Photo by Tony Cece

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Monday 8/6

Monday was another long travel day for our team. Mostly uneventful, we gathered in the morning to eat breakfast at our hotel and then boarded the tour bus for Ataturk International Airport. The large windows on the bus provided us with a final tour Istanbul as we drove along the thoroughfares and expressways through the sprawling metropolis. It was like driving through New York City and it’s suburbs, but with shorter buildings.

The return flight was a bit longer than our original trip from Washington to Istanbul. Because we flew against the jet stream, it took about 13 hours. Couple that with traveling backward through time from the Eastern European Time Zone 
to the North American Eastern Time Zone, causing us to experience 21 consecutive hours of sunlight. After landing in Washington at 6:00 pm ET, my body felt very confused, not knowing whether I should be asleep or awake.

Our arrival in the U.S. was bittersweet. While happy to soon see our families again, many were sad to see our team split up in the airport and go our separate ways. We said one last prayer and hugged each other as we left. The ride back Virginia Beach was very quiet for this portion of the team, many using those few hours for rest. The true impact of our work will settle into our hearts and minds over the coming weeks and months.

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