let's (not) chat

I'm an anti-social flyer. I'm not one to make small talk with the people around me as I wait (un)patiently at the gate. I don't initiate conversation with those seated around me on the plane. I definitely don't feel compelled to forge any new friendships on my altogether-too-long trip home. In fact, I avoid making eye contact with people I think may be the chatty type. About halfway through the flight, I turned to Niel and said, "That Auntie keeps looking over here. I get the feeling that the moment her eyes lock with mine, she'll begin talking incessantly."

Maybe that means I'm rude. Maybe that means I'm not as concerned about reaching people with God's love as I should be.

Maybe it just means I want to stay in my personal space bubble and sleep.

I survived the flight without any chat attacks.

After we landed, got our luggage, and cleared customs, we drove home (a 3 hour drive). We pulled in front of our house and I walked inside. I haven't been here in five months: in some ways it seemed very much like "same ol' same ol'" and in other ways it seemed very foreign to me.

I walked into the living room and called, questioningly, "Starbucks?"  Our African Grey climbed out of his cage and said, "Hello!" I thought he might hold a grudge for a while since I've been gone so long, but he climbed right onto my finger and let me pet him. He made kissing noises and said "kisses" just for me.

Now that kind of chatting, I enjoy!


I'm pretty excited right now. As I type, Niel's on a flight to America. I'm sure he's cramped up in his tiny seat, jamming his knees into the back of the poor soul sitting in front of him. I imagine he's enjoyed (?!) at least one Pepto-necessitating airplane meal and climbed over his neighbor at least once to use the way-too-small bathroom. I bet he's watched a movie or two, slept a bit, and sorted out 1/4 of the world's problems in his brain (he's just amazing that way). He's most likely looking at his watch right about now, counting down the hours till he exits that flying tube of steel. Did I mention that the flight from Johannesburg to New York is 17 hours long? It is.

But that's not why I'm excited.

I'm smiling so big my eyes close because I'm going to surprise Niel when he lands in New York tomorrow morning. He's catching a flight out to Orlando just a few hours later, but I'll get to steal a quick kiss (maybe a not-so-quick kiss) and a long hug (that's the best part right there...).

There's a long story behind the "why", but the short of it is that there are 7 Thrive Trippers on the flight with Niel. Because they took off from South Africa almost 3 hours late, the kids will miss their domestic connections. They've been rebooked on later flights out of a different airport. So I'm going to meet their flight, make out with my husband, shuttle 7 kids I've never met before across the city to LaGuardia ("Hi, I'm Alece! What's your names?"), get them checked in and through security, catch a cab back to JFK, and then drive back to Long Island.

And all this starts with my alarm going off at 6 AM.

Seeing Niel makes that totally worth it. And if you knew how much of a morning person I am not, you'd know what a big deal that is for me.

The bestest part? Since all of this was arranged after Niel boarded the flight 7 hours ago, he has no idea about the excitement that is going to unfold at 9:00 tomorrow morning.

I wanna bring Niel some tangible love. Considering I can only bring things I can find around my house, what do you propose I bring for him?