Sunday, June 21, 2015

T Minus Six

This time in six days I will be boarding a plane for an hour-long flight with Jeremy and the kids to Seattle.  We will hang out in the SEA airport for a few hours and then get on a much larger plane for a much LONGER flight; 16 hours, SEA to DBX.  Seattle to Dubai.  A quick overnight in Dubai and then we are back on another flight to Addis Ababa.

The trip we have been planning and saving for for over a year is upon us - we are off to Ethiopia!  Up until yesterday my mind has been full of logistics and planning: Traveler's insurance?  Bug Spray?  Housesitter?  Quick drying underwear?  Ear-plugs by the hundreds?  I-devices for all?  Do we have rides from airports to hotels and guest houses?  Immunizations?  Malaria meds?  Presents?  Cash?  Passports?

Check.  Check.  Check.

With no more "to dos" to cross off I am left with the reality of the trip.  The reality of watching my daughter meet her mother, grandfather, and half sister.  I asked Zeni what she will do when she first sees her "tummy mommy".  "I will give her a huge hug and tell her how much I've missed her!"  She told me.   "I know we don't speak the same language, but I think she will understand,"

I have been over the visit with her a hundred times, trying to make sure she understands the logistics of it all and hoping to ease her nerves:  "Your tummy mommy won't understand our language, and we won't understand hers"  I remind her.  "We will only see her for one day", "We will all say goodbye and you will come back to the guest house with your family, and your tummy mommy will go back to her village with her family".

"I KNOW mom, sheesh!"  My seven year old can rolls her eyes with the best of them.

Apparently it is my own nerves that need calming.

People have been asking me why I haven't posted anything about our upcoming trip and I realized this morning that it is because I feel so out of control.  I don't know how it is going to go.  I don't know how Zeni is going to react, or how her mother will react, to meeting.  I don't know how my easily overstimulated nine year old will handle the chaos of a developing capital city.  I don't know what it will be like to be jet-lagged and instead of watching an entire season of "24" have to tend to children who feel as crappy as I do.

I do know that seeing the world, meeting people from other cultures, slowing down to the pace of life in a hotter, less digitally connected place is something that I have loved my entire life, and something I hope my children will love, too.  I also know that Zeni's Ethiopian family and ours are connected always and inextricably, and that the more Zeni knows about them and about the place she was born the better off she will be in the long run.

So off we go, and as long as I don't have a claustrophobic panic attack 14 hours into the flight and try to open the exit door to escape (or pitch a whiney kid out) (*kidding* Mr. Air Marshall Sir) I will post from Addis - wish us luck!

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