Monday, August 12, 2013

She Finally Made It Home

Sorry about the extended absence from the blog, but things have been hopping around here.  Our weary pilgrim did make it home, finally!

The pilgrims had a chartered flight out of Rio on July 30th that was to land in Buenos Aires. From there the travelers had ticketed flights on United into New York.  If all had worked as planned, Oleander would have landed in New York on July 31st, taken a bus with her group to Washington DC, spent the night at a convent in DC and flown out to Salt Lake on August 1st.  Unfortunately, the pilot of the chartered Rio flight neglected to register his plane and the flight out of Rio was completely cancelled with no hope of rescheduling.  The IVE WYD organizers put the pilgrims on buses and they drove 63 hours back to Buenos Aires in the hopes that at least some might make their connecting United flights.  They did not.  Imagine trying to reschedule flights for 230 stranded folks in South America on an airline that has only one flight a day into New York.  It was nuts!  United took over the travel planning and randomly assigned pilgrims to open seats on flights over the next several days.  As luck would have it, Ollie was put on the very last WYD flight on August 4th out of Argentina.  She called me at 5 am on August 5th after landing in New York and clearing customs.  I was able to immediately purchase a ticket on Delta for her to fly out of JFK that afternoon. I have to say, I wasn't stressed or overly worried about Ollie's situation at all. I knew the Brothers and Sisters would take good care of her and would not rest until she was home and I was not mistaken in the least. We are eternally grateful to all the IVE and SSVM that took such good care of our girl.

 We had long ago planned a trip to Spokane once Oleander returned from South America and we postponed it a day so that she might join us.  I found a flight to Spokane that connected in Salt Lake City.  She had a short layover in Salt Lake, but it was nice to have her stop over in a location I knew someone could help her out if any other travel woes cropped up.  Once I was sure she was on her way West, I packed up the rest of the kids and we hit the road to Spokane for our planned family vacation.  Ollie actually beat us to Spokane by 1/2 an hour.

Oh, the tales she had to tell!  The pilgrimage through Argentina to WYD in Brazil is one she will always remember and treasure.  It was funny to hear her reflect that the mission work and travel through Argentina made much more of an impact on her than World Youth Day itself.  The group was disappointed with Brazil's lack of organization and horribly disappointed in the liturgies throughout WYD.  Thankfully, the pilgrims had ample opportunity to attend orthodox masses with the IVE priests traveling with them.  It's incredible to see how much growth in independence, spirituality, and understanding Ollie has made in just a month.  We are so happy to have her home and safe.  We are going to enjoy our last few days with her before she returns to school later this month.  Many thanks for the prayers!  God is Good!
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~Katherine~ said...

Long time reader, first time commenter. Just a quick heads-up: did you notice that you used her real name throughout this post? I know you don't usually use your kids' names on the blog, so I thought that in all the excitement you might have forgotten to substitute her "blog name." :)

I'm glad she's home safe!

Maurisa said...

Ha, Katherine! I hadn't realized that. On occasion I do use the kids real names, but I hadn't intended to in this post. Lol! I must hpjust be excited to have her home :)