The adventure begins!
I was fortunate enough to be on Delta’s first nonstop flight from Indianapolis to Miami at 8:50 on June 6th! Funny how God works out small details like that. I’ve never been to the Miami airport, and it’s massive so I was pleased when I disembarked and found that my bags and the Avianca counter were on exactly the same concourse! Once I checked in to my Avianca flight to Lima, I headed down Concourse J to find lunch and the other wonderful sponsors with whom I would be spending the week.
Emily H. found me first! We were all wearing our name tags so we could easily spot one another. After a great lunch at Earl of Sandwich with brownie bites, I sat down for a chat with Emily. I hope she doesn’t mind me talking about her a bit; she’s a great inspiration and gave me a lot of good info about what to send our children through the mail with our letters! Her sponsored child was 14 and will be turning 15 soon. One of Emily’s talents is quilting, and she had brought a lovely quilted duffle bag filled with clothes and especially a prom dress. Why a prom dress? In Hispanic culture, a girl’s 15th birthday is known as Quinceañera. It’s definitely bigger than a Sweet 16 party here in the United States. For a child who is not used to having nice things, receiving a nice prom dress is a big deal! Emily has also been to visit a few other children she sponsors in Ecuador and has plans to travel elsewhere!
Soon everyone else began to arrive, and we wandered over to where they were sitting to get to know each other. My roommate, Kristie, arrived shortly before we had to board, but she made it in time! We were soon on the Airbus A330-200 that would be bringing us to Lima. It’s almost a 6 hour flight! I saw Cuba from the plane! Unfortunately, it got dark quickly on our way down there so I didn’t get to see much of Central America or Ecuador once we started to get close. The plane had TV screens with free movies and TV as well as pillows & blankets. It was very nice! The flight attendants were very professional and did a great job. It’s been a long time since I’ve been on a plane with 2 aisles!
For a little background, I’ve never left the US because I’ve been somewhat afraid of doing it! I don’t know why; my sister lives in Mexico and has gone on several mission trips. She’s very brave, and I’m proud of her! I booked the trip at the last minute in February, and suddenly it was already June 6th, and I was going to have to go! It was hard to believe. What’s funny is that my pastor had just preached on fear, and the story of Gideon. Gideon was always afraid, but he had success whenever he did what God called him to do. (Judges 6 & 7) Those 2 sermons gave me more faith that what I was doing was what God wanted me to do. I had been thinking and praying about it since November when I first received the email about the trip.
Once we touched down, I got my first experience going through immigration and customs in another country. Now there are 2 Peru stamps in my passport! (You get one on the way in, one on the way out.) Soon we were at the bus after meeting Elia & Soledad, our in-country guides, and we loaded up to go to the hotel. We stayed at the Delfines Hotel & Casino the first night. We would need to turn in early to get an early start in the morning since we would be returning to the airport to fly to Huancayo in the Highlands.
A few first impressions I had written down – the Compassion staff (Elia & Soledad) were very happy when they greeted us! Of course I heard Spanish all around so it was different not being able to understand what was being said around me. Horns on cars/buses are blaring constantly! I discovered that it’s best to enjoy the scenery and not watch the traffic out the window. I could immediately smell the ocean once we walked out of the terminal. I was definitely tired, but the others in our group kept me energized and upbeat.
Kristie & I had been communicating on Facebook since we found out we’d be roommates so it was nice to have a face to look for in the Miami airport! Once we were in the room, we noticed the lights kept going out! Finally, Kristie called the desk in case they didn’t speak English (she speaks Spanish well since she is an ESL teacher) to ask about the lights. We discovered we needed to leave the room key card in the light switch card reader in order to keep them on! We had been taking it out, and the lights would turn off every 10 minutes or so! Well, we are both blonde so…
Stay tuned for Day 2!