Thursday, September 2, 2010

Travel Journal: Day 1

It’s Thursday, sometime close to noon in Germany.
So far we have been from Nashville to Newark and then through the night to Frankfurt.
Sitting here in a foreign country,
it all of the sudden occurs to me how REAL this is.
We are going to pick up our children.
This time tomorrow, we will have met them already!
They are REAL children,
with passports and airline tickets and
they are coming home with US.
And they will be coming home with us
through this gigantic airport…in the middle of the night.

Maybe it’s the (sporadic) one-hour of sleep I logged last night, but I am a little nervous already. If I feel this much “culture shock” just being in Germany… how much more will it be once we arrive in Ethiopia!? Or Istanbul, for that matter!

In Nashville after clearing security, we purchased a snow globe with Nashville scenes on it to give to the nannies at the care center as a gift from our home town. We didn’t realize we would have to go through security AGAIN in Newark (and also here in Frankfurt come to find out). The Newark TSA thought my little Nashville snow globe was a threat to national security, and they destroyed it.  So… we are without a gift for the nannies from Nashville.  I purchased some post cards from Newark… one with Obama on it since the Ethiopians are big fans. We are also going to purchase some German chocolates to take to them. I guess it’s better than nothing… but I had really hoped to have a Nashville/Tennessee gift for them.

I have also lost all concept of time. Already.  It’s noon in Frankfurt. It’s like 4 or 5am in Nashville. I have been awake for 3 or 4 hours already today.  It’s a strange feeling not really knowing what time it is or what time your body thinks it is!

We landed in Ethiopia just after 1:30am local time. We went down a hallway to the customs area where we filled out a card telling them why we are here, how long we are staying and where we will be staying. We then went to get our visas. We only waited a moment in line before it was our turn. The girl in line ahead of us was explaining to the visa officials that she was born in Ethiopia, but we saw she had a US passport and a Washington state driver’s license!  Paul started talking with her and found out she was adopted through AAI (another agency we had researched)! She was now 17 and was visiting Ethiopia for the first time. When she asked what agency we were using, she turned her body towards me and I saw her necklace said Be****! I smiled and told her one of our daughters is named Be**** as well!
What a cool way to start our trip!

After that , we made it through to the entry point where our passports were  checked, stamped and we were on our way to baggage claim! Amazingly, all 4 of our checked bags made it and looked unharmed and un- searched!  Also amazing!

We passed through our final security checkpoint (once again having bags searched due to the hot plate), and began looking for our sign-holding Holt employee! There was none to be seen. We realized that our delay in Istanbul had made our flight later than we anticipated, but when we tried to call the numbers we had been given by Holt, we couldn’t reach anyone. Finally, Paul negotiated with a cab driver to take us to the Union Hotel Apartments. They were less than pleased at the long drive and the driver didn’t really seem to know where he was going.  It was one of the scariest rides of my life. There were not really any other cars on the road, but the sights –even at night- were frightening. I began imagining all sorts of bad things… some sort of plot to drop off “ferungis” so that they could be robbed and killed… winding up at some other “Union” hotel that was not ours… etc, etc, etc.

Finally, we saw the familiar gates I have seen in photos for months now! I recognized the care center before the hotel! I couldn’t believe we were mere FEET away from our babies!! Finally!

The driver honked at the gate and shouted in Amharic to the guard on the other side. They let us in and 3 or 4 employees appeared to help get our bags upstairs. After some debate with the cab driver about the actual negotiated fare, we checked in and were taken to our room, number 207. The room is very nice! We have a large bed (probably a king), a dressing table, a desk, side tables, a small eating table and two chairs, an armoire and a whole bedroom for the kids when we take custody! Their room has a dressing table and an armoire as well as a balcony overlooking the area behind the hotel.

After unpacking our things into the armoires, setting up all of my food and putting away all of the bags, we were finally in the bed at 3:30am. We slept really well! 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Drama-free comment zone: