Our plans today: Medical Team arrive Guadalajara.

For the last month I found myself feeling over committed, and then selfish with my alone time. My body was very sore and muscles tight, because while my mind was working over time, I made little effort to stretch and breath. I was comforted more those days by a warm blanket, hiding away from the world of tasks.
Don't get me wrong, I was enjoying everything I was working on and learning and doing, but the more people that walked in the room to say hello, the more I found myself reflexing to note how busy I was, or overwhelmed. That the world was spinning and I was just holding on until the ride stops. All I felt like I was saying lately was "I'm really busy", too busy in fact. I was no longer investing in the smile that fosters the kind of relationships that support you when you are "too busy"
The things that we have control over.
So today we started this trip, rolling out of Stratford Ontario at 2:00am. The check in went well, but we ended up circling Houston, and ran out of gas, then had to fly to Dallas to fuel and head back to Houston. This made us 2 mins late for our connecting flight, and as such we spend most of today at the airport.
While sitting and waiting I finally had a moment to think about where we are and where we are going. Since the sun sets in our destination at 6:17pm, we won't have a lot of light leaving Guadalajara to head through the mountains. Today is the Day of the Dead, and I had been looking forward to experiencing, what seems a rich part of the culture in Mexico, but as Jean says "Be flexible" So some of us shared a lunch at the airport diner, some took a nap, and I hung back after to empty my personal email box and browse the duty free stores.
On the plane it is mentioned that the hotel we are to be staying has not returned any of our emails. After having the first hotel already give away our rooms, concern is not unreasonable, but Jean's voice remembered, an echo follows "Be flexible" and do it with a smile.
Houston to Guadalajara is delayed, but we land in Mexico and snap a shot of cheer as we head into customs to let everyone know that we arrived safely. All our paperwork filled out and eager to get on a bus that will drive us to Ajijic, customs stops us to inspect all 45 hockey bags individually.
Some of us have little Spanish under our belts, so often every small box inside ever bag, came with a bit of a game of charades, trying to explain what baby powder or yeast cream was for. Myself, I tried to sweat out the need for infant electrolytes while repeating the word baby, but it turned out they did not have an expiry on them and were pulled from the bag.
Staff were really not prepared for us, so there was some time spent standing in a group calling a more experienced inspector down. Some of us got to keep our vitamins, some of us didn't. In general, most of the medicine we brought with us stayed at the airport for the night, with a form, for us to return tomorrow. Fortunately local Dr. Manuel met us at the airport with the bus, and to help us translate.
The carts at the airport were not to leave the station, so we hired local staff to move our bags to the bus at the end of the terminal, tipped the gentleman and jumped on the bus for a nap on our way to the hotel.
The hotel staff were not really prepared for us either, so we did our best to pack the bags in a locked storage room, wipe down a few tables, wait for some water and then HIT THE SHEETS.

So in the face of 26 hours of travel on no sleep, filled with missing flights, unknown destinations, running out of fuel, spending the day in an airport, getting stuck in customs and (temporarily) loosing our medicine supplies. I look around at all the travellers heading to Lake Chapala on this medical mission. I see friends meeting strangers and sharing stories. Some are taking naps, reading a book, trying to figure out how to work a selfie stick, and even writing a few thoughts.
When we ran out of gas, someone smiled "Maybe it's from all the bags they let us through with that went over 50lbs" and giggles came from one side of the plane to the other, cause though we could not sit together, our presence was very much felt. 
Perhaps because we were far too tired to get too worked up about it, we chose to laugh instead of yell. How much longer and more painful the day would be, if we spent it worrying about the things we have no control over. When we live in the present moment (prepared for what's to come) we have the time to see the smile, and laugh at the journey. 
In Rotary we have the four way test. Today's travels reminded me of the third:
Will it Build Good Will and Better Friendships
We could have chosen to be demanding and unhappy. But in those insular moments stomping about, trying to convince others what "should" be, we miss the chance to met the firefighter from Mexico returning home on our delayed flight; The doctor Jean is going to try to convince to join us on one of our clinic days; The plastic surgeon returning to Mexico who specializes in noses and whose contact we have if we come across someone at the clinic that needs clef pallet reconstruction.
In Mexico, yelling at a customs officer would not get us what we need. In fact we leave with less, and learn quickly that good will, and better friendships will (eventually) get us home safely.
By: Christy Bertrand