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1 PLANE, 2 COPS, 3 COKES, 4 MOVIES / August 2

(From "YEAR ONE: Crash Course In Culture Shock")


Dear Guardian of Secrets,

We are in Hong Kong! HONG KONG! I love saying that. I can’t wait to buy a King Kong or Donkey Kong plush toy while I’m here. I’m sure they’ll be everywhere even though I didn’t see any in the airport which I thought was strange.

I’ve got a lot to write about tonight. First, many of our friends came to the airport in Dallas to say goodbye and help us with our luggage. We had A LOT of luggage. I’m pretty sure dad tricked everyone. He invited them to the airport to say goodbye and then put them to work. He was like “Thanks for coming, here’s a trunk and a suitcase and a backpack!”

We all hugged and said goodbye and my mom cried and I was dodging hugs and kisses and trying to fist-bump everyone. Guess what? My Ita and Tata actually CAME WITH US TO HONG KONG! Lucas and I were so happy! They slept on the plane a lot. Well, they tried. Every time I looked up, Lucas was being passed to another adult. He started with mom then went to Ita then to Tata and finally, he ended up in dad’s lap. One time I looked up and saw Lucas crawling on the floor. He made it to the aisle - to freedom - then stood up and disappeared. I hated to do it, but I woke up my dad and told him Lucas had escaped. Next thing I know, Lucas comes walking by smiling and waving with dad right behind him. This repeated over and over again for the next 10 minutes. On their 21st lap around the plane, my dad walked by with Lucas asleep in his arms, but he didn't sit down just yet. He took one final victory lap before returning to his seat and collapsing.

While everyone tried to sleep and not lose Lucas on the plane, I watched like 4 movies. At one point a flight attendant passed by and asked me if I wanted anything. My parents looked asleep so I went for it. Coke please and some butter popcorn? The flight-attendant shot down my popcorn request, but the Coke was good. I might have drunk 3-4 cups which explains why I watched 4 movies and never got tired.

At one point during our flight, I asked dad how fast our plane was going and he said about 600 miles per hour. Whoa. Then he told me we were about 35,000 feet in the air. WHOA! Dad went on to explain that we were traveling 8000 miles from Dallas to Hong Kong in about 16 hours. I thought that sounded like a long time. Then he said before airplanes people had to ride a boat for 2 weeks. 16 hours is not so bad! I felt pity for my dad and told him I was sorry that Lucas was such a handful. That’s when mom opened her eyes and told me that when I was 3 years old and we flew from Dallas to Los Angeles, I puked all over her. She woke up just to tell me that. It seems like every time I try to highlight Lucas’ shortcomings, I get reminded of my own.

Apparently, when we got to Hong Kong we somehow skipped a full day on the calendar. Not sure how that works, but we left Dallas on July 31 and got to Hong Kong on August 2. I have no idea what happened to August 1! (Note to self: never fly to Hong Kong the day before your birthday.)

Oh, I forgot to tell you something crazy happened in the airport in Dallas. While we were standing in line at our gate, waiting to board our plane. Lucas walked over to this door that had a red sign on it that said ALARM. The sign was on a bar that was sticking out from the door. It made me think of the dunking booth at our school carnival that had this metal arm sticking out. You know, the part you hit with the ball to drop someone into the water. To a big kid like me, the red bar obviously meant don’t touch, but to a little kid like my brother - and I could see this so clearly - the red bar screamed HIT ME! Lucas punched it hard. Immediately, this crazy loud siren started screaming in the airport. Lucas jumped and ran to mom. My parents and Ita and Tata looked like they were trying to hide behind each other. Here’s the crazy thing. Everyone looked at me and said “Hudson, why weren’t you watching your little brother?” and that’s when I realized I’m in big trouble. Not only am I to blame for my own mistakes, but even Lucas’. Being a big brother is definitely high risk, little reward.

Two airport cops came and talked with my parents and saw Lucas crying and quickly realized it had been a mistake. I’m just wondering what kind of door in the middle of an airport has an alarm and why? What in the world was behind that door? Top secret laboratory? Airport prison? Crocodile pit? What if I had pushed Lucas through when he opened it? Would he have been sucked up some tube-like Augustus Gloop in Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory? All I know is, I have to get a door like that for my bedroom.

Tomorrow we go to DISNEYLAND!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thank you, God, for bringing us to Hong Kong safely. Thank you for our friends who came to help us and say goodbye. Thank you for Ita and Tata. Thank you Lucas didn’t disappear through the mysterious door…I would miss him. When our airplane took off in Dallas, I looked out the window and saw everything shrinking. The buildings and cars and streets all looked like little toys. I wonder how little everything looks from heaven? Dad says the earth is your footstool and I believe it. Thanks for loving tiny little me!

Isaiah 66:1 (ERV) This is what the Lord says: “Heaven is my throne, and the earth is where I rest my feet.”

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