When Craig was in Miami airport two weeks ago (after missing the flight from Seattle to Dallas due to tornadoes) he had the opportunity to FaceTime our latest arrival and newest grandson Oliver, our second grandchild in two weeks. Lesley, who was back in Lima was awaiting news of his arrival and got live updates. Popping out grandkids is sure easier than having your own. We are grateful for the hard work that goes into providing us with more grandchildren, each one precious and loved. Ollie joins Mitchell and Brooke and big sisters Zoe and Addi and William who is stoked to have a little brother.
Speaking of arrivals…..we are sitting in the Dallas airport (yet again) writing this blog. This time Lesley is with Craig. We just had a much more complicated and convoluted trip to accompany a missionary home. We are waiting for a flight back to Lima. Suffice to say it has taken a week, seven airports, four continents, almost the seven seas, seven immigration checks (departure cards, arrival cards, no we are not bringing anything into the country cards…), eight security checks (take out your laptop, take out your liquids, don’t forget that drink bottle, shoes, belts, incendiary devices, etc), trying to click your brain out of Spanish into English and then speak slowly for the Americans……. Lesley was finally able to make it through the last security check without anything buzzing, or pat downs, or bags needing to be checked because she forgot to take out something.
Over the last week we have also experienced a wide range ofweather conditions, or at least what you can tell while getting on and off of planes into and out of airports. From hot humid Lima to rain in Los Angeles (yes we saw rain, outside, through the glass), to scorching summer temperatures, to freezing smog laden cities, to the clear blue skies of Dallas. It was absolutely freezing in Beijing. But, we accomplished our assignment to help a missionary get home safely to her family. If we don’t see another airport until we finally come home we will be quite happy. The Church's policy is to make sure that missionaries who need to return home early for health reasons do so in the safest way possible. Sometimes that means they may need to be accompanied .
Airports are the same all around the world, the same shops, the same food, the same stuff in duty free shops (have you noticed how duty free goods are more expensive than just buying them outside of airports)? There is lots of concrete, lots of waiting, lots of languages, some have sky trains, all with long walks between gates and terminals, negotiating connections and following directions. For the most part flight attendants are happy and helpful. No matter how light we pack (and we pack light) we always take too much.
Other than traveling for the last couple of weeks other things to report on …. uh, thinking….not much really. We are just looking forward to....sleeping.
Being on a mission there is nothing so constant as change. In the next few weeks a number of senior missionaries whom we work with will be completing their term of service and heading home. It is really weird seeing those who came after us leaving before us, just the nature of the assignment. We will miss our friends who have become family whilst we have been away. In particular the three doctors and wives work closely together and Elder Nelson and Sister Amy Burton will be leaving in a couple of weeks. They will leave a hole in our office and in our hearts.