Sunday, August 5, 2007

Gee, It's Good, To Be Back Home Again...

... Sometimes, this old farm... er, house... But really, John Denver jokes, folks. I'm here all week. Kara and I will go back and talk about some of the things we saw and did, but as we mentioned, the Internet was tough to come by. We were told that there would be a couple of computers with the Internet available at the guest house we were staying at, which turned out to not be the case. The paperwork we were given was talking about an older guest house. So we had to walk to the CHSFS office, which was about 15 minutes over the rocky terrain they like to call "roads" there. Of the four times we were in the office, at least once and maybe twice the power was out - so, no Internet then, either. But I digress. One of the scariest things about the trip, to my way of thinking, was coming back. World travel isn't a lot of fun most of the time - you're on a plane for hours and hours, you can't really move around, the seats don't really work for sleeping, and often the movies are terrible (Wild Hogs, I'm looking at you.). But as an adult human being, you can deal. You read your book, you listen to your MP3 player, you watch the terrible movies, and nine hours later they let you off the plane. (And then stick you on another nine hour flight.) Point being, you can rationalize the bad for the good - your spine may feel like shattered glass, yes, but there's a cute baby at the end of the line. The cute baby, however, may not be so inclined to work with you. When we got to the Addis airport at a little after 7 PM, Mihret had sacked out. We may have been riding on a bumpy "road" with no seat belts while she jounced around in her baby Bjorn, but she had decided to sleep, and I hoped she would make it through the night. She did make it through immigration and ticketing, which was nice, but then she woke up, and decided it was screamy time. Now, Kara and I both felt bad on one level, which was - poor baby, what can we do to help you. Then, on the next level were the people who were on our flight, who were giving us "oh, good, a screaming baby, thanks a LOT," looks, which was their right. But above all that was the cultural aspect - Ethiopians value kids above everything. They really do think that it takes a village, and they will get in your face about it. Not in an unkind American way, but in a loving, "must care for the cute baby!" kind of way. Eventually, I got her to calm down by NOT standing in a line with her. It seems the motion finally set on her sleep-time alarms, and she went back to sleep, and stayed that way through most of the first flight. When she wakes up, she likes to be fed and changed, so we took care of that. And things were great, until we started to land, and the air pressure just kicked her tiny booty. Luckily, a friendly flight attendant put some water in a mostly-empty bottle for us, and she made it through. For the second flight, we fed her on the way up, and then tried to play with her. But after three messy diapers and no real room to move, she started to freak about again. So she took a nap. And then she woke up, and freaked out for a bit, and took another long nap. We actually started to get worried, as her temp seemed to go up a bit each time she had a freakout. Once she was asleep, it seemed to go down... and then she woke up, and was a happy baby again. We suspect she just gave up on getting any help from Mommy and Daddy, you had nothing to offer but laps and cuddles, and take care of business herself - if bored, sleepytime. Things were okay after that. We got her some floor time in Chicago and she exercised her limbs like Richard Simmons after a cheeseburger, and then slept on the Appleton/Chicago flight. The car seat was another matter. She HATED it. Screamed the whole way home. We put her in it this morning to get it set a little better, and she screamed some more. We're headed to church in about 30 minutes, and it looks like it's gonna be a looooooooong car ride. But at least we've got seat belts again, and the streets don't resemble a gravel pit. -Josh

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