Our “Rest and Relaxation” holiday is over. Two weeks of being with family—it was anything BUT rest and relaxation! Lady Hiva and I were talking about it and we have not had a decent night’s sleep for the whole two weeks. Between the time differences and the staying up late to spend time with family we survived on a few hours of sleep a day.
We left Florida early in the morning and made the first leg of our LONG trip half way around the world to home. However, when we landed in Atlanta for our lay over, we got to the gate and the jet way door was shut! Not a good sign. We were there an hour early so I knew we were not late, but the lady said that the flight had been overbooked and it was full. We were not making it on the flight. How frustrating. We have work to get back to. I decided to not get upset during this experience. It was stressful for us, stressful for the poor customer service staff that had to deal with us and stressful for those are expecting us to be home.
After an hour in the customer service desk we had made some new friends, had a hotel scheduled for an overnight in Atlanta, some money in return for the inconvenience (which is always nice), and off we went. We checked into the hotel and grabbed a map of Atlanta to see what we could explore in the city. I turned on the internet to tell our families that we were staying one night in Georgia and when I did there were two messages from Lady’s family saying it was an emergency and we needed to call. Hiva called right away and found out that Moana, her 34 year old brother that we had just spent a week with in Hawaii, had passed away. SHOCK!
Needless to say we did NOT go out and see Atlanta. We spent the day in the room making calls to family and trying to get hold of work in Manila to let them know. But then we realized it was a Sunday morning there so nobody would be at work. With the help of Google Voice, Skype, Facebook and the hotel phone we were able to contact both our bosses and let them know and contact some good friends to help us out. This is where we started to count the bounty of blessings that continually flowed.
The first blessing was that we did not make that flight. Had we made the flight we would not have known about Moana until AFTER we were in Manila. Knowing now made it easier to talk with family and we were able to get the process started for tickets to Hawaii.
Next was the money we were given for being forced to miss our flight. That money turns out to be almost the exact amount we need to buy my ticket back to Hawaii. Lady Hiva qualifies for a fund from work that helps people go to their families in a time of need—another blessing.
One of the biggest blessing to us during this time is all of the people that are willing to help us out. I read a quote in one of the many airports we have been into the last few days—“Good Friends are like stars, even though they are far away or sometimes you cannot see them, you always know they are there…” Here we are, stuck in Atlanta, supposed to be going to Japan, home is in Manila, we are needed in Hawaii and we cannot do anything. We called Jim, who works in HR at the Embassy in Manila and even though it was Sunday morning we started making calls to Washington DC to help us get the process started for our tickets. We had to get on a flight the next morning, so I sent Jim my credit card number and told him which flights we would like. He was willing to go beyond his work duty and when we finally landed in Manila 15 hours later, he had arranged our tickets, a car to pick us up and a car to take us back to the airport to catch our flight a few hours later. Being able to describe how valuable Jim’s help was during this time is impossible. We literally could not have done this without his help.
And it was not only Jim, our bosses have been extremely supportive and willing to help us be with our families in a time of need even though we have already been gone for two weeks. There was also Junjun in the travel department that issued our tickets and because he knows us personally he was able to issue knowing I would sign the necessary documentation when I get back. He waited up until almost one in the morning until we made it so he could make sure the tickets were correct.
Then there was Caroline who is one of those stalwart, trustworthy, genuine-you-see-what-you-get friends. Lady Hiva and I have grown close to her over the last year. She is a special Lady. When we realized we had arranged to pay our car insurance when we returned, but now we would not be returning, she was the first person we thought of to help us. I wrote her a quick note on Facebook to ask her if she would be willing to pay the insurance company if I left her the money. She said she would—as we knew she would—but then that one request became several more. When we arrived in Manila finally one of our bags had been lost. We will not be in Manila to receive it, so we gave the airline authorization to deliver the bag to Caroline. (Literally we are dumping all our baggage on her at this point!)…Again, words cannot express the blessing it is to have friends like this who jump at a moment’s notice to help when we cannot do it all ourselves.
So I am writing this as we fly back to Hawaii. In the last 32 hours we have been in Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Nagoya Japan, Manila for four hours while we washed clothes and repacked, back to Nagoya Japan, then finally to Hawaii…I am not sure what time it is, or when I am supposed to be awake or asleep. But because of all the blessings we have been granted, we are going to be with the family at a tender time. I am sure there will be many more blessings come, we will keep you posted.