On Saturday, March 10th I woke up super-duper early. Like 5am early. I recognize that this isn't early for some, but for me....it was a stretch. I was so excited that I had barely slept, so nervous that I set two alarms...just in case one didn't work. When I finally did fall asleep, I dreamt that I was getting ready to leave, but that my possessions kept getting lost, my hoodie even disappearing off my back. I woke in a panic, convinced that I was running very late, but no....it was only 4:30am. Eventually the alarms rang and I leapt out of bed, ready to go.
Our team was heading to Mexico, thirteen teenagers and five adults. I was excited and yet, so very nervous. Five days before, I had been diagnosed with pneumonia. I had been unable to move, racked by coughing spasms and just generally miserable. Now here I was, boarding a plane to fly across the country and then go build a house. Somehow this didn't sound like the best idea. But the doctor said I was able to fly and I really really wanted to go, so off I went.
We gathered at the church at 6am, weighed our bags, were prayed over by the minister, kissed our family members goodbye and then headed out. Strangely all of the adults ended up in the same vehicle. Although we laughed a lot, it felt a wee bit awkward as I didn't know any of them well, except for the youth pastor. That would soon change!
It soon became obvious that trying to get 18 people anywhere quickly is a losing proposition. And it didn't help matters that one of the girls decided to put her contacts in just as our group was being led somewhere to check in. As the group "mom", I also became the designated herder and the one who brought up the rear. Eventually we got everyone checked in and then started filling out customs forms. Slowly we made our way through customs and security. One of the younger girls was the first from our group to go through customs. The poor girl approached the officer with much fear and trembling, prompting him to ask for the guy in charge. They exchanged words, seeming all official-like. It turns out the officer was just asking if the youth pastor was nuts to take a group of teens on a trip. That became a somewhat recurring theme. As for me, the customs officer greeted with a "And where are you going today, young lady?" I grinned extra large as I answered him while passing over my passport. He kept his facial expression impassive, so I'm not sure what he thought when he saw my birthdate. However, I was pretty happy. This again became a recurring theme as I was mistaken for a teenager multiple times on the trip. I was not complaining!
We hurried to our gate, only to find that our plane had been delayed. We were raring to go, so it was frustrating to wait for almost two hours before finally leaving. The flight itself was lovely, with clear skies. With a window seat, I was able to pick out landmarks. The onboard map wasn't working, so I had to guess but I correctly identified Lake Huron, Sarnia, Lake Michigan, the Mississippi River, the Rockies, the Hoover Dam and the Grand Canyon. It was very interesting to fly over parts of the US that I had only read about previously. I had fun taking pics out of the window.
As soon as our group landed, we began to strip down. It was below zero(celcius) with snow on the ground when we left. In San Diego, it was a beautiful sunny day. It sounded almost indecent as this group of Canadians walked into the sunshine. As a group, we involuntarily started emitting groans of pleasure. Frankly, it was a bit awkward. But oh did that sun ever feel good! We had lots of time to soak up the rays as the drivers went to fetch our rental vehicles. After laying in the sun for awhile, we began to take pictures of the greenery around us, especially the palm trees. I may have exclaimed over the palm trees multiple times, to the general amusement of the group. Apparently I don't get out much. I also really liked the birds of paradise. I'll leave you with these pics and the promise of more tomorrow. I simply must get to bed! :)