Monday, August 15, 2011

Journaling our Ethiopia Trip - Day 1

(Keep in mind some of these are bags of orphanage donations! And yes, those are fuzzy dog feet in the left background and drying swimsuits on a chair - ordinary life intersecting with the extraordinary)

Friday, July 29th we began our trip to Ethiopia. Our flight left at 12:30pm.

The adventure began at home that morning, around the breakfast table with the 4 year old's chair very noticeably empty (he had already gone to his Nana & Papa's house) and an unsettling quiet in his absence, the end of the meal brought the discovery that the malaria medicine prescribed by our travel medicine doctor we were supposed to begin that day included swallow pills, rather than liquid medicine, for our kids. Our 8 year old and 5 year old have never swallowed pills before!

My husband and I demonstrated the technique with our own malaria medicine. They were pretty tiny pills as pills go and they've gotta learn some day!

My 8 year old son attempted. The pill along with a good bit of water was spit out over and over again, to the point that we worried the pill was going to dissolve away.

My 5 year old daughter watched her brother's attempts and then refused (and really who could blame her after the show her brother had put on) to try it herself. My husband had the brilliant idea that the kids could just chew up the pills, even though they were not really designed for such a consumption method. The kids got them down, but I was gagging at the thought as I grabbed the bag of chocolate candies I'd packed for the plane and handed one to each kid to get rid of the taste!

That routine was repeated twice a day for about two days until we learned from a reliable source that despite what the Internet had said, there was no real malaria risk in either Addis Ababa, Ethiopia or Mekele, Ethiopia (our 2 Africa destinations) and we all stopped taking the medicine.

The rest of the morning we left was spent rushing around. No matter how well prepared I feel I am to leave town the night before, the morning of always presents more tasks than time really comfortably allows for.

And no trip to the airport for our family would be complete without my husband worrying we won't make our flight! I kept insisting we had plenty of time, but then we encountered some weather that got even me scared.

After months and months and months of NO RAIN, drought like we haven't seen in a century, there was suddenly a massive downpour, near blinding rain right there on the interstate! We encountered the only outer band of tropical storm Don I believe our entire city got! Traffic was snarled and I began praying.

We did end up making the flight with time to spare, praise God! We flew Emirates with an overnight stop in Dubai. The service was outstanding and the food was pretty good. They even gave the kids these cool snack boxes for in between meals. I packed way more snacks in our carry-ons than we needed!

On the plane the kids were enthralled with the in-seat entertainment. Their very own screen on the back of the seat in front of them with video games, movies, music! We pretty drastically limit screen time at home so they were very excited about their unlimited time on the plane. They were so entertained there really was no whining or complaining during the long flight.

Although, about 2 hours into the 15 hour flight my daughter asked, "Are we in Dubai?" And she proceeded to ask that question every time there was an announcement of any sort over the speaker for rough air, etc.

My 8 year old son slept for a couple hours. My husband and I just dozed a bit here and there. My 5 year old daughter fell asleep literally for the last 6 minutes of the flight! The last 6 MINUTES of a 15 HOUR flight! But, at least she was happy and not bothering me for those 14 hours and 45 minutes of awake time! Girl watched a million episodes of this koala bear cartoon show!

I had fun perusing the vast music selection and created my own awesome playlist. There's just nothing like combing Taylor Swift and Moby and Fleetwood Mac and Kenny Rogers! My husband and son were in the row in front of my daughter so I passed notes that said things like, "Album 347, song 5". At first my husband expressed disgust that I was having him listen to a Kenny Rogers album, but even he ended up becoming a fan of some
"You Decorated my Life." It's good stuff, just click on the song title to listen yourself!

Dubai is, um, sandy. Really! Who knew it was a huge, bustling, modern city right smack dab in the middle of the desert? Okay, maybe people who actually paid attention in world geography class, but I was amazed as we flew in over all that sand!

That brings us well into Saturday, so stay tuned for day 2 coming soon (or whenever I actually feel like writing it). I know you're on the edge of your seat!


  1. I am on the edge of my seat! It's like reading a suspense novel! I want to hear all the details and I'm taking notes! I love reading about all who traveled before - I can almost picture myself there :)

  2. Ok - waiting for more!

    I'm surprised that you took antimalarials - want to hear more about that decision.

    Email me if you have a few minutes!

    Or if you want to meet up at a bouncy place or something even better. My kids need to burn off some energy to say the least.


I'd love to hear what you think!