Saturday, August 6, 2011

Colorado Trip ~ Part One

On Tuesday, July 26th, I woke up while it was still dark, filled with nervous anticipation for my trip to Colorado. I was thankful I had been able to sleep at all that night. I was anxious about travelling alone, navigating airports by myself and being away from my family. I nudged the rest of my family awake and we hopped into the truck just as dawn was breaking.

At the airport, I took a deep breath and said my goodbyes to my husband and girlies. I had wondered if I would cry at that moment, but I managed to keep myself together. I stepped into the line at the Security Checkpoint and I was thinking, “Please Lord, get me through this!” So much commotion at once! I noticed another mom (with one arm in a cast, no less) with two daughters in tow and a look on her face that read, “I don’t know what I’m doing!” I immediately decided to get in line behind them because they were slowing things down a bit and I would have more time to take off my shoes, unpack my laptop and liquids and so on.

I breathed a sigh of relief once I was out of the security area and made my way to my gate. A peace started to settle over me. I had some time before we were to board our plane, so I was able to relax, people-watch, pray and read a little.

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I had only flown one time, when I was about ten, so I didn’t remember a whole lot about it. Taking off and becoming airborne was thrilling, to say the least.

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Goodbye, Rochester!

I loved having a window seat and spent much of my flight with my forehead pressed against the glass, looking down.

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I had to switch planes at Chicago’s O’hare Airport. I wasn’t prepared for how HUGE it would be there. I called my husband and told him that it was like the biggest, busiest shopping mall! Thankfully, the Mom that I had followed through security was going to the same terminal I was, so we joined forces and navigated together. We had to jump on a shuttle bus just to get to our terminal, but we found the right one and made it with time to spare. Whew!!

Now, many people had told me about the possibility of getting altitude sickness in Colorado and that I should make sure I was properly hydrated. I faithfully refilled my water bottle and drank a ton of water along the way. This turned out to be a problem when on my second flight into Colorado Springs. I had the window seat again and the man in the aisle seat was very big and also, apparently, very sleepy. About 45 minutes into that flight, I realized that I really needed to visit the ladies room, but the man next to me was sleeping deeply and I couldn’t just slip past him. I sat there, watching others make the trip up the aisle to the bathroom and with each passing moment, my discomfort grew. I coughed a few times to see if I could nonchalantly wake him up. No dice. Thankfully, someone on their way back from the bathroom must have nudged him just a bit and his head jerked up and his eyes flickered. I pounced. “Excuuuuse me! I really need to use the bathroom. Can I squeeze by you?” Still half asleep, he fumbled around and tried to get his hat on for a good twenty seconds before he stood up, hat half-cocked, and let me out. I burst into giggles in the tiny bathroom. (I bet those people in the back seats thought I was crazy!)

As we made our descent into Colorado Springs, we hit some turbulence that made my heart skip a few beats. There’s something about feeling your airplane drop suddenly that makes you swallow hard and pray. Finally, our plane made a left hand turn and the flat brown landscape gave way to the sight of an amazing mountain range.

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The beauty was so captivating that tears came to my eyes. What a gorgeous sight!

I had made it to Colorado! Praise the Lord!

Stay tuned for part two, which will feature my tour of Compassion International’s Global Ministry Center!

-Michelle