Monday, June 24, 2013

"Mega" Adventures

For the bargain price of $4.50, I booked my round trip bus ticket all the way from Columbus, OH to Chicago, IL. Who knew that for the less than the price of a foot long sub at Subway, you can travel from Nationwide Boulevard in Columbus all the way to Union Station in Chicago?!? All right, I suppose I should admit that my traveling conditions were not exactly ideal…I had to catch the bus at 10:50pm on a busy street corner in Columbus, ride the bus through the night, make several stopovers in Cincinnati and Indianapolis, and arrive in Chicago all before the clock struck 7 in the morning! However, compared to a $300 plane ticket…the price really can’t be beat! 

My biggest adventure during this fabulous 8 hour bus ride occurred at a random stop off in the middle of Indiana. The time was approximately 3:30 in the morning and I was trying desperately to get some much needed sleeeeep. Well, just as I was beginning to doze off, the bus driver comes on the loud speaker with an important announcement—“All passengers are required to leave the bus at this time!” I’m still not sure that I understand exactly why we had to get off the bus…maybe some kind of deal with the Pilot snack station, but regardless of the reason, his announcement spurred me to action (and the fact that he came upstairs to the top of the double-decker area to ask why we weren’t moving out of our seats!) Trying desperately to keep my heavy eyelids open, I located my shoes, unpluged my ipod, and gathered my belongings for my little nightly escapade to the Pilot in the “middle of nowhere” Indiana. I did my usual gas station routine…went to the restroom, walked around the store a little bit, considered buying a snack, thought better of it, and proceeded back outside to wait for the bus.

Well, two minutes later, I saw what looked like our bus roll up about 30 meters away from where the group of us were standing. Though I was slightly annoyed that the driver didn’t pull closer, I figured that I had better head over there so that I could reclaim my seat on the top and towards the front of the bus. As I was walking over, I kept seeing all these people loitering around the loading area who I didn’t remember ever boarding our bus. Perhaps they had boarded while I was sleeping?? I checked the digital display sign over the top of the bus—“Columbus, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Chicago”—well, all of those locations looked correct. This had to be the right place. I was just about to cross the threshold and get on the bus when the driver suddenly stood up and blocked the entrance. “You going to Columbus?” he asked somewhat gruffly. “No, I came from Columbus. I’m going to Chicago.” He looked down at me and shook his head, “Then your bus over there.” He indicated the diesel fueling station on the other side of the rest area, “This bus coming back from Chicago.” And so, thankfully, I did NOT get on the wrong Megabus at 3:30am in the “middle of nowhere” Indiana. I can only imagine how horrifying it would be to wake up from your nap only to find that after another 4 hours of driving you were back exactly where you started. Praise God for keeping me on track to my destination!

So, why all this trouble? Why did I even decide to visit Chicago in the first place? Well, this entire week is new staff orientation for all the new members of TeachBeyond! I am excited for what has been (and I’m sure what will continue to be!) a meaningful week of building relationships with other staff members, meeting teammates who I will be working with in Germany, attending seminars, and completing various training exercises to help prepare us to live, teach, and work overseas. Two of the topics of exploration include learning how to better understand TCKs (see previous post) and exploring our personal cultural identities and how these backgrounds affect our opinions, judgments, and perspective of the world. We will also be taking and discussing a DiSC personality test to help “increase self-awareness and personal effectiveness” (I stole that from the DiSC website) as well as learning more about ourselves and how we work best in a group atmosphere. :)

 So thanks for your prayers and encouragement! I am looking forward to lots of learning throughout the week and maybe even some more stories of my adventures!

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