Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Travel Journal: Day 5

May 22, 2011

HH, Cultural Dinner

Dear Lil' Miss,

Today started off with a MIRACLE!!!  HOT WATER!!!!  LOL!  I didn’t know it was possible to peel your clothes off so fast!  =)  I started showering quickly in fear it would soon be gone, but once my hair was washed and body was cleaned…I began to relax and enjoy.  I even had time to shave!  Daddy was laughing at the smile on my face, but I know he enjoyed the warmth too.

We were a little disappointed that Wass wasn’t picking us up QUITE as early today, but we did enjoy the time to sit down for breakfast with friends.  Though the buffet is getting old….we’re ready to walk down the street and try the highly recommended Sister’s Café….maybe Tuesday.  Since our travel group has been hounding us to share the name we’ve chosen for you, we decided to play a little game this morning.  Each person could guess a letter, and they only got one clue.  If someone guessed the letter correctly…then everyone would get a shot to guess the name!  This continued on in the van as well.  They had guessed close….and just when we thought they were not going to get it, Danny (our driver) guessed it!  Then they all got shots at the name….and again, got along the lines of your name...but they still didn't guess it!  We let them know our second-choice names to give them clues, but they still were a ways off!  =)

Our ride to Hannah’s Hope was smooth as usual.  We always love finding the odd little things that you would NEVER see in America – like donkeys carrying empty bottles of Coca Cola, or men peeing alongside the road, or children waving at a van of white-faces like they were celebrities!  We always smile once we turn off the highway to the well-beat road to Hannah’s Hope…and that smile grows even bigger when we see the familiar gates that will lead us to you!

Today we found you lying on a boppy, wide awake and curious, surr- ounded by lots of other babies!  Since it was starting to spit outside, most of us stayed indoors.  We took advantage of that time by weighing and measuring each of you.  Although you are second oldest in the group, you were BY FAR the tiniest, my love!  Only 23 inches and 12 pounds!  We love our petite little girl!  (But don’t worry dear, the little fighter you have proved to be...you could probably beat any of the other babies up!  …Not that we would allow it…)  Daddy also interviewed one of your special mothers to find out what formula you are on, how many bottles a day, how often they wake you at night, how many naps you take….and any other detail about your schedule.  We also talked to the nurse about your health and she assured us, “no problems”….a phrase we have found popular with ALL Ethiopians!  =)


Proving your strength!

Look how little next to daddy!

Tiny for 5 months sweet thang!
Smiling at daddy!

T with Wass, our driver!

ALL the staff at Ethiopia LOVE our kids sooooo very much!

Talking to Daddy!

<3 this one

With your "Special Mother" Hirut, who we LOVED to pieces!
She clung to me during her bottle and entire nap!

Sweet little legs...

<3 those feet

By the time the rain stopped we were all eager to get outdoors, so I wrapped you in a blanket and we sat out in chairs under cover (just in case).  {Reading this again, I thought that sounded funny...you simply wouldn't sit outside under cover in weather like that at home...but here in Ethiopia it is quite humid so even though the ground is wet and it is raining on and off...it was warm.}  Although you weren’t as insanely smiley as the day before, your face was full of joy and contentment.  We could tell that we were becoming more familiar to you, and you were to us!  We could begin reading your cues for when you were hungry and when you were tired and you showed us that you really do fall asleep quite quickly as long as we stick to the familiar way of doing it! 
Part of our amazing travel group, who we have grown to LOVE!

We passed around the granola bars Annika made before we left - THANK YOU ANNIKA!!!

This was lunch for us...daily.  =)

Daddy loves his sweet little girl!

Staring into each others' souls!!  Love it!

Love & Affection - this girl is smothered in it! =)

While you were sleeping, daddy and I tried to convince Wass to let us stay for an extra week, and pay off the embassy to expedite your visa so we could bring you home in one trip.  Unfortunately, the more we learn about the process, the less likely that is sounding.  But as Tuesday grows nearer, my heart breaks a little more.  Saying goodbye to you just might be the hardest thing I ever have to do.  But we’ll just not think about that yet.

I <3 this picture!

Daddy couldn't resist a little playtime before undressing you!
Soon after you woke up, you were giving me your hungry face.  Just as I was stepping inside to ask for a bottle, your special mother called me by name (which I didn’t even know she knew!) and said it was your bathtime!  I skipped down those marble stairs probably a little too fast (but thankfully didn’t fall) to tell daddy to come help!  We went upstairs and it was bath central in your room!  Daddy undressed you and played with you on the floor while I snapped pictures until it was our turn.  Daddy insisted on giving you your first bath, but I had a blast video-taping it!  You were completely content and it made me so happy!  I still think I got the best part of the job though – lotioning you up and oiling your hair!  Mmm…it made you smell even MORE amazing…and it made your skin and hair just GLISTEN!  Unfortunately, we only got a few more minutes of cuddles after that and then it was time to head back to the hotel.  That was about the time that we realized we would have to say goodbye to your two special mothers!  Apparently they do one week of day shift and then one week of night shift, so this would be the last time we would see them on this trip.  The goodbyes made me realize how near we are to the end of our trip and that alone made me cry.  I cherish these two women and I’m so thankful for the love and attention they gave you!


