NOTE: this is 2 days old. I promise I'll catch up this weekend!
I'm on the plane to Damascus! It was an amazing experience at the airport tonight...check it out:
Apparently the flight was overbooked, and I was only an hour early for my flight, so upon arrival I was running all over the place, backpack flopping around everywhere. At the same time, I'd learned just before arriving at the airport that Israel wants to attack Iran, which is a bit scary! I talked to my parents, who affirmed that I could stay and backpack around Europe, or continue to Syria, and that it was up to me. Mom called the state department, and then the white house! A woman there told her that if I was smart, and aware of my surroundings, I'd be fine.
So there i was at the airport, waiting at the ticket counter to find if I'm going to make the flight or not. As the clock inches closer to 10pm, after being passed from ticket agent to ticket agent, I found I had a seat!! (oh, but it doesnt end there!) I hurry off to security, and I realize I don't have my passport! The first ticket agent lady never gave it back! I sprint back to the counter, and see the lady that helped me leaving! I tell her my passport is behind the counter, and she tells me to stay away from the counter, and she will look for it, because they put me in first class (yes!?!) and they had changed their minds. She can't find it, I go help look, then she finally finds it on the floor. Hallelujah!
I ran through the airport to my gate, and at last got on the plane. Waiting in line at the gate, I met an amazingly nice woman with her husband and children who lives in Paris now, but is from Jordan. She raved about her country, especially Petra, an old city built into the side of mountains, and the sunset of a thousand colors, glinting off of the golden sand and stone. She promised I'd meet the nicest people, and would have an amazing time. She even brought up how she is treated strangely by many people in Europe/USA when she has her head covering on (which is always, bc she's Muslim) and said "We're all just human beings!" AMEN!!!!
Right now, I just finished eating a wonderful meal of salad, bread, ravioli, fresh fruit, pastries, red wine, and coffee (which is a lot more like espresso than the American kind), that is strictly for first class passengers. THEN I opened a letter I've been carrying around for the past 2 weeks from my best friend Lauren, and perhaps has never felt so loved and encouraged, at least from someone that isn't officially in my family (she's a sister in my book).
Blessings? Affirmation from the Lord of the universe that this trip is where I'm supposed to be for this short month of my life? I think so. God is so good, and I'm so proud to be His.
I mean seriously. Terrified of being alone in Rome, stuck it out and stayed positive with the help of some friendly Aussies, considered not going at all to the middle east, almost didn't get on the plane, and here I am, first class, full as can be, already having made a middle eastern friend, with my feet up, listening to Rufus Wainright (cd just ended, now Paolo Nutini is playing). I feel like the luckiest duck in the pond.
Note: I'm not at all saying I think happiness is always blessing, and that all the people in coach are "not blessed." That would be silly, I just think God likes to throw down some encouragement for His babies (everyone) when we need it.
I love you all. Please keep praying for me, as I am for you. I'm going to stare out the window and look at the lights of Grecian cities shining below, and try to sleep a bit.
Also, my seat, or something near me, smells exactly like pee. Hmm. Alitalia air. Make a note: amazing upgrades to first class, but there may be pee smell.