The day we left for Europe started out great, sort of. My mom picked us up and we left the house about 7:30 am. She drove us to Walmart so we could get an adapter for some of our electrical appliances we would be bringing. I thought Roger had already bought one, but it turns out it was just a special one for the computers. The sad thing is, Roger had gone out that morning about 6:00 to find one, and thought they would be in the section of the store that sold outlets, etc. He didn't see any, so he asked an employee who worked there and that person didn't know where they were. He'd been gone about an hour and when he got home, I told them they were in the section where luggage was sold. So, that is why my mom drove us back to Walmart before the airport; yes, the adapter was in the luggage section. Then, after my mom had dropped us off and we had checked in our luggage, I started panicking that I had not packed my curling iron. I had tried to check quickly in my check in bag, but only had time to unzip it a little bit, and didn't see it. After checking in the luggage, I hopefully checked my carry-on for it--nope, not in there. I called my mom and asked her if she wouldn't mind driving back to Walmart and buying me a new one to bring to me and I would put it into my carry-on. She said she would go back to our house and look for it. She looked in all of the rooms and didn't see anything, so I thanked her for trying and told her not to worry about it. (Thank goodness we had a couple of hours to do all of this before our flight left because all of this took about another hour). So, I was so hoping that I had actually packed it in my checked luggage and that I had buried it amongst the clothes, and that is why I didn't see it when I tried to quickly look in my suitcase before it was checked. Well, good news...once we got to our hotel in Brussels, there was my curling iron! Okay, okay, some of you may be rolling your eyes wondering why I'm writing about this. You may be thinking that this is all silly and unimportant, or you may be laughing. I'm doing it because I know some of you have been waiting to hear all about our trip and love little quirky details like this--so that's why. LOL
Anyways.....11 of us boarded a plane and had about a 2 hour flight to Chicago, then a 5 hour layover. Me, Roger, Pastor, Marc, Dennis, Randy, Nick, Jason, Steve, Jimmy, and Rick. Another team member from Missouri, Duane, met up with us in Chicago. Six of us ate at Macaroni Grill in the airport for lunch, so that took a little bit of time. This was nice because I got to know some of the team members a little bit more as we talked about our lives and travel experiences. Then Roger and I walked the terminals and took our turn watching everybody's carry-ons while they went walking. Then we boarded the plane for an 8 hour trip across the Atlantic Ocean to Brussels Belgium.
The airplane sides had rows of 2 seats and then rows of 3 seats in the middle. According to my ticket, I was supposed to sit where Roger is and he was supposed to be across the aisle diagonally behind me where you see Steve in the white shirt sitting. Thankfully, Steve was nice and switched places with us so we could sit together. No big deal because he ended up sitting next to Marc. The guys in front of them in the red shirt was Jason and next to him was Rick. If you count two seats back from Steve and Marc, that is our Pastor Vance. The man next to me is Dennis. All of the other guys were spread around the plane.
The 8 hour flight really didn't seem too bad. We tried to doze off and on as much as possible anticipating the 7 hour time difference ahead of us. We would be landing at 8:30 am Belgium time which our bodies would be used to 1:30 am central time. We were served some snacks and dinner and breakfast. The movies were awful. One was Arthur and I don't remember what the other one was right now. I watched a small part of Arthur and then got bored. They also showed some NBC television shows. It was neat watching the monitors when they showed maps and the location of the plane throughout the flights. They would also show the altitude, outside temperature, local Brussels time, speed, and other info written in French, and another language which might have been Flemish or Dutch?
Once we got to Brussels, we were met by John and Shawn, a married couple who would be driving us around and working with us, plus another person Johnny who was the person who helped coordinate this trip--he came from Atlanta, I think. We got our luggage and took it all to the vans and came back into the airport to wait for Duane. He was actually flying in on another airline because as soon as our trip was done, he had to continue doing some business in another part of Europe, and his employer was using a different airline. He arrived almost immediately after we walked back into the airport.
Stay tuned for the next post which will talk about our tour of Brussels.....