Lydia and I are now back in Vienna, Ada returned a week ago, and I have a few observations:
- First, air conditioning is nice. That statement speaks for itself but we don't have air conditioning in our apartment in Vienna. Bummer. It is not needed here for nine out of 12 months but it was in the 90's in our apartment yesterday. There is no good way to look at sitting in your apartment and sweating. Just saying.
- Good byes don't get any easier. As I will mention below I don't really enjoy international air travel. To be fair, this probably has a lot to do with it. Leaving Vienna to go to the states is difficult because we are leaving our Vienna family whom we love. Leaving to come back seems to get harder every year. Without question the most difficult part of our jobs here is being away from family, especially during the holidays. I don't expect that to ever get easier.
- International air travel seems to get less and less enjoyable. We go to a lot of trouble to get the lowest cost airfare when we travel. This usually means extra connections and time spent in airports. Security in airports has increased considerably. Don't get me wrong, security is good. I like planes, especially the one I'm on, to stay in the air while it should be there. Further, not to state the obvious, it is good not to have terrorist attacks at airports. That said, it has become almost painful to move around international airports. That, coupled with airlines fighting to make ends meet, makes for crowded airports and planes with long lines and grumpy people.
- Sometimes people shine through traveling challenges. Lydia and I had a delay getting to Atlanta from Jacksonville. The people with Delta in Jax did all they could do to help us make our connecting flight in Atlanta and with a good run through the airport in Atlanta we made our flight with about a minute to spare. Yes we were praying.
- The airport in Paris, Charles de Gaulle, is often mentioned as one of the worst airports in the world. Our experiences have been mixed and it definitely has its problems. Still, as a continuation of people shining, two Air France employees went out of their way to help resolve a ticketing problem with our flight to Vienna. This was well appreciated as we were tired and needed help or Lydia and I wouldn't be making it to Vienna that night. We made it due to their assistance and slept in our beds that night. Yes, as before, we were praying.
- After living out of a suitcase for 5 weeks it is nice to sleep in your own bed.
It is good to be back. Each year I wonder what God will do here and each year I am amazed by what He did do in the previous year. God is good and I believe, with anticipation, that He will continue to do Great things in Vienna. May God smile on each of you in the coming year and bless you and yours.