Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Journey

I know everyone is waiting to hear about the trip... It's just that I'm feeling so 'blur' after the trip that it's hard for me to express it in words. Still... for all of you....

My journey started very early on the 6th of December, just after midnight, when David, Tank, Sharifah and myself bunked out at the airport to wait for our morning flight. Thomas was supposed to come over after packing more logistics for us, but he didn't arrive until way past 3a.m.!

Early in the a.m., Nicholas and Angel stopped by to wake us up for an early breakfast. Since the team was meeting at 6:30 a.m., we had to scarf all the food we could down our throats and quickly rush over to the check-in counter.

The members of the Team started arriving, along with loving well-wishers like Suan, Rena, Paul... all giving us their blessings and smiles to start our journey off.

The check-in desk was pretty horrified at the number of boxes and bags we had along with us.... each member of the Team complete with one suitcase/ backpack each AND an assigned bag from logistics! I remember the man at the desk protesting, "Miss! Your weight for luggage has exceeded..."!!

Luckily, they let us through without a fuss after we assured them that we were travelling as a group, and not ALL the bags were that heavy; it was just that we were checking in the heaviest first... ahem!

Families of the youths went off to have breakfast, and then we all congregated again to enter the boarding gate. Jermaine arrived just in time to wave a frantic goodbye from behind the other well-wishers, and I received an SMS from Ayu to say, "Oops! I just woke up!" and wishing all the best for the trip!

When we'd entered the boarding gate, we all sat on the floor in a circle. Each of us gave one word to say how we felt. The youths gave a lot of 'excited's! Nina was 'nervous' as this was her first time on a plane, and Farhan expressed 'sad' because Zhan Yang could not be with us.

Serene and Calvin quickly ran through the itinerary with us and then we boarded the plane. We sat three to a row, and the youths were anticipating the first lift-off. Nina was right behind me and I could hear her worried, nervous squeaks as she waited for take-off!

Once in the air, we hit rough turbulence only once and the 'aaahhhhhssss' and 'oooohhhhhsss' of the youths, I will never forget! It was definitely an experience to travel with them!

We were late arriving in Chennai, and before we landed, the adults warned the youths that we would have to make a mad dash through the airport. We hurried through immigration, only to have Farhan stopped!

We picked up our soggy bags, soaked with rain, and tried to get out of the international departure hall, but this time Razanoor could not exit because he had given his passport to Umi who had run to domestic departure with the earlier group! Whoops!

Razanoor slipped past the armed guards and the adults shielded him as everyone ran off to domestic departure as fast as we could. At domestic, the officials kept telling us, "M'am! Sir! You're going to miss your flight!"

Panic amongst the Team! Run and hop onto the transit bus, where we took turns counting team members "15...16...17... are we all here? No! Who's missing?!" Aiks! Bob this time for not having a carry-on board luggage tag!

Finally everyone was on the transit bus, all sweating and panting heavily despite the cool India air! Once on the plane we sat down and ... waited..... HEY!!! Thought they said we would miss the flight?! The plane took its own sweet time to leave anyway!

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