Well, today we travel home with our daughter to begin life as a family home in Canada.
We have spent 8 days in Addis, and that was for us the right amount of time. We have gotten to know each other a bit, and gotten to know some of her likes and dislikes and signals, and so we feel a bit more comfortable about travelling. All the time we have spent cocooning with her has paid off, and making her our first priority has been absolutely the right decision. When she is older, we plan to travel back to Ethiopia and visit the country and show her this incredible land and its wonderful people. But for now, like any new parent of a very small baby, this time of discovery has been invaluable.
We have concerns about trying to take her on a plane because, after her last few diapers, she may be classified as biohazardous materials. But hey, she’s as cute as she is stinky, so perhaps flashing a big toothless grin will win over all the security people from here to home.
We’re also a little nervous about flying with her — okay, let’s be honest, flying with any baby — for the first time for such a long time. We start out tonight from Addis to Dubai, which is a short hop of 4 hours, so that should be a good test. And then we have an 8 hour layover in Dubai, where we could have a free hotel if we wished. But that would mean at least an hour off the plane to get to the hotel, then getting up and out 3 hours before our flight to Toronto, so we’d really only have a couple of hours at the hotel. We’re not sure it’s worth the hassle, jostling her to and fro, so we likely will be staying in some quiet corner of the Dubai airport for the duration (if one exists). And then the long 13-hour flight home. That will consist mostly of her daytime hours, and that also means the screechy cranky baby hours of mid-afternoon, and in an enclosed space that screechy baby may not win us many friends. So we’re stocking up — we have prepared 12 bottles by filling liners with formula powder and twist-tying them shut. Then, when screechy baby shows up… VOILA! Instant bottle!
We have enjoyed our time here, and made some connections with some wonderful people. Ethiopia has long been in our hearts, and so we are kind of sad about leaving this historic land, filled with some of the most generous, kind-hearted people we have ever met. As we leave, we want to say a thank you to Ethiopia and its people — these people who have been so welcoming, so friendly and kind to us, and these people who have nurtured and given us this beautiful little girl. From the traditional dances and the traditional meals we have experienced, and the sights we have seen, to the people who have befriended us and taught us bits and pieces of the language and shown us such great hospitality, we have grown to care about this place that much more. And we know we will return — we have another country that is a piece of our hearts now. But we are also looking forward to getting home, and seeing our daughter make her connections with the people who love her there, too.
We are looking forward to getting home and getting settled and into some routines. We’re looking forward to seeing how she will grow and introducing her to the people who will become part of her daily life. We’re looking forward to seeing our home filled with years of laughter and discovery. We’re looking forward to life in our home as a family.
This journey has been an incredible one (and no, you don’t just magically forget about those wait times!) and we are so glad to have been on it. We are also glad to be almost at the end of it. We are ready to embark on a new journey, one that lasts a lifetime: family life.