17 August 2006

The Long Journey Home

It's got to be a record: Los Angeles to Glasgow in 43 hours: one car, two planes, one subway, four trains, 3 buses, 4 cabs, and a ferry - over 100 lbs. of luggage, one set of clothes and no shower. All of this for a little dog named Cole.
Britain doesn't allow pets in the cabin of an airplane on inbound flights. That's what kicked this whole amazing journey off.
Since we didn't really want to subject Cole to 11+ hours in the cargo hold of two airplanes we decided that I would fly through Paris and take the EuroStar (the chunnel train that goes from Paris to London under the English Channel). However, upon arriving in Paris I discovered that pets were not allowed on that train either - this would have been extremely good information to have received from our travel agent when planning the journey.
Consequently, I had to take a train from Paris to Lille, and then another train from Lille to Calaise where I could take the ferry across the channel to Dover (England). I took a train from Dover to Victoria Station (London) and cabbed over to Euston Station (London) to catch my final (sleeper) train from London to Glasgow... getting in at just past 7:00am the next morning. It only added about 16 hours to my journey.
It would probably have served me well to eat more than three meals the entire journey (two of which were airplane meals and one Whopper w/ cheese).
My shoulders felt like someone had taken a sledgehammer to them by the time I got home... partly b/c the pack I was using weighed in around 60 lbs.
I don't think my anxiety subsided until I was actually on the ferry with the security of knowing that if I had to spend the night sleeping on the ground, at least it would be in Britain.
Jasheen and Gabrielle arrived a little later that day and we were all finally back home in our own flat in Glasgow.

There was not much rest for the weary, though. Three days after arriving home we were planning to host another "Road Trip" for a small group of young people exploring our ministry. And on top of that, we had less than a month before our next group of 'students' arrive for the coming year. God has been most gracious though. The group has been here for several days and they're a great group of folks (mostly from Rock Harbor Church in Costa Mesa).

Jasheen and I continue to settle back into our life here in Glasgow and prepare for the upcoming year. As many of you know, I have taken a new role here as the director for the 'students' that are coming and I'm experiencing a new kind of pressure as we await their arrival. But with the help of a very competent, capable and gifted team, I think we're going to be more than ready to welcome the incoming group.

On an encouraging note, our first Sunday back in our church-plant (Regarding Hope) we had more than 60 people at the service... and the local students that make up the majority of our parishioners aren't even back in town yet!

We've posted a lot of new pictures from our furlough/trip in California so please click over to the online photo album and check them out.

Thanks again for all your prayer, care and support!


Steve Hoke said...

Chris and Jasheen:
Yes, it's at times like these you wonder about pets--and sometimes, children for that matter.
It was wonderful seeing you at WWC, just wish we could have had more time. THanks for hanging out with Steve and us.

Let me know if and when you want to set up a regular time to call and talk this fall.

We have now moved to Ft. Collins, but I'll be in So Cal from 21 Aug through 15 October.

Steve Hoke

God Emperor said...

Chris! Jeez...I can't believe you did this 43 hour Prince of Egypt trek with Cole through Europe! You're amazing! If I were you, I would have smothered Cole, gone to a taxidermist in Paris and given him back to Jasheen as a stuffed dog. But then again, that's just me talking... hehehe. -- Chen-Wei