- Arrived at Taoyuan Airport (TPE) at 9:00 am. Said goodbye to the parents.
- Departed TPE at 11:00 am.
- Arrived at San Francisco Airport (SFO) at 8:00 am (12 hour flight).
- Departed SFO at 11:00 am.
- Arrived at Chicago O'Hare Airport (ORD) at 5:00 pm.
Our next flight was supposed to depart ORD at 6:00 pm and arrive at Columbus (CMH) at 8:20 pm. However, due to weather, our flight was delayed to depart at 8:00 pm and then delayed once again to 8:45. It was unfortunate, but bearable. We were almost home and a couple more hours tacked onto the 20 we had already endured was fine. Pat and I napped for a bit before heading over to the gate. Shortly upon arriving, it was announced that our flight had been canceled.
Pat and I rushed over the United customer service desk to make flight arrangements. We were greeted with a massive line. My heart sank and I felt like crumbling onto the ground in my despair.
After 3 hours waiting in line, it was finally our turn. At this point, we had been traveling for over 27 hours. The United Airlines worker informed us that everything was full and that the best she could do was book us for a 9:45 pm flight tomorrow (and if the weather was bad again, it would likely be canceled especially considering it was a smaller airline). Meanwhile, we would just have to stay in the airport and try our luck on standby for flights to CMH throughout the day.
I was miserable. I was exhausted and I felt gross. Our next chance at catching a flight wasn't until 6 am. But there was no guarantee. Actually, it was downright unlikely. I wanted to sleep. I wanted to shower. I wanted to brush my teeth. We were #15 and #16 on the standby list. I wasn't counting on us being able to fly out before our 9:45 pm booking and I felt that it was a strong possibility that even this flight would be canceled as well. Why not? Nothing was going right. After 12,000 kilometers from Taipei to Chicago, it would be the final 500 km that gave us the most trouble.
Exhausted, I fell into a fitful sleep. After about an hour I woke up to the sound CNN blaring the same news over and over about escaped prisoners and marijuana. Why did they have to keep it on? We were the only ones in the terminal. Couldn't they give us some peace at 3:00 am? I got up, annoyed and cranky and sad. So, so sad. I checked on Pat and found him asleep and snoring. I hid his PSP and phone in his bag and then went for a walk around the airport. As I wandered, I decided to go back to customer service to see if I could work out some sort of deal for us. I wasn't hopeful but I had nothing better to do. At least this time I wouldn't have to wait 3 hours for my turn.
The customer service agent confirmed that there was nothing she could do and we would have to wait all day on standby and hope for an empty seat. Fine. I walked to a different terminal and a different customer service desk. This agent offered to get us on a flight to Houston arriving at 4:00 pm and then from Houston back to CMH at 8:00 pm. We were saving 3 hours! That sounded so sad that my eyes welled up with tears. I think she must have seen the glisten in my eyes because when I asked for meal vouchers for me and Pat, she relented and gave us two vouchers worth $7 each.
I continued to wander the terminal. Suddenly, I stopped. I collapsed into a crouch. Right there in the middle of the terminal corridor I knelt and prayed. I prayed for forgiveness for my poor attitude. I thanked God for his providence and his mercy and his countless overwhelming blessings. GOD IS GOOD, I confessed. Even though this was a miserable moment in my life, it was so so small compared to the incredible blessings that God has showered upon me this year and in my life and on Calvary.
When I rose, my attitude was changed. Even if we were here for another day or another couple days or a week, God is still good. "God is so good. God is so good to me," I sang. God would get us home eventually.
I busied myself with making sure that I did everything I could to give us the best chance to go home early. I waited for Pat to wake up and then we walked to gate for the next flight to CMH. I went the the gate attendant and made sure we were on the standby list. I made sure she knew who we were and our situation. As the the final call for boarding was announced, we were still #12 and #13 on the list. I was almost positive we weren't going to get on but that was okay. I spent my voucher on a venti coffee (Starbucks is expensive, especially airport Starbucks) and Pat got a sandwich. We sat down and made peace with the fact that we were going to be here for quite a while longer. Then, the gate attendant told me that she had one ticket for us. I was overjoyed. I told Pat to get on the plane. At least he would be able to get home early! After he boarded and I was making arrangements for someone to pick him up, the gate attendant called out to me and told me that she had one more seat available for me but I would have to hurry and get on the plane because they were departing. I thanked her profusely and ran onto the plane. I'm not saying that God created two empty seats for us or that he influenced the gate attendant to take pity on us. Nevertheless, as with all things, this was was undoubtedly a blessing from him for which he is worthy to be praised. So after over 36 hours of traveling, we arrived home. Safe, sound, and thankful. God is good.