Safe and Sound and Exhausted

I've concluded that a 35 hour trip with 4 kids really is epic, and in a perfect world, should not be a routine part of life. I kept reminding myself that we won't have to do it again for 3 1/2 years, at which time our youngest will be nearing age 7. But...we survived in relatively good shape. There are no photos, however, because relative good shape does not need documentation...because relative is still relative!!!

Incredible friends, David and Jeweliann Norrie, saved us by insisting on driving us to the airport at 3:30 am in the Highland Baptist Church bus when it became apparent that the "free airport shuttle" from our hotel would not be able to handle our 16 trunks, 10 carry-ons, 2 car seats, and 1 stroller (odd, don't you think???). They also sat with your comatose kiddos while we checked in. Only 1 bag was overweight, by 1lb, and we had a very reasonable woman who didn't make us cut the zip-tie to rearrange weight! And then she confessed the flight was over-booked, so she offered to check as much hand-luggage as we wanted to our final destination for free. Hallelujah!!! We off-loaded 3 more, and looking back, I don't know how we would have managed those ones!

The flight to Newark was uneventful. The 4-hr layover was a bit painful, as the reality started to sink into the kids' (you know, once their brains woke up!) and their emotions ranged from anger to...no, mostly just anger. No one slept on the next flight, and we arrived in Brussels--the most confusing airport I've ever been in, for the record--just in time for the fatigue to kick in.  Once we made it to our connecting gate, we all dropped our bags, dropped ourselves, and lay down, yes on the floor. Like I said, some things don't actually need to be photographed!

The flight on to Nairobi (via Kigali, Rwanda) was the longest of the 3, at 10 hrs 50 minutes. Definitely not ideal for your last leg. But it was only about 1/2 full, which meant we got to spread out over 3 rows!!!  Pure awesomeness. The kids slept for at least 9 hours, and we each got about 4 or 5 hours in. Incredible, right???? Yes, but every silver lining has a cloud behind it. By the time we arrived home at 1 am, the kids were so refreshed and wide awake, there was no chance they were going to bed without a fight! We finally got the little ones to sleep again, but Anya and Ethan never did. Not that we knew that, because we collapsed in bed and slept until 7am when Anya and Ethan couldn't stand being quiet anymore. Negligent parenting? Perhaps, but all the judgement in the world couldn't have kept me awake!!!

Thursday we played and greeted everyone (that would be the kids and Chad) and unpacked (and that would be Miriam) and then had pizza night with the Suels again. Yeah!!! So great to be back with friends and co-workers! We all feel asleep at a reasonable hour, and it was good until midnight, when Omara woke up. I took first shift with her and unpacked and sorted piles of clothes-to-grow-into until 4am when Chad relieved me and I slept for a few more hours. The rest of today was equally busy with packing, cleaning, sorting, and organizing--and we're done! All suitcases, all carry-ons, and all storage we had left here. Unpacked, put away. House clean. AWESOME!!!!

So enough of the play-by-play! We're here, we're safe, we're unpacked. But how ARE we???? The sunshine is amazing--tank tops and shorts today. Our house is so comfortable and familiar, and our co-workers are great. So we're happy. It feels like we're home. The hard parts are there too...Isaac stormed around today screaming and punching the air in frustration that he couldn't eat Bran Flakes (didn't I tell you????!!!), saying, "There's no cereal in Kenya and we have to stay here for 3 years?????" I wanted to scream and punch the air when I remembered what it's like to have to boil water to wash dishes (can't believe I didn't think to say good-bye to Kenmore in my previous blog...what I wouldn't give to be able to hide dirty dishes in a magic box that later washes them!!) I have a ridiculously large pile of laundry to do and I can't face the thought of hanging them on the line. And then there is the familiar angst that descended upon me the minute the friendly Kenyan porters started helping us pull luggage off the belt at the airport. 35 hours earlier, I was feeling sorry for myself that I had to (and could) put my life into 16 pathetic footlockers. And then...boom, just like that--all my conveniences and luxuries, packed in a massive pile of luggage, looked obscene next to the simple lives lived by those around us here. I just can't win!!!!

Well, my roiboos-caramel-chai tea is finished (thank, Beth--it's great!) and my back is killing me, so I'm going to sign off. Looking forward to worship tomorrow at our church here, and then to the grocery store to stock back up, and then I'm going to make granola, so that Isaac can eat his cereal. We do what we gotta do, right????

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  2. Melody- Thank you so much for doing that! What a wonderful example of God's circle-of-grace!!! We look forward to picking her up today here in Nairobi!

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