But now the power is on in the care center office where families come to take care of official business and check e-mail, and we can stop to collect our thoughts and then pass them along to you. Ethiopia is billed in tourism as the land that has 13 months of sunshine. This is because Ethiopians follow the Julian calendar, with 12 typical months and then one month of only six or seven days. We've arrived to our 6-month-old daughter Mihret's homeland in the rainy season, which stretches from July to September and turns the roads to soup. But although our trip has had only sporadic bursts of sunshine through the clouds, our daughter -who we held in our arms for the first time Saturday on her six-month birthday - has become our sunshine. We love to talk to her in the little Amharic we know. The main language of Ethiopia, Amharic sounds like music. I've been trying to emulate the pitch and cadence of Mihret's nannies' voices as they coo to her in the nursery room she shares with about eight other babies. I learned that 'fandesha', the Amharic word for popcorn, also is an expression people use to describe children who often smile. Our Mihret has a smile that lights up her entire face, and she smiles at us a lot. So we have become fond of leaning in close, looking into her big, brown eyes and saying, 'Mihret fandesha.' Smiley girl. We've been able to feed Mihret her first 3-ounce bottle, change her first diaper (a wet one, thank goodness) and, many times, cup her head with its soft, loose curls in our hands and kiss her forehead. Her weight in my arms feels so right. I can't wait to share her with her grandparents, who will be waiting for us this coming Saturday at the airport.
What Kara didn't talk about is just how insane things have been here. Here's what happened. We got on the plane in Appleton. We got to Chicago. Our flight was delayed in Chicago, so we didn't make our flight in Frankfurt. We ended up flying through Cairo to get to Addis, and we got here at 3 in the morning. Our driver got the message (thanks to some expensive phone calls) but our luggage didn't get here until Monday. Must go - out of time.