01 November 2012

Highlights of October - Part One (with photos!)

Unfortunately it's been more than a month since I've posted here.  We're safe and sound and settled in Newberg with my parents, and it's past time for me to update!  Here is the first part of our month:

 1 October - Shirati to Rondo - a small town in Kenya, where we met Fred's grandmother, aunt, cousin and niece.  This was the first time I've seen Fred's family since our first, memorable meeting last year.  It was really nice to see them and they doted on Wesley.

3 October - Nairobi to Dubai - After a morning packed with last minute things, we took a taxi to the airport and boarded a plane to Dubai.  We were seated in the bulkhead row, which they had arranged to be family central.  There was a French family with a 2-year-old next to us and a Kenyan mom with an 18-month-old across the aisle.  I highly, highly recommend Emirates to anyone traveling with kids.  They treated us so well, and even took a Polaroid of our family for the "Baby's First Flight" page of our (non-existent) baby book.  Wesley did so well!

4 October - Dubai to Washington, DC - We flew in a half-empty plane from Dubai to Dulles airport, each lounging in our own row.  We sailed through customs, refreshed ourselves in the airport bathrooms and hopped into a taxi to the offices of She's My Sister, a program of American Bible Society.  A 45-minute scheduled meeting stretched into more than two hours.  Although we were just off of a 14-hour flight, it was one of those experiences that just seemed entirely directed by God.  I'll write more about what may develop out of that meeting another time, but it was a very encouraging time.  They paid for a taxi for us to our hotel, where we got food and fell into exhausted sleep.

5 October - Washington, DC - Super tourists!  We spent the morning going around national sights: White House, Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, various war memorials, the new Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial (our favorite), and a tour of the U.S. Capitol building.  We enjoyed a late lunch with our friend Sarah, who has moved to DC for school; then we returned to our hotel and collapsed again.  Fred and Wesley had jet lag, which made them go to sleep for the night at 5pm.  I, on the other hand, wasn't falling asleep until past midnight.

6 October - Washington to Harrisburg, PA - My former Dodoma roommate, Leah, lives in Virginia, and she and a friend drove up and took us out to lunch.  That was such a great time of catching up, and ended with them dropping us off at Union Station to catch our train to Philadelphia.  After a short layover in Philadelphia, we caught a train to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania to meet a friend who is connected to Shirati.

7 October - Harrisburg, PA - Out of the four families we interacted with on this day, three were cross-cultural couples: two white American men married to Tanzanian women and one Kenyan man married to a white American woman.  (The fourth was an unmarried American man who had lived in Shirati so long that if he had ever married, it probably would have been to a Tanzanian.)  We had a number of great, encouraging conversations and really enjoyed our time with them.

8 October - Harrisburg, PA to Portland, OR - We took a train from Harrisburg back to Philadelphia, and had four hours to kill before going to the airport.  We checked in with the senior citizens who run the "Traveler's Aid" desk at the Philadelphia train station, and they gave us the details for getting over to the historic district, where we wandered around looking at statues and the Liberty Bell.  Eventually we headed to the airport and boarded a plane to Denver.  The only empty seat on this expected-to-be-full flight was next to us!  We boarded a flight from Denver to Portland, during which our seatmate was an extremely kind man who didn't even mind when I changed Wesley's wet diaper in my lap while we taxied to the terminal.  My parents and grandparents were waiting with a balloon and hugs, and it just so happened that Wesley was wearing a shirt that matched his grandpa's shirt!  (I would post a photo, but I haven't tracked down my grandma's camera yet to get her photos.)

Coming soon...Highlights of October - Part Two and Adjusting to America