Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Thursday, 19 March 2009

Three-thirty came awfully early, but who could sleep anyway, knowing we were only 25 hours of travel away from HOME?! We dressed quickly, since we’d showered last night, and gotten the largest of the bags already into the truck. Anbessu had called a driver to take us to the airport, as he had a bad headache. We hugged quickly, said teary farewells, and were off in the darkness.

The lights of Addis twinkled in the 4 AM darkness and we took our last looks out over the city. When we arrived, the airport was just starting to wake up as well, with only a few people in line ready to check in their bags for early flights. We got in without incident, then when we went to exchange our local money (Birr) to U.S. Dollars, we learned there’s a limit to how much one person can exchange. God was watching over us even in this matter as, we both individually went through the exchange process. As we headed for our gate, only a few single Birr were left in our pockets, less than $1 in value.
There was lots of room on the first leg of our flight to London, since we were to pick up more passengers in Damascus for the rest of that flight – filling up the plane for this 7-hour trip that included breakfast and lunch. It was interesting to see the snow on the hills around Damascus.
It took a good part of the 2-hour layover in London just to walk through the maze of the airport, even though it’s well marked. When we got on our plane for Washington, DC, we found that we (so fortunately!) were assigned 2 seats on one side, rather than seats in the 5-seat-wide center section. We watched “Slumdog Millionaire” and napped, also being served a full dinner, regular offerings of water, and a sandwich snack about 90 minutes before we arrived in DC. Dulles International Airport also includes a circuitous route to get through customs, retrieve our luggage (except one trunk that was delayed and we think they knew about it in London; oh, well...), and check in again for our flight to St. Louis. The layover in DC was only a couple of hours but it seemed like forever. After another two and a half hour flight, we were landing in St. Louis, at Lambert airport and calling Erica’s cell phone to let her know we had arrived!! The flowers were nice, but it was Erica I was so glad to see!
After 25 hours of travel, it was still Thursday, but we were home!

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