This time in Africa-still getting there

I was scheduled on a flight to Kinshasa through Brussels for Saturday Feb 1, we got to the airport and in line to check in about 8 30a and our flight was scheduled to leave at 10 40 to Chicago and then from there to Brussels at 7p. As soon as we got in line for the kiosk I knew something was up. People were on their phones and looking angry. Then we saw it, CANCELED!!!! I don’t know how else to describe the feelings I had while staring at that stupid kiosk. My mind and maybe my mouth wass going a little, WHAT THE WHAT, WHAT THE BEEP, YOU GOTTA BE BEEPING KIDDING ME RIGHT BEEPING NOW, AHHHH BEEEEEEP!!!!!!! Not proud, just sayin’.

When I got to the desk the poor kid working the counter had fear in his eyes. He did not look like he could handle one more raving lunatic or sobbing nightmare so I reined it in, mostly.

He was trying his best but I’m not sure he understood how flights and airports and connections worked. Seriously. He was trying to route me through Philly at 5p for a 6p flight to Brussels, he was trying to get me on a plane the next day for a 26 hour later arrival in Kinshasa, things weren’t going to go well in the reining in the lunatic department. I could feel my crazy start to creep in. I kept thinking I cannot miss an entire day with her!!

Finally I just told him what I wanted. I told him where I needed him to get me and how he should do it. He was so confessed that my directions were more of a relief than an annoyance. That meant different airlines and different everything. It also meant shorter time in the air, and an earlier DRC arrival. Silver lining for sure. Finally he worked it all out and we went from his united line to the delta line which was literally 2 ft away from us. I was just as close to the delta kid as the united kid but had to get out of line and get into the delta line. Checking in at delta with the other new kid on the block that day was also exhausting. After about an hour or so of this hot mess my mom and I were finally on out way to our gate, YAY!!!!

FLIGHT DELAYED!!!! Of course it was. Luckily I was packing xanax and valume for these exact situations. Turned out to only be about a half hour delay though so things were fine, everyone was fine, everything was just fine.No xanax needed, at least not yet!

We had about a 4 hour layover in MSP, the MSP airport is one of my favorite airports.  It is clean and friendly and big and if you need to shop, not that expensive, things are laid out well and  it just make sense.

The flight to Paris was smooth, it seemed to go by quickly (but that could have been the drugs). They served a meal right when we got on the plane of chicken or beef with vegetables and a roll and desert. They could have served slop and I would have eaten it joyfully because meals on airplanes make time fly by. From the first person getting their food and watching the flight attendants to putting down your tray and stashing your bag to eating and then the clean up, then pretty soon it has been an hour and a half. They also served a light breakfast, some kind of breakfast sandwich, fruit and a drink.

The Paris airport is pretty sick. Dior, D&G, all the big names in a clean, modern mall where planes just happen to take off and land. The bathrooms (I wish I would have taken pictures) were huge and bright and clean. Pink and orange stall doors. Room for you and your roller carry on in the stall along with a small child if you have one. A bottle of water cost $8 though. Obviously an airport with Dior is high-class.

The entire  flight from Paris to Kin was rough air. Despite death and destruction hanging over my head it wasn’t too bad. I, or the other passengers, did not experience any of my typical flying freak outs. These include but are not limited to crying, shaking, grabbing strangers and flight attendants or trying to get off the plane. In fact the only things that happened were sweaty palms and occasionally praying for safety. They also served a meal on this flight and it seemed to go by more quickly than I expected.

When the plane touched down in Kin it was 6 40pm on Sunday night.  I finally took a deep breath and wiped the sweat from my palms. I could already feel the butterflies and then remembered why we were here, ahhhhhhhh!!! I had been so focused on getting myself from take off to touch down with some dignity I completely forgot the scariest part of this. THE AIRPORT!!!

We got off the plane and stood there on the pavement waiting for our shuttle to take us to the airport which is literally right in front of you, like the bad parking spot at the mall kind of in front of you.

I have been reading about and talking with other people about the airport experience for 2 years and I was dreading it! Every time we passed a checkpoint or officer or customs official or solider I would relax just a tiny bit, no troubles. In fact, every official or airport worker we encountered was extremely pleasant. The only issue was with my job. I had to eventually lie and say I was a teacher because the concept of being a child care provider was literally unimaginable to the man reading my entry card.

Our guy was waiting for us when we entered the baggage claim area and things were as crazy and chaotic as I had imagined but there seemed to be enough people working for our protocol that we weren’t worried about much, well until I saw my name on the missing and delayed baggage board. Literally a board with a piece of paper taped to it with my name on it. I knew this was likely but I was so so praying it wouldn’t happen to me. In the end I figured 1 out of 5 bags lost was pretty good and then we noticed another bin had been opened, zip ties cut and a computer and half of the supplies gone. Ugh!!!

We made it through the rest of the airport and filing a baggage claim without any incident. Once outside with the humidity and heat smacking me in the face like a wet towel I got to walk into the open arms of my sweet friend. Felt so good to have my feet on the ground and be hugging someone I know, a friendly face. I think my mom and I both felt relieved that part was over.

We made it, and the next morning, after 20 years of knowing I would adopt and 4.5 years of being in process, 2 countries, 4 agencies, 3 ectopic pregnancies, 5 homestudies, 21 months of staring at her picture, 7,400 miles and 25 hours  of travel I was so so close to holding my baby!!! GASP!!!

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2 Responses to This time in Africa-still getting there

  1. Evan says:

    YAY! Very Exciting!! Congratulations! I’m actually flying Delta in four weeks to visit my three kiddos in the DRC and cannot wait! I’m so glad you finally made it and are holding your babe! Blessings to you all.

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