Saturday, February 7, 2009

We are home!

Sorry we didn't post the last 2 days of our stay in Ethiopia, but the internet wasn't working at the Guest house. But I am happy to say we have arrived home safe and sound. Although VERY LONG, the trip home was uneventful. The kids did great! (all 6 of them!) We left for the airport at 2am in Ethiopia (6pm Thursday here in South Bend). We finally arrived home at 2am Saturday morning (South Bend time). Mom and I both commented several times that Friday, February 6, 2009 will forever be the longest day of our lives! But God was definitely with us and guided us safely and peacefully all the way home!

So, just a few details about the trip... Geta started getting nervous when we were packing. There is no doubt that she knew exactly what this meant. We put all the kids to bed at 7:30, so they could get some sleep before we woke them up at 1:30am. This plan actually worked pretty well. The kids were sleepy enough that they didn't have much energy in the airport while we waited to board our first flight, but they were awake enough to still carry all their own luggage and backpacks! Tamene was thrilled to have a whole new place to explore. Thank goodness he has allowed others to entertain him. Patrick and Josh were awesome big brothers and kept Tamene "relatively close" while we got all the luggage checked in and filled out all the forms for customs. As luck would have it, there were computer problems while we were checking in, so the process took almost an hour. (Nothing goes fast in Africa! You have to just kind of go with the flow.)
Once we made it through customs, dad was kind enough to buy a shot of coffee for me. I mean that literally. What I would have given for a Starbucks coffee, but instead I got about 3 tablespoons of strong, sweet coffee. At 4am, I wasn't complaining. Geta loosened up a little bit when she saw the airplane through the window. She can't say much in English yet, but we still talk to her like she is fluent in English. She just grins and shrugs her shoulders, but I think she takes comfort when we make things "seem" normal. She watches how we are acting and when she sees all the laughter and happiness, she musters up the strength to try all these new things. She was really nervous when she heard the engines of the plane rev up for take off, but in normal Morin fashion, all our kids and daddy had their hands up in the air and were giggling and laughing. Before we even left the ground, Geta was joining in with her beautiful giggle.

We flew 4 hours to Damascus, Syria, were on the ground about an hour to refuel and add some passengers and then we were another almost 5 hours to London. We arrived on-time but realized that we were not checked in to the flight to Chicago. (Gotta love Ethiopia!) Since the plane was scheduled to leave in less than an hour, this made for another long wait while the clerk tried to find us some seats together. We literally got to the gate, walked onto the plane and were ready for take off! Tamene slept the entire 8 hour trip to Chicago, laying in between mom and I. Since he had his shoes on, Mom probably has a few bruises to show for it! Courtney, Emily and Geta slept for 7 of the 8 hours, having eaten (or picked at) dinner first.

Speaking of food, Geta was not impressed with the food on any part of our journey. She ate none of the plane food and didn't like any of the 7 varieties of snacks I brought for her. She survived on rolls, Pistachio nuts and water for the entire trip. We also learned that she hates apple juice! I am not sure I have ever met a kid who doesn't like apple juice!

Tamene, on the other hand, ate everything in site (unless he was playing his favorite game, "throw my food at daddy"). Mike was a wreck with food all over him, but Tamene was having a ball!

In Chicago, we waited again to go through customs and then submit all the paperwork for Geta and Tamene's Green Cards. Then it was off to find the bus and make our final 3 hour long bus ride home. (See picture of Emily watching the back of her eye lids at O'Hare Airport!) The bus ride home, as I am sure you can all guess, was very long! Geta stayed awake for all but the the last 1/2 hour looking out her window and taking in all the sites. I wish I could hear her thoughts. She didn't seem nervous. It was more of a curiosity about what this new place was like. She has no idea what all the white stuff is, but definitely equates it with being cold! Tim, Aimee and Susi had dropped off both our vans at the ND bookstore, so we were able to get everyone (and all the luggage) home. I promptly fed all the kids some oatmeal in the hopes that they would sleep longer and at 3am, it was lights out. All the kids slept upstairs in our room. Geta and Courtney squeezed into Geta's bed and Tamene slept all by himself, with only a few wimpers in his sleep! That is definite progress and I was getting tired of having a fiesty toddler in my bed!

Oh and did I mention that Tamene is TERRIFIED of Oscar (our cat)! He screams bloody murder whenever he sees or hears Oscar. That is not exactly what I needed when trying to get 6 tired kids in bed at 3am!

Tamene (having slept well along the journey) was up and raring to go at 6:45am, so I have not had much sleep in the last 48 hours, but I plan to go to bed very early tonight!

By the way, check out the outfit that Tamene entered the US in! Go Irish!

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