When Everything Goes Wrong

Day 6-- San Jose, Costa Rica, Language School

Warning: Long drawn out story ahead. If you wish to hear the bullet points of what’s new skip to the last paragraph!

In case you were wondering what 'everything going wrong' looks like you could refer to my first five days on this adventure. My departure on January 4th began smoothly. I was fully packed in three suitcases, I had said my sad "see you later's" and I successfully convinced my parents to walk me into the airport from the parking garage.

While that last one might not seem too exciting to anyone else, if you have walked from the Indianapolis airport parking garage across the walkway you would understand. It is the single best part of the Indianapolis airport! It might even be the only good part about that airport! To those of you who are sadly unaware of this amazing experience, essentially it is a long hallway with moving walkways and neon lights all across the ceiling. These aren't just ordinary lights though. The lights follow you! As you move across the walkway the lights will change color and move down the ceiling following you as you go along and then all of a sudden ZOOM they'll go down and back and return to you, sound effects included! It is amazing and you should all experience it.

But I digress.

Ready and rearing to go I walked through the most amazing airport walkway ever and went to check in my luggage. I checked in at the kiosk, paid for my luggage and waited in line. When I was called to the counter I was told that Costa Rica was under an embargo- who even knew that was a thing?? I was forced to leave one suitcase behind...it may not seem like much but I had already condensed my life into three suitcases. Each contained important things I needed on the field. I shuffled some things around to the best of my ability and hoped I got everything important!

I didn't.

While weighing my bags I got a call from an unknown number. I didn't answer it or listen to the voicemail until in the security line. I should have answered. It was American Airlines.

Flight cancelled.

Due to volcanic eruption.

I have had many flights cancelled and delayed before...but NEVER due to the amount of volcanic ash in the air. I decided to take my first flight anyway and ended up in Dallas with no more flights going to San Jose until the following day. I quickly booked a flight to Miami then on to San Jose and prayed for the ash to clear up (seriously- what is this life??).

However, my flight being cancelled was actually a blessing in disguise. Two dear friends of mine live in Dallas and I had not seen them in nearly two years. We had an impromptu sleepover and it was one million times better than trying to find a place to string up my hammock in the airport! We shared Whataburger and chatted about Justin Bieber...ya know, the essentials of a Texas sleepover.

I woke up in the morning, looked at my phone and said, "Jess...did I say my flight was at 7:45am or 7:15am?” She answered, “7:45…why?”

It was at 7:15. Oops.

Scrambling ensued and she graciously assured me that we would still make the flight. We hopped on the freeway and raced towards the airport.

And you’ll never guess what happened…go on, guess!

If you guessed traffic you would be correct. A huge accident blocked the highway up ahead right in front of our exit. Jess was feeling a little risky and eventually started driving on the shoulder. I think I’m lucky to have a friend that will drive illegally to get me to the airport on time! #Blessed

Going through security the TSA agent could tell I was getting anxious. He asked what time and where my flight was. I told him and he said I would make it- bless you TSA guy for calming my nerves. The agent next to him had no such assurance for me. Instead he decided to criticize me for arriving so late- I know guy, I know!

Skip forward several hours…I made the flight to Miami and the next. I arrived in San Jose and searched and searched for any suitcases even resembling mine. None where found. After about an hour of looking and waiting on the carousels I was directed to the baggage claim desk. There I waited no less than an hour before I was able to talk to an agent. Mind you, there were only 4 people in line before me and two men working.

The man behind the counter checked his computer and told me that my bags were still in Dallas. I informed him that I checked THREE times in Dallas to make sure that my luggage would fly with me to Miami and then to San Jose. But nothing could be done except wait.

So I waited.

And waited some more.

Other families in language school with me began to get their bags after a couple days and mine were still MIA. I called the airport, no lie, twenty times in one day. Twenty, without ever talking to a person- answer your phones people! I went to the airport and still could not talk to someone in the baggage claim office.

Finally, on day five of having no luggage I gave my receipt to the administrative assistant at the language school. I came out of class for a lunch break four hours later and there, sitting in front of me with a luggage tag glistening in the sun, were my suitcases. It was a glorious day.

I know what you’re thinking, “Wow, can’t even go a week without her THINGS. Some missionary…”

And you’re probably right. I should be less materialistic and more Godly and all of that but it certainly makes life more difficult to only have one pair of pants and two tops when you have class and church dress codes to follow. It was a fun time. Next time, you better believe my carry-on will be well packed with clothes.

And now I have been here one week. It has flown by but not without the constant reminder of how good God is. Just being here in Costa Rica after a year and a half of fundraising is unbelievable. He is too gracious to us. It truly is miraculous that the Lord chose me, a lowly sinner that is ‘too introverted’ and ‘too awkward’, to bring people into the Kingdom. And that He chooses to use each and every one of His believers to do the same. I am forever thankful that I get to do what I do.

At any rate, I have arrived, my clothes have arrived and I am ready. I have finished one cross-cultural communication class and begin Spanish class tomorrow.

Thank you, thank you, thank you to all my supporters and people lifting me up in prayer! Please continue to do so as I begin language learning once again! Thank you friends and family for your endless encouragement and love. I can’t do what I do without people next to me, holding up my arms.

Also, for those who wanted a mailing address:

Brooke Miller

Apartado 509-2010

Zapote, San Jose, Costa Rica

Central America

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