Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Tender Mercies....What a Relief!

Time passed very strangely yesterday.  Did anyone else have that sensation?  In the morning, time passed very slowly.  In the afternoon, all of a sudden it was dinner time.

First thing yesterday, I called Seattle to make the appointment with the regional passport office.  Many people have asked why I have chosen to take this trip.  Let me explain.  I first learned about this opportunity to go to Japan a week ago now.  That gave me less than three weeks to prepare to go.  A passport, if expedited, will take three weeks if the stars all align correctly, but there is no controlling the stars, so I was concerned that I wouldn't have one when it was time to leave.

A friend directed me to the regional passport office.  The closest one here, to Portland, is in Seattle.  They will give you your passport right then and there, but there are a few qualifications--you must bring the required paperwork and documents, you can't make an appointment until two weeks prior to leaving and you must bring proof of travel within that two week time period.

I made an appointment for today at 12:30pm.  I knew I was going to have to purchase my ticket yesterday if I was going to be able to make that work.  I also needed to reschedule two orthodontist appointments.

I got right on it and started calling travel agents.  After searching a bit, I spoke with the Warden and he admitted that he was a bit fearful if I didn't catch the flight in LA with the cousins, that I would be wandering Tokyo by myself.  He didn't like that idea.  I think he needed fear more for them than for me (my language skills are a bit rusty, and who knows what kind of scathing mistake could leave my lips).

So, to appease him, I inquired only for the flight out of LA to Haneda Airport in Tokyo.  AAA gave me a price of $1779.  Destination Japan eventually offered me $1623, and that was after a discount was applied.  My traveling buddies had each purchased theirs at around $1150-1300.  Why was mine so much higher?  I went back and forth with the agents.  AAA was very hard to reach in the afternoon.

We sat down to dinner, and the Warden asked me if I had purchased the ticket.  I looked at the clock and suddenly realized the it was 5:22pm.  Really?!  Where had the time gone?  I had been so wrapped up in airline tickets for a good part of the day that between that, the kids and the house, I had also neglected to cancel the orthodontist appointments.  Ugh!  I had really failed.  Was this my sign, finally, that I shouldn't go?  Things had all come together so smoothly before this.  What was the hang up now, and why?

AAA closes at 5:30pm--I know this from their recording while I was on hold.  It was firmly burned into my mind.  Let's just say I'd heard it over and over and over enough that in about 30 years you could ask me for their "hours of operation," and I could tell you, but "hold" is nice because you can tend to a lot of things while you're waiting.  I got another load of laundry done and the entire house straightened up with the kids' help.  Since it was 5:22, I had a few minutes...if I hurried.  I got up after taking two bites and headed to the phone, and guess what....That's right.  I got the voice mail at AAA.  I knew then that I was out of luck.

I called the automated service for the passport agency and rescheduled the appointment.  It was super easy to do.  My new appointment is early Thursday afternoon.  This will give me a chance to take care of all the cookbook issues on Wednesday and get that all wrapped up and turned into the publishing company.

I promised myself, yesterday, that I would finish typing up the recipes before I went to bed that night.  It took me until 3:30 this morning, but it's done.  Now, I can focus on the "Friends of the Madhouse" recipes that are coming in. 

This morning, when I woke up, the first thought in my head was to contact the airline directly.  I finally did that this afternoon.  What do you know?  The flight I needed will cost me $1164.  So thankful for the little whisperings.  Thankful that sometimes I actually overcome my own stubborn pride enough to listen and do what is directed.  I hate to say it, but it's a fairly rare occasion.  I am super stubborn.

I have two lay-overs on my way to Japan.  The first is in Salt Lake City.  Yeehaw!  I love that place and have friends there.  Anybody want to catch up for a few minutes?  My layover's only 52 minutes, and it's after 9pm, but I can't think of a better place to hang out for 52 minutes.

In L.A., I will meet up with the cousins, and we'll be on our way a couple hours later.

I am so thankful that things didn't work out yesterday.  I would have spent $500 I didn't have to spend of money well-wishers and friends have entrusted to me.  I was really feeling terrible about the possibility of that yesterday.

I'm also grateful for the little nudge in the right direction to check the airlines.  Because of yesterday's experiences, I knew what I was looking for and was able to choose just the right flight.  Yay for tender mercies.

Grateful that Someone's watching out for me and guiding my steps.  What would I do without Him?  Seems like I must be doing the right thing.  I figure all I can do at this point is just keep going until He tells me to stop.

One of my kids directed me to this scripture last night.  Hmm.  Another little reassurance.  Glad for the atta girl He gives me as well.  He loves me.  What a relief!


Tonya said...

Awesome, Julie! I have loved reading about your adventures in making this trip happen. Truly inspiring.

vaxhacker said...

You do seem often blessed by tender mercies. When you're willing to step out on a limb with faith, miracles do often follow. And they don't have to be monumental in the eyes of the world to still be real miracles.

Also, I want a spiral clock like that.

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