Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Packing Up

When we made our whirlwind plans almost 2 weeks ago, Fredrik and I got ambitious with our travel plans. We thought staying in Ethiopia for 3+ weeks seemed like a reasonable plan. We didn't really realize we'd be very limited to the time we'd get to spend with Wynray. We also didn't realize just how taxing the environment would be, or that Addis Ababa isn't that cheap.The altitude, the air pollution, and limited food options especially for vegetarians has added to the challenge. We'd been warned, but some things you just have to figure out or experience on your own to really grasp.

We also made a bold choice to travel with our 2 1/2 yr old. There have been moments we questioned our decision, but in the end, I can't imagine this trip without her. We are so glad she's been by our side. She is truly a champion traveler!  And, an amazing proud Big Sister who gladly talks about her brother whenever anyone asks.

The days visiting Wynray are getting harder and harder. We dread going to the care center, not because we don't want to see our son, but because it's getting so difficult leaving him there each day. We want to bathe him, and put him in clothes that belong to him...not the community pile. We want to put lotion on those chapped cheeks, and even change his diaper instead of having to hand him to the nanny who doesn't seem to want me to change him. We want to understand his daily rhythms. It's a little like going to visit your child in baby prison with visiting hours, supervision, rules, no privacy...

Don't get me wrong..he's getting excellent care. But the care is not us, his family.While our love for him grows everyday, we are not able to parent him and it's torturous. But we also feel guilty for leaving him. Tomorrow when we leave the care center, I'll get to experience what so many other moms and dads have felt...having your heart be in two places at once. I've never wanted to go home so badly, and dreaded leaving at the same time. The only thing giving me peace is that Wynray is the happiest baby I've ever met...his spirit is strong and bright (and now we know why... see previous posts).  That will get us through. We hope.

But rather than leave on this sad note, here are a few more quirky antidotes from our travels that have made this so memorable and life-changing:

1. For those of you who are freaked out by the Elf on the Shelf, the little bugger found us in Ethiopia. I am quite certain the hotel maids think we're doing some really strange Christmas vodoo... but Kysa's excitement each morning makes that all worthwhile.

2. I packed enough food for my daughter to eat Annie's mac'n cheese here for 3 weeks. I also packed her the baby food in pouches that she still likes to eat as snacks. Fredrik and I have resorted to eating at least one of them a day in lieu of fresh veggies. They are sooooo good. Can you tell how badly we want a salad??

3. Coffee is king here, in case you didn't know. I'm not sure what I'll do now without my afternoon macchiato.

4. We discovered Wynray has had his ear pierced. Not just in the lobe but also through the top part of his ear as if one long stick was once there. Yep. he's a badass.

5. Fredrik mentioned this...but Kysa has become an expert nose picker. We are so proud. The air pollution provides nice black boogies....

6. Does swimming in the Hilton pool count as a bath? If not, our kid hasn't had a bath since we left home...

7. Men are affectionate with other men here. They hug, hold hands, walk arm in arm. It's beautiful, not creepy. American men, get over yourselves.

8. We have watched the Lion King every night since we arrived, sometimes we watch it twice. We've slowly convinced Kysa to watch Madagascar, and we've watched Polar Express maybe once. I CANNOT wait to watch the news, CBS Sunday Morning, and HGTV House Hunters International.

9. We owe much of our comfort to the fantastic staff at the Addis View Hotel. We have made real friends here...and Kysa has even been invited home by one of the front desk gals to play with her nieces and nephews. Tempting...a date night was considered.

10. I'm not sure how we'll sleep at home without a nightly feral cat serenade, or dog fight under our window.

11. Also not sure how we will manage to get Kysa back into a car seat.  She's been riding freestyle, Ethio-style with barely a functional seatbelt in sight.

12. Kysa still thinks we are traveling to Ethiopia daily.  Since we've spent months talking about baby Wynray living in Ethiopia, she only considers the care center as Ethiopia.  As we enter the gates daily she says, "now we're in Ethiopia"... not sure where she thinks we are the rest of the time.

Goodnight Addis Ababa, we leave our precious son in your care. We WILL be back soon.

1 comment:

  1. Love this. I can't wait to show Eli that your elf found you in Ethiopia!

    On our Embassy trip when we brought Eli back to the Addis View, we're pretty sure he thought the AV was "America." And that we lived at the AV.

    Praying for all your hearts. This is indeed the most difficult stretch, between court trip and Embassy trip.