I absolutely love traveling. Traveling for fun that is. I may not have told you the reason we are going to Brazil. My dad is the director of missions at our church. Our church supports missionaries all over the world. Part of his job is to go to the mission sites to see and experience the work there and provide encouragement. It's always great for the missionaries to have people from home visit them. My whole family gets to go to support the missionaries and their kids. The elders have found that it's wonderful to send a couple kids from our church to see the missionary kids so that when they come back for furlough, they aren't so overwhelmed and they actually know people. We actually make friends with them and still keep in contact while they are on the mission field!
So that is why we are going to Brazil. It is such a blessing to be able to go all over the world and see how God is using these people!
Out of country trips are my favorite for many reasons. Lots of people don't like it because it's stressful because of culture shock and language barrier.
First of all, I really do like the overnight flights. Yes, I do hate the sleep issue and how long you're stuck in the plane. But I love the whole process of it.
Before I tell you about the whole plane experience, I should tell you my greatest fear while traveling. 2 words. Airplane bathrooms. They scare me to death. Once in a movie someone got locked in one. I've never been the same since. I'm always scared that I'll get sucked down the toilet or something or get stuck in that tiny space. And every time I go to the bathroom there is turbulence which freaks me out even more. I mean the whole bathroom experience is bad enough without having to worry about falling off the toilet during turbulence. I think on our trip to Brazil last time I really did get stuck in the bathroom for 3.7 seconds until I read the signs on how to get out. I can usually avoid the bathroom on short flights but on 8-10 hour flights there is no way to avoid it. Trust me I've tried. I've tried not drinking anything and it doesn't work. I'm doomed.
Okay now on to the fun parts!
You get on a humongous plane with either 2 seats on each side and 3 in the middle or 2 seats on each side and 5 in the middle. They are big planes! I love getting settled in as everyone is taking off their shoes and getting blankets and pillows. Once at the flying altitude they serve you "dinner"! It's more like a midnight snack since they serve it around 12:30 or 1am. After everyone is done eating, they start a movie and turn off the lights. This is the time where you are supposed to go to sleep. Ha good one. Most people can sleep! I usually turn my Ipod on and look out the window. One of the cool things about long flights is that on the screens, they have a map and you can see your plane moving closer to the destination. I love just watching outside as we go across the world.
That is fun for oh a couple hours then it gets a little long! It's a long time to be on a plane! I usually take a lap or two around the plane to stretch my legs and make fun of how people are sleeping. Uhh I mean..I would NEVER make fun of people while they peacefully sleep the whole stinkin way of the flight.
My favorite part of the flight is around 6 am. You start smelling breakfast and the sun starts rising. People are waking up and opening their window shades. The lights still aren't on yet because there are people sleeping but the plane starts to get lighter as the sun comes up. The flight attendants bring around coffee, tea, and juice. There's nothing like coffee while watching the sunrise while flying over the amazon rain forest. Excitement grows as you realize you're getting closer to landing. They bring your breakfast and you order a dr pepper (ok that's probably just me) one last time because they don't have dr pepper in South America. I think the lights are still off, but everyone is fine with that because the beautiful sunrise is providing the perfect amount of light. Finally everyone wakes up and starts getting dressed (not that they weren't wearing clothes before...ha they just put on shoes, maybe brush their teeth, put contacts in).
Once out of the plane, it hits you that you're in a foreign country. You go through customs and all that fun stuff then you are free to roam the country!
I love the adventure of trying to figure out where to go and how to communicate with people. Once we played charades with our waiter at a restaurant because we could not communicate. It was great! Usually we have the missionaries with us to help translate. But one time we were with another family who was there with us and we decided to go eat on our own without a translator. You always have to order your drink with ice since they don't use ice usually and we thought we knew the word for "with ice". We thought we were ordering coke with ice. The waiter looked so proud because he thought he knew what we wanted and we thought he knew what we wanted. Apparently we don't know the word for "with ice" because they brought us these huge glasses of beer. We didn't know how to tell him that we don't drink so when he would leave the table we poured them in the bushes (we were outside). Then we finally got some coke without ice. It was hilarious!!
Another thing about other countries is dodging the water. Brushing your teeth with bottled water is an experience. Don't ever get iced tea. Can you say food poisoning?
The food is different! When you eat in Brazil, it takes several hours and is about fellowship, not just eating. Also, dinner is after 8 or 9. They really have the best food.
Time concept is different. If someone says to be at their house at 6 it means around 8. It's hard to get used to that!
There's so much more I could tell about traveling to foreign countries but I'm sure I'll have many more stories from this trip!
On planes now they have wireless internet!! Of course you have to pay for it but it is worth it for an 8-10 hour flight! So I will be able to update my blog from my Itouch while we are on the plane!
This week is going to be crazy and fun! There's so much to do before we leave next Tuesday!