What. A. Journey.
It really took a village to make this trip happen, let alone pack up all the bags in time for our flight. Rhea and her son came over one afternoon and Caui came and helped two days in a row. Neighbors extended helping hands and my husband had many sleepless nights with me. Half the team came over to help weigh and load up all the bags. Hind sight is 20/20 and I definitely now CLEARLY know what was wasted time and what was time well spent for future trips. But what I would say is that I was thankful to have some time to unwind, in peace, before we headed to the airport.
Mostly because I was a peace with the last-minute development surrounding the Luggage Permits was literally in Gods hands. For those of you who didn’t see all that play out, you can get up to speed HERE.
At first I was anxiety stricken to think that all our hard work in obtaining and preparing these donated medications and supplies would be stopped. Despite not being able to see what the outcome would be, I KNEW God would do something with this obstacle that would bring Him Glory. But it took having the courage and the confidence to be okay with that fact that it could get messy first.
As we were about to jump in the cars to head to the airport, I get a call from the Mayor's office who is in the same room as the Department Head of the Social Wellness and Development. On our drive to the airport, I receive the authorization letter via email, so we stop at an HEB so one of our members can print out the forms. Every single one of their printers wouldn't print.
But it's okay! It turns out that the brother of our team member (that joined our team last minute) works for the airline we flew with, printed out the forms and LITERALLY handed them to me as I stepped my first foot on the plane!
We had a long layover in China on our way to the Philippines. China’s security clearance is intense, but we got through it! James and I had been to the Great Wall of China once before, but since the weather was on the wet side, we had to go up the Gondolas to the side that we hadn’t been before. Rode in the Gondola that Michelle Obama rode in! Weather cleared up for us and had a great time.
Our tour guide took the lead on where we went for lunch and ordered for us. It was literally Breath Taking to walk into a private room for our team with a LARGE circular table and an electrically spinning ‘lazy Suzanne” covered in INCREDIBLE Chinese cuisine! For 17 dishes, beers and waters- the meal was only about 10$ per person! What a great experience.
We were scheduled to go to Tienanmen Square, but since it was the anniversary to the Student Protest that day, we skipped it and went straight to the Forbidden City. Learning the culture through a guide always adds another layer of interest.
I am thankful for a team of Go Getters. There was A LOT to prep for our clinic days and each team member took charge of separate tasks and we got it done by midday! We rented our own private Jeepney and made our way to the mall for the variety of food options and to stock up on snacks and breakfast options. This day was intentional to help our team acclimate to the new time change.