I made it to Tanzania!!
But let me tell you, it wasn’t so easy getting here.. haha. Let me take you back to when I officially left the states, and the oh so fun journey it was to get to my destination. Which, by the way, was a fun side trip to Turkey with Joel, before the official move to Tanzania!
My send off day was Sunday Sept 24. My parents I loaded up the car with my 2 50+lb suitcases, (one of which was actually a duffel with no wheels- not sure what I was thinking buying that. Just ask Peter Zelasko about carrying that bag all around the airport 😉 haha. It sucks!) 2, also VERY heavy, carry-ons, and 1 small purse! I was ready to go! We arrived at a prompt 3 hours prior to departure. My first flight was Detroit>Toronto. Technically an international flight, so we thought we did good with the early arrival. No. Air Canada doesn’t start checking you in until 2 hours before. The waiting begins. We finally get in line at the 2hour mark, 4:30pm, but then notice the flight is delayed 2 hours- ugh. More waiting. My parents and I figured we’d put off the tearful goodbye long enough so we decided to just do the inevitable and say goodbye. It’s strange, saying goodbye for something like this. I was ready to go, but my heart was so sad to leave my family so far away. Needless to say, it was a good idea that I loaded up on Kleenex before I left.
Once I composed myself, I was able to make my way to the gate, where I see I am now delayed for another 30min. (845pm now-original time:6:30pm) **This now gives me only 40 min to make my next flight**. I continue waiting, filling my time with last minute phone calls, FaceTimes and MarcoPolo videos with my girls. The plane finally arrives (not leaves!) at 845pm, haha.. and we all board. And sit, and sit some more on the runway. Actual departure time: 930pm. At this point, I’m really starting to stress about missing my flight to Istanbul, especially after I find out my next gate is at least a 15min walk and I have to go through Canadian customs. I’m freaking out wondering how I will call Joel, when I can catch the next flight, etc., all while the guy behind me keeps telling me, “you can’t stress about things you have no control over”!! (Easier said than done buddy, you’re not the one missing an international flight! It did, however, make me laugh because that is TOTALLY something Joel would tell me!). We finally land. 1045pm. My flight left at 1025. This sucks. (Note to self.. don’t fly Air Canada)
I get off, find an agent, and after talking, waiting, talking to management, waiting, and begging and pleading for the earliest flight possible, I find out I will be stuck in Toronto for 24hours and will be booked on the same flight, the next day. They assured me my luggage would follow me onto the next flight, so I could just leave them at the airport. (Note to self.. say no to this next time, and never book flights on Hotwire/Expedia again!)
I climb into bed at my Toronto hotel at 3am. It had been a long day, and I was still only a few hours away from where I started my journey this morning. Still the voice in my head…don’t stress over the things you can’t control!
The next day was, you guessed it, more waiting! My flight wasn’t until 1030pm so I had allllll day to sit at the hotel, sit at the airport, read, talk, and wish I was in a country far away from here! Finnnalllly at 630pm we could check in. And again, of course, more issues. Apparently Air Canada didn’t re-book me correctly so they had no record of me on the flight. So, I get in another line, and wait again, and talk to Turkish Air and Air Canada, and round and round we go. 1.5hours later, I’m finally confirmed. (Again, note to self…don’t fly Air Canada).
Now, remember the whole bag situation? Again, they assured me my bags would be on my flight with me and make it to my destination.
Well, 10hours later I finally arrive in Istanbul, and you guessed it.. NO bags!! A report was made, my address was given to the agent, and they said my bags would arrive in 24hours. Great. 4 days in the same clothes. Ick! (Note to self.. pack more “emergency”clothes in my carry-on)
Finally, after a full 48 hours of traveling, I got to see this guy… and suddenly all that other stuff, it just didn’t seem to matter anymore…. I had all I needed!!!!
Joel has a way of calming me like no one else. He is able to let frustrating, stressful situations roll off his back, and put things into perspective. He was understanding, patient and just happy that I finally arrived safe and sound!! At that point, I was too, and it made finally seeing each other that much sweeter.
Our next 4 days were perfect. We tried to fit in as much of Istanbul and Izmir as possible. We saw just enough to know we definitely want to go back! We ate delicious Turkish food, enjoyed daily tea and tried their teeny tiny cups of Turkish coffee. We saw the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, Basilica Cistern, and got lost among the hundreds of shops at the Grand Bazaar. We flew to the city of Izmir for one night. Here we saw where Joel’s new coffee roaster was built and packaged up- all ready to ship to D&J’s Distributors in Tanzania! He was able to attend a training about the new roaster and was able to practice roasting beans! I was fascinated by it all, and was able to learn so much about coffee! I finally found out what cupping was all about!! It made me so proud of him, and all the hard work he has put into his coffee business. I know having this roaster will allow him to take his business to the next level, and I can’t wait to see it grow! Definitely a Proud Girlfriend Moment 🙂
Needless to say, we needed this trip. We needed to be able to have a normal, face to face conversation with no “Reconnecting” disrupting us every 5 minutes! I needed to be able to hold his hand, hug and kiss him, and be reminded of why we are taking this huge leap of faith. We needed to be able to have time together just laughing and having fun, both of us experiencing a new city and new culture together. We were truly able to just enjoy each other. Our phones didn’t work outside the hotel, and it was so great! Being apart for so much of our relationship has taught both of us to enjoy every moment we have with each other and not take those moments, and each other for granted. I am so grateful, that for 4 days, I got to have this amazing human being all to myself.
So now, real life begins.. a completely new “real life”. It’s officially starting, and I feel ready for it.
It feels good to be back. It feels good to be here with Joel. It feels comfortable. I feel like me. And I feel like soon this will begin to feel like home.
Next week I will take you on a tour of my house, my “neighborhood” and the town of Moshi! I can’t wait to introduce you all to my new life here! Here’s a little sneak peek though:
I love you all and thank you for your prayers as I was traveling, and now here in Tanzania as I get settled!
Ps.. My bags miraculously appeared the next morning at my hotel in Istanbul.. not sure how they got there so fast, but I was beyond excited that they did!! God truly does hear our prayers!
** And final Note to Self: don’t stress about the things you don’t have any control over!!