**Sorry for not updating this earlier today!! I got plenty of texts from people who followed along on the trip asking if I made it home or not! I did. **
Back to last night:
When I got back to my guest house in Addis (after walking up to other one for wifi), all of the Hope Chest staff was there to say good bye to us. Karen collected money from all of us earlier in the day to give them. They really are all just great people. Such amazing staff they have there - I just love them all! They printed out appreciation certificates with all of our names on them and went on and on about how we are the backbone of that organization and how much they love and appreciate us. Read some bible verses - one from Hebrews about how God will not forget the work we have done here - and prayed with us. Said they really hoped to see us again in ethiopia, but if not, they knew we would all meet again one day in heaven. There weren't many dry eyes in the room when it was all said and done!
|Misikre, ? (can't remember his name!), Fikre, Alex, Yifruit|
We got to the airport about 7:15 - 3 hours early!! I dont think I've ever been to an airport that early for a flight, but everything takes forever with 25 people. We said our final goodbyes to the HopeChest staff and headed for the airport.
I was the first one in and breezed through the first security check just to get in to the airport. The line to check in and get our boarding pass wasn't too long. I was a little worried they were going to try and make me check my giant backpack since it weighs way over the 15 pound limit, PLUS I have TWO other small bags I'm carrying too - and two is all your allowed. So when I got up to the ticket counter, I just started talkif away to the guy working to try and distracts him, and it worked! He didn't even ask me if I had any bags, and the ticket counter was so high there, I'm not even sure he saw how much I had! So I thought I was in the clear and was all excited...until I turned the corner and there was a guy at he entrance to immigration weighing bags and making sure they fit in the ridiculously small baggage limits. I quickly decided I would just play the dumb American and walk right past him (and the line) while he wasn't looking. Well, that didn't work! I made it past him, and kept going when I heard him hollering at me, but he grabbed me and said I needed to come back. Dang it! I just knew I was screwed. There was absolutely no way my backpack was fitting in that lite square, and I knew it weighed at least 25 pounds! So when I got up there, he said it had to fit... So I started shoving. It didn't fit. He was irritated and the line behind me was growing. He said he had to weigh it so to put it in underneath on the scale... So with him on the opposite side, I shoved it in as far as it would go, but didn't take my hand off of it. While talking to him (it's my distraction tool!) I lifted up on the bag so all the weight wasn't on the scale, and somehow he didn't notice, ha! He checked the weight, and said, "Alright, go." I was SO pumped to get it through, even though I could have easily just checked it in for free. I just hate checking bags - especially on international flights. So I'm happy to have all my stuff right here with me!
Made it through immigration with no problem - one more entry/exit stamp in my passport. I'm catching up to Matt now in country count! ;)
With over two hours before our flight, I didn't want to go sit at the gate yet, so I walked around and looked at all the little shops. I found a really cool bright purple bracelet I wanted to get, but the guy decided it cost $10. Yea right. I know I'm American, but I'm still tight! I wouldn't have paid more than $3 for that little thing...and that's probably more than he normally charges for it. I was completely out of money anyways, and I didn't need it, so it's just as well.
I finally went through the next security check to get to my gate around 9:00. I asked the guy working it if I could take my water through, and when he said sure, I knew I didn't have to worry about getting my liquids out (I have double the allowed amount), or my razor blade / finger nail clippers (neither of which are allowed). I'm not even sure the guy behind the screen was watching it. Doesn't really make you feel to safe I guess, but I'm not worried about it. Just glad I was able to get all my stuff on without any issue!
I sat my stuff down by one of the other girls and started walking and stretching. If I'm going to be on an airplane for 17 hours, I have to get a little bit of exercise in! Felt great, but I'm sure I looked ridiculous!
|A St. Christopher pendant a friend gave me for safe travels on this trip|
|Holding the St. Christopher pendant - it made it all the way to Ethiopia and back!|
We boarded the big plane and I got an aisle seat in the middle section of seats next to Lindsay and Ryan. Julie was directly behind me. Took off a little late at 10:35. My goal was to stay awake until Rome (6 hours) to try and get back closer to Kansas time, so I watched Bride Wars and then started another movie, but didn't make it through that one. I just couldn't keep my eyes open any longer, so I put my earplugs in and curled up. Didn't wake until they said we were landing in Rome.
(Oh, and I made it the whole trip feeling fine, but literally about an hour before I got on the plane, I felt a cold coming on. Itchy eyes, sore throat, sneezing, runny nose...ugh! Better now than during last week I guess, but either way, it sucks. And I knew there was no way I could be around that many germs all week and not get something!)
Landed in Rome at 2:45am local time. The cabin crew changed and we sat on the runway for an hour - refueling and taking trash off, etc. The captain finally came on and said there was a sick passenger on board, so we were waiting on medicine for him before we could take off. Pretty sure the whole plane was not happy with him! Everyone was ready to go!! Finally took off at 4:45am (their time).
I had a really hard time falling asleep on that 10 hour flight! I was SO anxious to get home! I tried to watch a couple movies, but none of them really interested me. I think I fell asleep for a couple hours, but the rest of it was just pretty uncomfortable. They served us three meals on he flight, but I just picked around and ate the bread and cheese from all of them.
Finally landed in DC, had some layovers and a couple connecting flights (no problems getting my backpack on!), but made it home safe and sound! No work today (Monday) - but I'll be back to the grind tomorrow! Pictures (lots and lots of pictures) coming soon!
|Happy to be back in KC!|