Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Trippy Thoughts Day 4 continued

So, that was obviously the BIG part of day 4. Meeting Teg was better than anything we could have imagined! Driving away from the home without him was very difficult, but we felt good knowing that he was healthy and loved. Duni told us that we were in for a treat that afternoon, all the ladies were going to have a spa day! We headed directly over to the Boston Spa and signed up for massages and manicures and pedicures. This was going to be MUCH needed after the emotion and tension earlier in the day. Sabrina and I had massages first. They took us downstairs into a really cool room, it felt kind of like a cave with rocks and a water. We put our robes on and two ladies came in and washed our hands and feet in perfumed water. That was sooooo nice. Then we laid down on tables and got the absolute, most perfect, wonderful massage ever! I mean, it was heavenly! Those Ethiopian ladies know how to give a massage! Sabrina and I both just laid there and enjoyed every single minute. This was Sabrina's first massage and she was loving life! Uh-oh, I think I may have made a big mistake in introducing her to this!!! :)))) After those awesome massages we went back upstairs and waited for our manicures. Sabrina and I both got a parrafin wax treatment and a really nice manicure. We felt like new creatures after all the pampering! It was so wonderful and such a fun thing to do with Sabrina! And when it came time to pay the bill, I had total reverse sticker shock. The total bill, including tip for all the treatments for both of us was $45!!!! Are you kidding me?!?!?! I think I will move to Ethiopia! :)))

After the spa time, we met back up wtih the guys, drove back to the guest house and got ready for dinner. The whole group was going to a traditional Ethiopian dinner. We loaded on the bus and headed over. It was a small restaraunt and we were a large group, but they sorta crammed us all in and started the show. There was a live band and 4 dancers. They were amazing! It was so cool to watch. They brought us our food, but it was mostly lamb with strange globs of stuff on a huge piece of injera. Once again, Sabrina and I really didn't eat, but Bruce had at it! We laughed and had a great time with our "travel buddies. At one point Greg, a dad from our group, got up with the Ethiopian band and started rapping about our trip. It was great! Toward the end of the dinner, Sabrina and I had to go to the bathroom, which was out of the building and around a corner. Well, next thing I know, Bruce is yelling for us outside. I come out of the bathroom to find that they had almost left without us!!! Bruce included! They had all gotten on the bus and where headed down the alley when Bruce says, "It seems like someone is missing." Hmmm, could it be YOUR WIFE AND DAUGHTER?!?!?!?! They slammed on the brakes and Bruce came searching for us. He got a lot of flack for that for the rest of the trip!
We got back to our room and just collapsed. It had been such a long, eventful day and we were pooped! Tonight would be our last night without Teg. What a good feeling that was.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Trippy Thoughts Day 4 "The Big Day!"

So, day 2 in Ethiopia! The day! The day we had been waiting for for literally years and years. The day we meet Teg! How do you even begin to put into words what this day feels like? How do you realistically express all the emotions, conversations, thoughts, hopes, etc.? Well, I'll do my best....So, we actually got a good nights sleep and woke up ready to face one of the biggest days of our lives. We went upstairs and had breakfast. At this point, I still wasn't eating a whole lot, everything made me nervous, and I had an anxious stomach, but man, the coffee there is UNBELIEVEABLE!!!!! (For all you coffee drinkers, it's worth a trip to Ethiopia just to experience the coffee!) Of course, Bruce chowed down and was so happy that it was a buffet style breakfast. Can you see a pattern here? It's all about the food for Bruce, and I'm a nervous nellie! We went down to the lobby and met the rest of the families that we would be spending the week with. It was instant bonding. We loved every single family that we were with and will always hold a special place in our hearts for them and their children. We were told to meet in the lobby, I think around 10. Well, we quickly learned that everything is on Ethiopia time, and we didn't get moving from the lobby until closer to noon. While it was a great time to get to know the other families, we were all anxious to move along! We finally met Robel, who would be our tour guide, friend, translator, etc. Basically, he kept us moving the entire week. We LOVE Robel, what an awesome man of God he is and we will NEVER forget him or his ministry in ET. So....we FINALLY loaded up on the bus and headed to the Hilton where we would have lunch and do the final paperwork before meeting our kiddos.

