“Hop in the truck again, kids, for our last long ride!” After a four hour car ride we arrived in Miami.
Josh dropped me and the girls (including his mom who is going along to help us get settled) off at the airport. God led us to the perfect ”check in guy”. This wonderful chap named Giraldo watched us as we unloaded the 12 bulging suitcases along with 5 carry ons and 5 personal bags. We had some extra bags that we weren’t gonna take, simply because of the $100 dollars each extra bag rule! We asked him how much if we were to bring an extra large plastic container containing all the girl’s play dishes and fake food. With a twinkle in his eye he replied, “...nothing, I work for tips.” Yep, this is our guy! He ended up checking in 7 extra suitcases that we would have had to pay for, and it only cost us $50 cash that Giraldo slipped in his pocket!!! One was all my lampshades that I had wrapped tight together, but had just resigned to the fact that it was better to leave them behind. Thank you, sir, my lamp bases thank you too! He didn’t weigh any of them either...instead he said, “there’s more space in the top of this one, put more stuff in here!”
We took the time sitting in the terminal to call all our friends and relatives and wish them good bye. Sniff...sniff. We had rushed and rushed only to have the plane delayed for 1 1/2 hours, after the girls got good and tired of sitting still buckled up....the pilot decided to take off for Jamaica. We landed in Jamaica after 10 p.m. Some of our paperwork was filled out wrong, so we had to refillout papers for each of us. Josh’s pen was flying across the paper and I was scolding Moriah and Alexis for fighting (continually) when I hear our name. I look up with an “I think I’m losing it” expression on my face to see Miss NiNi. She is a member at Riverside Baptist Church in Martha Brea. Josh has worked in and attended this church many times. She works at the airport and was checking to see if we were ok. What a blessing to see a smiling face that was glad to see us. The custom agents can be brutal!
It took us almost an hour and 1/2 to get through all the lines, claim our mountains of baggage, and find Pastor Sean Kelly. He is the national pastor of Riverside Baptist Church and he picked us up to take us to our house. We looked like part of the Union Pacific Railroad, each pushing a cart piled high with luggage. Even Moriah and Alexis pushed one, though it was piled twice as high as them. I had Eden balanced on top of my luggage pile.
In one security checkpoint, they handed us a paper and said we had to detail everything that was in our luggage. I looked at the lady...as I pulled my chin back up off the floor....and told her, “miss, for the last 3 or 4 weeks I’ve packed and repacked and repacked luggage and packed 8 barrels to ship, it’s now past 11 o’clock at night and I honestly couldn’t tell you everything in these suitcase.” She said that was fine and they were gonna search all of them anyways. Josh and I started laying all the suitcases out on tables and unzipping them. I just knew that the ones with the “vacuum packed” clothes were gonna fly out in every direction when they were released from their confines!!!! Questions of “how am I ever gonna modestly repack all these after they dig through them was flying around in my head.....I literally had to bounce, rock, cram, and bounce again on them to get them zipped in the first place!!!! We had only unzipped 5 or 6 when a lady worker came up and simple told the workers, “let them pass.” She didn’t even look at us, but turned and walked away. Thank you, Lord. We’ve always had our luggage inspected before, so Joshua and I just exchanged thankful, surprised looks.
I’ll never forget the mound of suitcases piled beside the van. I never would have believed that we could have fit them into Pastor Sean’s van....but they did! Josh and Pastor’s Sean and about 5 or 6 Jamaican men (who wanted tips) packed that van and even left us half of one bench seat. Just enough room for Me, Mrs. Bonnie, and Sister NiNi to each hold a girl on our lap. I was so thankful when we started down the road and the night breezes came in the windows.
Arriving at our new home was just the beginning. We had to unload the van, then find the blowup air mattresses (and discover that we didn’t have any D batteries), then find the one set of sheets. Our landlord, who lives upstairs, came down to meet us and he had batteries (Praise the Lord)!
As I laid my sweaty, dirty little children onto their mattress, that they would share with their Memaw, I honestly felt so thankful for this secure home. I just didn’t have the heart to wake them up, not after all they’ve been through the last few days.....especially when I only have cold water to bath them in. I promised myself that I would wash them from head to toe (maybe twice) first thing in the morning. Joshua and I toke our cold showers, dried off with our cloths and fell exhausted onto our blowup mattress. We rolled up clothes to use as pillows and covered up with the fitted sheet. I ended up sleeping with the sheet over my head so the mosquitos wouldn’t carry me off. I couldn’t find our spray anywhere, even though I got up 3 times just to look for it! It was a long night.
THANKFUL FOR: people who take the time to make other peoples day brighter...pass the sunshine on!