Travel Journal – May 7, 2010 Final Entry

7 05 2011

Friday 3 pm AA Time

On the plane somewhere over Spain taking a more southerly and more time consuming route due to the volcano in Iceland.  LD is sleeping in Jamies’ lap and I have been reading Super Freakonomics.  But I want to get more down on paper because I have already forgotten so much.

Back to Daniel…

He also makes it clear that he A)  needs money and B)  is a Christian.  We crossed the bridge and went to the Co-op and I realized I was basically out of Birr.  They take USD so I bought three necklaces.  I don’t know what I will do with them but they will make nice gifts.

We started back to the Supermarket but I still had no Birr.  I was frustrated because there were many beggars with babies on the bridge and I forgot my Power Bars.  I said I hoped the store would take USD.  Danny said they wouldn’t but I could change it in the store under the bridge.  I am so glad I took the opportunity to go in the tiny, dark, merchandise-rich store.  Once again I almost missed an opportunity to see the real Addis.  The guy seemed to give me a decent rate and we were off to the big store.

On the way, there were four cows on the sidewalk.  I petted one on the head.  Danny said I shouldn’t.  I asked if he thought they were dirty.  He said, “No, dangerous.”  Later three of the four cows meandered past our hotel.  I wonder if the 4th was in the butcher shop.

I bought baby food, banana gum and Kracks for my nephews.

On the way to the store Danny started talking to us about the bible.  I said he should talk to S, not me.  He asked me, “Not Christian?”  I said, “No, agnostic.”  This started a discussion between S and I about the definition of agnostic.  It is always nice when a conversation like that can take place openly.  (NOTE:  A couple of weeks after arriving home I had something fortuitous happen to me and I heard S’s voice in my head say, ‘”Isn’t Jesus awesome?” – Quite sure S and I would not have become friends had it not been for adoption.  What an amazing bonus no one tells you about before hand.)

After shopping we had to go to the adoption agency’s office to pick up more documents.  One group of people had to leave straight for the airport.  There was a major car accident at “the intersection” that made us late and people stressed – but in the end all was well.

A discussion about the merits of Rush Limbaugh took place in our van. I was in the front seat so I didn’t have to participate.  Poor A.L. was the lone liberal in the back of the van willing to speak up.

Then I had a couple hours to pack, settle our bill, etc…

We left for the airport a little before 7pm  Two vans with people and one just with luggage.  It was pouring rain and “the intersection” was as crazy as we ever saw it.  Once again I videotaped the whole thing only to realize the camera was on pause.  Our van was M/J/M/M plus Jamie, Me and Little Dude.  The traffic was terrible all over the city and M was starting to lose it.  J (another adopting Dad, M’s husband) just got funny.  When we got to the airport we had to wait for the whole group – which only made sense because of the luggage, but was difficult.  Eventually we all moved out and I took an “alpha” role for the first time on the entire trip. (NOTE:  I am sure some of my fellow travelers might disagree.  But for me, I know I spent a week trying not to “lead.”  Of course that doesn’t mean that I didn’t just go my own way at times.)

Our plane wasn’t leaving until 1:15 am so we had lots of time to kill.

We couldn’t even go to the Turkish Air Desk until 10:20.  They seemed shocked that I didn’t have a ticket for Little Dude.  Even though they wouldn’t let me buy one when I booked the tickets.  Strange but normal by Ethiopian standards.

After getting our boarding passes we had to wait in another line and I saw a guy with ritual scaring on his face.  It was actually pretty cool.  Little Dude was falling asleep, then screaming in a panicky way and waking up.  They moved us to the front of the line – which was great.

Jamie has filled out every single form for me which has been so helpful.  I could not have done any of this without her.  On the other hand, Little Dude is pretty attached to her and it is going to suck that he won’t be seeing her.  I wish there was a manual for attachment and early life trauma so you could know if you were doing the right or wrong things.

After getting through the “exit Visa” line we got to shop.  The thing about souvenirs in Ethiopia, yes, some are cheesy, but for the most part the cultural/traditional items are still used routinely, which makes them super cool.  However, I still wasn’t in buying mode (a combination of the move and seeing what it really means to go without may have cured my shopping habit.)

I did have a yummy ice cream bar which was my first meal since lunch. Eventually we got on the plane and took off.  We had three seats so that helped. But LD was restless so I didn’t sleep really well.

I did wake up and look out the window somewhere over Egypt. You could see the lights of cities with absolutely nothing in between.  We had sunrise over the Mediterranean but it was too bright to keep the shades up.

When we got to Istanbul we were like “Oh we know what line to go in.” because on the way to AA we waited in one line, had to go in the other, than go back to the first.  So we waited – turns out there was now a third line for people going to the US that we were suppose to go to first.  Oops – it was a security line.  I wonder if it is new because of what happened in Times Square?  Then we went back to the other line.  You could tell they were having a problem figuring out our tickets.  I was trying not to panic.  Turns out if would have been helpful if we gave them LD’s ticket!!  Jamie’s first mistake.

Then we went to line #3 and met up with pushy (literally) people.  After cutting in line they were actually shoving us.  I finally snapped.  After, I felt bad thinking they might have a tight connection – then we saw them shopping an hour later.  I guess they were the jags I thought they were.

The warnings on the cigarette packages are a little different here than what we are used to.

We tried to arrange a tour of Istanbul but didn’t have enough time.  Probably better in the end to do more walking in the airport.

We put LD in a cart and pushed him around until he fell asleep.

Finally we boarded what is my final flight.  The plane is pretty packed and we have no empty seats next to us.  We still have a long ways to go (9hours, 20 minutes)  I like watching our progress on the map screens but it freaks me out when we are about to go over the ocean.

