It has been a very busy, interesting, tiring, “all of the above” last two days. After we woke up at 5:00 a.m. on Thursday after a rough night’s sleep, we realized that a couple of our bags were getting too heavy. We packed all of the stuff that we were going to take to Jamaica into 4 suitcases and a couple carry-on bags, and in order to do that, we needed to focus on essentials. So the thought of taking some things out was tough. We managed to find a few things to pull out, got packed up, and headed out around 5:45 with our friends Mike and Mallory (who we were living with).
On the way to the airport, we met some people at the Waffle House for breakfast. Now, I know what you’re thinking…“why on earth would someone eat at the Waffle House right before you spend the entire day on a plane?” But, it was the closest and easiest place so it was a somewhat logical choice for breakfast. J We met Krista’s parents there along with a number of other awesome friends and our missions pastor and high school pastor. It was so cool for us to see people who are very near and dear to us get up that early just to see us off! We had breakfast, and before we left, our mission pastor, Brad, prayed over us along with everyone who was there. It was tough saying “goodbye” to everyone. It never gets easier. We rode with our friends from there to the airport, and after a smooth check-in (our bags were actually a few pounds light!) we said some of the hardest “good-byes” to Krista’s parents and headed toward our gate.
Our first plane was a pretty small one. We were seated in the last section, section 4, and it was only the 10th row. We flew for about 40 minutes to Charlotte, N.C., and there we met up with Marc White, the president of CCCD. After a quick bite to eat, we were on a plane headed to Jamaica!
I hadn’t been back to Jamaica for 6 years, but I started to recall more and more about the island as we were flying in. The mountains look a lot like the Smokies but bumpier (for lack of a better word)… The water is exactly like you would picture it if you thought of a Caribbean island… The airport in Montego Bay is right on the ocean. We arrived early and had to wait for a gate to open. As soon as we walked in the airport, we were hit with the smell of Jamaica. Now Jamaica doesn’t necessarily smell bad, but it does have a distinct odor to it. It’s hard to describe, but once you come here you’ll smell it too. J We had a pretty smooth time going through customs and immigration. They didn’t ask too many questions. We found our bags and headed out…
As with most touristy countries, you are bombarded with people trying to help you with your bags or find you a taxi (in exchange for a tip). We told them that we didn’t need any help and just wrestled our luggage to the curb and into the back of a waiting van.
On the way to the Jamaican Deaf Village (JDV), where we live, we made a “quick” stop at CCCD’s school in Montego Bay. I say “quick” because it ended up taking a little over an hour. We didn’t have a problem with it. It was good to meet some new people and to see that campus where we have spent a few spring breaks working. We headed back toward the airport, grabbed a bite to eat at Wendy’s, and headed to JDV.
The road to the village was exactly how I remembered it. L O N G! It is only around 60-70 miles, but because of all the traffic and curves (and potholes) it takes 3 hours! I started out trying to pay attention to the roads because I know that someday soon I will have to make this drive. But, near the end of the trip I had given up. Krista and I were exhausted almost as soon as the drive began and it was dark anyway.
When we got to the village we hauled all our stuff down to the apartment, introduced ourselves to a few people, and went to bed, suitcases still full.
It’s hard to describe what I was feeling or am still feeling. We didn’t really have a whole lot of time to process any of this. We have been running since Thursday morning and haven’t really stopped. Friday we made a trip downtown Mandeville to pick up a few things and only had about an hour to sit before we headed out to another school campus (Knockpatrick, where Krista will be commuting) to meet some more people. It’s been busy, but we’re SO excited to be here and to begin our ministry.
It’s going to be a great first week! More updates and PICTURES to come!