We spent two awesome weeks touring with Jon's family, and then, on June 22nd, we left Israel. The security at the airport went extremely smoothly -- not exactly what we were expecting after two years. Normally, people we know who have traveled home have been the teachers from Beit Hanina (Arab community), who have it stamped in their passport that they are volunteers in East Jerusalem. Their security encounters usually include a full search of their luggage and often a strip-search.
Since we were technically in the country to get Jon's Masters degree, and traveling with family, however, we passed straight through. We got a 4 am snack from the McDonalds at the airport, and then off we went... only half an hour late!
We flew first to Poland, where we ate our first out-of-Israel food: SAUSAGE! :) As you can see, Kasey is super excited about this, and both of us felt that the food had an AMAZING amount of flavor to it.
The family was set to leave earlier than us, but their flight was delayed a couple of hours. We hung out with them until they left, and our plane should have boarded immediately after theirs cleared the gate. We actually boarded our plane 2 1/2 hours after we were meant to.
We arrived in Chicago on time, miraculously. We were a little antsy about reentering the country, but less than two minutes after approaching the customs desk, we strolled on through! At this point, we were pretty sure that our entire trip would go smoothly.
Ha. Ha. Ha.
We arrived in Chicago at 9pm, which apparently is bad. All the ticket counters were closed for the night and we were unable to recheck our bags or pass through security into the terminal. We spent almost 7 hours waiting for the terminal to open (they had red-eye flights that people were unable to check in for, btw). It was very cold.
Early the next morning, we rechecked our bags and went through security. I got my first Starbucks (YEY!), and Jon tried to nap before we boarded our plane to St. Louis, which boarded about an hour late (are you beginning to see a pattern?).
We stayed in St. Louis for 3 days. The last day there was spent being the photographers at Jeff and Maryann's wedding, which was gorgeous!
The day after the wedding, we flew to Houston to catch a connecting flight to San Diego. Our flight left around an hour+ late because the pilot that was scheduled to fly our plane was also scheduled to be in New Orleans, not Houston. We took off, flew about an hour, then the pilot announced that one of our engines seemed to be failing and we'd head back to make an emergency landing in Houston. That was the near-death experience of that day... we were escorted by emergency vehicles and everything. Pretty impressive.
But that also meant that we spent about 3 hours after that waiting for another plane and the same pilot, who had to undergo drug and alcohol testing thanks to a comment from one of the passengers. THEN we flew to San Diego.
Five hours late, we were finally with Kasey's family!
It has been a glorious three week vacation, which has included a pool, an old dog, our beautiful kitty Polly, lots of food, trips around San Diego, and Kasey officially (and FINALLY) changing her last name so all paperwork reflects our marriage... oh, and of course, the last Harry Potter movie midnight showing...
(Lupin and Tonks)
Now we're down to 2 1/2 days left in San Diego. On Tuesday, we'll begin our cross-country trek to North Carolina, along the way visiting friends (including Jeff and Maryann). We begin our new jobs at Village Christian Academy in Fayetteville, North Carolina, on July 27th.
To anyone else, moving with no money, no furniture, and not even any pieces of a kitchen (plates? tupperware? coffee pot? can opener?), would seem to be daunting and nearly impossible. We feel that's one more thing our time in Israel has equipped us for. We trust Him totally, and are ready to patiently work toward the things we need.
After all, when there's a time of need, that's when He provides.
- God's continued provision during our transition to NC. It will be quite the financial stretch.
- Safe and enjoyable road trip -- California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina -- WOW.
- That Polly makes a good traveling kitty.
- That we will find a way to move everything we stored in Calgary to NC.
- That our new jobs at VCA go well!
- We accomplished what we set out to do! Now for the next adventure :)