Saturday, August 25, 2007

curt's journal from Uganda-Aug. 25

The trip home

The plane ride to London was uneventful, which is always nice. We didn’t change time zones, so there wasn’t any real jet lag, though we were tired from the late night dinner followed by an early morning to the airport. Most of the people from the dinner were there to see us off. We ended up leaving late because of the huge electrical storm that blew in. I saw at least two lightening strikes on the other side of the airfield followed by the loudest thunder I’ve ever heard in my life. Hillary, I think she was joking, said God must be mad that she was leaving Uganda. We landed in London, tired but doing well. Mary’s sister, Sarah, and her brother-in-law, Vasant, were there to great her and they had a great hug and went off together arm in arm. Mary was staying with them as they happened to be in London at the same time.

We exchanged some American dollars for pounds and had hopes of taking a shuttle to our hotel, getting settled and then zipping in to London to look around. If we didn’t feel up to that, I thought we might go in the morning instead. Well, since the shuttle, which is FREE in the United States, took half of our money, along with fact that the bus ride to London was forty-five minutes each way and would take the rest of our money, we decided to just go back to the hotel and relax...much to my chagrin. I don’t know if I’ll ever make it back to England, so I really wanted to see some “historical stuff.” I’ll admit it, I got a little grumpy about this, but after a nice warm bath, I felt better and really clean. I was a little sad to see the last of the Uganda soil go down the drain, but I’m sure I’ll find some more in our clo-thez.

This morning, we took the same walk through a neighborhood that we walked through yesterday. We saw this cool church and took a few pictures. Leslie noticed a gravestone for some men who died in World War I. We decided we wanted to have a morning tea, but none of the little restaurants and pubs opened until ten, so we ducked into a little coffee shop. We decided to have some breakfast and ordered two breakfasts to share. One was “traditional” and the other was “healthy.” It was really fun to see some subtle differences in breakfast. Baked beans and large pieces of ham, called bacon, were part of the fare. It was really enjoyable and very English. I noticed “black pudding” on the menu and asked the server what it is. She scrunched up her face and said in a charming accent, “It’s pigs blood, fried in sort of a circle. I don’t know why anyone would ever eat it.” I decided to take her word for it.

After breakfast, we packed and headed off for the airport. The shuttle driver asked for our tickets, so we handed him the round trip passes that we got yesterday. One problem; they were “One Way” passes. He was really nice though and didn’t make us pay. Leslie and I decided if we ever came back to London, we’d have to really do some research on how to explore it on a budget since things are so expensive.

We got to the airport in plenty of time. Hillary and Courtney wanted a picture of a double-decker bus with Harry Potter on the side, but couldn’t find one, so they settled for just a normal double-decker bus. We got in line and, when it was our turn, checked in. Since we booked our flight way after Hillary, the only seats that were available when we booked were “Plus” seats, which are more roomy than the economy seats. That was really nice for the flight from Uganda to London and they were nice enough to bump Hillary up so she could join us. Today, when we checked in, we found out that there were no seats available in that section so they bumped the three of us up to Business Class, which was a nice surprise. However, the lady at the counter informed us that Hillary would have to be on “standby” because there were no seats available. I decided if that happened, I would be the one to stay behind. Furthermore, she explained that we would have to wait until the last minute to discover our fate. This thwarted our plan to meet up with Mary inside the terminal after passing through security.

We found out Hillary made the flight, and we tried to get her upgraded to Business Class with us, but didn’t have any luck. We would’ve had to sell one of our cars to make it happen, but they did upgrade her into the "Plus" area again, which was very nice. Courtney’s carry-on suitcase, which carried the food we were going to snack on once inside the terminal, was red flagged. We didn’t realize the jar of peanut butter would be a problem since it made it through the Ugandan checkpoint. So, we had to slowly unpack everything in that suitcase while they checked it for explosives. The peanut butter was confiscated, and we were on our way.

By this time, our flight was already boarding, so we still hadn’t connected with Mary. We hoped that she made it on okay, because we had no other way of contacting her. There are no “Courtesy Phones” at Heathrow. The best we could do was to leave a message for her at the ticket counter. At the gate, they wouldn’t tell us if she had already checked in for privacy reasons, but I told them her initials and they said no one with those initials had checked in. We found out later that they arrived at the airport too late and missed the flight. Her parents told us she was pretty upset about this, but at least she was with her sister.

When we arrived in Seattle, we found out that one piece of luggage hadn’t made it...the one with all of our dirty clothes. That should be a treat to go through when it arrives! Don Windham, the director of ICN, picked us up and took us to Mary’s house for a wonderful dinner. We shared with them some of our experiences, but after a while, we started to fade a bit and knew we still had a three and a half hour drive ahead of us with both cars, so we left and headed for home, where we arrived just past midnight. I think we’ve been up for about twenty-eight hours now. It’s weird to be in our own house. Hillary’s friend, Stephanie, who house sat for us, did a great job taking care of things while we away. It really gave us peace of mind having her here. My father-in-law did some work on our lawn and it looks better than ever. I can’t wait to sleep in my own bed...and dream of Uganda...without the dogs barking throughout the night.

No comments:

Uganda Photos (click on photo to change)

welcome to our blog!

We're not exactly sure what we'll be writing about, but we're sure it will be interesting... TO US!

Our newest posts will always be located at the top of the "Table of Contents" to the right, but you can also find posts by topic in the section below it.

want to leave a comment for us?

Just click on the word "comments" at the bottom of the post you'd like to respond to, and follow the directions.

Your comments are always appreciated.


the latest on the sells

As of May 27, 2009...

Wow, it's been almost a year since we've updated this. Our family had a wonderful experience traveling to Uganda two summers ago, which prompted us to keep a journal on this blog. You can read our daily journal from our month long trip

This year brings new adventures. Our eldest daughter, Courtney, after graduating from George Fox University with honors, left for her third trip to India to spend nearly a YEAR to work at Happy Home for the Handicapped in Shimoga, India. You can read about her first trip to India and the impact it had on her life here. She'll also give us new updates from her current trip on this site (here). As of this writing, she is just starting to settle in and is very excited to be there. She has been looking forward to this for a long time!

Meanwhile, Hillary spent all of last year
touring the western U.S. with Matsiko, the choir of children we grew to love as our own in Uganda. She journalled about her experiences in Uganda if you'd like to see what that was like. At some point during this tour, she felt led to join the U.S. Army. Quite a big decision, and one she didn't take lightly. After moving through Basic Training with flying colors, she is now at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio training to become a combat medic. It's a very intense training, but we're sure she'll do well. Our whole family was able to travel to South Carolina to watch her graduate from Basic Training. What an awe inspiring experience!

Leslie is having a great year of teaching 5th graders. She's also in a Master's program, which takes a good chunk of her time. She's still finds time to read a TON of books. Literally, a ton!

Curt was overwhelmed by his experience as a first time overseas traveler and kept up his journal here (you can also read his random posts on everyday life here). The busyness of life and keeping track of his traveling kids has slowed down his writing, but he hopes to begin writing on a regular basis again soon.