Saturday, June 18, 2011

Travel Journal: Day 8

May 24, 2011

Traveling Part 1

Dear Lil' Miss,

When our alarm woke us up this morning, we were startled back into reality.  Both our backs ached from sharing a twin bed all night, but at least for me…it was worth it for the body heat.  Neither of us dared to climb under the covers, so we both slept fully clothed…but it was still slightly chilly when we woke up that morning.

My eyes stung from the lack of sleep combined with the emotional roller coaster we had experienced over the past day (and even week).  Instantly, I had to fight the urge to cry.  I put one foot in front of the other and forced myself to get going. 

Walking into the bathroom, I stepped into a puddle and groaned.  The stench was enough to prove that the sewer had leaked up through the floors during the night, and now my foot was soaked, as well as the bottom of both of my pant legs.  Marvelous.  I rolled them up several times and sanitized my hands before washing my face and brushing my teeth.  That was about it, and we both headed down to the lobby for breakfast. 

It was even less exciting than our dinner the night before.  A buffet was laid out on several tables and consisted of fresh fruit (which we could not eat), a million different types of bread, and a couple hot plates that made my stomach churn at the mere sight.  (Keep in mind, when I get nervous and emotional I tend to feel nauseous and sick-to-my-stomach….so that had a lot to do with it.  Several families and my husband ate some of the food and were all fine.)

I was completely depressed, sad, tired, and even feeling a little angry about our circumstances.  I missed you, I missed your brother…I was stuck in this limbo between the two of you and I wanted more than anything to all be together.

We didn’t have much time so we ate quickly, and went back upstairs to gather our luggage.  As we met in the lobby, the staff was hauling our luggage to the vans while we stuck around dealing with the confusion between what KLM would cover, and what we had to pay.  At that point, none of us cared…but it was annoying nonetheless.

Waiting to load in the van we had to listen to some cocky guy talk about his “important status” because he did this sort of thing a lot.  He threatened to use that status to kick whoever he had to off that flight so he could get where he had to go.  We all rolled our eyes and tried to flat out ignore him as much as possible.
I had to take pictures of the grounds...

...especially the Acacia trees!

Once we got into the overcrowded van the humidity really hit us.  It was warmer than the last couple days had been, and I instantly felt sad that I wasn’t enjoying it while sitting out in the courtyard with my girl!

We fortunately had no traffic and arrived to the airport in plenty of time for security and check-ins.  We had had an opportunity to check in with our travel agent the night before, so our flights were all figured out for us.  The line was long, but we let out a huge sigh of relief when we could finally head towards our gate.

Before we could sit and relax, we had to go through ANOTHER round of security.  We had no problems (they are WAY less strict than the U.S. too!) and were soon SITTING in the waiting area for our flight to load (my feet were swollen already – no joke!).  It was only then though, that we realized there were no BATHROOMS within this secure area!!!  Fortunately I didn’t have to go too bad, and it was easy to wait until we were on the flight.  I sat down and logged onto Skype and got to talk to my mom before boarding.  She was relieved (as we were) that we were finally starting our journey home….we shared even more tears (shocker, I know!).

The flight was LOOOOOONG, but fortunately not crowded at all.  When we stopped in Khartoum we picked up more passengers, and then we were pretty close to full…but this flight was much better than our flight there (which was also great, just packed).  AND this plane was newer and more spacious!  Neither of us slept, since we were very accustomed to Ethiopian time by this point…and fortunately, Amsterdam was only an hour difference.  It worked out well for our sleep schedule…it just makes the flight boring, of course.
When we arrived in Amsterdam, there definitely was a huge sense of relief.  Even though we weren’t on U.S. soil….more people spoke English here, and it DEFINITELY wasn’t a third world country….making contacting home easier (but still expensive). 

Amsterdam was definitely beautiful…and daddy and I laughed at the fact that we had just spent a week in your birth country, and now we were in the country of OUR ancestors….although not really exploring it at all!  (Nor did we care to really...and honestly, your birth country is better!)  =)  Everything was green and lush….but almost everyone smoked and wherever I would walk I would have a puff of smoke in my face.  My hopes to come back and visit one day suddenly went out the window, and daddy laughed as I coughed dramatically every time a smoker walked by (soooo...constantly).  To be FAIR – mama’s asthmatic!  But I make no attempt to hide my disgust either.  ;)

This was the lobby!
We got on a huge bus that took us maybe 15 minutes to our hotel.  Imm- ediately after walking in, I knew this was exactly my style.  I could have made a shopping list for my home of the things just in the lobby! GORGEOUS, seriously!  But everyone we ran into, from the flight attendants, to the hotel staff, to the locals, reminded us from someone in high school from the small Dutch community we grew up in!  =)  Hilarious – seriously!  =)

Totally AMAZING, right?!?

Our only huge disappointment at the hotel was our bed….two twins pushed together. =(  But it was doable and we tried to be thankful we had a nice place to stay in.  Especially since we were told that if it had been JUST the ash in the air, we would have been sleeping in the airport.  I guess we should be THANKFUL for a sick pilot!!! =)

Unfortunately, the TV didn't work =(

Our entire travel group (the L family, the K family, and the H family…another adoptive family from Wide Horizons) decided to drop our luggage off at our rooms, and head down to the buffet to EAT.  Let me tell ya – WELL worth it!!!!  The buffet was AWESOME!!  Table after table of food!  An entire table full of salads, one of bread, one of desserts….and so on and so on.  I think we each had a plate full of fresh fruit (first time in an entire week) and filled two more plates of food before we turned in for the night.  At this point we knew we were going separate directions and it was another dreaded goodbye….but we were confident we would be hugging again soon (on our way to our kids!).

Before bed, we paid the outrageous fee for one hour of internet (which I think was about $30 US) so we could connect with our travel agent and family and update them on our arrival time in Seattle.

Goodnight Amsterdam!  Goodnight my love!

Yours Forever,


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