Monday, March 16, 2009

Ethiopia Adventure Part 2

We arrived in Addis Ababa around 8:30am on Sunday, February 22nd needing a shower and feeling quite delirious. We waited for about 20 minutes to get our Ethiopian visa, changed our 300 dollars for Ethiopian birr, collected our luggage and sailed through the nonexistent customs to meet Robel and the driver from our hotel. We will talk more about Robel later, but he is a super fun, kind, resourceful, faithful saint who was our guide during our time in Addis. On the way to our hotel, we had our first up close glimpse of our son's country, but we were in such a sleep-deprived delirium that I don't remember much.

Robel invited us to go to his church with him and another family that had already arrived, the Chans. Chris decided we should go and he was right, but I confess - I was definitely more in favor of sleep. We met the Chans, William and Shelley, who are from Texas. Great people - we love them! The worship service was glorious and refreshing. I am so glad we went. It is an international church in which over 70 countries are represented. The service was in English, but there were also services in French and Korean, I think. Anyway, it was wonderful to worship with the saints! So funny - we met a gentlemen who used to work as a dean at Monte Vista (this is where Chris works). How "random" is that?

Afterward Robel took us to lunch at a traditional Ethiopian restaurant with the Chans and our driver Alizar (sp?). The lunch was very good - we love Ethiopian food. We went to back our hotel and Chris went straight to sleep until about 10pm and then woke up for good at 2am. I slept intermittenly until about 5am. We went upstairs to the hotel restaurant to have breakfast. The coffee and the morning view of Addis were both amazing. It was such a peaceful, beautiful morning! What a gift from God as we prepared to meet our boy that day. We were still in a daze - it was so unreal that we were in Ethiopia, for one, and that we were there to pick up our son. Our minds couldn't quite wrap themselves around it, even after several cups of glorious Ethiopian coffee.


Saturday, March 14, 2009

Ethiopia Adventure Part 1

Chris' parents kindly drove us to San Francisco for the first leg of our journey. Our first flight left SFO at 4:30pm on Friday, February 20th. The very kind manager at the British Airways counter waived our excess baggage fees (thank you for all the prayers) and we were off. We have this terrible habit of staying up way too late the night before big trips, and this one was no exception. We were exhausted (already!), a little apprehensive (at least I was), but ready to pick up our son!

Our flight was, well, we didn't sleep much, but had much to read and watch. We had an 8 hour layover in London (so sad not to stay longer!) where we had a very crazy adventure getting our luggage and 5 rubbermaid tubs via train from Terminal 5 to Terminal 1 at Heathrow. My husband is a champion rubbermaid tub wrestler. We had a very tasty meal with our tubs close at hand - a security officer carrying some sort of automatic gun checked to make sure they were ours and not left behind. He had an encouraging word for us when Chris told him what was inside (baby formula, etc). Back to the meal - I ate chicken tikka masala and Chris had bangers and mash with a very soul-satisfying Belgian beer. And then we waited...and waited..and waited...and Chris slept...and I tried to read. When it was time we prayerfully lugged our tired selves and 9 pieces of luggage to the Ethiopian Airlines counter, praying for another baggage-fee-waiving miracle. Almost. They gave us a discount. Instead of $650 they only charged us $400. Ha! Still, God is good. His plan is perfect.

For now I will end with our first African sunrise (over Sudan . . . for Paul Yana) and our first glimpse of beautiful Ethiopia. We are off to visit the Johnson clan and I have learned by now that a simple 10 minute trip takes much longer to prepare for than it used to. But this is what we joyfully signed up for!

Here we are!

I have been very amiss in updating our blog , but I have a good excuse, right? We are home with our beautiful baby boy Beniam. He is so, so precious and cute and quite the bundle of energy. We can't believe he is finally here, but at the same time, it seems like he has always been here.

I will eventually add posts about our trip, but the little man is awake and ready to play, so that will have to wait. In the meantime, here are some pictures of the newest Reno. God is good!