The Hilton was lovely. We sat outside and divided up into 2 groups. One group did all the paperwork with Duni (she works for America World and lives in ET full time to help with the process. Another angel!) and the other group sat and chatted. Guess who did the paperwork for our family? Yep, that would be me. It was funny, because you could tell that all of us doing the paperwork were "battle scarred" from ALL the paperwork we had done to get us to this point. We must have asked Duni a hundred questions! Every little detail was a stress to us! We just wanted to get it right so there wouldn't be any problems. We ordered lunch, but a lot of us just couldn't eat, we were a bundle of nerves! (Bruce had no problem eating, of course!) After a couple of hours, we finally finished up and starting loading the bus to head to the Transition Home. It was finally happening! We were going to meet Teg! We got into the bus and there was quite a bit of chatter and laughing, everyone was so happy that we were on our way! The buzz in the bus continued until we turned into what looked like a neighborhood, and almost instantly the bus got quiet as we realized that we were getting close. Someone pointed out the clinic where our kids had all been taken to get immunizations, and then we KNEW we were only a few blocks away. We turned a corner and down the street we saw a gate with the America World sign above it. There were gasps and instant tears all over the bus. Behind that gate were our kids. Teg was right there....The guard opened the gate and we pulled into a long driveway and Duni explained to us that she was going to bring the kids out in alphabetical order by last name. At his point I am thinking, " Why do we have to be Watson?????" We would be last!!! We got off the bus and just stood there staring at the house. Was this really happening? Had we really made it? What would Teg look like? Smell like? Would he respond to us? Would he be happy? Healthy? All of our questions, questions that we had had for months now, were about to be answered! The first family came out with their baby boy and the tears and laughter just started flowing. Duni started bringing kids out one by one at this point, and it actually moved pretty quickly. We took pictures and video for other people and just tried to soak up the moment. There are no words to describe standing there watching all these families come together. It was such a beautiful moment and it is burned into my brain forever. All of sudden we heard someone say "Watson family" and we all just stood there, in shock, shaking, crying, waiting...then, just like that, out walks Duni with our beautiful baby boy in her arms! She handed him to me and I just grabbed him and held him tight. I cannot put into words how it feels to wait for a baby for years and years, then travel half way around the world, and have someone walk over to you and hand you this absolutely precious, beautiful, perfect baby. He was very calm, very sweet. He had on a striped outfit with a matching hat. He smelled sweet, he felt soft. Bruce took him from me and held him so tight. He hugged him and kissed him and talked to him. Then Sabrina took him. That's when it really hit me. They were so beautiful children. Brother and sister. She instantly loved him and it showed. I could see that she had waited and dreamed of this moment just as much as we had. It was one of those "I'll never forget this as long as I live" moments. The 4 of us (we were from this moment forward a family of 4!!) walked over to the grassy area and just sat. We stared at, kissed on, played with, and just completely smothered Teg. He was very sweet and very quiet. He just kind of stared at us. I think, when I look back now, he was just totally overwhelmed and a little bit in shock. We sat outside and just enjoyed being a foursome and enjoyed watching everyone else with their kids. We walked around inside the house and peeked inside the room where Teg had spent the last 3 months of his life. It's hard to describe. It was a small room with cribs lining all the walls. There were 2-3 babies in each crib. There were 2 mattresses on the floor with 4-5 babies on each. Some of the babies were so, so small. It took my breath away when I saw them, they were so tiny, and some, were very fragile. The room was sparse, but what caught my attention more than the lack of "things" were the nannies. There were about 4 nannies in that room, just moving from one baby to the other, holding them, kissing them, smiling at them. I KNEW right then and there that although Teg had not had much "stuff" in his little life, he had gotten plenty of love. That's all that mattered to me. He had gotten hugs, kisses, and smiles. That just made my heart feel full. While we were touring the home Teg fell asleep in my arms. I was in heaven! He was so cuddly and content! The absolute WORST part of that day was when the time came that we had to say goodbye. We had spent about 2 hrs there and we were all leaving the kids there for their last night with their nannies. Wow, that was really hard! To have to hand him back was difficult, but I felt peace about it. I knew that he was loved, and I knew that he was ours. Tomorrow we would come back for him, and we would never have to give him back.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Trippy Thoughts Day 3

So, on Sunday morning (which was Easter Sunday in the states) we got up early and drove to the airport in Dubai. We were on our way to Ethiopia!!!! We met up with 2 families that we would be spending the week with, so that was fun to finally meet some of the people that I had been chatting with for months and months now. We were once again bumped to business class for the flight to Addis Ababa, so that was a nice surprise. It was a quick flight (well, at least it seemed quick, it was actually about 4 1/2 hrs). When we landed it just completely overwhelmed me that I was in Africa and that we were mere miles away from Teg now! It was an out of body experience!

