Saturday, February 7, 2009

We're in Addis!!!

We arrived safe and sound in Addis about 8:30am (Addis time). We had very good flights, connections, and checking in experiences. Airports always intimidate me, so I was very thankful that we didn't have any glitches. We were able to take our two donation bags that were overweight by 10-20 pounds each for free as well (we didn't even have to ask). The plane trip on Ethiopian was fantastic. They had the best food and the attendants were very friendly. It was heartbreaking to make a stop in Rome and not get off!! Arriving in Ethiopia was also great, too. Finding the visa counter was very easy, but we almost missed the bank to exchange currency. Right before we passed the passport security point (last checkpoint before lobby), I asked an official where to exchange and he pointed me in the right direction. I was able to turn back and get the money we needed. The exchange rate right now is about 11 birr for 1 dollar. This is quite a bit more than we were expecting. When we came out into the airport lobby we found a gentleman (not Robel) holding an America World Adoption sign. He helped us with our bags and took us to our hotel. Along the way we got an eye opening tour of Addis. There were so many sights and scenes to take in. I saw policemen wearing camouflage holding big guns, lots and lots of people walking in the streets and sidewalks, vendors selling their goods, children running in and out of people, beautiful babies strapped to their momma's backs, herds of goats in alleys, goat carcases hanging from shop windows, I really could go on and on. We arrived at our hotel and were checked into our rooms quite quickly and with attentive service. By this time it was about 10:00, and Kevin and I were exhausted. We caved into taking a nap, which we said we weren't going to do, and slept for about three hours. At this time, I have to say that I was feeling a little nervous and a bit scared about my environment, but know we need to go and get some water. So with some hesitancy, we chose a driver from a list our agency gave us and asked him to pick us up. Alezar, who was super, arrives 20 minutes later and I asked him if we could look at traditional clothing (might as well while we're out) as well as get some water. Alezar took us to a market, not the mercado, that sells mostly traditional clothing. I had so much fun walking around and smiling and talking to the people. I was surprised that there were so many who could speak english. Everyone brightens up as we walk buy, and they call out "mother, (or sister; I personally liked mother) come in here". I went into everyone's store who asked. I thought it was interesting that they never called out for Kevin to come in :) When it came time to pay, the bidding began. Alezar started me off, but by my last purchase of the day, I was doing my own bidding (my mom would be proud)!! A kid's or toddler's dress costs about $10-15 and a nice scarf costs about $5-10. After that we went to a very small shop that sold fresh produce and bottled water. We bought 6 large waters for about $3 total. We are now back at the hotel and are going to call it a day. Tomorrow we have plans to go to church with Aleazar, as he goes to a evangelical church that has a service in english. We are also hoping to go to a museum or two. Later we are excited as the two other families, Joners and Whitakers, from America World will be here. It is very surreal to be in the same vicinity as Rae. To know she is just maybe a block or two a way doesn't seem real. I cannot wait to meet her, but am waiting patiently for our big day Monday.


'becca said...

Praise the LORD for the prayers He has already answered. I spoke to you dad yesterday after school and he said things were going well. Thanks for posting and keeping all those who LOVE you all in the loop. SO excited and can't wait to hear about the magnificent union of mother, father and daughter!
praying, said...

Oh my goodness!!! I just can't believe you're actually/finally there! I have tears in my eyes!!! What a journey, and victory, for the AWAA/Branson group!! We're praying for you this week!!!!
Love you bunches!

Jamie Jo said...

I am SO excited for you! I am so proud of you! I cannot wait to see your purchases! I love you so much!

Kari:) said...

Kelly....YOU MADE IT TO ADDIS!! :))
We are sooooo happy to hear your amazing detailed update!
Our driver was remembered!!! What a wonderful man! Please tell him the Gibson family says hi. Let him know he is in our videos (does he have email#)
I feel like I'm walking thru the clothing market with you. You should have him take you to the "Post Office" shops, too.
WE are soooooo excited to see pics of Rahel!!
We are praying you home!!
Keep guzzling the water:)

Christi said...

You are in our thoughts and prayers. ~ Christi

Dietrich & Amy Lusse said...

Yeah! So happy to see you guys have made it safely! Can't wait to follow the rest of your journey this week and see Rae in your arms for the first time!!!
With many prayers,
Amy & Dietrich

beBOLDjen said...

Glad you made it! Where are you staying? EGH or Addis View?

......I'll be stalking :-)

Cynthia Matzat said...

Glad to hear you made it safely! It's so fun to be able to read about your journey. Corey says to tell your husband he misses him in class. ;) I can't wait to hear your story of seeing your daughter for the first time!

Ethiopia...part of our world said...

WOW I am so glad you arrived their safely. Embrace Ethiopia and your time! We are so excited for you!!
You are also in the Same area as my son!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Anonymous said...

You will never forget the sights and sounds of your amazing trip. Take tons of pictures and take pictures of the little things that others might not notice. You will need to share these wonderful stories as your new little one grows up. Congratulations! Happy Monday!