Sunday, March 21, 2010
Adoption Travel Journal - Day 1 Feb. 19, 10 Friday
Finally the day we leave. We have worked so hard to be ready for our trip and now it is time to say goodbye to the girls and give quick hugs and head out the door. We left from the local airport around 1:30 pm and had a short flight to Detroit. I ended up sitting near a talk-a-tive lady who had LOTS of opinions and wanted to share them all with me. Chuck and I didn't have seats together on this flight.
When we were waiting to board the next flight in Detroit, a few people noticed my Africa shirt and asked if we were adopting. We ended up connecting with 2 other families (not from our agency). It was so neat to all be on this journey for the same purpose.
This couple here were also adopting 2 boys and this was their first time traveling outside of the country. On the overnight flight to Amsterdam, neither Chuck nor I slept much (about 8 hours).
Changing planes in Amsterdam we met 2 more families (both with AGCI). It was fun to meet Courtney and Chad (we had emailed back and forth). Felt like we were meeting family for the first time. =)
On the third flight we met a man from Ethiopia who was able to help us with some of our phrases. He was very positive and encouraging about our adoption and told us we were giving these boys a life and we were helping them in a huge way.
On this same flight (from Amsterdam to Addis) there was a man in front of us that caused some trouble. When we were going through security, he beeped multiple times and cause some concern. He was scolded by the flight attendants and was told he could not have anymore beer. They also told him to quit asking for more. He was also eating off of other people's plates and hid under his layers of coats and hood and wrapped himself in a blanket (kind of freaked me out). When we landed they told him to wait to be escorted off the plane. And as soon as the flight attendants looked away, he ran off.
Needless to say, we didn't sleep on that flight either. We were so tired and hopeful that we could sleep at the Rivera. I loved seeing the map on the screen in front of me as we crossed the ocean. I took some pictures to show the girls as we crossed over areas we have studied in history.
We noticed in Amsterdam how tall the people were and how many of them speak more than one language. Kind of puts us Americans in our place. We should work harder at that.
Samson (my seat mate) also told us Abush is a name you give a baby before you name it. Like little guy, or precious one, or baby boy. Not really a real name for a grown man.
We landed in Addis around midnight and stood in line with all of the other families to buy our visa and go through customs. All of this took well over an hour and it was so late and we all were tired. We learned it is just easier to be flexible and easy going rather than uptight. It was great to have other families from the same agency with us in line. We felt a sense of security being in a group. There were 4 families all together in our flight from Amsterdam with AGCI.
After we gathered our luggage (all of it arrived, but the donation bins cracked and were broken) and had our final check through security (had to show our claim checks for the luggage) we saw Wess and Johannes waiting for us with smiles on their faces.
We loaded our luggage onto a cart and headed outside to the van. The Ethiopian men wanted tips for helping with the luggage and were not happy with singles. They wanted a five dollar bill for their tip. The guys did a great job loading ALL of the luggage on the van and strapped it down tight.
The drive to the hotel (late at night) was about 2o min. We had to fill out some paperwork at the hotel and they took a copy of everyone's passport. By this time, we were sooooooo tired and just ready to crash. We had been traveling for over 24 hours and were awake longer than that.
We got to our room and just crashed on the bed and slept. It was the only night we actually had a good night's rest while we were in Ethiopia. We took some tylenol PM and found some jammies and slept until morning.