God is good, I’d like to start and finish with that unequivocal truth. My overall travels have been smooth and comfortable (as much as possible) and I’ve been very encouraged by all those that I’ve met.
I landed in Dublin alright after flying the red-eye so with the 5 hour time jump from Philly it was about 9:00 A.M local time. This worked out well because the non European customs line had roughly 300 people it in ahead of me (for once in my life, I wished I was European ;). Everything went smoothly with customs, I was a little worried I’d be pulled aside but was confident in the answers I had practiced from the information given to me by the pastor here. Things like “Why are you here?” – “Who are you staying with?” – “Where are you going?” Etc. Etc. I was asked all of these and more and answered them all truthfully. I was glad to have picked the 1 smiling man out of all the customs line because the other 4 were all salty disgruntled types without a sense of humor (I told a joke and my guy laughed, I partly atribute my success to this). The Dublin airport was beautiful, it was large and wide open. It may have been a little too wide open because I got pretty turned around looking for any information on which bus I was supposed to take to Belfast (bout 2 hours away). I ended up missing my bus by the time I found the information on it, so I enjoyed some down time sitting on a public bench and chatting with an elderly man. About an hour later my bus arrived and I borded it with wide eyed ambitions of seeing the beautiful coastal-esque scenery of Ireland…. I did enjoy the view for about 5 minutes and then all I saw was the inside of my eyelids till Bellfast.
Once I arrived in Belfast I went into the bus station to try to find a payphone or hopefully a person who would lend me their mobile to ring the pastor. It was actually semi enjoyable chaos because everyone was rushing to and from their stop and onto the next train/bus with pretty much zero downtime between. So because of the hustle and bustle I honestly didn’t get the chance to borrow a mobile so instead I dumbfoundedly pulled out a pocket of British coinage and attempted to use the payphone. A nice older man who worked at the station changed me out with the appropriate change and informed me on how the phone worked and what coins to use (major tourist moment here). I called the minister and the conversation went like this, “Hello? Hello George, this is jesse. Oh hi Jesse did you make it in ok? Yes I’m……………” – your call is over, please pay again to make another call – apparently 60p (cents) only gets you 10 seconds, then you feed it 10p for 10 more seconds.. so I changed out again and made another 10 second call that was basically in the form and style of a telegram “I’m at only payphone under blue train sign, chairs to the left I’ll wait here…….” *phonecall ends*. Thankfully he arrived not long after and we met up just fine without any hitches.
The drive to the house was beautiful. The minister isn’t too keen on driving the main roads and rather enjoys the back roads (mostly due to gas mileage efficiency) and that is fine by me. I’m glad he was able to come up and get me from Belfast because it gave me the opportunity to chat with him and become a little more acquainted. I told him about the drought in California and how refreshing the green beauty was here to which he responded “Oh yeah, it’s beautiful here with all the colors. You can have any color ya want here….. so long as ya only want green” He’s a funny man with a good sense of humor and I’m excited to be growing this summer along side him (even with the many array of Baptist jokes he sends my way). More updates on how my first week has gone coming soon. God is good and on that truth I leave you.