By Erica and Ashley
So begins the fellowship of the ring--I mean the bells ( sorry, The Lord of the Rings will be a prominent theme throughout our travel adventures; that and...One Direction).
We all worked so hard to learn our music beforehand. The Katonah & Emanuel ringers had three rehearsals to prepare for the symposiums on the last three week days before we left, the 18th,19th, and 20th. And hard work it WAS. The ringers were pressed for time in rehearsal so each piece was strictly timed and we got through as many as we could. So that weekend we all prepared for the trip and (for some) STARTED packing. It was tedious process. When we got to the church on Monday afternoon we greeted each other, compared bag weights (no one wants to pay that $100 fee) and shared our excitement for the trip. Eileen Lawrence told us about a tradition at her church where when a member has or will experience a big event (like traveling), the congregation presents them with a loaf of bread. Because Eileen was a member to be traveling, that's what she got. She shared it with us all in a special type of communion. Instead of Pastor Paul individually communing us, we communed each other, passing the body and blood of Christ around to each other. We then loaded the bus, said our goodbyes to families and were on our way. We rode an hour and a half to Newark airport. We checked in our bags got, something to eat and waited...and waited (our flight getting in was about a half an hour late, as was our takeoff due to inclement weather). Once we got in the air it really sunk in; we were going to Ireland, then Wales then England! It's very clear that the excitement has finally hit us all on our trip to the 15th International Handbell Symposium of 2012.