Friday, March 30, 2012
I had anticipated that there was no way I could anticipate how long a 14-plus-hour flight was...and I could not have been more correct. Its like trying to understand just how big the ocean is. But it actually went much better than I had expected; we departed from Seattle at 5:30pm, and arrived in Dubai, UAE, at 7:30pm (figure that one out-there was about 3 or 4 hours of nighttime before the sun came up again). I tried my hardest not to fall asleep, because I really wanted to sleep when we arrived. Angela slept quite a bit, I slept for about an hour, and we both slept like rocks at the hotel.
Emirates (the airline) was nice, though the seats were still the same: small. But there were personal tv's for each seat, with a great selection of movies and tv shows, and also a ton of games-I'm proud to say I won a Texas Hold 'em tournament, and rocked at Caveman Maze. The food was definitely airline food, but was quite tasty. And unlike last trip, we were both NOT sick, which in itself made this flight awesome by comparison. We arrived in Dubai, cleared passport control, then were taken to the airport hotel, where we had a free buffet dinner before we crashed, HARD. And apparently they frown on any sort of private shenanigans and goings-on, because there were separate twin beds. We sort of felt like Ricky and Lucy.
We woke up around 7:30am, and went down for another buffet, with strange-tasting sausage and super-strong coffee. We were then taken back to the airport, and with boarding passes in hand we waited in line at passport control, only to be told our passes were no good (cue the slight panicking). We waited in another line, until we were told to go check ourselves in via computer, which we did. We then went back to wait in the initial line, where we were denied yet again. Fortunately a man in a green uniform with giant chevrons on shoulders took our boarding passes (cue more panicking since we had no idea where he went). He returned a few minutes later with new ones that got us through to the end. Angela ordered a cappuccino at a Starbucks-alike, and got a cup the size of a ketchup cup from Wendy's filled with high-octane java. We then walked around the corner to see...a Starbucks! So I got a normal-sized drink for us to share.
We made our way to the gate, boarded the final flight, and had a 4-hour flight south to Ethiopia. We saw some pretty cool geography, and it was so surreal to think about being tens of thousands of feet in the air, looking down on the continent of Africa. We arrived with little difficulty, and were immediately happy to be back-we really missed Ethiopia. Getting visas was relatively easy, and we exchanged some US dollars for Birr: I received a huge wad of cash (one US dollar equals 17.3 Birr). We stuck our 4 giant suitcases into the scanning machine, and were told to open one because they had spotted something quite concerning: tubes of toothpaste. So we proceeded to tear the suitcase apart to show them exactly what a tube of toothpaste looked like. They apparently decided we could not commit any terrorist acts or make bombs out of Aquafresh, so they released us and all of our goodies.
We met up with Job and David (guide and driver, respectively), two friends from the first trip, and spent the ride to the guest house catching up with them. We are now sitting at the computer in the lobby of Yebsabi Guest House after showering and unloading all our gear. We are jet-lagged, sore, and starving, but rejoicing that God brought us halfway around the world to be back in a place that is forever etched into our hearts, a place where our son has spent the first year and a half of his life. We're now going to venture out into the urban jungle to grab some grub, and hopefully we avoid whatever sickness we contracted last time around!
Tomorrow we are embarking on a trip south (6-hour drive) to see the orphanage where Edilu was for a few months (called Shalom), and drop off our suitcases full of donations. We will spend a night there, and then head back Sunday morning to pick up Edilu! There is a crib set up in our room, and we are about to bring home a child and become parents once again...we are nervous, anxious, and excited, and we appreciate your prayers! This journey is a whirlwind of emotion, but it is an experience that is changing us forever, and we are so thankful for the support and prayers of our friends and family. God has brought us through some craziness, and I have no doubt there is more to come...
Tom and Angela
Ethiopia from the air!
Last leg to Ethiopia
Baggage and exchanging money