The minute we stepped off the plane and into the airport, I knew we were in a totally different world. The airport was very old and pretty run down. We immediately got in a line to get our visas. I remember Sabrina and I giggling because the official sign on the door was made using those foam kids craft letters and the i was missing. The visa "office" was a few people sitting behind folding tables with pens and paperclips and they were handwriting everything, no computers, not even staplers! It was like stepping back in time! We finally got through that, got all of our luggage (again PTL!!!) and exchanged some money. It was funny because they checked our baggage to our claim tickets 3 times and we were the only people picking up luggage. And then they sent them through the "security check" to leave the airport! It was pretty funny!
When we stepped out of the airport, we just kind of stood there and took it all in. We were with Dan and Kirstin Bartel and Amber Jones and her friend Danielle. We just couldn't stop saying "I can't believe we are here!!!" The landscape was beautiful and the sky was cloudy, like it was gonna rain at any minute. We met our driver and got into the van that would take us to the Addis View Guest House.
We were all pretty quiet as we drove, just looking out the window and soaking it all up. I noticed right away how absolutely beautiful the people were, and how much poverty there was. I wasn't surprised, but it is still a lot to take in. There were SO many people everywhere, walking, herding sheep, selling trinkets, everywhere you looked there were people.
After about 20 min or so we arrived at the guest house. Right away the doorman and workers jumped in and were so sweet and incredibly helpful getting all our bags and getting us settled. They were awesome! We checked in (on the 5th floor, we did A LOT of stair climbing that week!) and decided to rest for awhile. 4 hrs later we realized that we had zonked out and had taken a good nap. We all felt much better. We met up with the Bartels, Chad and Kim Kulp and Megan and Steve Crowell and Megans mom to go to dinner. We decided to venture out and went to a restaurant called the Safari Room. It was a really cool place and they had very good pizza. I think the bill for the 3 of us for dinner and drinks was around $15 US! When we got back to the van, it was pouring rain and thundering and lightening, it was really cool! We enjoyed the evening, getting to know some of the families and seeing a bit of Addis. We went to bed that night, and all we kept saying was "we're gonna meet Teg tomorrow!!!!" It was totally unbelievable that we had come this far, and we were down to a few hours!!!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Trippy Thoughts Day 2

So, after a 16 hr flight, which was purely enjoyable, we landed in Dubai at about 7 pm their time. We just kept looking at each other saying, "I can't believe we are in the Middle East!". We walked through the airport and it was weird because it was like a ghost town, totally empty. It is a beautiful airport, totally modern and super clean.

Right away we noticed the signs written in Amaric and the signs that pointed to the prayer rooms.

That was weird, we'd never been in a Muslim country before, so this was a new sight. We got our luggage and said a prayer of thanks that all of our bags made it with us. Bruce was snapping pictures and taking some video, when a scary looking military guy stopped us and took our video camera and made Bruce erase everything he had taken there in the airport. Definitely a little scary and HUGE reminder that we were not in the US anymore!!! We got a taxi and went to our hotel. We had dinner that night at Chili's. I know, pretty exotic! They pretty much have all American restaurants there, the only difference was they don't serve alcohol. We went to bed since it was night time and we really couldn't see much.The next day, we got up, had breakfast in the hotel and then headed out to explore Dubai.

We first went to the Dubai mall. The mall was very nice, everything very high end, very clean, very modern. The only difference was the entire wing of the mall that sold burkas of every size, color and style you can imagine. Never seen that before! We walked outside the mall to look at all the amazing architecture and beautiful landscaping. We saw the tallest building in the world and again noticed how absolutely clean and modern everything was.

It was extremely hot, and actually a little bit humid, which I didn't expect. I mean, it's the desert, I thought it would be super dry!! Silly me! The landscape in Dubai can basically be summed up by saying the buildings were impressive, everything was super clean and modern, but the land was VERY brown and dusty and flat. Kind of like Vegas (minus the alcohol and gambling!)
That afternoon we were picked up in a Landcruiser to go on a desert safari. We were driven about 20 or 30 miles outside of the city, and just when I was thinking "where in the world are we going and was this really a good idea..." the driver flies off the road, over a sand dune and stops with 2 other cars. To be honest, I was sitting there thinking, "have we just been driven to our deaths??? Here we are, in the middle of NOWHERE in the Middle East, no one knows where we are, we don't know these guys from a whole in the wall..." While they were having a smoke, I was getting sweatly palms and wishing I had left a farewell note! Haha! Then, just as fast as we had stopped, we zoomed off toward the desert, up and over sand dunes as fast as that car would take us! I have never felt anything like that before! Sand was blowing past our windows and Sabrina and I were hanging on for dear life While we were white knuckling it in the back seat, Bruce was laughing and having a grand ol time in the front seat! This was right up his alley!!

