reverse direction thinking “There’s got to be something out there.” Of course you’re looking for something good. Something that says San Francisco. But as the minutes and miles tick by, Wendy’s sounds pretty good. Arby’s. Chick-Fil-A?


Starbucks! But not a real Starbucks. One of those that you find in a gas station alongside the wall of coolers and STP products, spare fuses and duct tape. Pass.

I ended up settling for chicken fingers in the hotel. And thankful for that.

Thankful is the key, isn’t it? Ridiculous irritations over petty nuisances all get put into perspective over the next 8 days as we find ourselves face to face with indescribable poverty and darkness offset by Godly servants and the Christ-like hearts in the Philippines.

More to come.


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