Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Butterfly's First Solo Flight

One of Annalise's goals for our time at home was to learn to ride a bicycle without training wheels. On our second day at Lisa's parents, that goal was accomplished! She has been racing around since.

Great job Butterfly!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

So Far, So Good!

Saturday morning our friend Rudy came with his truck to help us move our small mountain of baggage so we could get on the bus to Baguio. When you have a family of 6 moving to the other side of the globe for several months, you have some stuff.

Here we are fresh and excited about the journey before us. We had a newer bus than we usually do and the six hour trip was without incident. So far, so good.

Because the rainy season has arrived, we planned a few extra days into our travel from Bontoc to Manila to avoid being trapped in the mountains by a landslide. We spent these extra days in Baguio.

While we were at the YWAM Baguio Training Center, one of the staff was preparing for her family's trip out of the country as well. She told us of a van company which could take us directly to our hotel in Manila.
So, instead of catching another bus to take us from Baguio to Manila, we decided to take a van. We were a little nervous when the van arrived over 2 hours late, but it worked out really well. I loathe trying to get around in Manila. (Loathe may not be a strong enough word to convey my emotion about that.) It was great that they took us (and the small mountain of luggage) to the front door of the hotel. Even with our stop for lunch, we made it in to Manila in 7 hours. So far, so good.

Wednesday morning, we got up early to get to the airport in Manila. The hotel had a shuttle (not free, but cheaper than we expected) that took us right to the airport. (Yeah! no need to get taxis in Manila!) So far, very good!
At the airport, we got our bags checked without any problems. Even though somebody said something about our bags being 7.5 kilos over, nobody brought it up as a problem. Maybe because we only checked 10 bags instead of the 12 allowed. So far, so good.

We then went to immigration. Here we hit a little bump. Because we have a 2 year visa, we needed to get an i-card. An i-card is an identification card that helps you get through immigration faster. But that only works if your i-cards did not expire 2 weeks prior to you standing in the airport with your family wanting to catch a flight out of the country for which you paid a huge sum of money. Fortunately, the folks at immigration helped us complete the paperwork for temporary i-cards. It was not as quick as it would have been if the cards would have been good, but it did not make us late either. So far, so good.
Here are my princesses waiting for our flight from Manila to Hong Kong. (Aren't they beautiful!?)

Here Alexie, Adriana, and Alayna are waiting for our flight from Hong Kong to Chicago playing a game the Filipino children call Chinese Garter. It is a jumping game using rubber bands.

Are we there yet? Our flight from Hong Kong to Chicago was a 14 hour and 31 minute flight! The video screen would often show updates. At this point, the answer would be "No."

It was a good flight with only some minor turbulence.

Somebody was a little tired while waiting for our last flight from Chicago to South Bend. But isn't he cute when he's sleeping?

She's always cute! Even after traveling 22 hours and 35 minutes - not including the 3 hours of check-in in Manila or the 13 hours of travel from Bontoc to Manila.

Indeed, they are cute too!

So far, so good. In fact, all of it went well. Often when somebody uses this phrase toward the beginning of a story, it foreshadows problems later on. But we are so thankful that God brought us safely home to a reunion with our family and friends. Even now we can thank Him because... So far, so good!
We were warmly welcomed at the airport. It was great to get the hugs we have been anticipating for so long.

When we got to Lisa's parents' where we will be staying during our time at home, the girls found this sign above their doorway...

God is good! We are so thankful for our trip and the great times we have already had being with people we care about and who care about us.