Today I had to say good-bye to all my wonderful new friends. They have taught me so much and it was definitely an emotional departure. I headed to the airport for my 36 hour trip home. It's that long because my first layover is 16 hours! Why? Airline confusion.
The ticket I originally bought had me scheduled to leave early tomorrow morning. But that flight was cancelled, so I had to fly out this afternoon and stay the night in order to make my connecting flight tomorrow morning. My parents had been talking to the airline for me and in theory I was all set up with transportation to and from a hotel for the night. But in the Middle East, anything can happen, so I wasn't banking on this. And I figured any hotel I did end up at would be like a Motel 6. But my day hasn't been anything like what I expected....
I expected a lot of confusion at the ticket desk in Tel Aviv since I had that flight switched to the day before. I got there extra early, went through the first round of bag checks. Had my bag thoroughly searched by a kind man who I tried to encourage by being friendly. (Note: Be extra nice to airline staff! Most travelers are really rude and stressed. It is amazing the witness we have just by smiling, being really patient, and saying, "Thank you for searching my bag so thoroughly. It makes me feel much safer!") I got up the ticket desk and the supervisor was able to quickly get my new ticket issued. Problem one solved!
My flight was short and simple. I had the best all-natural mango juice ever! I don't know how they can afford such nice stuff. But this is definitely the nicest plane I have been on in a long time even though it was Travelocity's cheapest option for my flight home. Who would have thought?
So I land and get in line at the ticket desk to figure out where I head next and if I have a place to sleep tonight. (At this point, I didn't even know if I would have dinner paid for. I had packed a couple cliff bars and one of my coworkers made me this awesome little dinner in case I had no food!) But the lady new exactly what I needed and within five minutes I had all my papers and was headed to customs. I cleared with no problems, headed downstairs, and found the van to the hotel. Mushkilay niya.
Once in the van I met another American woman (when you don't know what anyone is saying half the time you gravitate towards a familiar accent and language) who was teaching English at a Bible College in Bethlehem this summer. We got to talking and had a wonderful chat on our way to the hotel, at the hotel (which is a super nice 4 star place; no motel 6 here!), and over dinner (paid for by the airline!).
God is so good. I thought I would be lonely, stranded, and missing my friends. And while I still really do miss Shevet, I also feel very encouraged knowing that God is taking care of me. I don't know why I ever doubt His promises. You think that by now I would have learned....