We just whipped up and down sand dunes, left, right, up, down, it was CRAZY!!! There was a very sweet, older seikh couple in the car with us, and at one point, he says in his British accent, "Pull over man, I'm going to be sick!!!" Funny stuff! After about a half hour of this craziness we finally reach our destination, the absolute middle of NOTHING!! There was a huge tent type thing with tables and pillows for seating. This was where we were going to have dinner. There was a hooka lounge, a prayer tower, and small shops. Think the desert version of a Hawaiian luau. Before the sunset, we rode camels and took some amazing pictures.

Sabrina and I got henna on our hands,

and we watched a belly dance show. The food was ok at best. I really didn't even know what a lot of it was, so I didn't eat much. Neither did Sabrina. Bruce chowed down.

We drove back pretty late that night, that was pretty scary! Those drivers are CRAZY! Even on the roads, there were a couple of times Sabrina and I were scared to death! Bruce? He was asleep in the front seat! I was so thankful to make it back to our hotel that night! I felt like a survivor!! (Can you tell I'm not an experienced traveler???) But I do remember sitting there, in the middle of the Dubai desert, listening to the music, watching the sunset, thinking how amazed I was that we were there, and that tomorrow, we were off to Africa! Whose life was I living??? I don't do things like this! But, by the grace of God, here I was, and we were about to set off on what was going to be one of the greatest, most rewarding weeks of our lives!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Trippy Thoughts

OK, so it's been 2 months since we have been home, and I thought I really better write down all the things that I remember from our trip, or they will be gone from this cluttered brain forever! So, here we go with Day 1......Thurs. April 9th, 2009, we left home for LAX. Mom and Dad took us to the airport and we said our goodbyes. (my mom was looking at me like this was going to be the last time she ever saw us! LOL!) We checked in, no problem, and went to wait at the gate. We were taking a short flight to San Francisco, and flying to Dubai from there. My stomach was in knots sitting there waiting, and then to make it worse, they kept delaying our flight. One hour, two hours...I was turning into a bundle of nerves because if we missed our flight in San Fran, we would have to wait 2 days to catch the next flight to Dubai! I starting texting all of my prayer warriors and asked for everyone to be praying that we would make it. I was so annoyed because they were delaying because of fog in San Fran. Are you kidding me???? When is there NOT fog is San Fran??? Anyway, we finally got on and took off. Whew!!!! But it was going to be close. We landed and literally jogged to the check in desk at Emirates, but no one was there! UGH!!! We started walking around looking for someone to help us, and the most helpful man appeared (I swear he was an angel!) and told us he would take care of everything and told us to go get something to eat and relax, he would not let the plane leave without us! What a godsend!! So, we did what he told us to do, then got to the counter to find out that they had given our seats away! BUT, this was a GOOD THING!!!! In fact a GREAT THING, because they bumped us to business class! The three of us were doing the happy dance all of the way down the jetway to get on the plane! All I can say is that Emirates business class ROCKS BIG TIME!!!! I think the funniest part was the way we reacted...think the Beverly Hillbillies in First Class! LOL!!! We were just amazed and mesmerized by everything, from the champagne and OJ and sushi appetizer to the flat screen tvs and fully reclinable seats with massagers in them! Bruce got more and more excited with each meal and snack that came! He was in food heaven!!! OK, I hate to fly, and this flight was so nice I really could have gone more that 16 hrs, it was that enjoyable! The best part about it was I really felt like God was saying to me "Relax, I got this! This trip is ordained by Me, and I will see you through." From that point on, the knots in my stomach were gone, and I had a peace that we were going to not only get through the trip, but it was going to be the trip of a lifetime!

Are we gonna make the flight????

There is the plane.

What is better than this?

Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Baby Gap?

Gap Baby?, originally uploaded by Digital Giant.

Here is our little Teggy. He is sitting up nicely now as you can see. That makes for better pictures.

We meet teg

Here you all go. This is one of the best days of our lives. We hope you feel the emotion as we did.