I am thankful for JESUS. I have grown so much in Him and am learning more everyday about what it really means to follow Christ. He has blessed me in so many ways and I do not thank Him often enough. So THANK YOU JESUS!!
I am thankful for my AMAZING family. I have the security of knowing that there are 10 people who love me unconditionally. I know that there are many who don't have that in their life, so today I am feeling especially thankful for my familia!!!
I am thankful that we have an additional member of the family to celebrate Thanksgiving with this year!
I am thankful that I can trust in the plans God has for me--I am so excited to see what happens after I graduate in June.
Tonight we went to an Ethiopian restaurant to celebrate Tekle's birthday. When we got there all the tables were full so the waitress seated us near a Mesob (traditionally used as a table, but it was only being used as a decoration--see picture) to wait. Tekle was so excited to see one that he kissed it! It was such a fun night, and Tekle was visibly thrilled. He was even dancing to the Ethiopian music and putting on an impressive show until he realized the waitress was watching ;)
Tomorrow is his actual party so Tekle is having two birthdays in a row!
My mom woke up around 6:00 the next day, and I could hear her moving around the room. I was trying to stay in bed because I knew that if I woke up too early I would have to wait around idly until we got to meet Tekle, and I didn't think I had the patience for that. However, there was no way I could fall back asleep--my mind was RACING! So I soaked up the view from our room, observing this new and exciting environment.
It seemed like forever, but a couple hours later it was time to eat. All the families gathered in the dining room, and the awesome cooks brought us a big breakfast, including my favorite--a big bowl of sweet oatmeal-looking stuff. Everyone ate pretty fast, anxious to meet the children!
FINALLY we were driven the short distance to Center B (the older kids residence). I was amazed at how beautiful the facility was. There were bright trees and flowers everywhere. Colorful miniature plastic chairs were stalked alongside the house. We were led out back where the classroom was located. I had to keep telling myself to "WALK SLOWER", so I wouldn't get ahead of the group. When we peeked in the door all the kids started yelling, "Family, Family!!". Tekle ran out yelling "Mommy, Mommy!", and jumped into my mom's arms. I held him too and he gave me the biggest hug! All the kids in the class started singing "This is the day that the Lord Has Made". It was one of the best moments of my life!
The decision for me to go to Ethiopia with my mom was fairly last minute. I had only two months to raise all the money for my plane ticket. I worked at my job as much as possible until I got Mono, leaving me very, very, sick for about 1 month. Friends and family were so generous though. I sent out support letters, and by the time we had to purchase our tickets, there was enough money left over to buy a suitcase full of donations. Thank you Jesus!
Dec. 3 could not come fast enough. I was out of my mind with excitement. Instead of trying to make up the work from the three weeks of school I had missed because of Mono, I used my class time to learn Amharic phrases from my friends.
The day finally arrived and I was deliriously happy. My Dad cooked my mom and I a big breakfast (home-made egg McMuffins, and orange rolls), then drove us to the airport. We had LOTS of luggage because we had two huge suitcases full of donations. It was manageable though.
First we flew to D.C. where we had a six hour layover. I just walked around and did chemistry homework. After that we boarded Ethiopian Air!! The plane ride wasn't too bad. It was definitely long, but I slept, watched a movie, and read a little. The airplane food was not my favorite. They would feed us breakfast at night because of the time change. We stopped in Rome for fuel, and the little I saw of it out the window was beautiful!
When we arrived in Addis we had to wait in a long line to get my Visa (my mom still had hers from the last trip). I was feeling really nauseous at this point, and was terrified that I was gonna throw-up in the middle of the busy airport. I didn't though, and when I got my Visa we went to claim our luggage. When all our bags were accounted for, we found the other CHSFS families and talked with them for a little bit. They were all very nice. I also got to meet the famous Tesfaye! He is the driver for CHSFS and everyone loves him. He recognized my mom right away, and gave her a big hug.
I was fascinated with the city on the drive from the airport to Center A (guesthouse and where the youngest babies live). Even though it was dark I could see a lot of corrugated metal, interesting billboards, and shops. It took a second for me to convince myself that I was just fine without a seat belt (no one uses those in Addis).
When we arrived at Center A, we were greeted by the orphanage directors, and some other staff members. They were VERY disappointed that Aaron Tariku didn't come with us. Which of course made my mom very sad because she was missing him already and wished that he was there too.
One of the women traveling with us got to meet her baby! It was so sweet to witness that moment.
After getting settled in, we got ready for bed, anxious to wake up and meet our Tekle!
Today was Tekle's first Halloween in America! He has been excited for WEEKS. I ended up having to take Aaron and Tekle trick-or-treating because my dad had to take the older kids to their friend's houses, and my mom needed to stay home and pass out candy. Luckily kids under the age of 5 are okay with only going a few blocks, so I still got to go out afterwards :)
Tekle was hilarious... We walked up to one house and a couple with scary masks on answered the door. Tekle went flying down the steps and hid behind a tree.I explained to him that they were just dressed up, and he said "I know", but still wouldn't budge. The lady took off her mask and when Tekle saw what was underneath he grinned in relief.
As we were walking away from the house he asked "Why do people wanna dress up so scary?" I told him they think it's fun. He said "Well THIS boy from Ethiopia does NOT think it's fun!!!"