The train ride to Philadelphia is uneventful. I read and think and think some more.  I let my mind go blank and I breathe deeply.  Before the ride, we ate breakfast with my parents and celebrated Juju’s birthday a little early.  It was beautiful to see her light up when she received all the books she’d been wanting and I as I sit on the train, I imagine her reading to Aiden about the Land of Fang.  I can see his eyes gleaming, listening and asking questions from time to time, absorbing all she reads to him.

I meet Ity and Ottie (not making that up) at the airport as I check in for my long flight to Nigeria.  They ask me why I am going to Africa and after chatting for a while, they offer to volunteer with AFCA and wonder if we will accept donations they want to send.  Sweet people are all around, wanting to help and I wish I had the time and energy to get them all on our team.

Six hours after boarding, I am in Glasgow, Scotland.  The lady at customs wonders out loud why in the world I am flying through Scotland in order to get to Nigeria and I laugh out loud, without an answer to offer.  This is what happens when you fly for free – you end up with the strangest connecting flights, and now, I am in the country of haggis, lox, black pudding, and music-like accents.  I have hours and hours before my connecting flight to London, where I will sit for another 9 hours before I take the all-night flight to Abuja, Nigeria.

Right this minute, as I drink a rather strong cup of coffee (caffeinated, to boot!), I find myself grateful.  I am grateful for so many things, but right now, I am incredibly, deeply, and unfalteringly grateful for my family. My family – all of them – husband, children, parents, uncles, aunts, cousins, sister, nephew, niece, in-laws, blood related and not.  What a wild bunch of colorful people I’ve been given.  What loving, kind, generous, and funny people I’m surrounded with! My uncles and cousins who call out of the blues to simply say, “I love you”. My parents, unfailing in their love and kindness.  My husband, who has a water fight with the kids while I sit on a train bound out of town.  My sister who helps my world go ‘round.

I am rich beyond words.