Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Jamaica 5--Home Again

I'm wearing a flannel shirt this morning and debating about pulling on a wool sweater besides, which is to say, we made it safely home last evening and we are not in Jamaica any more.

This is what I like about flying: the people you meet.

Going there, we went Portland-Seattle-Miami-Montego Bay. On the 6-hour haul from Seattle to Miami I sat by a young woman who clutched two ancient and ravaged stuffed animals. Jenny (of course) asked her about them. She'd had them since she was two, she said, and their names are Dog-dog and Piglet.

She still needs them when she's feeling anxious, and she was feeling anxious because she was spending the next semester in Cuba.

Her family is from Seattle, but she's a Princeton student, majoring in public policy. Hence the trip to Cuba, where I hope she gets a clear picture of which public policies work, and which don't.

My seatmate from Miami to Montego Bay was a young woman with a lovely accent. Jenny said, "Are you British?" and she said, "No, I'm from South Africa." She worked on cruise ships, and was off to join her ship in Montego Bay. She loves her work, as she can go all over the world on cruise ships and get paid for it.

Coming home, Miami to Los Angeles had me beside an Australian girl who was just finishing up her holiday travels, as the equivalent of our summer off school, in Australia, is December to February. Then she goes back to college in Perth, where her family is.

And from LA to Portland it was a businessman from China who deals in auto parts and was pale and talkative and had halitosis, which I probably did too, by that point, so never mind. He said lots of Americans and other westerners are moving to China as it gets more open because you can live well for a lot less money than here. We should move there, he said. Get good job, good salary, good standard of living. Yes, make a lot of money.

He really pushed that point, so I told him we've talked about going to China, but we are Christians and so like to go where we can serve Jesus and others, rather than make money. He thought that was funny.

He also showed me a picture of his wife and daughter. He thinks it's sad that with China's one-child policy, so many children, like his daughter, have no brothers and sisters to play with.

He was amazed that I have six children and said several times, "Six children! You are so fortunate. You must be so happy together!"

Well, yes, most of the time.

Paul got stuck in traffic coming to pick us up, so Jenny and I got our luggage and went up to the main level and Jenny got a Frosty at Wendy's. And we discovered something useful. You know how packed the pick-up area gets at PDX late at night? Well, if you go upstairs to Departures, you can go out to the curb and pretty much have the place to yourself.

What I don't like about flying: the food situation. Really, now. Five and a half hours from Miami to LAX and the only food choices are $10 sandwiches, $3.29 cookies, or the old peanuts at the bottom of your backpack? And in every airport except our own beloved PDX, all the food is priced double or triple the street price.

Paul met me with pink roses for Valentines Day.

It's good to be home.

I'll do more reminiscing in the coming days of course, between unpacking and catching up.

Thanks for all the prayers and good wishes.

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