First, in case you missed it, let me just catch you up...The end of April, Stephen (my handsome husband), left his job, we started clearing out our house to head to the mission field. With the help of parents and a few GREAT friends we had a moving sale, gave away some stuff, sold a few more things and gave away the rest. So our house was completely cleared out at 1:30 am Wednesday, before we left our life behind at 10 am the next morning. May 21, 2015. I cried. A lot. Probably because I was so tired, maybe because I was thankful for my friend, Sara, sticking with us the entire night, probably because I couldn't believe it was actually here, maybe a little fear that it was actually here.
|Our special day at Disney! Thanks Shirley & Pete!!|
We pulled up to the airport an hour behind schedule, already having argued with Budget Rental car for an hour rate instead of the $120/day rate they were planning on charging for being ONE hour late!! Did I mention we had 2 rental cars overdue and no time to stop for gas- which if you have been to FLL, you know there is no place close to stop. We pull up and start unloading our 2 overweight bags, 3 suitcases and 2 extra sterilite totes. Yes, it was ridiculous. Yes, people were staring. Yes, my 2 year old had an anxiety attack and pooped all over his clothes and car seat (we ended up throwing that out, I mean I couldn't be THAT lady that checked a poop seat, even though it was too expensive to leave behind...). We finally got our bags weighed (25 mins) only to realize since we didn't have a return flight we had to be "handled" inside. We try to go inside but the bags are too heavy. Stephen helps the man, meanwhile, I take screaming Graycen, along with Katie (our adult helper), and the others inside to start the process. The ticket lady asked me about return flight, so excited I said "We don't have one! We are moving there!" She then informed me that without a VISA the immigrant agents on the other side could refuse entry to Colombia. Wait, what? (Of course I would forget something). We finished the checked bags and decided it would be best for Katie to stay inside the airport with the kids while Stephen and I get the rest of the carry ons/personal items (including pack n play, diaper bag, kids book bags, our book bags, my purse, a duffle bag, our 5 carry on suitcases and a breast pump). Oh the looks we got. We were "those people", the ones everyone was thinking "I hope they are not on my flight!" (SN: the kids did GREAT on the flight, unlike some other kids...)
After building a carry-on wall around Katie and the kids (Graycen still crying), we set off to return the rental cars and be thankful we are all here and alive, not focusing on the extra $ it was costing (close to $400). I had the Budget rental van, Stephen had the Sixt Camry. Contrary to website and receipt, Sixt rental is NOT at FLL, but 3 minutes away. We did not have 3 minutes. Stephen called and told them our frustration and that he would leave the rental car, and they would need to come get it at the airport- we were getting close to missing our flight. He was still arguing with them when he dropped me, passports and tickets in tow to get the kids and Katie through security while he figures out that mess. I was wearing Westen, pushing our massive cart of carry on luggage, we finally got Graycen calm enough to be in the double stroller with Brynnen, Katie pushing them with a few things under the stroller. I am actually smiling (again) bc we got this. We would be ok. Until the man at the entrance of the security check point says "Those bags have to be down"- completely dumbfounded I asked him to repeat what he said. "The cart can't go back there, through security, you need to leave it here." I started hyperventilating, half talking half gasping "What? Wait. I can't. I literally cannot get myself, 3 kids, all of these items through security, even with Katie." Oh, he had no clue the can of worms he just opened. I continued crying, trying not to lose complete control and scare the kids, "I have no clue where my husband is, he is returning a rental car that we don't know where it goes, I have no idea if he is going to even make it to our INTERNATIONAL flight, I don't even know if we can make it." Tears. Lots of them. I knew he had no clue what to do, neither did I. So he called for help. The people that came brought wheelchairs, loaded our stuff, hugged me tight and said "This is not something to cry about, we are here, we will help you the whole way. There are other things to cry about, not this. We got you." It was too late, I couldn't stop crying. I then turn and see Stephen walk in the door. (insert Hallelujah chorus). He makes everything better.
