Monday, February 16, 2015

Travel to Pick Up Lielti! - by Brad

This trip to Ethiopia had more mixed emotions than the first. Since we weren't taking the boys with us, we were more excited to bring Lielti home than we were to travel to Ethiopia. Don't get me wrong, we were excited to go to Ethiopia to enjoy the people, sights, and some one-on-one time with our daughter. However, it didn't quite seem right leaving the boys behind. We are thankful for our family and friends who are willing to watch the boys during this time.

Our trip started off leaving Wenatchee Friday evening to the Smith's house to get a few hours of sleep. My sister graciously shuttled us to the airport at 4:45am and we flew from Seattle to Minneapolis. It was a nice short flight and then a few hour layover there. As you might have seen on Facebook, I tried Chick-fil-A for the first time in the airport... since we don't have any of those in Washington. It was definitely above standard for a fast-food chicken sandwich. Lindsey and probably walked 2 miles around the Minneapolis airport just killing time. We had another short flight from Minneapolis to Washington DC where we had an overnight layover.

When we got off the plane in DC and headed for the hotel shuttle we could see heavy snow being blown by 30 mph winds. We waited inside and watched for the Hyatt shuttle. Once we saw it we hustled outside with our luggage and walked 100 yards to where it was parked. It was for a different Hyatt. We waited another five minutes outside until another Hyatt shuttle arrived. It was also for a different Hyatt. After another 20 minutes, the first Hyatt shuttle arrived and we were still out of luck. Finally after waiting for 30 minutes in what felt like 8 degree wind chill conditions, the right shuttle arrived. They took our numb, frozen selves to the hotel. After we were settled we ran across the gusty parking lot to the Sheridan where they had a restaurant. I think that was the first Valentines Day we've ever gone out to dinner or went to a hotel. Too bad I can't say I planned this, but an indifference to Valentines Day was in our prenuptial agreement.

Again, we got up early to make it to the Washington airport. Besides my carry on suitcase getting stuck in the security scanner for 10 minutes, everything was uneventful. The flight from Washington DC to Addis Ababa was less than half full, so there was plenty of room to feel comfortable - a nice surprise for the 12.5 hour flight.

After we arrived we headed to the guest house where we were able to unpack and refresh quickly and then went to the transition home where Lielti was. As we pulled through the gate, Lielti's face lit up and she was bouncing so much that she looked like she would explode. A nanny was holder her to keep her from getting in the way of the bus, but this was futile. Lielti was determined. With a bity of fierceness, she broke free of the nanny's arms and ran to us. She had already cleared out all her stuff from her room and was excited to go with us.

After a little confusion, it was determined that we could take her with us today for good. Lielti and us had already planned on that, so the confusion troubled us all at first, but worked itself out later.
We took her to lunch and dinner where she ordered traditional Ethiopian food rather than pizza, spaghetti, burgers, or fries. Even though she was with her boring parents she was able to enjoy the company of her closest friend who is currently being adopted by another family. They had a nice time together and are looking forward to more fun days this week.

Lielti has been quiet with us so far. We are trying to figure out how to best communicate and I imagine we will see her start to open up over the next couple weeks as she starts to figure us out. We have seen bits of her spunky personality that everyone talks about, but I think it probably won't really appear until she is home with her brothers. We miss those boys and we know Lielti does also. There is a chance that there could be more pictures tomorrow to go along with this, but we are tired and headed to bed!

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