A Good Start…Sort Of!

It’s been a crazy week getting ready to depart, culminating in the final packing blitz Thursday (yesterday) which didn’t end until about 1:30am Friday morning. I got about 2.5 hours sleep before getting up to shower and arrange the final transportation details for us to the airport. We successfully checked in and checked our luggage with very little complication. I’m grateful to Matt Wood who helped coach me on what to have and expect. The airline agent checking us in was joking about how our pile of checked bags – most of our worldly belongings at this point except books! – looked like what she would pack for a weekend trip to Vegas. I mentioned off-hand that these things needed to tide us over for five years and she nearly fell over. She was convinced there was a camera crew someplace filming, and couldn’t believe the bags constituted the extent of our material relocation.

The flight from Phoenix to San Francisco was smooth and Gena and I were able to snooze a little. Once we landed we started the check-in process on Japan Airlines that would take us first to Tokyo and then on to Jakarta. The gate agent informed us our RT-PCR covid tests were outdated. I replied that Indonesia required them to be within 72 hours of departure and they were – if only by an hour or so. She replied with the unexpected news – TODAY, literally while we were in the air to San Francisco – Indonesia released new guidelines on entry to the country.

On the plus side quarantine is down from seven days to five. On the negative side, RT-PCR tests have to be within 24 hours of travel not 72. The news caught us mid-air, so to speak.

We were referred to a testing site in San Francisco International Airport. We hurriedly filled out the forms and paid the fees while eyeing nervously the sign indicating test results took 60 minutes. At that point, our flight would depart in less than 75 minutes. Sure enough, a few minutes later a very polite agent for Japan Airlines found us and informed us with much regret that we could not make our scheduled 12:30 flight to Tokyo and on to Jakarta.

For the past nearly three hours I’ve been on hold, waiting to speak with someone who can help us find a way forward. There is a suitable (identical, in fact) flight leaving here on Sunday, and another on Tuesday. Otherwise, the other options that might be open to us without forfeiting our ticket money would require us to fly from San Francisco to either Chicago or New York City, then on to Qatar and finally on to Jakarta – 40 more hours of travel!

Please pray we are able to secure travel for Sunday if at all possible, and if not then Tuesday. While it’s not ideal to spend days in a hotel in San Francisco (especially when we packed NO clothes suitable for cooler weather!) it would be more economical than having to purchase new tickets. Pray the airline figures out how to ensure we are not logged as MIA or no-shows for the flight, which would forfeit our money. Pray also we are able to get rest tonight regardless. We are all ok, just tired and wondering what’s going to happen next. On the plus and minus side, all of our bags are with us (they were removed from the plane). That is comforting but means we have to lug them around which is no small feat! Pray for our health and peace of mind in waiting through long delays.

We’ll make it – just a matter of when and how. We are, as ever, grateful you, our partners, who help ensure we are able to keep moving forward, even if not in the anticipated fashion! I’ll keep you updated as I have more news.

2 thoughts on “A Good Start…Sort Of!

  1. Oh my! Just received your latest news that came from Janelle. Unfortunately, it didn’t come to us; we received the previous one showing all the suitcases piled up, etc. Be assured, we ARE praying! Can identify with not having the right kind of clothes after we experienced something just a little similar but not in the U.S winter! Jim and Becky

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