Saturday, August 7, 2010

Back from Ethiopia: Addis Ababa Court Trip

We arrived in Addis Sunday night, and we were pretty exhausted from the long plane ride. We made our way through the airport, first time ever that my baggage claim tickets were actually checked. They actually x-ray your lugguage on the way out of the airport, so that was a little different. Sidenote to future travelers: the porters outside the airport are very determined, and if they so much as even move your suitcase from the ground to a taxi, they will expect a tip. It's a good idea to have a few 5 birr notes especially for this. We met all of our fellow court travelers at the airport (and it was a large group of 15 families), and headed to the agency guesthouse. As it turned out, our room was up four flights of stairs, so I soon saw the drawbacks of both my mom and I taking two suitcases each. Then again, on the way back I appreciated all the space in those two suitcases for all the things I bought.

The next morning, we headed straight to the care center where I met Child #4. I was especially nervous about that because by all accounts she does not take well to strangers, and she's described as a serious child. She is fourteen months old, but she was with the babies. I was actually thankful for that because it meant that I would get to have one on one time with her. She initially cried when everyone came in, but the nanny insisted on passing her to me. She calmed down quickly and spent the next hour and a half sitting in my lap and watching people around her, then she fell asleep toward the end. The next day went very similar, but she made a lot more eye contact with me. She really enjoyed chewing my finger and went right to sleep. She smelled wonderful, and her hair is soft. She has big lips and big eyes, but she doesn't smile or babble much. I wonder if she will be like this on the plane ride home, and what will her personality be like when she is secure in our love. That night, we went to the Yod Abyssinia Cultural Restaurant for dinner. We ate traditional Ethiopian food. I love injera, but I am not so good with the spicy meats. My favorite is actually the cabbage and the lentils. There is wonderful dancing, and it makes me wish I had my camcorder instead of the digital camera.

The day after that we have free time for shopping and exploring. It was a very fun day, and I love all the shopkeepers that I meet. I buy traditional outfits, tshirts, necklaces and coffee at the first store, and the lady has fun teaching me the correct way to say Ah-ma-say-guh-nah-lo (thank you). In another store, an old man visibly enjoys bartering with me over a goatskin drum. I notice belatedly that he's missing fingers. He is so adept that it doesn't seem to affect his cashiering skills. I love shopping, but getting to know the people was almost as fun. I fall asleep early that night. It seems like I'm getting up earlier and earlier, which is totally out of character for this night owl.

Day 4 is court day and I'm wide awake before the sun comes up. I go on our balcony and take photos of the neighborhood waking up, and all the colorful birds that I constantly hear chirping. I am meticulous with my makeup and clothes, and I'm ready to go two hours before it's time to leave. I end up going up and down the stairs aimlessly trying to burn off my nervous energy. Court turns out to be more mundane than I've built it up to be. When my turn comes, I go into an office, give my passport and POA from hubby, and sit in a chair. The judge is kind, but very soft spoken. She asks a few questions about our family and preparation to adopt, and I answer her in a shaky voice. When she says, "then she's all yours" I thank her three times and almost forget my passport. I have to go in the hallway because I burst into tears. I am so grateful that it has finally happened. She is ours and we are hers. I finally know that she is definitely coming home.

After we leave the court building, we drive to Entoto mountain road to visit a weaving shop set up for the women fuel carriers. Those are the women that carry up to 200 pounds of wood on their back on the mountain road, which they sell for people to cook with. The weaving shop is an alternative to selling wood. I bought quite a few scarves there. I have never seen so many beautiful scarves in so many colors. They are all woven by hand on looms. There are a few boys there that get a kick out of seeing short videos that I've taken of them weaving. Afterwards, we head back to the guesthouse and pack all our things. We will be heading north to Lalibela tomorrow morning, but that will have to be... in another post.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The trip was awesome and unforgettable! I am so glad I could come with you, you are a great planner and barterer! Can't wait til the newest grandchild is home. Mom