We arrived safely!! I am now updating at 5 am because I cannot sleep…gotta love jet lag. But I just uploaded like 5 regular sized pics in less than 5 seconds each; I seriously might pee my pants the Internet is so amazing!!! But I wanted to update to say we made it and it was way smoother and easier than I had thought. After we left the island that is… Up until Anni and I got on the plane it was crazy. Jason had left with most the luggage on the boat early in the day on Monday and since there was no power Anni and I were just sitting around waiting (it was too hot to nap with no fans) and I remember being pretty calm, weirdly so. Fast forward to 2 hours before our flight. Neighbors and friends started coming over to say good bye and spend time with us. I had been waiting to take a shower until the last possible moment because it was so hot so I was not ready but at one point I had 8 guests. My neighbors also insisted that Anni and I NEEDED henna before we left as it is sort of like good luck for a big trip. Before I could object they were off to the duka to buying 2 different types to pendeza us up before our trip. When they had just started my henna my ride to airport showed up early. Our Baba of the island wanted to take us to the airport. So now I had many guests, wet henna covering my arms, our Baba loading my luggage, and still had not showered. I tried to hurry things along but as I have learned in the last year patience in situations like this is best. And although it was a crazy it did not seem to bother anyone. I told the women I needed to be done soon to get ready to leave. Anni sat perfectly still waiting for her henna to dry and I finally drew the line once the henna was up to my elbows (I explained that I would be wearing socks and shoes anyway so it would be a waste to do my feet:) Finally I quickly grabbed some extra clothes and loaded the last of our luggage in Baba’s car, and had to ask everyone to leave our house so I could lock up. Off to the airport we went, sweaty with wet henna still on our arms. More chaos ensued at the airport when they made us pay for a ticket for Anni (even though Jason had verified the day before we DID NOT need a ticket). Our Baba argued for us to no avail and offered to pay since I had only enough money for the tax out of the country on me. Some team members also met us at the airport to say goodbye and Anni’s best buds had made her a sweet book with pictures from the last year to look at on the plane. It is so sweet! Once through check in I took a “shower” of sorts in the bathroom and managed to at least change my shirt. In true African style our leaving was chaotic but it also hit me how much we are going to miss our island while we are gone. We have a place there.
The rest of the journey was much less eventful and that was welcomed after our crazy week. Annikah was a complete angel child, we made all flights, and all our luggage made it. Although I felt pretty crappy I only threw up once in the London airport and was able to sit in aisle seats for both international flights (which is a blessing to those around you when you pee every 10 minutes). The best part was seeing Anni’s reaction as we entered London. She was so excited by the massive airport, escalators, elevators, and even marveled at the automatic hand dryers. When you live in Africa even a trip to a Western airport is like Disney World!! She also was beside herself about the kid’s pack and food on the plane. Maybe we have all been in Africa too long but we all thought the food was amazing on the flights. After our first flight we took the tube (Mind the Gap) to our team mate’s grandparents flat and spent the night. We were immediately shocked at how cold it was and managed to squeeze the only pair of socks we had for Anni on her feet (12 months size). She was in shock and kept repeating over and over “it is so cold here.” Staying with Paula’s grandparents was great and they even had a nice meal of soup, real ham, real cheese, and roast beef waiting for us upon arrival. We slept and the next morning got up and headed back on the tube to the airport for our flight to Chicago. We finally made it in Chicago and after spending a few moments in minor panic that 2 pieces of our luggage was lost we realized it was in over sized baggage and claimed everything, walked threw customs with no problems (we were a bit worried about the billions of spices we brought home), and met my mom who had coats waiting. We cannot believe how cold and nasty it is here and after only a few hours here were all have stuffy noses, poor Anni’s lips are cracked and bleeding, and I have had 5 nose bleeds…welcome to Chicago:) We have not used lotion in almost a year and a half but clearly need it here. Yesterday I got a warm cup-o-Starbucks goodness and my mom, Anni, and I hit Target while Jason caught up on some email. It fees weird to be back but I do not think reverse culture shock has fully set in yet. We made it safe and are excited about spending time with family and friends. Here are a few pics of our trip…
our neighbors came to wish us well & of course we NEEDED our henna!
checking in for our first flight in Dar. It was great to travel the first leg with some team mates heading back to the UK for a wedding. Anni had some people she knew to pester on the flight:)
“Mama, me get so much nice stuff on the plane”
Anni was super impressed with the airport
her favorite part of the flights was the food!
waiting for the tube…warm clothed up!
staying with Paula’s Bibi & Babu was awesome!!
finally at O’hare waiting for our luggage
Anni & Bibi..it is COLD here!!