Tribute to John Denver

My host mom asked me to write a blog post in Spanish so she could read it.  Thus the translation below:)

I'm leaving again.  In T- 12 days, I will jump on a plane and head to the Dominican Republic for three and a half months.  Though I still want to go, I feel like I just got back from Spain.  I knew that this would be rough back when I signed up to go to Spain.  Four weeks in Spain, two weeks in Michigan, two weeks home, fourteen weeks in the DR.  I'm afraid I might be crazy to try this.  What if I get there and I'm miserable for the entire semester?  What if my place at Bethel is swallowed up in my absence?

So it's obvious that I'm having some doubts; I'm struggling a bit.  I'm going.  On this point I'm resolute.  I'm just not certain that I'm of sound mind.  I really like what Denver said about traveling:  "The only aspect of flying I don't like is when you have to leave somebody that you care for a great deal, leave home."  My heart is breaking to think about the repeat separation and what it's going to do to my parents.  "Already I'm so lonesome I could die..."

Estoy saliendo otra vez.  En 12 días, subiré a un avión y iré a la República Dominicana por tres meses y media.  Todavia quiero ir, pero me siento que acabo de volver de Espana.  Sabia que fuera dificil cuando decidi ir a Espana.  Cuatro semanas en España, dos semanas en Michigan, dos semanas a casa, y catorce semanas en la Republica Dominicana.  Tengo miedo que estoy loca por tratar eso.  ¿Qué si estoy miserable por todo el semestre?  ¿Qué si  mi lugar en Bethel desaparece durante mi ausencia?

Es obvio que tengo duda.  Pero me voy.  En este punto estoy resuelta.  Solamente no estoy segura que estoy inteligente!  Me gusta mucho que dijo John Denver sobre viajar: "La unica aspecta de volar que no me gusta es cuando tienes que salir de alguien que le quieres mucho, salir de casa."  Mi corazon esta roto cuando pienso en otra separacion y que va a hacer a mis padres.  "Ya estoy tan solo, puedo morrir." (de la cancion "Leaving on a Jet Plane" por John Denver.)


John F. Kennedy was a great man, but I do not like his airport.

