So the first flight seemed pretty long. Literally no one was talking to anyone, even people that were clearly travelling together. When I did try to strike up a conversation with the person sitting next to me, I could barely even understand what they were saying, so that was less than successful- but at least ventured!
I did spot this young man dressed very professionally when we were waiting in the boarding area. I didn't think much of it, thinking it looked like he was just travelling on business. Then he ended up sitting a row or so behind me and managed a couple of brief conversations with his neighbour. My ears pricked up when I heard Salt Lake, but I thought that was a likely enough end destination. Then later there was the clear mention of a 'stake president' and I was suspicious ;) I then began to realise that there wasn't a single soul dressed in a suit besides him- most people were almost in pjamas they were so set on comfort! While we were changing planes I asked if he was going to the MTC and he was, so I found my first fellow newbie.
I had a little altercation coming through customs. Seeing as I was among those who had travelled on their ESTA in the last few years I was treated like a US citizen and got the 'fast track'. However, this meant they trusted us to use machines to get in, which I managed to some how mess up with scanning my passport. Still, got through. Then the man who checked the ticket thing that machine printed asked whether I was working in the US. Now, from a friend's experience I knew the right answer was a firm 'no', out of fear that anything else would result in being taken to a dark room and possibly being sent back to the UK. This lead to the question 'what are you doing then?'. Forgetting that I was in America now and people actually understood the concept of the church and missions I went on some vague explanation of 'charity work' which elicited the question 'how are you going to support yourself then?'. They accepted the explanation of being provided accomodation and in the end it was he who realised 'oh, so you're doing some missionary service'. I don't really know how I got myself in such a mess, but the conversation ended with 'why do you look so nervous?', which in turn made me irrationally more nervous. Anyway, I survived!
I have been so blessed. My friends who had offered to pick me up from the airport, who I had only met once 6 months ago because there son happened to be serving in our ward when we went on holiday to Utah, just happened to know someone who had seen the list of MTC arrivals and realised I would have been told to come a day early. That they would then be bothered to tell my friends is awesome. Let alone that Mum picked up their email in time and they made the effort to contact another friend to spend the day with is incredible. It feels like since April it's all been set up by the hand of the Lord. How blessed we are.