Wow! What an experience the last week+ has been!! We are safely home with our new boys and feeling incredibly grateful! Tired, but grateful!! We had a wonderful trip, welcomed two wonderful new boys into our family, and met some wonderful new friends. I had hoped to keep you all updated during the week, but the internet decided not to work for us while we were there. We were able to get access a couple of times, briefly. It was very slow, and just about the time I would get to my blog, I lost connection again. In addition to the spotty internet service, we also spent a few days without any power at all… And then there was the water issue… stomache issues,… etc, etc. It’s been a long, full week. In fact, it’s 8:15pm and I have a husband and 3 kids fast asleep already. My oldest is in bed reading, and I’m using the chance to share with all of you how our trip went, before heading off to sleep myself. Since I wasn’t able to add updates through the week, I kept a bit of a journal… so here it is….
It was about a 30 hour trip including 5 hours of layovers in San Fran. and D.C. and a refueling stop in Rome. But we made it. Nate and Nick did so well. They were really excited at first because it was their first time on a plane. We got to ride in a little 30 seater plane from Sacramento to San Francisco and we could hear the roar of the engine and feel every bit of turbulence. It was a great first flight experience for them! But by the end of the trip, we were all ready to be done with flying for a while. There were definitely some blessings on the flight though… Like reading a really good book from cover to cover (Secret Believers by Brother Andrew and Al Jansen… Excellent!!) and watching the sunrise over the Sahara Desert. Wow! What a gorgeous sight! Starting as a faint orange glow in the darkness to a huge sky filled with color and endless ripples of sand. Beautiful! We spent Saturday recovering from jetlag but all of us were awake by 4am Sunday morning, listening to the sound of the “call to prayer” playing over speakers in the distance. Sunday was a day of culture shock for me. I’ve never been anywhere besides the U.S. and Europe, but Ethiopia is nothing like them! We spent the day out and about with a driver and guide to show us around. They took us to some museums, a zoo, out to lunch, up to a hilltop overlooking the city, a little shopping, etc., then out to dinner with another couple staying at the guest home. It was a great, eye-opening day! I don’t think I’ll say anything bad about Cal-Trans, CHP’s, or animal contol ever. Nor will I complain about being stopped for a red light. Driving through the city of Addis is crazy!! No traffic lights or signs, and the few roads with lanes painted on them evidently were merely suggestions. The cars just weaved in and out of each other randomly. There were people walking in the road everywhere, but I’m assuming pedestrians did NOT have the right of way, because anytime a person got in the way of a car, the car did not slow down, it just honked and the people jumped out of the way. However, the cars did have to slow down for all of the meandering goats and oxen, etc. While I must say the driving was a little frightening, we did have a wonderful time visiting the museums and learning more about the wonderful history of the Ethiopian people. We also discovered that Teddy, originally Tewedros, was named after a very famous Ethiopian king. And Endrias is the Ethiopian version of Jesus’ disciple Andrew. We also truly enjoyed the company of our driver and guide. They were wonderful. They caught Adam’s sense of humor right away and joined in the laughter and the jokes. We had a great time with them and they were also very informative as we showered them with questions about Ethiopia. They also took us to a retaurant for lunch where we shared a traditional meal… eating with our hands from a shared dish in the center of the table. But it was delicious. They also took us to a small zoo because they knew the boys would enjoy being less than a foot away from a lion!! We could have reached our hands through the fence and pet them… we didn’t of course. Shopping was crazy. I guess our blonde hair gave us away as Americans… which meant we would have been charged a whole lot more if our driver and guide weren’t with us to negotiate prices. It also meant that people kept approaching us asking for money and food. Sometimes people even approached the car if we were stopped in a traffic jam and knocked on the window asking for money. I felt guilty spending money on souvenirs. A week in Ethiopia has definitely made me more aware of how rich Americans are! Just seeing the rundown buildings everywhere made me truly appreciate the abundance of blessings in my life! Warm running water, flushing toilets, electricity, drinkable tap water, etc. etc… a few things we were periodically without during the week. BUT, the other thing we noticed about Ethiopia… the happy, friendly people. Most of them don’t seem to notice that they are poor. There are smiles, hand shakes and hugs everywhere you look. Grown boys and men walking with their arms around each other or holding hands and our guide assured us that it was not a homosexual thing… just friendly, loving people. We also noticed it with the care givers, social workers, etc. when we went to pick up our boys on Monday. Our kids and all of the orphans were well loved! They all gave those kids so many hugs and kisses! and none of the kids hesitated to give out hugs and kisses to us either! Teddy and Endrias have been with us since Monday and I have so much more to share about our first week with them… But since I’m falling asleep on my keyboard (literally) I will have to tell you more and post some more photos tomorrow. Good night all!