Months turned into weeks, and then weeks turned into days. And now we are counting down the hours! In less that 18 hours all of the work that I can do from here is done and I will be in the field working and checking emails. All of the Torch gear has been mailed off and received (as far as I know at least!), the last checks have been mailed off today for things I can pay for here in the States, money has been withdrawn from the bank, and laundry is in the machine... I will finish packing tonight and then (hopefully) get a good night's sleep tonight. If that happens it will be a first!
I know the Costa Rica team is pumped up! I have received dozens of emails and phone calls in the last 24 hours from team members checking in, making sure they haven't forgotten anything, and to find out if there is any last minute things they can do before we leave. For the Honduras team, you are still sitting there wondering how all of this was done WAY before the typical deadlines! Awesome, isn't it? We have finally chased down the last bit of the missing paper work (I will be nice and not mention names or express my real thoughts on this...) collected final payments, and the Honduras team is about ready to go.
Let me post an article I found last year that it very informative and helpful; it is called the 10 commandments of flying. Flying would be much more civil if everyone took time to remember that they are sharing tight, cramped quarters with other people and the following 10 commandments would make the skies friendlier:
1. Be a pro, not a rookie
Don't clog the line at the security check point by being unprepared when you finally get to the X-Ray conveyor belt. While standing in line use the time wisely. Remember EVERYONE has to do this so be ready before you get there: Have a belt? Take it off and roll it up and place it inside one of your shoes (that you have to take off); Already have your cell phone, keys, watch (if it has a metal band), and change inside you carry on bag; Keep you passport and airline flight info with you when you go through the scanner; grab your stuff on the other side of the scanner and walk away to a place to put your belt and shoes back on (unlike the rookies who will stand by the X-Ray machine to do this).
2. Hurry up and wait?
Why is everyone in such a rush to get on the airplane? There is no prize for being on there first and the plane doesn't leave until everyone is on... so why rush? Wait until your group is called. Relax, your seat is going to be there... after all, you are going to be sitting in in for a while!
3. Learn how to count to 1
All major airline carriers limit carry-on luggage to 1 piece of hand luggage and 1 personal item (such as a purse, briefcase, or laptop). It does not mean all of these listed PLUS a shopping bag, a sweater, a pillow, a giant water bottle, and an European shoulder bag. 1 means 1. Learn to count to 1 and make everyone happier.
4. Learn to be literal
A carry-on means a carry-on... you should actually be able to carry your luggage down the isle without smashing it into other people's heads. You should also be able to lift it and place it in the overhead bin without the assistance of a 6'5, 315 pound offensive lineman from the Steelers. If it is too big, too heavy, and won't fit into the overhead bin without forcing it... it is not a carry-on bag. Bit the bullet and check it in and pay for it.
When you have to get out of those comfy seats, don't grab the seat in front of you to pull yourself up! It is about as annoying as the little kid that sits behind you kicking the back of your seat during the entire flight. Use your armrests to push yourself up.
6. Look back Jack
Before you recline your chair, take a look behind you to see if you are about to upset the apple cart... or computer, or hot cup of coffee!
7. Use your inside voice
Remember, you are not the only one on the plane. Use your inside voice (quiet) on the plane. If you are in a group with cool matching t-shirts, don't draw any more attention than you already have... by talking to someone 6 rows back in your outside voice!
8. Be polite
Stay out of the isle. Sit in your assigned seat. Go to the restroom only if you have to go to go. Don't hit the call button unless it is important... attendants have plenty to do. Be nice!
9. Your mom doesn't work on this plane
Clean up after yourself. Don't stuff trash into the pocket of the chair in front of you or throw it on the floor. Nobody likes to see a coffee cup crammed into the seat pocket or gum sticking pages of the flight magazine together. Throw your stuff away when the attendants come by with the trash bag.
10. On your mark.... get set.... wait!
As eager as people are to get on the plane it is amazing to note that they are even more eager to get off of the plane. Shockingly, there are no prizes for those who get off the plane first. Unclicking the belt buckle and leaping to the isle as soon as the ding is heard is not an Olympic sport so just stay seated... and wait. The etiquette is simple, exit by rows. It actually works amazingly well. After all, you are going to have to wait for your luggage anyways!
Do these things and you will fly like a pro and won't look like a rude, selfish rookie. Don't be the one everyone talks about after the flight unless of course they are saying wonderful things about you and your courteous, professional manner you displayed by practicing the 10 commandments of flying.
I look forward to seeing you in Central America! Pray for the Costa Rica team and read the blog to keep up with our work! The time has come and the Lord reigns. God bless our efforts.