October 23, 2013
A Few Surprises on Our Return Trip
Surprise #1: We knew the rules had changed and we'd be paying for luggage this time around, but we didn't realize that the fees once you pass a certain number of suitcases were more than doubled. Thankfully, a church specifically sent us an offering for travel expenses, so God wasn't surprised. We had remarked that there was no way we'd need that much money, but their offering was within a few dollars of the total.
Surprise #2: Security confiscated a couple of really nice tools Ken's mom had given him. They weren't things that were prohibited, but TSA apparently has certain things at their discretion, and they decided these tools could probably take apart the plane or assemble a bomb, I assume. I felt pretty if-fy about including them in carry-on luggage, but we were down to the wire on weight in the suitcases and these guys were pretty heavy.
Surprise #4: A fellow PY-missionary family was flying back from Miami to Asuncion with us, so we got to catch up on the latest events during our layover. It's always a good thing when layovers pass quickly.
Surprise #5: Our five suitcases full of clothes and shoes didn't make it to Paraguay when we did. I had to hunt down a worker and practically insist she file a report for me, and her reply was that the bags had probably been sent to Mexico or Peru instead. After talking to an airline representative the next day, it turns out the plane was just overweight and the bags were left in the States--"totally routine." Too bad I didn't know that ahead of time, and save myself the semi-panic that comes from realizing two months worth of thrift-store treasure hunting may have been lost forever. I was already imagining how I'd sew our underwear and socks together to try to get a few more years use out of them until the next trip to Wal-Mart. Phwew. Glad those bags arrived, because my sewing skills aren't THAT good!
We've found the good in several of those surprises, although Ken's still pretty bummed about those tools. We had forgotten to put the luggage rack on our car before the trip, though, so we were pretty unsure how we'd get all our suitcases back to Encarnación. As it worked out, we rode back comfortably and a bus dropped off those suitcases right in front of our apartment a few days after we got back, meaning we'd had that time to get our house-sitter and all her furniture moved out, take a nap or two, and clean out the old clothes to make space for what was coming. Then, SURPRISE! I even found a few Reese's stashed in the suitcases to make the unpacking fun!