So the ensemble continued. They took us right to the front, got all of our stuff and us through security and to our gate with about 20 minutes to spare. They were AWESOME. I really wanted to take a super cute "here we go" photo, but my emotions were to shot to try and pretend this was all I thought it would be. I mean, we were choosing obedience, right- I was looking for my daisies and roses...not this thorn bush we were just shoved through.
Here is just a glimpse of the next few days...
1. Graycen had another "bout" on the plane. Got poop on the seat, his blanket and clothes. Ever try consoling a tired, red-bottom toddler while cleaning him and his clothes at 25000 ft, in the 2 cubic feet of space they call "bathroom"? I didn't have any other clothes bc they let us check his bag at the gate (THANK YOU JET BLUE!!!). So I shoved him in Westen's shorts and covered him with a blankie. Priase God for Coconut oil on his bottom.
2. Same toddler, fever on the plane. Taught Katie how to "pat" a 4 month old to sleep.
3. Realized in flight we left the kids carry ons in the trunk of the rental car, along with Westen's Boppy. My clothes were also in their bags, (we condensed to only use one suitcase in Orlando).
4. Realizing in flight we left Stephens supply of contacts and only pair of glasses in the hotel, he is blind without them.
5. Still had no clue about the visa, they didn't have to let us in. Our friend Nicole told me what to say *PRAYING* the immigrant worker would be compassionate. (To ask for a 90 day tourist visa- super uncommon, normally it's 30, sometimes 60. He was so nice!! We got the full 90 days!!)
*Graycen was WAY too excited about not being buckled...going down the side of a curvy mountain*
6. The pool house where we were staying had a leak in the roof!
7. It was cold. I only packed 1 or 2 cooler outfits. Also, see number 3.
9. Brynnen got a UTI (first ever) had to go to the ER (no insurance yet, praise God it is cheaper here!).
10. Westen started waking up 2 times a night, and not wanting to sleep (low milk supply)- He had to sleep in Katie's room bc we couldn't fit all 5 in this room.
11. We saw our first ever scorpion, in the middle of the night (outside, see #10).
12. Killed first scorpion ever!
13. Met our friends the Montgomery's, they let us borrow their air mattress, and showed us the area...things started looking up.
14. Living in someone's house, without the ability to speak their language to know the "rules".
15. More bumps, bruises, nicks, scratches, and bug bites than I thought were humanly possible.
16. Getting into taxi's without an interpreter, praying we made it to our destination, and not some back alley.
During this time I cried, a lot. I wanted to go "home". A lot. I had to remind Brynnen we weren't going "home", this was our home, and then secretly telling Stephen I want to go home. Just when I would cry out, reminding God that HE sent us here, and I can't do this. (Where are those darn daises??) He would grant me peace. Not a change in physical circumstance, but in my heart. A calm that can only be explained, "Jesus". I still cry occasionally, and sometimes, like when I order aqua con glass and it comes out "Aqua con gas" (GROSS), or our taxi driver is lost and we have no clue how to fix it or tell him where we need to be, I want to go back to familiar. I want "normal".
|The dish we made. It was GOOD!|
This city has quickly captured my heart, and all the hard times are refining my faith, stretching me beyond what I ever thought possible and then stretching just a little bit more, breaking my will and exposing my selfishness. Also, reminding me the God is not going to leave us down and bitter, broken or in despair. We have prayed many times for him to take this burden, to give us his "yolk" because it is light...and HE DOES! Not all the time or right when we want it- but I am living proof, HIS WORD IS TRUE!!
Don't read this and feel sorry for us. That was not at all my intention. I wanted this blog to be bright and cheery and everything daisies and roses--but it's not....that isn't life. Yes there are beautiful moments, A LOT of them, but those are weaved in the imperfections, the unexpected, the disappointments, the hard times, the exhaustion and you should be a part of those too. We are walking this road together. I cannot wait to share what God does, here in South America...starting with me. Please continue to pray for us, we feel it, know that God is working. THANK YOU!