I am glad of these things, but possibly more glad to have had the experiences I had last week.
To finish up the recaps, I will give a rundown of Saturday and Sunday in two posts. There are a few more things I want to write in detail about outside of the daily updating, and those may come quickly or over the next few days or a little more slowly over the next few months. But for now, an overview of Sunday:
The day had come to leave this beautiful country and take our souvenirs, blisters, dirty clothes and memories with us while leaving a week of work and learning and a little bit of our hearts behind.
I awoke to chatter outside the room about flights being delayed. Thanks to the Delta app, we were able to stay up to date on our travel needs.
Our flight was delayed by 5 hours! This is the first major flight delay I have ever had. Another new thing to soak in : )
We couldn't communicate with our driver for a later pickup and we weren't sure what was going on with the flights, so we went on to the airport. Our driver was a little late, but the flights were indeed delayed so it didn't affect much.
The drive back to Guatemala City was much faster on a Sunday morning than the drive out on Saturday afternoon.
Once at the airport we sorted out the flight situation and got a few people on earlier connectors once in ATL. We all enjoyed a nice breakfast from McDonald's. I had a fruit parfait with mango! That is not a common option here. And it only cost the equivalent of $1.50!
We then ventured trough security, which was easy peasy. We found our gate, posted a few of the team to guard bags and many of us explored the airport. There were more shops and eateries to check out. I, being the sucker for souvenirs that I am, bought a few more things. I also had one of the best chai lattes I have ever had!
Delta offered us snacks and water and coke as we waited, free of charge. I have never witnessed that at an airport with a delay! They also led us in a few rounds of bingo! What a fun way to spend the delay : )
I got pulled into a special security screening leaving me in a holding place before departure and away from the team. This isn't the first time I have been randomly selected...
Once on the plane we settled in, picked our movies and were on the way to ATL...we thought.
Turns out not only were there problems at GUA the night before, ATL was also having trouble with weather. Because of this we were rerouted to Mobile, AL for a fuel refill and to wait out the storm. Because it was an international flight, we could not get off the plane and into the airport. We waited about an hour, maybe less, and then headed back toward ATL.
While in cell phone access land on the ground in Mobile, we got updates on our flights. Those with the later flight were delayed ultimately to 3:30am! Talks of uber and car rental began.
We landed and deplaned quickly into the very long customs line, which moved at a reasonable pace considering all the troubles that were happening. We met a girl who had just finished her second year of peace corps and was headed home to OH for a month before starting her third year extension.
Once we landed, we decided to rent a mini-van and drive from ATL to GSP for those on the later flight that wouldn't get home until after 4:00am. John's wife, Chandler, was able to secure us a van while we waited in lines to leave the airport.
We made sure those on the earlier flight made it to security and we parted ways with the team to head to pick up the van. The Furman tennis team had the same idea as we saw them at the rental car area to get going too.
We loaded up and headed home.
We dropped off Jim, got the others to the long term lot at GSP, and returned the car all before the group on the earlier flight landed at GSP. Thanks to John for driving and getting us home safely!
Due to flight delays and weather we were only about 8 hours behind schedule for arrival : )
Though the day went a bit off schedule and out the plan for return, the attitude on the plane seemed to be fairly high spirits. I didn't hear much complaining or disdain for the situation as it was happening. Personally, it was a new experience for me. I've never been re-routed or delayed that much! It offered us a beautiful view of sunset from the plane and one last adventure to leave the team with.
Though I am quite tired as I write this, I think that is ok. If anything were to go wrong this week, I am glad it was the end and not the beginning or middle. No one got hurt, no one lost luggage, we all meshed really well, we all had a great time, and we go to learn and experience and serve alongside our new friends in Guatemala. Hopefully the trials of travel on the last day are quickly forgotten and overcome by the memories and joy of what the rest of the week was.
I am happy to be home and to soon wash my dirty clothes and use my warm shower, but I am sure I will also spend a good deal of time missing the people and culture of Guatemala and daydreaming about ways to go back someday, hopefully sooner than later.
|The ride to the airport|
|Goodbye to Guatemala!|
|Steve, Joe, and Bob waiting out the delay in Mobile.|