Friday morning, at the lovely hour of 5:30 a.m., the six of us returning missionaries said adieu to the mission home for the last time. The Japanese missionaries and American missionaries had flights at different times, but we all headed to Sapporo’s Chitose airport at the same time with the mission president and his wife, and then the Assistants to the President. It was kind of funny because with the time change, I departed from the Chitose airport at 7:50 a.m. on Friday morning, and then arrived in Portland at 8:20 a.m. … on the same Friday!
Here are some pictures of the in-between:
One of my favorite people just happened to have a flight the same day! It was way fun to meet once more at the airport.
The trip was actually pretty funny because we seemed to keep gaining people as we progressed – first we ran into a man working on the construction of the Sapporo Temple. Then we found Collins Shimai (pictured above), one of our MTC roommates on her way home from the Japan Sendai mission, at the baggage check counter. Next, while we were waiting at the gate we were joined by a huge group of missionaries coming home from the Philippines who had a layover in Tokyo. Not to mention meeting other members who were traveling from all over places, like a cute family living in China going home to Utah for a vacation. It was a party!
We were in the Tokyo airport for five hours, so we made friends with a rolly-cart, looked at the shops and ate a nice lunch outside while watching planes take off. It was really weird for all of us to have so much time to kill! That’s not something that happens during mission life, so we may have compulsively looked at our watches most of the time. But it was super nice to slow down a bit and just relax.
Northrop Shimai and I got to fly into the same airport since she is from Vancouver, Wash., so that was fun too. (The gate says “Portland” in Japanese)
And faster than you could imagine, we were home!
(But don’t worry, more catch-up Japan posts coming soon. Stay tuned!)