With heavy hearts we bid our Spanish friends goodbye early Tuesday morning and head to the airport.  It is a beautiful drive and I get to bid the beautiful mountains an emotional farewell as we pass through on our way to Valencia.  We get to the airport, no problems.  Print our tickets, pass through security, see the Valencia football team!! (in their jerseys and everything!) and find our terminal, no problem.  That is the end of our ease.  I get on the plane and place my laptop in the overhead compartment and my backpack under the seat in front of me.  My backpack is stuffed with shoes and souvenirs for my family, so it doesn't fit all the way under the seat.  I have short legs, and we were in Economy Comfort, so I have plenty of room regardless.  After everyone got on the plane, a stewardess walks past and sees my blue Jansport sticking out at what she considers to be an unforgivable distance.  Very displeased, she tells me to put it in the overhead.  Well, my overhead is now filled with other passengers' goodies and had no more room.  She finds a "space" in a compartment several aisles back so I lug it back and commence a brilliant attempt to shove the monster into the tiny space.  My backpack is heavy.  If you have any sort of grasp on the basic laws of Physics, you are probably already groaning in apprehension of what happens next.  Holding the bag above my head, arms outstreatched in an effort to reach the compartment (why do they put them up so high?), I loose my balance and plant my chest right on the man's face who is sitting below my bag's destination.  I'm apologizing profusely and still trying to hold my bag up, so it doesn't fall and kill someone like that stone that the woman dropped on the man's head in the old testament.  The stewardess comes back just in time to see my spectacular performance and the poor man grabs my bag and repeats "Just let me do it! Please, just let me..."  Tengo la verguenza...  So the two of them try unsuccessfully to shove my bag into the space while I stand there looking dumb.  It is obvious that it isn't going to fit.  Not even close.  Never the less, when they fail to get it into the compartment, the stewardess finds it necessary to announce that it's too big.  Ok... I'm thinking,  what do you want me to do?  Ah, and then she tells me.  Empty some stuff out.  Hurry.  So I try to take it back to my seat to do this, but noooo.  She says: "No, empty it right here.  Hurry.  This pocket."  She points to the pocket that contains all of the candy I got as gifts.  So in front of all the other passengers I am dumping the sugary contents of my bag on to the floor.  Still doesn't fit.  So she makes me take all of the shoes out of my bag.  It finally fits, but what now?  What the heck am I supposed to do with all the candy and shoes?  But, the generous stewardess grants me a grey plastic bag for all my crap.  So, I enter the plane with a carry-on and a personal item (laptop), and I leave with a carry-on, a personal item, and a grey trash bag.  Awesome.  And I still have two other planes to catch.  Not to have my new acquisition taken from me, I tie the gray bag to my laptop case and hope that the next two security stations will just consider it one big personal item.  Thankfully, they do.
Now that I am allowed to sit down again, I buckle in and hope that my embarrassment will dissipate over the 6 hour flight.  Then the pilot comes on the speaker.  "Well," he starts out (never a good sign), "We're having a problem. (of course we are)  The auxiliary power gave out.  (hmm, that sounds important)  That's what we use to start the engine.  (it is)  But the engine is already started and we don't use the aux power during flight.  (so... what's the problem?)  The problem is that according to airline regulations (oh, great) now we have to get special approval to take off and we have to fill out some paperwork.  Even though we don't need the aux power to fly."  Awesome!  So we had to sit on the runway for an hour.  
We got to JFK an hour late, ran through customs, but still missed our flight to Cincinnati.  We were supposed to fly Valencia to NY, NY to Cinci, and Cinci to Chicago.  The airline wanted to fly us from NY to Charleston, Charleston to Atlanta, and then Atlanta to Chicago.  Thankfully, that flight was also too close to ours and we couldn't get to it in time.  So they split our group into three mini groups and got us all onto nonstop flights to Chicago.  The Beldon's flight took off right away, about an hour later, Whitney and Garret left but then had to come back because of storms.  Another hour later, they left again.  And I stayed with the Oglesbee family at JFK for about 6 hours.  Ironically, we got to Chicago first.  The Beldon's flight apparently circled Chicago forever before landing because of storms, and Whitney and Garret's flight ran out of fuel and had to make a stop before Chicago.  
The only person whose baggage made it to Chicago with us was Garret.  The rest of us had to have ours brought by courier the next day.  
Ah, flying.

Blogging Above the Ocean...

Well, I'm finally home, and finally posting again!  I wrote this post on Tuesday, the 2nd of August while flying home.  I got home at some ridiculous hour on Wednesday, spent about 48 hours at home and then left for family vacation!  We returned home from vacation on this past Saturday afternoon.  I'm sure that you have all been waiting with bated breath to read more, and I apologize for the lapse in time, as I have had rather limited internet access.  :-)

As I type this post, I'm flying somewhere over the atlantic, already desperately missing Spain. I simply cannot believe that an entire month has come and gone.  People here often ask me if Spain is as I expected, and I always respond the same way; I had very few expectations coming into this trip.  I did, however, expect to be challenged, and I was.  I expected to improve my Spanish, and I did.  I expected to like Spain, and I love it.  I didn't expect to be so well loved.   I didn't expect to make the life-long friendships that I now enjoy.   I didn't expect to want to return as soon as possibe.  And I didn't expect to return home speaking Spanish with a Spanish accent!

Four years ago, this summer, I went on a mission trip to Juarez, Mexico and I fell in love.  I was head over heels for the country, its people, and its language.  It was through my experience in Juarez that God awakened in me a passion for reaching the Hispanic community in America through teaching English.  Now, four years later, I am as certain of my calling as I was at sixteen.  God has provided me with experiences and opportunities that have strengthened my passion and intensified the poingency of the call.  With every step I take that leads me closer toward Teaching English as a Second Language,  I am reaffirmed that I am exactly where God wants me to be.