Wednesday, July 29, 2009


Next time I post here I will either have been to Aberdeen and back and found a home for my family's September 1 arrival, or something bad will have happened. A mixture of silly mistakes, kafkaesque red tape, and unforseen fine print have led me to believe that any number of bad things could indeed happen.

Silly Mistake: I booked my Dad's flight from London to Aberdeen with his short name (Stu) rather than the name on his passport (Stewart) and, believe it or not, this may keep him from getting on the flight.

Kafkaesque red tape: I've spent several hours on the phone between Expedia and British Airways trying to correct this and have heard the words "since 9/11" fairly often. (By the way, for our September flight we used a travel agent, and I can now safely say, even as a pretty thrifty person, I see absolutely no reason to ever use Expedia again.)

Unforseen fine print: We recieved our visas on time for me to have my passport back for my trip (thank God!), but with them came a note that one may not "enter" the country before the "valid from" date on the visa (which is stuck inside the passport). After several emails and phone calls I am still unsure whether this precludes me from "visiting" for a few days before that date. Some have assured me it is no problem, but they also thought it a good idea I bring some documentation that I'm due back in Canada for the rest of August. Sheesh.

Today at staff meeting I was unloading some of my worries and a colleague of mine shared a story of a time he was waitering and a young family of five stopped in to eat before continuing on a long road trip. He said during the meal he watched one of the toddlers sneak his arm back behind him through the rails of the chair, getting it stuck. When the kid couldn't pull his arm back through he panicked. My friend watched to see what the mother would do. Sometimes family's in restaurants only need one thing to go wrong before all hell breaks loose.

She grabbed her panicky child's face in her hands, looked at him, and said "relax, and I will get you through." You know the rest.

I feel I've repeatedly had to surrender this dream of mine. When I come to the end of myself (and often only then unfortunately), I remember that I'd rather not have it if it is just on my own steam. I have grown to trust the voice of the Mother Hen (Mt 23:27; Ps 57:1). Come what may I felt like I heard it again today.

Though I often joke that "I'm not much of a praying man myself", I'd really appreciate your solidarity in prayer this next couple weeks. Thanks friends. Later, Jon.


Matthew A. Wilkinson said...


International stuff really makes you realize how powerless the individual is.

I'll send all the good thoughts I can.

Tony Tanti said...

Why would Stu's name be an issue? The airline just needs to change it on his ticket, are they really making a big deal of that?

See you soon, this will all go fine.

jon said...

Made it!

Matthew A. Wilkinson said...

Stone of Destiny?

jon said...

on the plane, yeah. nearly horrible movie, but it was about scotland and that's where i was headed. wished i'd slept instead. not sure why i gave it a 4 now that i think about it.

ErinOrtlund said...

Hmmm..I saw a preview for Stone of Destiny and marked it down as something to rent. Have to rethink it--it was mostly set in England right?

jon said...

it was all glasgow and london. it is a decent family film, but lacked otherwise, in my opinion.

ErinOrtlund said...

It would probably be fun just to hear the Scottish accents for a couple hours. :)