Friday – July 25, 2014 – 10:45am – Cafe Coffee Day – Pune, Maharashtra, India
I feel like this is my first chance during my entire time in India where I can finally take a breath and relax. To journal I have to be able to relax and not be rushed, to be able to collect my thoughts. And up until this point we’ve been so busy with the mission trip that I haven’t been able to. But praise God, here I am. I’m thankful too that there are little tastes of home, of Western culture, such as this nice coffeehouse, to give me a bit of respite and to know that God still spoils me sometimes.
In a way it’s been frustrating that I haven’t been able to journal until now because I feared losing some of the details from my time here. However, I think the delay has also given me some time to sit back and reflect on what has happened so far, remember what I’ve learned, and what’s truly touched me and not worry about all the little details. Before I get down to the story of my time here so far, I would like to thank all those who have supported me both financially and spiritually. Without your help, I would not have been able to have this mission experience. In no particular order, and hopefully not forgetting too many people, I’d like to thank David Wyble, Logan and Jennifer Lirette, Momma Lisa, Mrs. Kristy Lattier and Lauren Latter, Paige Patout and Mrs. Vicky Patout, Fr. Bill Melancon, and Mrs. Kim White.
thanks Mrs. Kristy and Lauren for this awesome journal!
And since God transcends space and time, please pray retroactively when you read this post, that my fingers will not tire out as I write this journal entry. There is so much to share and write about! :) The first part of the journey was the packing up and leaving my family, friends, loved ones, and yes, even my pet cat. Leaving that which is familiar and comforting, that which is a blessing, even when it is for the sake of something good, is always difficult. But I know God is taking care of them while I am gone. It also gives me a whole new respect for those who are full-time missionaries and the sacrifices they have to make.
see that chicken scratch? that’s gonna take awhile to decode and type up :)
The next part of the mission trip was the journey to get here. While not necessarily horrendous, traveling can still be difficult for me. Even though I love to travel, go on mission and see new places, the journey can be lengthy and taxing at times. To get to Calcutta, my first part of the trip, I had an 11 hour flight on Singapore Airlines from Houston to Moscow, Russia. In Moscow, we deboarded the plane, passed thru customs, and then headed to the gate to wait for the next leg of our flight. After a one and half hour layover, I had a 10 hour flight to Singapore City, Singapore. Surprisingly enough, these 2 flights went by quicker than I thought they would. Since I don’t sleep well in vehicles of any kind, I thought the flights would drag on forever. But between the meals, snacks, naps, movies, reading, praying, and conversations, things went by fairly quick.
the Merlion National Monument in downtown Singapore City
Once I arrived in Singapore, I knew I’d be ok. My itinerary (all w/Singapore Airlines) left me with a 15 hour layover. I don’t think that’s an accident on their part though. They know that the longer they have you there, the more money you’ll spend and the more things you’ll do. But that was ok with me. I know that would give me a good chance to unwind and rest. You also have to realize that the Singapore airport is the nicest airport in the world. Seriously though it has been voted as nicest airport in the world several times. There are tons of places inside the airport to rest, eat, shop, and be entertained. I was pleasantly surprised that time passed by as quickly as it did. First thing I did when I got there was use the free internet computer station to email back home and touch base. And since I’d been able to do some research on Changi Airport beforehand, I knew that they did free bus tours of the city every 3 hours. So I went and signed up for a spot. the bus tour passed thru a few main areas of the city and proceeded to make a 20 minute stop at the downtown waterfront area. I was able to get a good picture in front of the Merlion National Monument, thanks to a fellow traveller from the states who I met. She was also on a long layover before her flight to Borneo. Wish I could remember her name. She was headed there for 3 weeks to do an internship at a primate research/sanctuary facility. Super nice girl. It’s amazing the people God puts on your path when you travel…
see the “cruise ship” on top of this hotel?
I was also able to get some good pictures of all the beautiful architecture, including this one waterfront hotel in particular that had a top floor/terrace that was built to look like a huge cruise ship. When I got back to the airport, I headed to Subway for lunch (nothing like some comfort food from back home). Besides, I didn’t wanna order some strange dish from one of the ethnic restaurants and not know what I was eating. At some point I made my way downstairs to the koi pond. That’s right, I said koi pond! I told you this airport was nice. :) I went down there b/c there was a massage chair that massages your calves and feet for free. You don’t have to pay a gajillion quarters like you do with the ones they have in US airports. And it felt GOOD! Yet another reason I like the Changi airport and wouldn’t mind travelling thru there again at some point. While I was getting my massage, I saw some airport employees go to the koi pond for the 1st of the twice daily feedings. As they fed the koi, they also let the kids nearby help with feeding. Since I’m a big kid myself, I decided to partake in the fun as well. They told me to take a handful of food and close my fist, but leave an opening where my thumb and pointer finger are. Then I put my fist in the water and sure enough, the fish would eventually swim up to my hand and suck the food pellets right out of it, same way you see them do it in a normal fish tank. And since they have no teeth, it was like being attacked by a horde of old geezers with no teeth. :)
yet another reason why the Changi International Airport in Singapore is the coolest in the world
Later on I passed by an area with several large screen TV ‘s they had specifically set up for the World Cup soccer matches. Got to see the exciting end of the Argentina-Netherlands game, which Argentina won in a shoot-out. Then I checked out the 2-story butterfly garden. The plants and butterflies were absolutely beautiful and it was so peaceful in there. After that I made my way to the Sunflower garden on the outside tarrace/obervation deck and got a few good pictures and some much needed sunshine out there. Sprinkle in some reading time, a little bit of souvenir shopping, and some much needed nap time, and that pretty much wraps up my time in Singapore.