There was a bus that would pick you up from around the city and take you to a tunnel that traveled under the water and emerged on the Canadian side. Getting on was easy and once there, it parked next to the Border Patrol offices. Everyone on the bus had to get off to go through customs. For some reason, I got really nervous. As much as I like to joke around, the officers had no humor at all and I was suddenly aware of a profound need to take this all seriously. One wrong answer...
But I came through along with my fellow bus riders and got back on. We drove a short distance to a stop in the town of Windsor. I could see my hotel and the convention center from where I stood. It was surreal to think that I was now in another country and subject to whatever language, customs, and any other challenges. I also realized that I had no idea what I was doing. I had put so much effort into getting here I hadn't thought through very well what I would really do. I just knew I needed a break from two grueling days of processing 71 people's thoughts. So I walked.
I found the restaurant the bus driver suggested I try. I also saw a McDonald's and a Canadian version of CVS or Walgreens. And—surprise—it had all the same kind of stuff, except some of the items had French on them. Which led me to my next discovery: there were lots of nationalities around me. There were people speaking Arabic, Greek, French, Mandarin, Spanish, and English. No one seemed phased. I was suddenly aware of how I was not getting this feeling at General Assembly, much less at home. That got me to thinking about distance. So Canada was only about 15 minutes from where I was staying. The people I encountered at General Assembly were both very close and very far away from Mebane. But theologically we were all about as far away from each other as the people I heard speaking in that Canadian CVS. And yet, like the people I was overhearing, here we were at the General Assembly worshipping and working together.
The restaurant was called "Manchesters", after the British soccer team. There was even a red phone booth as part of the decorations. TV screens were all full of the World Cup competition (in various languages; but I've got to tell you: a Chevy commercial is a Chevy commercial no matter what language it's in!). My meal was delicious. And for a moment I got caught up in the World Cup fervor. But I was suddenly aware that I really wasn't sure when the buses stopped running. I paid for my meal and silently said goodbye to all my new friends. In the absence of any better guidance, I walked into a Holiday Inn (it really didn't feel much like I was in a foreign country except for the flags, dual language signs, weird-looking mailboxes, etc.). The clerk gave me directions to the bus terminal. Her small glance at her watch as she was telling me this made me very anxious. I walked-ran to the terminal only to find empty buses and no drivers or terminal workers. I entered the terminal and no one was behind the glass nor was anyone in line. As I walked backed outside through the terminal exit, I noticed people waiting outside and a bus driver reading a paper. As he got up to head toward a bus, I asked him about catching the "Tunnel Bus." He pointed to a bench where a man was sitting. Just then the last Tunnel Bus pulled into the terminal and parked next to the bench. God's timing never ceases to amaze me.
At the Border Patrol office on the Detroit side, I was made to wait for reasons that were not shared with me. As I sat, I pulled out my phone to play cards. A stern voice reprimanded me to not be texting. I showed the officer my phone to which he said, "Well, you can't be on your phone." I quietly but immediately put it away. I suddenly wanted to be anywhere but in that space. The officer soon after indicated I could go.
Back at the hotel, I once again worked on my church stuff and the blog, especially trying to update my pictures. I also had to get my act together for our committee's report tomorrow (we were told to be ready just in case).
Sleep came late and quickly.