The flight to Dubai was very smooth and uneventful. Read my Bible, worked on Picaboo scrapbooks, watched movies, and slept. I only cried for a minute when I finally got on the plane and found my seat. Getting checked in was a little stressful because the airlines wouldn’t let me take my carry on because it was too heavy. They checked it all the way to Addis so I tried to go through it quickly to get out my toothbrush, a change of clothes, and a couple other essentials that I would need since I was spending the night in Dubai. I was so flustered when checking in that I forgot to ask for my voucher for my hotel in Dubai. I realized that I didn’t have it right before I boarded the plane and the agent was able to get it for me. Whew!
All of that “excitement” coupled with the fact that I just said goodbye to Caedmon for 9 days PLUS Andy was not traveling with me like we originally planned PLUS I’m about to bring home our adopted son (which, let’s be honest, is a little intimidating even in the midst of how wonderful it is)…it was just a little much to process so quickly. Thus, when I got to my seat and realized that they were playing a song by Norah Jones (a favorite for me & Andy), that just tipped me over the edge and the tears began to fall. But only briefly.
When I arrived in Dubai, I wanted to talk with the ticketing agent about reserving bulk head seating for my trip home with Wondimu. He was on break, so I just sat down and waited on him for a few minutes. While I was waiting an Ethiopian woman about mid-fifties or so came over to me. I realized that she needed help but did not speak any English. I went to the counter to ask if there were any employees who spoke Amharic, but they said the only one was on vacation. I pulled out my computer and tried to find a translation website so that I could at least communicate to her. But no luck. We waited for the ticketing agent about 20 minutes and during that time I could tell that she was so confused and anxious. I really wanted to help her.
Well, I wasn’t successful at pre-registering for the bulk head seating, but I was able to help this sweet lady. Here’s the extent of the words that we understood of each other:
· San Francisco
· Addis Ababa
· Ishi (Amharic for OK)
Somehow, during that 20 minutes that we were waiting and with that limited vocabulary, I was able to win her trust, explain to her that we were on the same flight in the morning and that we had reservations at the same hotel tonight. I helped her get her visa, took her through immigration, rode with her in the shuttle, and got her checked in at the hotel. She is staying in the room next to mine. (She actually invited me to stay in her room with her, but I knew my husband, father, and/or brother would kill me if I did that. So I declined, but told her I’d come by in the morning to get her.) Bless her heart, she didn’t even know how to lock the door to her hotel room. I seriously wonder if this was the first time she’s ever traveled. I also found out (via pictures) that she was in Oakland visiting her son-in-law, daughter, and grandson. I told her (via pictures) that I’m on my way to Ethiopia to bring home Wondimu and that my other son and my husband are in California.
At one point it was clear that she was thanking God for me. I heard that most precious, wonderful name of “Jesus” come out of her mouth and realized that we were sisters all along. I wonder if she had said a prayer asking Jesus to help her, and Jesus sent help in the form of an adoptive mom with a huge heart for the people of Ethiopia. Glad I didn’t miss the chance to be the answer to someone’s prayers!