Wow, where to start! We left KC on Sunday March 7th and finally made it to Ethiopia Tuesday morning about 7:30 am. We should have arrived Monday night but we missed our connecting flight in Germany, lets just say that Monday was one of the worst days of our lives. Anyway I will spare you all the details but we purchased new tickets and flew out Monday night.
Tuesday: We finally arrived to the HOH2 where we unpacked and showered! Best shower of my life!They said they would bring Marley to us and we figured it would be around lunch time so we took a short nap to catch up on all that lost sleep. It was about 12:30 when they arrived with her and we saw our sweet baby for the first time! We spent the rest of the day enjoying her, meeting all the other families and enjoying the 70 degree weather. The HOH2 has a great court yard and we really enjoyed sitting out there and soaking up the sun.
Wednesday: We went to the Hilton that morning to look around and to just get out. We went back to HOH for lunch and got ready for the Visa appointment which took most of the afternoon. It was again a beautiful day and we were one of the first families to go so we enjoyed the rest of the time sitting outside instead of the hot little room they put everyone in.
Thursday: That morning we ran to the store to buy more formula. We then went back to the Hilton for lunch which Kris and I both really needed. We ate with one of the other families also staying at HOH. I think we paid $50 dollars for the meal but we did not care. Later that afternoon we went to the Ethiopian National Museum. This is something that Kris really enjoyed.
Friday: This day Kris and I got to visit Marley's orphanage where they had a nice coffee ceremony for us. It was a very small orphanage and only had about 10 babies there. The staff remembered Marley and were excited to see her. There was also another family with us so we got to go to there orphanage also. This one was bigger and had a lot of older kids. Kris loved it there, Marley had fallen asleep on my lap so we did not get out of the van but Kris made a lot of new friends! He got some great video of the boys showing off their soccer tricks! Friday night I started packing for our journey home.
Saturday: This was shopping day, all the families went so we had a great time. We bought several different clothing items for Marley as she gets older. We also bought some coffee to bring back to a few people and then everyone went back to the HOH for a traditional Ethiopian meal and coffee. Us ladies also got the chance to make injera which is the staple of all Ethiopian meals. After all the activities had died down we headed up to the room to pack and get ready for the adventure home.
Flight home: Marley was wonderful the entire trip home. We also were traveling with another CHI family to Chicago, which was wonderful to have the company! We made it back to KC on Sunday, March 14th to a wonderful crowd of familiy waiting to welcome the newest member.
HOH2: for those of you staying there I have some tips. Meals are at 8, 12 and 6. They do usually come and let you know when they are ready. They have glass bottled pop and plently of bottled water for use. After every meal we would grab 2 or 3 bottles to take to the room with us. We did have 3 days without power for a few hours each time, two of the times were in the evening so take flashlights, more than one because one of our stopped after about 15 minutes of use. Take towels, we did and then left them. If you need one just ask and they will bring you some. There was also no convertor in our room, but luckily we had taken one. Not for sure what happens to the converters because I know several people in the past have left theirs behind and we didn't have one in our room. We left ours there too but you should probably bring one just to be on the safe side. There was not a lot of down time, there was usually a morning activity but then they would have you back by lunch, then an afternoon activity but back by dinner. It was okay not to attend the outings if you did not want to. Also, if you're staying in one of the suites and have a window overlooking the schoolyard, you will notice a little shanty house to the left of the schoolyard. Make sure you wave to the little girls there every chance you get. They were so sweet and seemed to be staring out there door waiting for an American to peek their heads out the window. You could just barely show your face and they would all run out (2 sisters and a little brother) waving and blowing kisses. The little bro also did his best Michael Jackson performance for us! It was hilarious! He looked like a little James Brown out there. We tossed them down some M&Ms and the mother came out blowing us kisses. What a sweet family! You will fall in love with them :)
It was the trip of a life time. Marley is the best baby ever! She is sleeping all night and is doing great! It is hard to imagine our life without her!