I've never been so excited to see the great chill that is Minneapolis, MN. We're here and have just 2 hours until we take off to Moline, IL. Arriving there around 5:15. I'm getting so anxious to see the kids it's ridiculous! Thanks for all your prayers, they have worked! Tariku has been an absolute gem the entire trip thus far and has surpassed me in his ability to travel well without complaint! So just one little 45 minute flight and we're home free!
I'm attaching the last post I wrote before leaving Ethiopia that I didn't get to email while there. Can't wait for you all to meet this guy!
So the last day is here. It’s 9:15am and I’m waiting for the Ethiopian cooking class to begin. Zach took his youngest son guitar shopping with him so I could have full concentration when attempting to make Tku’s favorite dishes. Last night we had a hair braiding “class”. It was interesting to watch her do it but became a bit problematic when we tried to ask questions because the nice woman knew nothing of what we were saying. So it wasn’t a class as much as it was an exposition of sorts. I’m hoping the cooking class goes over a bit better otherwise I’ll have no idea what and when to put in the various spices that make Ethiopian cuisine what it is.
A bit nostalgic today as I think about how impacting of a week we’ve had. Obviously the best part of this whole trip has been meeting and getting Tariku. I’m very thankful we didn’t bring the other two kids with us as it wouldn’t have been near the experience with them (this says nothing about them, but our ability to parent 3 children and be fully aware of what’s going on around us is not so good). I think the second most life changing event was on Sunday. When I think of my time in Ethiopia, I keep coming back to that day, that moment when we met a very special person. That scenery on the way to Hossanna. That day is what I think of and what I will undoubtedly keep coming back to when I need to find strength in parenting, in life, in work and in my daily pity parties.
I am really looking forward to getting home and seeing the kids run to us at the airport; Dailah with her one armed run and Trysten with his hair flying behind him. I imagine our first family hug and get a bit teary eyed; I am so looking forward to that. But I also wish, to some extent, our kids could have seen this. Their reality of life is far different than most of the world and I wish they would start seeing real “reality” at their young age. It was a bit startling for me to REALLY see it for the first time at 25. I do pray they grow up having a worldy view of life, love and the varying degrees of the pursuit of happiness.
I’ve heard other people say they missed Ethiopia about a week after they got back to America. I can definitely see why that might be. (It has nothing to do with the fact that they clean after us, cook 3 amazing meals a day and we have the option of a driver anywhere we go). Life in Ethiopia is quite nice, relaxed, intense and above all very beautiful. It turns out the Mighty Mississippi has nothing on the land of 19 months of sunshine.
So the rest of the day is just the cooking class, a nap for Tariku, an exit interview for CHS and then collection of all our original documents. If it’s anything like this past week, it will go by very quickly. I’m eagerly anticipating our return home but absolutely dreading the flight back and that’s because I’m a heinous flyer and I have no idea what to expect of my beautiful Tku.
Last night a few of us were talking about the week after the kids had gone to bed. One of my friends, Rebekah, said, “If we do our job right, our kids will be the generation to come back to Ethiopia and make a real difference.” I don’t want to put that kind of pressure on our kids (and I don’t think she was putting that pressure on them, she was more making an “I have a dream” statement). It saddens me terribly that there will be a huge part of Tariku’s generation in foreign lands. It also saddens me that the children in other lands just might be who God has chosen to come to Ethiopia and give the people a chance to eradicate so many of the country’s less than desirable aspects. I think if we REALLY do our job right, our children will know the culture, the language, and the people well enough that they CAN come back and change what hurts the country and keep what makes the country so beautiful. The last thing in the world I would want is for Tariku’s generation of Ethiopians to come Americanize Ethiopia, it is beautiful BECAUSE it is Ethiopia.
What has surprised me most about this trip is how in love I can be with God and how mad at Him I can be at the same time. Overall the feeling is, as always, complete awe of His Creation and ability. Perhaps the word that I most feel about God right now is grace. His grace has led us here, to pick up Tariku and experience a nation He so obviously holds close to His heart. I can’t be too mad at Him for that.