There was no way on God’s green earth that I was going to be able to pay the child’s airfare to Spain. It was one thing to fly her back and forth to California but Spain was many times farther than that and across an ocean, to boot. God had His hand in it, though, and He had already worked it out before we knew she would be required to go.
DH’s brother had traveled extensively as a hospital administrator and, as a result, he had an enormous amount of frequent flyer miles. He chose to use some of them to send DD to Spain and promised he would bring her back the same way. What a blessing! The only downside was I liked for her to fly out of Nashville—it was closer, an easier trip and not as hairy getting in and out. My brother-in-law booked the flight out of Atlanta. Hartsfield International. A nightmare with runways. But, as Mother was fond of saying, I shouldn’t look a gift horse in the mouth. I could handle driving there and back.
In the meantime, I had another job to do. DD had a long list of things she would have to buy to take to that faraway place. We went Shopping and I mean that with a capital “S”. She needed a large suitcase, big enough to stow away a couple of grown people. Then there were the items to fill it. I don’t know if someone supplied her with a list but wherever she got her information, the number was huge. Maybe there was a perception that she was going to a Third World Country that didn’t have shampoo and even more personal things. To say she laid in a supply of necessities would be an understatement. She could have opened a small store.
She had been perusing the Internet (on our dialup connection) and found where she could buy a pouch she could wear under her clothing. She’d use it to stow her cash and passport. It was a project to put on but there was no way she would have her pocket picked.
The campus where she would be spending nine months was Sagunto College. She really didn’t have any idea of what it would be like. The program was ACA or Adventist Colleges Abroad (Learning Without Borders). We didn’t have youtube then but if we had, she could have gotten a feel for it.
Besides all the material things, she was convinced she needed to get her hair cut very short. I told her no problem. I could do it. NOooo! Not so! She must go to a salon to have it done. I let her know if she did that, it would be her money, not mine. Okay. She’d pay for it. She just knew she’d get exactly what she wanted in a room with chairs that swiveled and went up and down plus shampoo bowls. I took her to the salon of her choice and prepared to watch.
She described what she wanted to the hairdresser and the scissors went to work. Was that enough cut off? No. Take some more. Okay. Is that enough? I guess so. I could tell she wasn’t as sure as she was before. The remaining hair was blown dry and styled. When the hairdresser triumphantly handed her the mirror, she asked, “How’s that?” DD hesitantly said, “I like it.” I knew she was stretching the truth a whole lot. She looked like someone with a 20 year old face and a 40 year old hairdo. I inwardly gloated. When we left, she admitted that it wasn’t anything like she had hoped it would be. I couldn’t help but tell her I could have done better and for free. If she wanted to pay me to cut it, we could do that, too.
It wasn’t long after we got home that she readied herself for another cut. I got out my cape and scissors and made sure of what she wanted. As I snipped, she’d try to make it clearer so I would know exactly. Finally, I got it as short as she wanted it and she was satisfied. While she didn’t say much, I think her expression in this picture shows she wasn’t unhappy.
The purchases made, the hair cut, the plans finalized. DS1 couldn’t go with us. He had to work but DIL1 offered to along so I wouldn’t be by myself on the way back. Of course, we couldn’t leave my granddaughter behind.
DD had always been kind of bored by flying. She’d grown up with it and it was old hat. Not long before she was supposed to make the trip, there was the news of a plane crash en route from the states to Europe. An ACA student was one of the passengers on board and there were no survivors. That changed her outlook on the mode of travel. No longer was it routine. The fact that one of the fatalities was a fellow exchange student made it all too real. Would history repeat itself?