Big smiles

LOVE that little belly!

After bath was daddy's first bottle!  (Mama had a hard time sharing.)

Beautiful head of curls

Seeing how long your hair REALLY was!

Mekdes (left) and Hirut (right) - the VERY special women who loved you like their very own!
We'll be forever grateful to them!!!

Back at the hotel, we did what we always do…crash the Bentley’s room for their internet service!  =)  It was still early in the morning back home…too early to Skype with family.  So I uploaded pictures, updated Facebook, and sent an update email to everyone.  When Grandma VG logged into Skype, I was so excited to see your brother again!  He has developed a really bad cold while we’ve been here in Ethiopia, and it has been really hard to be gone.  But Grandpa and Grandma say he is happy and doing great…and hasn’t even asked for me since the drive to their house from the airport (I don't know how well I believe that though =)! 

At 6:00pm tonight, Danny picked us up to take us to the cultural dinner at Yod Abysinia Restaurant.  On the way there, we picked up Tsige, which I was thankful for because she was able to explain to us what we were eating and the story lines in the dancing we saw, not to mention she is a pleasure to have as company.  The food was incredible, as expected!  All five families, plus Tsige and Danny sat around two small mesob tables.  There was injera covering each one, and then the waitresses came and served hot food on the injera – tibbs, doro wot, shiro, lentils, banana root, and much, much more!  It was absolutely delicious, and nearly impossible to stop once full!  I can’t wait to learn how to cook even more of the amazing traditional food at home.
Bad quality b/c of the lighting =(



Another table

The L Family

The S Family

The K Family

The B Family

...PLUS Tsige...because WHO wants a picture by themselves, right?!?

US =)

Honey wine - WOOOWEEE that stuff is STRONG!!!

Washing hands before dinner

Waitress serving us

Doro Wot =P

All the food was in these and they scooped it onto the injera


The meat dishes were kept in these, and there was coal burning underneath to keep it warm.

Just in case you wanted to add some MORE spice to your palette!

All served!!!  Mmmm....

Ready to dive in =)
Right around the time we finished eating, the music started playing on stage.  A man who we all nicknamed “Snoop Dogg” was on the drums.  That went on for a while and eventually some singers came on stage, and then it transitioned into some dancing as well.  The dancing is absolutely amazing – we’re still wondering how they get their bodies to move like that!  After hounding Tsige, she started showing us her moves too…and then Brittany joined in!  After the song was over, one of the dancers came out into the audience and pulled Brittany on stage.  She tried to drag me with her, but the room was far too crowded for me to humiliate myself like that!  She did a fantastic job though and got smothered in kisses from the man she danced with!  =)


Another singer

And so begins the drumming...

Intense drumming!

What's with the face Danny?? =)

Traditional dancing

The stunning ladies!

They were working up a SWEAT!

Can you tell which one we dubbed as "Snoop Dogg"???

On the way home, Tsige was able to explain a little bit more about the story line in one of the dances…which we had pretty much assumed, even though we didn’t understand the language.  We dropped her off at home and went back to our hotel for the night.

I'll leave you with some videos of the dancing (below).

Man, I am going to MISS this place!  It is truly an amazing country!  Nervous and excited about what the morning brings!

Love You,

Be sure to pause the music at the bottom of my page before enjoying =)

My Monkey's Favorite: The DRUMS!!!

Some Pretty Fast and Intense Dancing:

Brittany on STAGE!!!  {Priceless}



Darcee said...

okay seriously!! I was in tears with your first 3 words - 'Dear lil Miss' - I was teary through your whole BEAUTIFUL, heartfelt journal!!! Thanks for sharing your AMAZING moments in Ethiopia with your little girl with us!!! LOVE!!! ♥ PRAYING for you your embassy date - and the whole groups embassy date! CAN'T WAIT TO SEE YOU GET OFF THE PLANE with your SWEEEEEEET Baby GIRL!!!!! XOX

Alison said...

She is so tiny and PRECIOUS!!! I love reading your travel journals! You have done such a great job with all the details! Makes me SO EXCITED to go one day to get our Caroline!!!

"Are These Kids All Yours?" said...

LOVE reading about your sweet girl, travel group, and your time spent in Ethiopia :) !!!!!!! What a beautiful story!!!!!

Karee said...

Megan, I love reading your posts on our trip. I feel like I am re-living everything as I read it. You have done a fabulous job recording so many details. Thanks for sharing!

4 Blessings said...

She is so tiny and so precious! I am dying to see her face. I already know she is beautiful :)