We wound up having to collect all our gear (after it had been inspected by Customs agents, loaded onto trucks, and locked up, starting at 0200) on Monday morning, since the plane we were scheduled to board had reported mechanical trouble and was supposedly being serviced in some other country. Sigh.
It had been a long, sleepless night, and I'd thrown the key to my (single) room through the window of the very nice person who'd let me stay in my billet after the rest of the Mustangs had left. Fortunately, a kind and generous Senior NCO invited me to use one of the beds in the room he'd been occupying, so I was able to stow my stuff, get some food, and attempt some shut-eye later in the day.
I'd not had to walk to the truck with my gear (two of the Chaplain Assistants came to pick me up in the van), but the distance from my room to the road did a number on my knees, none the less! However, my temporary lodging in Mid Town was about twice as far from the truck than I'd had to walk, so it was a project to schlep my duffel bag, ruck sack, and day pack to that room and back!
Friends of mine who go to a lot of AA meetings talk about how they "trudge the road of happy destiny," but I suspect they have something altogether different in mind.
It was great to be able to see my Ukrainian Army friends one more time, and to see how they'd set up the TV and DVD player I'd bequeathed them. They live six men to a room, so I had it really easy, what with being alone in half the space they had!
We were given something of a reprieve, in that we didn't have to report again (with all our gear, of course) until 0615, rather than at 0200. I got there at 0545, and was amazed at how many others had gotten there before me.
I guess a lot of us were really ready to go home!
The Customs inspection went very, very smoothly, and all the bags got loaded on the trucks rather expeditiously. Then it was a matter of waiting around to board the buses for the hour-long trip to the airport. Fortunately, we got underway without much ado, and were off to the airport.
Blessings and peace to one and all,
Fr. Tim, SJ