Our Monday flight from Dubai to Ethiopia was a “quick” 4 hours and we arrived there a little after 1:30 p.m. Dad rushed us off the plane and into the Visa line to beat the crowd. Surprise…visa prices had gone up $30 each since his last trip. Darn.
All morning you could tell that anxiety levels were a little elevated. It showed in some of us more than others. I gave the kids one last pep talk as we headed into baggage claim. It was probably all forgotten by the time we waited nearly an hour to collect our 3 large bags. (Are you impressed with our packing skills? I was.)
We headed out through those double doors to the greeting area. Off to the right I first spotted our guesthouse driver with our name on the paper. About the same time, the kids family came from the opposite direction. I gave the driver a quick “hey, that’s us” nod before we were surrounded with everyone. I kind of lost count but I think there were at least 8 or 10 family & friends that were there. I think I hugged our friend Pastor Fekadu first. (His wife is best friends with an aunt of the kids.)
In Ethiopia they great you by kissing each cheek (sort of like the French). Sometimes you get a repeat and it ends up being 3 or 4 so it takes awhile to get through everyone.
When I turned around I saw Grammie (that’s what we’ve always called their Ethiopian grandmother) walking slowly toward me with roses in her hand. We reached out to greet each other and kind of stalled out on the first cheek kiss and ended up just clutching each other and crying. We finally managed to finish our greeting and she could then hug and kiss the kids and Mark. They got much the same greeting as I did.
You could tell everyone was amazed at how the kids had grown.
When we finally finished all the hellos we decided that we would all go and have coffee somewhere. That gave us a chance to visit for a bit but they also realized we’d be tired and wanted to let us settle in.
Someone took some pictures of the airport greeting session but I haven’t gotten them. I did capture the one above of Grammie & Luke. She wouldn’t let him go and she walked with him all the way to the van.
We were quite the crowd at the coffee shop. Between our drive and a couple of the family members who speak good English we did okay. Grammie was pretty quiet – soaking it all in I think. After we left we got checked into the guesthouse which was without electricity (never fails). Even after we got back from dinner it was still out. So we got ready for bed by candlelight. A couple people got quick, lukewarm showers and we were out.