August 18, 2008
Today I flew home to America. I cried when I stepped off the plane in San Francisco. I had an 8 hour layover here, so I decided to go see the Golden Gate Bridge. I was confident I could negotiate my way there and back in time to catch my flight. Had I known what I was getting myself into, I don't think I would have felt as sure of my navigating foreign territory skills.
I got a map, hopped on a shuttle and made it to the bridge without any hiccups. The bridge was cool, but the weather was absolutely beautiful: cool wind permeated with ocean flavor, my favorite forecast.
While walking on the bridge, my phone rang. I answered in enthusiasm, knowing that I would hear a familiar American voice on the other end. I felt I had just returned from Mars, still simulating my experience. I was still on the phone with Margaret when I unconsciously hopped on my bus back to the airport. I saw one of the identification numbers and anxiously thought "this is it". As our conversation continued, my bus turned right instead of left at a crucial looking intersection and I didn't recognize anything beyond. "I better go Mags, somehow I think I am on the wrong bus and I have to catch my flight to Utah tonight". I cautiously approached my chocolate colored bus driver and explained where I needed to go by when. He just laughed and said "girl, looks like you are comin' with me for the long haul" EEK! Sheer Panic filled every cell! My driver Sonny saw the anxiety and reassured me that he would take good care of me and let me know when to get off to make the shuttle connection back to the airport to catch my flight. I calmed down 40% and continued to make conversation with Sonny. We chatted about everything from the housing market to the gorgeous weather to the Zoo. It was a great connection. "Next time you're in San Fran, just give me a call and I will show you around" were his final cheerful words.
Sure enough I made the rest of my connections and walked on the airplane for Salt Lake City with time to spare. I was again impressed with the detours that become the miracles of my life and the angels that show up at the perfect time. This connection was the reason I stepped on the wrong bus and I did my best to enjoy the moment inbetween the neurotic anxiety of not being able to go home that night. My conversation with Sonny was the tender mercy in that moment reminding me that everything is okay.
The 1 1/2 hour flight home was the longest flight of my life, longer than 11 hrs to Beijing. I was anxious to get home, a 5 yr old was screaming behind me, some obnoxious boys were talkin' "dude" in front of me, and I was responsible for evacuating the whole plane in an emergency. It was a lot to handle in that moment, but of course time comes and goes with all uncomfortable experiences.
Rose picked me up and I got home to Provo just in time to hug Joe, Rach, and the kids before they returned home to Washington.
Mom breathed me into her arms and exclaimed "You smell like China!" and Joe and Stu so lovingly welcomed me with "the special greeting customary in Asian countries" I was a hard core pancake and gullible was written in the stars that night:) Joe can make anything sound for real until it's too late!