Barbados - Day 1
As usual I worked late and when I got home, sleep was hardly an option. More because I was just too excited to sleep than me actually having the sleepies. It was that time of year again to head to a Bajan paradise with my family; a place with pink sand and water the color of glistening, blue-green gemstones. Where one day spent feels like three days passed and where the people have a beautifully simple yet rich life. This place is called Barbados.
It was on this day that my family and I packed our things and headed to the airport; we left our house at 4:00 o’clock in the morning to make our first flight to Charlotte, NC, where we would transfer to our destination of choice. Plane rides are always a little interesting to me; you never know who you’ll end up sitting next to, if there will be a conversation and if there is a conversation you just know it’s bound to get a little awkward at some point. I mean, it’s not like you can just get up and say, “Oh excuse me, this has been a really nice chat, but I have to go now.” No! You are stuck in that seat and the only place you can retreat to is that sliding door bathroom... hardly a retreat (but for some reason it still provides a hint of sanity as we marvel how we actually got in and out of there to do our business). During our first plane ride to Charlotte, I sat in the middle seat. My brother, to my left, slept the entire plane ride from the exhaustion of just coming home from China on a cultural exchange program... poor guy was so very tired. To my right sat an elderly gentleman at the age of seventy-three. Being from Germany he said to me, “Ah, allo. Und ver are you vrom?” And this sparked a sweet little conversation of what it’s like in his homeland and what it’s like here in the States. We shared traveling adventures and traveling dreams. I could tell, through his words and interest, that he had an interest in the youth. The plane landed and we parted ways.
Again with my family, we waited in the Charlotte terminal for an hour for our final flight to the country we so longed to be visiting. My brother spent the time snoozing, Mom, finally showed a relaxed looked on her face knowing she was away from very hectic things at home, Dad eager like a kid on a car ride to get where he most wanted to be and me, I had fun people watching. I was mostly thinking how all the bleach-colored people, including my family and I, were excited to get color on a scale of bright-red to golden-brown. When it was time to board, a sweet reminder came to my heart and mind that where we are going is not on our own means, but a beautiful gift from God; I was very excited as was the entire plane :)
This plane ride I had the window seat, my brother had the center and a nice lady sat on the isle, which I later found out she had never been to Barbados before. I wish I knew so she could have had the window seat, but I guess for a five hour plane ride, there is only so much sea and clouds to gaze upon until they become redundant. Derek, again, slept the entire ride, I snoozed here and there and as did my parents. There were many “little lambs” on board who were getting restless; oh the pain a parent must feel when there is nothing one can do to console their child. But seeing these little ones was a precious sight.
About three and a half hours into the ride, our captain came on board and announced there was only one hour left. That time passed like a pocket of rain in the summer time and before we knew it the sparkling waters and coastline of Barbados appeared outside our little windows. I’m pretty sure a huge smile came across my face and I didn’t even realize it. Our landing was a little bumpy, but nothing short of exciting knowing where we were. There are no terminals in this airport, just a tarmac where upon exit the entire plane loads into a bus and we are driven to the customs station. We waited in line for quite some time. My mom and I having the personalities we do, I guess, attracted some very talkative southerners who spilled just about their entire life stories, many of their problems which appeared to almost be a cry out for community and care. I am always amazed how people who lack this community will so openly share their lives. I am convinced, at times, that a soul knows where a temple of the Holy Spirit is and flocks to it, and I know this is God’s working to draw his lost and hurting sheep to Him.
After making it through customs (yep, they didn’t catch us haha), we got our luggage and met Emmanuel Tours, where our dear Christian brother Willie, the owner of this company, met us. One of my favorite things about Barbados is being with our Christian Family; it is always the greatest encouragement to me, personally. My dad so eloquently reminded me, “The Lord has his servants all over the world to do His work,” and this same Lord Jesus knows I really need this encouragement. Again... this trip is a gift in multiple ways.
We left the airport and arrived at The Crane where we were welcomed with the traditional drink of the island, Rum Punch. Yum, yum, yum! With our bags already relaxing in the villa before us, we headed up the elevator to our room. “Chirp chirp” is what we heard from the key card that let’s us know we are welcome to come in and relax. Opening up the windows was our first priority to allow the constant, Bajan breeze to flow through our place, quite a lovely alternative to stale air-conditioning air. The unpacking began and we made the place our home for the week.
The evening was completed with an Italian dinner at the new Italian restaurant right in the resort complex. With satiated bellies, little sleep and calmed nerves, that evening we all collapsed in our beds and had Rip Van Winkle kind of sleep. What a pleasant day of arrival.
Tomorrow we are going to church with Willie and his family. Read about this in my next entry.