Travel day, just what everyone wants to hear about. What about the kids and babies you ask? Patience.
As painful as it is, you have to get there before you get to see the kids, so months of excitement and preparation are over and you head to the airport to start your very long journey to bring them home.
For Lisa and I this was waking at 3:00 am to head for the Pasco airport at 4:00. Lisa's sister Karen drove us, gave us hugs, got my final instructions about how to get back to our house, and we were off.
Our flight from Pasco to Denver left at 6:00, and I think for this short leg Lisa was really feeling like being on vacation. Once in Denver though she said, "are we there yet?" Oh my first-time-to-Ethiopia wife. So wonderful, and such a homebody.
As we walked through the airport to find our gate (Denver is a LONG stretched out airport) I told her that I wondered where my Ethiopia connection was. She asked, so I told her that every trip I connect with someone from Ethiopia on the leg to DC. I travel buddy who is also headed to Addis. We found our gate 2 minutes later, plopped down in seats, and not 30 seconds later, 3 feet in front of us sat our connection. A lady headed to Addis to visit her partents. I love the whole process of getting there.
Then we were in Washington DC, where we wrote out DC postcards for all the kids at home. We couldn't find a mailbox (they removed them all post-9/11), so the wonderful Ethiopian waitress at the restaurant just down from our gate (who of course knows Julie Hehn) took them and mailed them for us. I really do love the whole trip.
Lisa is 5'11" and lovely and slender, and I am 6'0" and none of the above. Where did we get to sit for 17 hours to Addis? In row 29, the seats in front of the middle bulkhead, the ones that don't recline but maybe .25" or so. One of us could be comfortable at the expense of the other, so we took turns sacrificing for each other, and finally made it to Addis.
Incredibly the Visa line was short and efficiently dealt with, our bags were out right away, and in no time we had Visa, luggage, exchanged birr, potty break behind us, and we were out to see the wonderful smiling ferenge face of Denise! What a great surprise! After hugs, "what are you doing here's" and a little teasing of Jamal who is without his beloved dreads, we were quickly to the guest house.
We got Denise her things we had brought for her, and then the 3 of us went to Absynnia for some tibs and firfir to start our stay the right way. So good...
And speaking of good, in the morning, bright and early and eager to get to Layla for Lisa to meet our kids for the first time, Teddy brought us this tray of Ethiopian gold, machiattos. They are worth the 17 hour flight all by themselves.
If you stay at Ritmo with Denise, a couple of these babies in the morning and she is your buddy for life.
I had told Lisa about them, and now she believes me. Pure bliss. If you stay at Ritmo Guest House, Teddy's number is on the buletin board in the kitchen. If you call before 8:00 am just have his aunt wake him up. He really doesn't want to miss the business, and by the time he delivers them he is very cheerful.
A couple of Lisa's first sights on the way to meet our kids.
The goatherd makes me think of the Sound of Music puppet show for some strange reason, although I can't imagine the Habesha version...and the road leading up the hill towards the road to the right that goes to Layla.