Conflicted. I think I understand that word better than ever now! On one hand in just 18 hours Steve and I traveled over 5,000 miles without any illness or death or really any major inconvenience. Even in our lifetime the trip between Corvallis and Riga, Latvia certainly has held many more hardships and lots more hours! So that is a huge praise!
But we did encounter some ‘challenges’ on our trip. Our trip from PDX to Seattle progressed on time until the cabin doors were closed and the pilot announced that due to traffic in Seattle we were going to have to sit on the tarmac for 40 minutes before our turn to take-off rolled around. In some ways this is just one of those things that happens on any given flight day. But we had also just discovered that we could not check our bags from PDX through to Riga and instead we had to go to baggage claim in Seattle, get our bags, go to the ticket counter, check our bags through to Riga and get new boarding passes, then go through security again before going to our gate. Before the delay we thought we could do this in our 2 hour layover without worries and maybe with lunch. But after the delay nothing was certain.Thankfully we made it in a ‘5 minutes to spare’ fashion, basically walking onto the plane to Paris without much wait. In the rush to get to our seats and get situated, Steve was working at putting carry-on luggage into the overhead bins and handed off his ipad and coat to me to hold for him. When he took them back from me he said “Where’s my passport?” Ummm, I didn’t know because I didn’t realize he handed it to me, but it was nowhere to be seen. We looked under the seats, in the aisle, in the overhead bins, under the feet of the poor people behind us — everywhere! Steve retraced his steps, even getting escorted off the plane to see if it had fallen somewhere on the jet-way, all to no avail. When he returned to our seat, I could see him shaking his head at me from way up the aisle. I’d been praying this whole time asking the Lord to open our eyes to the passport. I knew without it Steve was going to be permanently escorted off the plane. Just as he got back to me, I looked under the seats again and found a blanket kind of wrapped around a bar in the seat mechanism. I tugged on that and there under the bar, under the blanket, in the same shade of blue as the carpet, was Steve’s passport! THANK YOU JESUS!!!!! I’m not sure of the last time I’ve felt that relieved and grateful.
Just in case you ever travel to Europe by way of Paris, you should know that Charles DeGaulle airport is its own city — maybe even it’s own zip code! The place is a monster. We landed, connected and departed all in the same terminal (one of three), but travel from our arrival gate to our departure gate was a 2 hour trek with 2 security checks, a bus ride, and one passport check to enhance the experience. Back when we discovered at PDX that we couldn’t check bags through to Riga, we were offered the option of checking them to Paris and collecting them there for the go-to-the-ticket-agent, check-in-the-bags routine. I can guarantee, if we had chosen that route we would have missed our flight to Riga for sure. On the other hand, our bags might have made it. Which they didn’t until mid-morning on Saturday about 18 hours after we arrived!
In all of this we were met with kindness and help from all of the airport and airline’s staff. That was so sweet after all of the horror stories we hear about flying these days. And in all of this, I learned a lot about myself; primarily that I’m a wimp. But I also learned to just keep praying, just keep praying, be patient and wait. Answers do come and things look a whole lot better after a good night’s sleep.