We checked in and got through the airport without a hitch. We swung by a couple of the shops because we had a bit of time, and RaeAnn bought me the cutest little elephant stuffed animal--a Romanian friend to always have with me. It was so sweet!
When we reached our gate, we settled down and grabbed a little something to eat. Ky, RaeAnn, and I were sitting against the window and Mom was facing us. In the section behind Mom, two Australian guys were sitting facing us. What ensued next was quite hilarious...
Australian guys: [things I don't want to repeat]
Ky and Me: [red faced, trying not to giggle]
Australian guy #1: Do they speak Spanish in Mexico?
Ky and Me: [died laughing]
Australian guy #1 (to his friend): What language do they speak?
Australian guy #2: What language do you THINK they speak?
And we all died laughing at this point...
We then proceeded to laugh and joke with them and tease them endlessly. It was a good way to stay awake! At one point Ky handed me her phone and told me to take a picture of them without them knowing, so I acted like I was taking a picture of my mom.
Australian guy #2: Come on, we invented that!
And so, they proceeded to pose for us--check out the picture on FB. Haha.
Our flight from Romania to Turkey was quite uneventful. I think all of us probably dosed off for a couple of minutes, but it was so short that we couldn't exactly get any meaningful rest in. Our layover in Turkey was again LONG, so we wandered around a bit before settling in the same restaurant that we did on the way over. And guess who was there? Our Australian friends! Of course. They gave us their wifi code so we could check in with our people, and then they proceeded to fall asleep at their table. We ordered some breakfast (omelets with cheese and beef ham). RaeAnn tried to ask the waiter if it was beef or ham, but he couldn't quite understand. I asked him cow or pig, and he finally said "pork". Phew! It turned out to be ham, and it was pretty good! After breakfast, we all (except for RaeAnn) fell asleep for a few minutes at our table. You gotta do whatcha gotta do!
I was a bit apprehensive when we boarded our flight in Turkey--I was not ready to sit on a plane for that long, much less leave Romania. But, there was a bit of a bright spot....no one sat in the row with Ky and myself....elbow room, leg room, everything room! That was certainly helpful! I tried to watch movies, but I kept getting bored and nodding off. I finally found a few random kid movies to watch. I walked around, watched some TV episodes, and read a bit. That flight is seriously NEVER ENDING! Perhaps the most annoying part of the flight was after we landed. We taxied for quite some time--during which a few people in the back decided to stand up and get their luggage before getting yelled at by the flight attendants. After we stopped taxiing (but before the seatbelt light went off) basically the whole back section of the plane stood up and started getting their luggage. NO ONE in the front two sections stood up at all. The man in front of me turned around and said, "It's because those people (in the front) are civilized)." I cracked up. So true! It took far too long, but we were FINALLY let off the plane...
...and then there was passport control....
...and then we had to get our luggage...
...and then there was customs...
We finally made it out... and then there was the drive home, but not before a potty and Taco Bell. :)
....and traffic.... lots of it.
Can you tell I was tired and anxious to be home? :)
We got home around 8pm--about 27 hours after leaving Bucharest.
It felt so strange to walk through the house. I know part of that was because it was weird to be away from Romania, but another part was due to the fact that my body felt completely exhausted and disoriented. It was not long before I was in bed, crashed, and out.
Traveling that far does some strange things to a person. However, as I was sitting in bed last night, one of my prominent thoughts was, I'd do this all again tomorrow if I could see the CTL staff again and hold those sweet children again. No doubt.
If it's not obvious yet, God imprinted Romania on my heart from a young age, and as I grow up, that imprint only gets deeper. God has not called me to move to Romania. I know he has me here teaching in Bakersfield now for a purpose, and I will serve Him here as best I can, but I know that I'll go back to Romania someday--hopefully and prayerfully a lot of somedays. :)
CTL staff and kids, I miss you deeply--honestly more than I can say. I am praying for you, and I will do all that I can here to continue to serve you and this CTL ministry. I'll see you again someday--prayerfully sooner rather than later!