Sunday, May 4, 2014

Traveling back to Ethiopia. Part 1

Yes! We went to Ethiopia, and we returned, sun burnt and happy and exhausted, on Easter. And since then we have been battling jet lag and have returned to school/work/regular life and I've been struggling with matching my socks and keeping my eyes open past 7:30PM.  Jet lag is no joke. It really does me in.

But, I think I'm okay now. It's 8:05 PM and I don't have an overwhelming desire to close my eyes, so here we go...

One reason I haven't written about our trip is that I don't know where to begin.

So I'll begin, at the beginning....

The night before our trip Daniel was too excited to sleep. We had dressed the kids in their traveling clothes and explained that we'd be waking them up in the middle of the night to go to the airport.  We tucked them into to bed and anxiously re-checked and triple checked our luggage and our paperwork and the house.  (I live in terror of arriving home after a long trip and realizing I'd forgotten to turn off the toaster or take the garbage out.)  Lily fell right to sleep, but Daniel was tossing and turning and asking every few minutes if it was time to go yet.

I lay down next to him in his little bed. I said, "I'm too excited to sleep... are you okay?"

He said, "yeah, I'm just excited."

I can not imagine what must have been going through his mind... but he had neither the temperament nor the maturity to express it. He was about to get on a plane to return to the country he'd left 3 years before.  In just a few days he would see the Ethiopian family he hadn't seen in 4 years.  His life had changed so, so much in those 4 years...

Lots of folks have asked if I was nervous about taking the kids back, about them seeing their first family. I would say, I'd never been more sure of anything. I was as sure that our trip was going to be great for our kids and for our family as I was sure that adopting these two tiny people was a good idea. Really, really sure. *

But still, it took a long while for Daniel and I to fall asleep. And just like that, it was 2:30AM and we needed to get up and drive to the airport for our early morning flight.

I thought the kids would sleep in the car and have to be carried into the airport. But no, they were chipper as little birds, and gamely walked (pulling suitcases no less!) through the dark parking lot and into the terminal. The sun rose as we sat in those horrible uncomfortable chairs and waited for our little jumper flight to DC. We ate breakfast in a DC terminal and whiled away the hours before our Ethiopian flight by walking up and down the long terminal hallway and paying too much for stuff at the shops.  Then we and another hundred people filed into our teeny tiny little airplane seats and settled down for the looooooonnnng flight to Addis Ababa.

Since it was Easter week the plane was filled with Ethiopian families heading home to celebrate the holiday. It felt like a party bus. Babies crying, packs of little kids running up and down the aisles, people talking and laughing and getting refills of snacks and drinks.

12 hour flight. Nobody slept.


Lily watched Frozen about 4 times. Daniel watched some robot movie and played Minecraft til his eyes were red and blinky. I sat and had a long, mild panic attack about how nobody was sleeping. I kept tucking them in and putting blankets over them but it was no use. We were heading to Ethiopia, and we are all too excited to sleep.

Lily is wearing those cute yellow socks Ethiopia airlines gives out.

* PS: I was right. But that is another post.

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