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Saturday, March 15, 2008

Is it Just Coincidence?

Hello! Yes, I am still alive!

I've been traveling quite a bit and busy with some entrepreneurial ventures (to be named later).

Also, lately I have spending some time in prayer with the question, "If I ask for it, how involved will God be in my day-to-day stuff?"

One of my recent travel destinations was Japan. I had an interesting adventure there which made me wonder... how much am I really "watched over?"

Here is what happened...

The last day we were in Japan, my boss (Kevin) traveled to a small town about an hour an a half out of Tokyo called Kamakura. On the train, I said a silent prayer asking for a good time and that we would be protected along the way. I asked that we be able to get where we needed to be on time and safely.

Since I am typically directionally challenged, I let Kevin navigate. After miles and miles of NO TREES, we broke through the concrete jungle and got off the train at one of the Kamakura stations. This station let us off near all the ancient temples and a really big Buddha statue. He mentioned the name of the area which started with an "e."




So, we began along this walking trail that took us to several Buddhist temples that dated way back into the 14th century. They were lovely and peaceful, but kinda boring, so we decided to make the trek to the big Buddha.

What I didn't know is that the big Buddha statue was a few miles up a mountain. And, unlike the big Buddha I visited in Hong Kong, there was no tram or paved path, this was a hike. Well, I hadn't brought my hiking shoes. NO, I was actually in high heels (I hate packing shoes).

BUT, I gave it a shot! I'm always game for a good hike.

About an hour and a half later (and deep in the woods at this point), we come to a sign that says the Big Buddha is another mile up the hill.

I realize I'm not going to make it in the shoes I was wearing.

So, I tell Kevin to go on without me and I will meet him at the train station. He reluctantly agrees and goes on up the mountain.

Well, my dogs are KILLING ME at this point, so I think I'm going to be scrappy and I convince a maintenance man at a nearby rest stop to drive me down the hill (without speaking Japanese, mind you).

He agrees then asks which train station I need to go to (without much English, mind you).

Of course, I say "Kamakura." Minutes later, I am standing in the Kamakura train station with absolutely no recollection of the building. I realize I am in the wrong place, so I think I will be scrappy again and simply take a train to the correct station and spend several minutes waiting for Kevin and sipping a drink called "Pocari Sweat" which actually tastes like sweat. A target market I never would have guessed. Go figure.



Well, I read the map and look for the "e" word where we started our trek. I find what I think is the right "e", buy a ticket, and quickly board the train.

Well twenty minutes and about three stops later, I realize, I am in a completely different town.

No worries, Kevin has a long way to walk and... I'm scrappy, right?

So, I get off the train at the next stop and ask a station worker for a map and how to get back to the Buddha (luckily his English was decent).

Well, yes, I am several towns away and need to go back to a stop called "Kira Kamakura."

Great! I hop on the train and hop off at Kira Kamakura.

As I'm walking down the platform, I see a blond American man at the other end dancing around like a jack rabbit. It's Kevin. I wave and he about collapses with relief.

"The train comes in two minutes and it's the last back to Tokyo in time to make our flight," he says.

So, by the skin of our teeth, we make the train and get back to our hotel. We choose not to take the reserved bus to the airport, but instead to have a leisurely lunch (we're starving by then) and take a taxi later.

We get a taxi and start the 45 minute ride to the airport with plenty of time to spare. Then... traffic.

We arrive at the airport late, but luckily our flight is delayed. We settled down on the flight and I try to sleep (unsuccessfully) for the 8 1/2 hour flight.

As I sit on the flight, I think back over the day and review in my mind all the things that could have gone wrong,all the places were Kevin and I could have missed each other, our trains, our rides or planes. If I had not gotten off the train at the third town down and turned around, would I still be in Japan?

We arrive in San Francisco in the middle of the worst turbulence I have ever experienced. We are bounced around like a rubber ball and as we come in for a landing our pilot gets about 100 yards from the runway and pulls back up into the clouds through the rain and wind.

He gets on the PA and says "Folks, looks like we've got some severe wind sheer on the runway, so we're going take another pass at it."

ANOTHER PASS! ARE YOU KIDDING?

I know what wind sheer is, and does, (my Dad was a pilot) and I'm thinking another pass isn't such a good idea.

"How about SACRAMENTO instead?" I'm thinking.

If you're not familiar with wind sheer and how tricky the landing is, take a look at this footage...



Yes, that is what it was like for us.

I was praying HARD at this point. Pulling out all my "goodness" cards and apologizing for my sins.

Eventually we landed safely, however, we were at this point... yes, you guessed it... 2 hours late for our connection.

We checked with the United agent and to our amazement found that our connecting flight to Salt Lake was 2 and 1/2 hours delayed.

We walked down a few gates, hopped on the plane and landed safe and sound in Salt Lake an hour and 45 minutes later.

So, I ask you -- was it all just coincidence?

3 comments:

Lisa said...

Wow, what a story. I'm so glad you made it safe and sound. I would have thought my life was over on the plane. That was some scary footage. I couldn't imagine the feeling inside the plane.

Jenny E. said...

That was so fun to read. I've been lost on trains and subways in Europe, but that's a whole different ball of wax from Japan.

momabroad said...

OK, well, Wow. I think you win the prize for being lost overseas, and worst landing story! I'm glad you're still with us. Abby and I read this together, and to answer your last question :), she just said, "If you pray...".