Thursday, July 28, 2011

Days 1 & 2. Meet Oziopia and our driver, Abey!

So I still can't stay awake past 8:30... but I did get something written about the first days of our trip!!

We left for Addis early on Sunday morning, so Saturday night we needed to drop Allyn off at our friend's house, where she'd be staying for part of our trip.  And it just so happened that we had a get-together with our Ethiopia Adoption Group on Saturday night.  I can think of no better way to spend the evening before traveling for court than around a group of friends who know what you're going through. We had a great night and dropped Allyn off with no problems. She was so excited to be there she just said bye with a little wave and I had to ask for a hug & a kiss!

Our flights there were no problem (oh don't worry, we paid for that on the way home!). We didn't have much of a layover in Dulles, just a few hours, so we let Riley run around as much as possible.  The flight was only 12 hours since we had a direct flight and it wasn't so bad.  Riley didn't sleep quite as much as we had hoped but otherwise it was okay.  I noted in my journal to remember that Riley watched Ice Age 2 (he watched it twice, actually) and turned to me and said "It's too bad Allyn's not here because this movie is hilarious!"

He was also quite impressed with the socks and eye mask they give you on international flights:

When we got to Addis, Riley fell asleep in the car on the way to the guest house. And we couldn't wake him!! So we decided to let him sleep an hour or so. I fell asleep too. We finally got him awake enough to go for a little walk around the neighborhood with Ehete and Amelewerk, the two teenage daughters of Ayalech, who owns the guest home.

Oziopia - our guest house!

Guest houses aren't exactly what you think.  We don't really have anything like it here in the US.  You actually stay in a family's home with them.  In our guest home, the family slept in a different area of the house and we had a room upstairs with a bathroom, but once we came downstairs we were in their living room, and ate at their dining room table with them.  For us Americans, it sounds uncomfortable, but let me tell you, it's not at all!  The family that runs Oziopia consists of Ayalech, the mom, and then Abebe the oldest brother, who is 23 and just graduated from high school, then Ehete and Amelewerk his two younger sisters.  They are so sweet and so welcoming.  If you know Riley, you know he takes awhile to warm up to things. He's not often comfortable in new situations.  By the time we got back from our walk on the first day, Riley was playing on the floor with Amelewerk and every day after that he'd ask us as soon as he got up if he could go ahead and go downstairs so he could see everyone. We felt at home there and that really meant a lot.

Our Room

The view from our window - lots of construction in Addis Ababa!
We really loved staying there.  Ayalech's food is incredible. Seriously.  One day she made us spaghetti and it was honestly the best spaghetti I've ever had in my life. And Abebe was wonderful about explaining Ethiopian culture and told us some of the most important things we should teach to our youngest about his heritage.  I cried when we left!
excuse the bad picture... but be sure to ask me about it 'cause it's a pretty funny story!

And meet Abey, our awesome driver!

Abey is 27 and used to work driving taxis. He's been a driver with Gladney for about 2 years, I think.  And he says he likes that job much better.  We loved him. He was unbelievably helpful.  We had a few miscommunications because of language issues but overall he was just wonderful!  We pretty much just told him every day the places we wanted to go and he'd take us and help us with anything we needed while we were there.  I told him I wanted a regular injera plate, not a tourist one, so that I could use it to actually serve injera on and he showed up with it wrapped in wrapping paper and gave it to me as a present!  He also brought Riley a t-shirt, also all wrapped up when he picked us up from Gondar.  And he was Riley's best friend while we were there, aside from Amelewerk.  The picture above is from a time when Riley was grouchy, tired and kind of done with the day.  He spent 2 minutes with Abey and check out that smile! I miss Abey already.

That night we ate dinner with the family (yummy Ethiopian food) and all headed straight for bed immediately after. We were exhausted from traveling.

But before my head hit the pillow, I had one final thought: TOMORROW we'd go meet our sweet little one....

1 comment:

  1. lovely reading a great book, I can't wait for the next update!!!
    best love to all......'auntie'


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