Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Smiling, Part 2

Fresh snow falls in Chicago as crews prep the plane for London. 

This is the continuation of a post I wrote two days ago, which began the crazy chronicles of my return to Uganda.

And, the saga continues. :)

After an enjoyable and relaxing two-night stay at my friend's home in Denver, she graciously drove me through the pre-dawn hours back to the Denver airport on Tuesday morning. The "plan" was for me to try and go standby on an early flight to Chicago, and if that failed to take a scheduled one in the afternoon. The drawback of the latter was that I would arrive a mere 10 minutes after a scheduled departure to London.

Thankfully, I was near the top of the stand-by list and easily made it out on the first flight out to Chicago. Yippee! There were no complications and I arrived in the "windy city" with plenty of time to spare - about 6 hours or so - before the flight to London. However, upon checking in I was told the flight was delayed by about 1 1/2 hours, but that was okay because I had a 4+ hour window to make my connection on the other side of the flight.

I retrieved my bags, which had arrived the day before, and with the help of some amazingly gracious people, loaded the four bulky, 50-pound pieces, plus a carry-on, on to a cart and carefully maneuvered my way to a British Airways counter to re-check my bags and check in for my flight.

I was quite pleased that I had to pay for only one extra bag, rather than for two, like I had been anticipating. After losing my "extra" 200 pounds, I was carefree and easily made my way to the boarding area to wait for my flight in about 4+ hours. I grabbed a bite to eat, caught up on some "Downtown Abbey," and people watched - one of the joys of loitering around airports. :)

The expected delay evolved into two more hours as we waited for the flight crew to arrive - they got stuck downtown because of traffic due to bad weather - again. Did I mention that last weekend storm's was Chicago's fifth snowiest ever with 19+ inches falling in like two days? Well, the snow began again in the late afternoon Tuesday and as it drifted down I wondered what this new precipitation would mean.

The flight crew arrived, amidst cheers and handclaps from the waiting passengers, and boarding began, and then we sat...and sat. De-icing needed to be done and the flaps had to be "fixed" because they were open when the plane landed in the first place, etc.

Finally we departed Chicago - about 3 1/2 hours after the original scheduled time. With some quick calculations I figured I would have an hour or less to make my connection in London. The flight from Chicago to London was good and I was very thankful for the open seat next to me and the few hours of sleep I was able to get.

We landed at about 10:20 a.m. London time, leaving me 40 minutes to reach my gate before it closed. London's Heathrow airport is a bit daunting with five different massive terminals. Thankfully, I remained in the same terminal, but had to go to a new section of gates, via escalators, hallways, trains, and security. I showed up at my gate less than 10 minutes after it officially closed, but it was still too late to catch the flight to Uganda.

My mom always said airports are like cities in and of themselves. Here is my view from Terminal 5, looking back across to Heathrow's other terminals.
So, now I wait in Heathrow's Terminal 5, having been rebooked on a Kenyan Airways flight which will travel via Nairobi and land in Uganda on Thursday morning. I am killing time as I still have 3 1/2 hours before the flight.

I just enjoyed a delicious lunch of beef stroganoff stew served over rice and accompanied by a big steaming latte. That was BA's attempt to make up for me missing my flight.

I know I will reach Uganda eventually and I am still very thankful for God's grace and provision throughout this entire adventure. I have met some very nice and helpful people, who have done their best to make my travels smoother. I have slept, ate, brushed my teeth, had access to the Internet, and been warm, dry and safe all along. No complaints here. :)

My Bible app's verses for today seem very appropriate for the situation:

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:6-7)

Still smiling (peacefully) after four days of traveling.

1 comment:

  1. If I was you, I think I would be enjoying the adventure too, but also incredulously and dramatically exclaiming and complaining at the ridiculous inconvenience of it all. (And probably both laughing and crying hysterically.) I really admire your attitude about your delays and the complete LACK of murmuring and complaining! Praying you finally arrive safely!