The last few days have been more than we could have hoped for. The time with the girls was beyond fantastic. We MUST have had some awesome prayers and good thoughts going up for us because at the end of every day, we all looked at each other and said, “WOW, what a GREAT day that was!” And as an added bonus, we now know the LA Metro system like the back of our hands! It was, well, pretty much perfect. We took a morning flight out of Vancouver on Sunday, checked into our hotel and headed straight on to Manhattan Beach, where we were told ALL the sand on Waikiki Beach was barged there years ago from Manhattan Beach…and there’s still more than enough! The whole strip – from Redondo Beach to Santa Monica was beyond expectation. Even though I’ve been to California a number of times, I never took in the beaches. I highly recommend at least one trip to this area in a lifetime. We also got a great deal on Universal Studios, which we were all super impressed by, again, exceeding our expectations…and then spend the next day in Santa Monica, which had tons of stores (and great prices, too) for the girls to spend their cash on. Certainly, by the end of that day, we were getting a little over whelmed by all the opulence, decadence and perfection surrounding us. The last couple of days were pretty laid-back…strolls down beaches, relaxing at the hotel.
We were in a bit of a quandary, however. There seems to be a real lack of bugs of any sort in this area of the world. It was pretty shocking, actually...no ants, wasps, very few flies, no spider...like, NOTHING! I have a sneaking suspicion they have all gone ahead of me to give me a warm greeting in my new place of abode. They needn't have bothered!
It was very difficult to see the girls off at the airport this afternoon…lots of tears and hugs and watching them go through security until I couldn’t see them anymore. I’ve just received word, however, that they made it through with flying colours and it was a breeze! A shout-out to Auntie Stacey is in order, for meeting them on the other side and mothering them for the night. My babies are safe and loved.
Frank and I caught a taxi from the hotel by LAX allll the way to the motel in Anaheim. We were a little unimpressed that there was no shuttle and no inexpensive way to get to this motel. We are flying out of the little John Wayne Airport in Anaheim early in the morning, so we had to come out here to stay the night. However, it was a total “God-shot”. Our cab driver was from Eritrea. I (Heidi) was in Eritrea in 1992, and we struck up a very interesting conversation that put everything in perspective. He had fled the country in a little boat across the Red Sea and found asylum in Saudi Arabia. This cheery young man recounted his journey the whole hours’ drive. Six years in the military, escape to Saudi and asylum in the US after a couple of years, leaving behind a wife and small child. He told us of how his wife had to escape to Sudan and the desperately difficult time (and expense and ingenuity) it took to finally get her and their son to America. He has been here for over 7 years, and his wife just got here three months ago. I just can’t even imagine the culture shock the poor woman is experiencing. It was definitely a God thing that Amanuel (that’s really his name) drove us. I had gone from sadness at leaving my children behind for 10 months, to gladness that this is all a CHOICE. The truth is, I can come back to a free country whenever I want. The truth is, my kids are living with their father who loves and takes care of them. I cannot imagine going through what this family has been through. And with gratitude and joy shining on his face!
Frank has some more sombre words to share in the morning. Right now he is peacefully snoring away.
Til next time,
Love and Peace…