Saying goodbye at the Buffalo Airport seemed rather easy for the 22 students – their adventure of a lifetime – the performance tour to South Africa was about to begin. For the six adults traveling with them it was also pretty easy – we had a job to do. Distracted by the tasks of collecting passports and boarding passes, sheparding the students through security and eventually on to the first plane that would take us to JFK, saying goodbye sort of got lost.
I suspect that the family and friends who were left on the other side of security felt the goodbyes a little more acutely. The child or children who were not driving home from the airport with you are missed. The longing to see their face is tempered, I’m sure, by the knowledge that you are providing an invaluable gift to them, this trip to South Africa.
Rest in the kowledge that these are some amazing kids! Mary Cay has already told me that in all of the groups she has taken on tour, this group is special. Lest you think she simply sounds like the yearly announcement by the admissions office of a college touting how this year’s class is the most accomplished, brightest, most diverse. Keep in mind, that each year those admissions personnel are right and they have data to prove it. So, does Mary Cay. Already they have proven to be courteous, thoughtful, and wise. They look out for each other and more than one has volunteered to do that something special that makes everything run smoother. How respectful they have been on the plane to the crew and other passengers. I’m not surprised – that’s how they are at BSS – just proud. You should be too.
Check-in and the flight from Buffalo couldn’t have been any easier. The quick flight to JFk was fun. A few of the kids were seated next to one of the Tour Staff – they took it in great stride. Prya was my seatmate. I think on that flight she developed a greater appreciation for Mandela. I drove her crazy! I kept trying to get her to engage in a goofy conversation – the goofier the better. She wanted to read her book. As I told my silly jokes, she smiled politely and absolutley refrained from rolling her eyes. But I swear I did hear her mumble under her breath, “How does Mandela put up with this every day!” OK, so maybe she didn’t say it, but I think I heard it. Tara sat next to Amy, Arya next to Mary Cay, Mandela next to David, Elizabeth Sam next to Linda. The others kids were just lucky.
Maya forgot her earbuds (or at least didn’t seem to have them handy) and Bailey doing his best Dan Valint impersonation, had several airline pairs that he was happy to loan. Proving once again, that the apple doesn’t fall from from the tree.
Landing in JFK was easy peezy. Moving through security was too. We had a short break with just enough time to grab a snack and bring it back to the gate and then it was time to board the South African Airlines filght. Smooth sailing again. The kids immediately took charge of their seats – to ensure they were seated with friends not Tour Staff. It worked out for us too! We can see them, we are nearby, but they are having more fun that way.
This flight is L O N G!! 14 hours. That’s why this post is also long. I can’t quite sleep – at least not long enough. The kids have been talking, reading, playing games, and watching movies. I even saw more than a few of them doing homework. RIght now (as I write this) most of them are sleeping – including the ones who swore they were going to stay up all night watching movies and having fun! Best laid plans.
Well, I’m going to try to get a bit of sleep. I will send off this post as soon as we land and I get to a Wifi hotspot. I will soon be collecting stories from the kids to post as well.
Now, just as a reminder, we weren’t really saying “goodbye” this morning. We will be back with tons of stories, pictures, videos, and adventures to share. We suspect you will all have a few of your own to share with us upon our return.
Stay tuned – same bat channel.