Thursday, July 1, 2010

The Arrival (written on 6.30.2010)

We’re here in Colima at the Casa!!! It feels so incredibly good to be here. For those who do not know, I am travelling with my two good friends from church, Matthew and Jen, who also visited (and fell in love with) the Casa for the first time in February of this year.

A little about our journey:
The day before our departure, I sent Lupita, the Casa’s amazing director, a reminder e-mail to make sure she knew that we would be arriving between nine and ten PM the following day. She quickly responded saying that they were anticipating our arrival; however, the kids would be in bed at that time.

Our flight was scheduled to arrive in Guadalajara at 4:51 pm. I was thinking: One hour to get through Customs and Immigration and get the car, and then 2 ½ hours to drive to Colima. We should be there by 8:30 or so. Hopefully, we can get there before the kids go to bed! Of course, traveling in Mexico takes its twists and turns and not all goes as expected. We experienced nothing close to the travel adventure that we had in February with our church group: an unexpected overnight stay in Monterrey (our layover city) because Guadalajara’s airport closed for the night before our plane could land there. This time around, our layover in Phoenix went smoothly and both plane rides were also smooth, thankfully.

We landed in a giant thunderstorm in Guadalajara. There was lightening, pouring rain, and some hail! Matthew (a former pilot) said that it was a touchy weather situation to land in; however, we were safe and sound on the ground and I was extremely grateful to be there. We did have to wait on the plane for 15 minutes or so to de-board until the storm cell passed or at least lightened-up. My lovely neighbor on the flight told me that it is Mexico’s rainy season and it usually rains during the night and is pleasant and dry during the day.  Once we got off the plane, on a bus, into the main terminal, through Customs and Immigration, and to the car rental place, we had to manage a little car rental glitch, which involved switching companies from our reservation because of their unreasonable insurance policy. We got that settled out and set out on the road with the guidance of our handy GPS! Eventually, we got beyond the Guadalajara traffic and hub-bub of the industrial outskirts of the city.  Upon reaching the vast, open, undeveloped landscape, we started to see beautiful flashes of lightening in the dusk sky and about 2/3 of the way through our drive, it started to pour rain as it got dark. It poured for the rest of the trip, throughout our drive into the mountains. This slowed us down a little, but by God’s grace and Matthew’s skillful driving, we made it through safely.

Matthew, Jen, and I talked about the butterflies we began to feel in our stomachs as we entered the city of Colima. It was 9:45 as we arrived and I thought the kids would be in bed for sure. As we eagerly pulled up to the Casa, we heard loud music playing. We ran through the open gate and through the rain to find kids, adults, and teens dancing on the patio.  “MELISSAAAA” I heard a child scream as he ran up to give me a big, wet hug. He was followed by many others, who came to lovingly greet us. "¿Dónde está Pete? ¿Cómo está Owen? ¿y Rafa?" Yes, the children were still awake. They were celebrating the final night of the group from Second Church in Beverly’s stay here at the Casa. It was indescribably amazing to hug the children, receive giant wet hugs in return, and see their beautiful faces again. My 5% anxiety melted away and the extreme excitement took over.

Lupita showed us to the place where we would be staying. It is a renovation of the Padre’s (Priest who founded the Casa) old office, located in the building just inside the gate. Apparently the Casa staff was hurrying to finish it before our arrival. It is a neat little apartment with a stove, fridge, sink, dining table, bathroom, and bedroom. Lupita said that some of the money that Molly has given over time has gone to buy tiles, paint, etc. for this construction. She said that it is a place for you to stay whenever you come, Molly :) We sincerely thanked Lupita for her amazing hospitality and we then returned to dance with the children in the rain and hug them some more.

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