I imagined that my sister was planning a “Welcome Little Dude” party at the airport.  It turns out she didn’t even know when we were landing.  So it will probably be the usual with her driving around the airport yelling at me about how long it is taking.  Oh well.  When I talked to her last night I could hear PJ yelling, “Higher, higher, higher.”  Apparently my mother was not pushing her high enough on the swing.  I can’t wait to see her.  (NOTE:  My mother came from Michigan to Chicago to help my sister take care of PJ for the last few days and to meet Little Dude when we arrived home.  We stayed in Chicago less than 24 hours, than headed south as a family of four to our new lives in Missouri.  The kids and I would be seeing our house and new hometown for the first time together.)

I get all weepy when I think about getting home and having SAG and my family meet LD.  I am worried about PJ and all of the upcoming transitions.  Every day of this trip has been such a blur.  I imagine that it must be the stress that is messing with my short-term memory.  I hope I retain the feelings – that is if I ever sort them out.

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12 responses

7 05 2011
Cazadora

Love the photo of you and L.D. in the cart. Whenever I see the little plane on the screen going over the ocean, I immediately ask the steward(ess) for another drink.

7 05 2011
Sara

We are approaching our second anniversary of our time in Ethiopia and so much of what you wrote brought back my own flood of memories. Thanks for sharing.

7 05 2011
Shonda

Okay, so the completely egocentric part of me read this and thought “wow, I’m “S” but I don’t remember any of these conversations.” Only after reading the entire thing did it occur to me “oh wait, I wasn’t the only ‘S’ and she’s not even talking about me” 😉 She is in fact talking about a much more amazing “S” whom we both love and respect to death!!!!

Loved reading this, and I had almost forgotten about Danny. A synical part of me really wondered if he was playing us the whole time, playing on the American Christians. I remember talking to Travis about this, but I don’t remember what his opinion was? Either way, incredibly bright and sweet boy he was.

7 05 2011
Semi-Feral Mama

I taught Danny two English words that day – Agnostic and Enterprising. One describes me and one describes him. I don’t think enterprising is bad. I hope it is a way out for him and possibly his family. I hope he is not being exploited by his parents of another adult. And I am fine if he exploited me. I was sad when he told me he was going to come to the USA and learn to be a doctor because when I asked him if he would then go back to Ethiopia and help his people. He said, “No, you can’t make money in Ethiopia even if you are a doctor.” He told me he would stay in the USA and make money. If he was being trained on how to get money out of Americans, he needs to change that part of his story. Still, I gave him cash – happily. After all, without him I would not have experienced the little store under the bridge and I would not have had Birr when I needed it. It was a well earned tip.

7 05 2011
Sarah

I just love seeing Ethiopia through your eyes! You remember the coolest things. It’s interesting, because I think if Jason hadn’t come–I would have been miserable, wishing he could experience what I was. On the other hand…I see that it could definitely have its advantages (travelling without your spouse). It’s possible that would not spend so much time filtering experiences through our “couple” radar…and maybe would have experienced them more openly. I’m so glad you kept a journal~

7 05 2011
Sarah

*that WE would not spend

8 05 2011
Maria

I am so thankful for these posts and for the fact that you kept a journal. It brought back so many memories, some I fear would have been completely forgotten if it weren’t for these entries. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

I’m assuming the lone liberal who opened his mouth in the van is my dear husband. 🙂 I love your comment about you and S. becoming friends. Yes, definitely an amazing bonus to adoption. We may have had our differences among the travel group, but sharing an adoption experience together far outways any of those differences.

8 05 2011
Sarah

Um…didn’t you teach him the word, “vegetarian” too? I may be mistaken. But I have it in my head that you said, “I love animals. I love animals so much I don’t eat them.” But, then maybe “vegetarian” wasn’t actually said. I’ve thought of that so many times since I came home. I don’t know why. It makes me laugh. Isn’t it weird how certain moments are so vibrant and clear? I think Daniel has a vision that is unusual for a kid his age. I’m sure he appreciates any money or help he can get today. However, he definitely seemed to be thinking ahead. I wish I had gotten the name of that midwife; since she is in contact with him.

p.s. I know a lot of conservatives who don’t like Rush Limbaugh. Especially some non-agnostic ones who are grossed out by his morals.

8 05 2011
Semi-Feral Mama

Oh, did I teach him that too? Maybe he should have been giving me a tip! I was very impressed with him and mean no disrespect by calling him enterprising.
I remember so much of that trip to the store. Isn’t that also when we started discussing cougars?
I agree with you – non-agnostics and even Christians! I am actually loving the blog posts this week as part of “The Rally To Restore Unity.” They are reinforcing what I saw so clearly through adoption, that just like every other group of people – Christians come in many, many flavors… because, after all – Isn’t Jesus awesome?

8 05 2011
Maria

Wow, mom brain.*outweighs

9 05 2011
claudia

You don’t know how much it made me grin to see YOU type the words ‘isn’t Jesus awesome’. S must have been one influential lady!

I’ts been so great to read about yoru experiences! Q4U – do you think you DID retain those feelings? I think I only manaaged to retain the ones I wrote about; everything else is just a blur.

9 05 2011
tamara b

K, I have learned so much from you! Sadly it took me a while to realize/recall that its vegetarian, not organic that suits you. Next time I see you, I promise not to bring you organic meat 😛

Both S’s, you are amazingly cool women and I’m glad that I could get to know all of you. BTW K, are you coming up for 4th of July?

from T, who can’t make follow-up comments work and doesn’t have the patience to figure it out.

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