On Jan. 9, 2010, Charlie and I had the awesome opportunity to fly to the states for 2 weeks to attend the wedding of our dear friend Chris Walker and his bride Amanda. Our trip took us from Maputo to Johannesburg, South Africa (1 hour), Johannesburg to Atlanta (16 hours, 45 minutes, 23 seconds), Atlanta to Shreveport (1 hour 50 min.) then a 30 minute drive to Minden, Louisiana, to the home of Cindy and Tommy Walker (parents of the groom), lifelong friends who housed, fed and transported us for 2 weeks.
Here we are on the plane from Atlanta to Shreveport. I never got out the camera on the flight from Joburg to Atlanta. I was too traumatized by the turbulence - you know the kind where the pilot tells the flight attendants that they too must sit down and buckle up? And what did my sweet husband do during the turbulence? He slept! I told him he reminded me of Jesus sleeping in the boat during the storm. Anyway, I have no pictures to show you of the 6 or more movies I watched, or the very tall man in front of Charlie who kept putting his hands back over his seat, in FRONT of Charlie's TV screen or my neighbor from Mexico who slept about 13 of the 16+ hours of the trip. I was so jealous of her being able to sleep. I was sooo thankful to get off of that plane. And BTW, it was FREEZING in Atlanta when we arrived....a shock to our systems which, not 24 hours before, had been dripping with sweat as we loaded our luggage into the car in Maputo!
I was running on adrenaline here.....
I had had about 6 hours of sleep in about 48 hours. But we were having fun!
And these are the people we traveled for......Chris and Amanda!
The first week we were there was "wedding week".
We helped Chris and Amanda get their house ready to live in.
Taking a break from cleaning to play with the bows
that we removed from many boxes of wedding gifts!
Chris is trying to look tough...but we know the truth.
I even got to attend a lingerie shower for Amanda.
This is Chris and Amanda with Chris' grandmother,
taken during pictures before the wedding
It was such a beautiful ceremony. For a Baptist wedding it was long, they tell me -
48 minutes! It didn't seem long to me, though. Charlie and I had the privilege of being a part of the ceremony - he gave a charge and I read scripture. The music and words spoken were very poignant and Christ-centered. It felt like a worship service, which is exactly what they wanted.
Tommy, Cindy, Charlie and me at the reception.
We go waaayyyy back. They have many stories to tell about us.
Many embarrassing stories!
They were so wonderful to host us and our family that
came in to visit over the coming week! There
aren't many people in the world that would do what they
have done for us! They are like family.
The week after the wedding was spent visiting friends and family and shopping!
First we had a visit from Charlie's sister Diane and her daughter Danielle who took
advantage of the MLK Jr. long weekend and drove down from Nashville, TN
to see us! But we didn't take any pictures!!! We enjoyed a very fast visit with them.
The next day we had lunch with my cousins Don and Sandi Parks - again no pictures! It was great to visit with them for a few hours and enjoy lunch at Olive Garden.
That night we had supper with the Sandusky Family.
It was so fun to catch up with them. They are like family, too.
The next day we drove to Eldorado, AR to visit my Mom's side of the family.
My Aunt Nonie and Uncle J.C. hosted us and fed us so much that we had to
roll away from the table. Thank you Aunt N. and Aunt. L. for the incredible lunch!
We had to head back to Minden that afternoon because Charlie's Mom and sister Becca were due in. On the way home we played name that tune/group while listening to the satellite radio in Tommy's car. That's Tommy's reminder for his dr's appointment....we would set it in front of the little screen so we couldn't see the next song title/group name then try to guess who it was and what they were singing. Charlie was much better at 70's songs than I was.That afternoon Dorothy and Becca arrived! It was so good to see them. Becca lives with her husband and 3 kids in California and flew in to DFW where Dorothy, who lives in Stephenville, TX, picked her up and drove over to Louisiana. They were with us for 3 nights.
Lunch at Chili's.
Why does my head always look bigger than Charlie's?
Maybe because....it IS bigger than Charlie's????
Can you tell me what doesn't belong on this sign we saw at a GAS STATION?
And 50 points for the person who can tell me in what southern city this sign was found?
Sadly, after 2 weeks in the U.S., it was time to return to home to Mozambique. We were ready to see our children but sad to say goodbye to everyone. In Atlanta we had our last American meal for awhile - a quarter pounder with cheese. I know that may sound gross to many of you, but it just sounded good and comforting to my anxiety ridden/hate-to-fly stomach!
Charlie waiting at our gate in Atlanta. This was the gate where we boarded plane #1 only to be told that someone/something had damaged the back door of the plane and it couldn't fly. So we de-boarded, waited for a hour and a half, changed gates, then boarded plane #2.
Thankfully this flight was only 14 hours and 45 minutes. However the delay caused by the broken door and plane change caused us to miss our last flight from Joburg to Maputo. So after spending the night in Joburg we finally made it home to our children the next day.
Hallelujah! It was a fast, fantastic trip.
**Being in America was wonderful...most of all because of seeing PEOPLE.
I will admit that we also greatly enjoyed shopping: Walmart and Target!
Maybe if I lived in America and I had to shop there all the time I would get tired of those stores. But because there are years in between visits, I LOVE them.
**And we ate a lot! Mexican food (chips and queso!), Sonic, Chik-fil-A to name a few places.
And we ate Golden Grahams almost every morning for breakfast. :-)
P.S. The newly-weds have returned from their honeymoon in Hawaii and are settling down to life together in Ruston, Louisiana.