Friday, January 14, 2011

Grace Led

Today was a grace led day. We woke up at 5:30 a.m. and when we left the house at 7:44 with Eng wanting to leave at 7:45, I turned to him and said, “Wow, we did that so well!” As I type this now before going to bed, that’s the last line I want to put down.

Eng and I left for the airport in Chiang Mai to catch our 9:10 a.m. flight to Kuala Lumpur (KL). We are on our way to Manila to attend a wedding on Saturday. Everything went very well with our checked in luggage at 30.2 kg. (with a weight limit of 30!). We just had to wait for our flight to go. As it neared our boarding time, things started to turn unusual. An announcement came on saying our flight was delayed. Much later, another one said our plane couldn’t get technical clearance. We prayed and having done our part, I slept. I would have done just that for a longer time but Eng decided to speak to the folks at the counter. Since his leg was my pillow, I was forced to forgo my nap and took stock of our situation. It was already 11:30 and we were still in the waiting area. I wondered what Eng would accomplish. Aren’t we suppose to just wait out our delayed flight? They should announce next that we’re boarding and then we do, yes? Apparently, NOT!

Eng came back and quickly said we were leaving for Bangkok (BKK) and that I should follow him. We were led by a flight crew to the immigration counter and we were soon racing from the International area towards the Domestic area of the airport (not near at all!). We were with two other couples who wanted to catch their flight to Brisbane this evening. Thankfully, our flight to Manila doesn’t leave until tomorrow so I wasn’t concerned about not making it. Unknown to me though, we were catching the 12:10 p.m. flight to BKK but as I looked at my watch, I wondered how we could make it since it was already 12:20. Well, make it we did! We bypassed people in the long line up and were whisked into the plane which abruptly shut its doors the moment we got in. As all eyes stared at us as we made our way to Row 21, I told Eng that the Lord had to re-route us since we would have been in separate seats in the flight we missed. =) Completely relieved though, we talked about needing to quickly get our baggage in BKK, check in for our 3:10 p.m. new flight to KL, and then head over to our gate to make the flight. Arriving at 1:30, I thought, we can do it.

As Eng and the other men picked up our luggage from the arrival carousel, one of the women went up with me to get our boarding passes on the 4th floor (also not near!). We had no tickets to show other than the handwritten flight at the back of her sheet. Who does these things? But, we thankfully had no problems(?) and soon had our boarding passes. The only problem was that we had to wait for Eng and the other men as they retrieved our luggage. The lady at the counter said they’ll wait for another 15 minutes. Hmm, just to add more excitement to our predicament. It was about 45 minutes to our departure time and we had no luggage to check in and still needed to clear immigration and head over to our gate.

For what seemed like a really LONG time, Eng and the others soon arrived. We got our luggage through and headed over to the immigration area. At this point, it was 2:40 p.m. so I was contemplating what to buy for lunch but knew we had to keep going. WOW, I wasn’t prepared to see the immigration area literally FULL of people! There were at least a hundred people before us and we had a half hour left to catch our flight! The line-ups snaked through from the end of the hall to the front of the counters. We anxiously turned to someone in uniform who might be able to help but she just said we had to stay in the line up. How were we going to make our flight? It was impossible! It was then that the lady who got the boarding passes with me said we just had to break through the dividing line-up post strips and beg to be let through. Then she went under the one nearest her and asked to be excused. We followed her and went under at least 7 of those dividers until we got to the front where 3-5 people were still in line-ups in front of the immigration counters. You can let your imagination run wild as to how the folks in the line-ups responded. Some said, "Oh yeah, that is so NOT cool!" and "I don't mind that at all!" (sarcastically, of course!), etc. A guard stopped us and said we couldn’t break through the lines. While we tried to explain our situation to him, the unfazed lady stepped up to the immigration officer behind the counter and asked if she could be served before the others. The folks in that line up didn’t seem to mind at all! The Immigration officer surprisingly agreed and we all sheepishly asked the same. Eng took the longest but we were soon all accommodated. Next was the mad dash to Gate F which happened to be the last one down the long hall. We started near Gate A and the sign said 250 meters separated each gate. It was added incentive to walk in sprint like fashion. We are now in my brother-in-law’s house in KL so yes, we made it. AHH, what a relief it was when we finally got to our airplane seats! We six all laughed at what we all had to go through. At some point during the flight, we actually got introduced to one another. When Eng and I heard the name of the daring lady who broke through the lines and made it all possible, we both had to chuckle. Her name? Grace.

Yes, Lord, we did that so well, didn’t we? Thanks to your grace, using Grace. We get it.

Here's us having breakfast in Manila the next day. We realised the grace and our blessing. Had it not been for Grace and the string of events described above, we wouldn't be enjoying that meal!
(this was posted later)

When Eng’s brother in KL finally saw us almost six hours late, he was extremely puzzled. The sole flight for KL that we were supposed to take this morning never left Chiang Mai today. Yes, grace indeed! Thank you, Papa God. =)

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