We left our home Friday, March 12th and headed to Chicago to spend the night. Our flight wasn’t scheduled to leave until late morning, but I discovered that parking near the airport was less expensive if we spent the night at at Stay-Park-Fly hotel nearby. It also meant that we could have a more relaxed morning and wouldn’t have to leave so early for our 2 1/2 hour drive to the airport.
After almost 1 1/2 years, our adoption journey was coming to an end and we were very ready to close this chapter and begin the next.
Lili was apparently more excited about the trip than we knew since she woke up about 4 a.m. Saturday morning. So much for getting a good night’s sleep before the long flight to Addis Ababa.
Our flight was delayed leaving Chicago, but since we had a long lay-over in Washington D.C. it wasn’t a big deal. Fortunately, our flight leaving D.C. was on-time and we were thrilled.
Ethiopia Air was good. It certainly wasn’t the nicest plane I had ever been on, but the flight crew took good care of us. My only complaint is that they kept feeding us. I know that might seem strange to say, but our flight left after 8:00 p.m. and by the time we got in the air and settled we just wanted to sit back, relax and try to get some rest. That’s pretty difficult when all the lights are on and the flight attendants are walking the aisles serving food and drinks.
We landed in Addis Ababa the following evening and have never been more ready to get off a plane in our lives. Fortunately, getting through the visa and passport lines was fairly painless. We exchanged our U.S. money for Ethiopian birr, collected our luggage and headed out to find our transportation to the guest home.
Our stay in country was at the Ethiopia Guest Home (EGH) and as promised the driver was there holding a sign with my name on it. We were one of 4 adoptive families being transported to the guest home and there were a group of 3 from a church in Florida who were also staying there as they were doing volunteer work at the drop-in center (more on that later).
The Guest Home was wonderful. The orphanage also has a guest home, but seemed pretty pricey so we chose to stay elsewhere. Having never stayed at the orphanage guest home we can’t give an accurate comparison, but do feel we made a good choice by staying at EGH.
Our room was on the 4th floor. It was very large with a queen size bed, bunk beds, a pack and play, a wall full of closet space, a small sofa and table. It also had a balcony and a large sitting area between our room and the other room on the floor.
The staff was awesome, making us feel welcome and taking care of our every need. We had internet access at the guest home and were given a cell phone to use in country which came in handy a few times (detail later). Each guest was assigned a driver and translator which we could use for a reasonable fee whenever we wanted or needed to. The other luxury of staying there was the free massage and boy did I need that massage.
I’ll be sharing more information about the guest home and staff as I continue my posts about our trip, but for now I’ll just share some photos.