It is 6 am our second day in Addis and I am wide awake. Jet lag is the only time I am ever awake mentally at 6 am. What a trip. It took almost 40 hours to get from Honolulu to our guest house. I was thankful every minute to have mom with me. It wasn't a bad trip just long and with the continuing thought that we had to do it all again in four days but this time with a frightened 1 year old. But there were treats a long the way like getting to see my sister and Dad at San Francisco airport and then getting to spend a few hours with my aunt and uncle at Heathrow. Neither of us had managed to sleep at all in the trip to London which left us so exhausted on our 8 hour flight from London to Addis we both crashed and it made that flight go by super fast. We had a funny seat mate. He was high on chat and talking very loudly about life to mom. He informed us he couldn't talk quietly. He continued to chew chat and mom scolded this giant man on the dangers of drugs and what he was doing to his brain. Eventually the stewardess came and took his chat and we fell asleep for most of the trip.
We arrived in Addis at 7 am. The last two trips here I have gotten in late and night so it was fun to land and see Africa in the daylight. I don't think I will ever get over the smell of coming off the plane in Africa. I tell the boys that is the smell of home to me. This time it was the cool crisp smell of an African city. After the hoopla of visa, immigration, baggage claim and finding a taxi, we managed to get ourselves to the guest house. Mom was worried her Amharic wasn't going to be good enough but she is great at getting us good Taxi prices.
We slept for a few hours at the guest house and then walked around the corner for a macchiato. The Italians left a mark here and you can get GREAT coffee almost anywhere. We then took a taxi across town to spent two hours with Maritu. We got a bit lost but through my memories of my last visit and moms language skills we managed to find the Foster Home.
No other parents were there so we sat in the visitor room and waited for them to bring Mari. When they came around the corner I couldn't believe how much she had changed and grown since I saw her in July. She was a baby when I left but now she looks much more like a toddler. I held her close and smelled her sweet smell. She wasn't aloof with me but she wasn't immediately friendly. We sat and talked to her and I played with her. After about half an hour she was smiling and interacting with us. She was cautious with Mom but seemed very comfortable with me. I showed he pictures of the boys and Ben and even her self from the last visit. I think she understands quite a bit as if Mom talked to her in Amharic she would look up but when she used English she just kept playing. It was freezing cold in the little room so we actually ended up leaving 10 minutes early. When the Nannies came to get Mari she didn't want to go. It took us all by surprise. They reached for her and she cried and tried to stay with me. The Nannies cried out in surprise and laughter and soon the guard and another nanny came over and they all tried to coax her to come to them. She would turn away and lean into me. The nannies were amazed. This is the total opposite of our last visit where she was happy enough with me but would happily jump towards them when they came to get her. I felt sad leaving as she was upset but I knew it was the last time I was going to leave her there ever!
We walked to a nearby hotel and had dinner and another macchiato. It had been raining most of the day so we were cold and tired when we finally got a taxi back to the guest house. We cleaned up and then snuggled in my big bed and watched a movie. I was out cold by 8:30. Now I hear the city waking up, birds chirping, diesels huffing up the hill, people talking and cars splashing through puddles. This mornings adventure is to hit the shops and get some Ethiopia food for lunch. This afternoon we will go collect Mari and bring her here. I don't anticipate a lot of sleep the rest of this trip so it was great to have one good night.
I am excited and nervous to become a full time mommy of a baby. I know this next week holds such huge changes for her. I know it will be scary and overwhelming for her. I know it will be overwhelming for me too, so I am so thankful that Mom is here. Mom with her no nonsense approach to life will help us tackle the 40 hour trip home. So the adventure continues. I will try to keep you posted.