>"While we are there……"

>Those are the words that made me do a double take. Anytime you hear a spouse say “While we are there….” or “While we are at it…..” you can pretty much fill in the blank with a dismayed cry inside your (ok, my) head of “are you kidding? really?” We’ve ripped out all sorts of plumbing and kitchen cabinets with that phrase and found ourselves in various spots around the globe and country. Living with my dear husband is never, ever dull and I am so grateful!

This time, as the fantastic Susan Parr Travel worked feverishly on our travel arrangements my husband said, “while we are in Africa, we could stop in Egypt!”

I don’t know why that surprised me, really. That sort of phrase is actually SO typical of my husband. Because what some might know about him, but many do not, is that one of his great passions in life is travel. He is a travel maniac. Anytime he gets a chance, anywhere, anyhow….he’s game!

So that is the start of the how and why these teens and my adventurous husband found themselves in the desert sun, on a camel, in front of the Great Pyramids of Giza. (for those of you nudging me about this story, you know who you are ….here goes!)
Anyhow, as I said, we passed court and we were ecstatic and immediately switched into “hair on fire” mode and started making travel plans.

As we were having flying emails and phone calls my husband said, “ask them if we can get to Cairo.” What??!

So then we talked. He pointed out that it was so close, we might not get another chance and if so not for a long time, hard to pass up opportunity etc etc. I was a wee bit balky, ok more than a wee bit. Of course, he felt like that was no big deal. Hmmm. We had thought about going on a stopover beforehand and had talked about that, but as it turned out, both BuddyBug’s finals and my babysitter’s finals got in the way. Those darn college tests! So we couldn’t go before we were supposed to be there {and there was NO way either one of us wanted to postpone our arrival date and get that baby in our arms}, and we couldn’t go after as Booboo had finals as well. Hmmmmm. That left either cutting it short for all of us or splitting up.

So, not sure how it could possibly work out, surely it was impossible…… but what could it hurt to get more info?
As the travel agent checked into it, we were going ’round and ’round with this crazy idea – should we, could we?
And besides…… we needed one more thing to try to figure out as we prepped to go to Africa in two weeks, right? It’s not like we were leaving our kiddos for the longest time ever and going halfway around the world or anything……oh yeah, yes, it was.

My husband made the excellent point that we homeschool and Bananas had been studying ancient Egypt all year long. It was a homeschool mom’s field trip opp of a lifetime!

Oh. Score!

But the baby couldn’t get a visa to Egypt. We even checked. Not that I was wild about taking a new (to us) baby to Egypt anyhow. Staying and bonding sounded good to me. It is required to present yourselves in person in Addis at the Egyptian embassy and then wait for 6-8 weeks to see if you get a visa for Ethiopian nationals (as opposed to American’s getting visa’s in a few hours). Oh. Score for staying. And yes, we called the embassy’s. In Addis. And Cairo. And D.C. We are thorough.

So we were at a stalemate.
He wouldn’t go if I gave it the big VETO. I didn’t want to do it but hadn’t hit a comfort level.

And no, the issue at this point was not be being in Addis alone w/ baby. At this point the only option was them going for a few days and leaving me in Addis. For my part, I was totally ok with that. I knew I could handle the time. I knew I would have the baby safe and sound. I knew I had helpers in the Gladney staff and if I needed anything it was for the asking. So that wasn’t it. At this point it was the money and the security and having my family spread out in three different countries. I didn’t like that.
But then we got the call from Kari at Susan Parr agency, “Did you know, I found that we can book your husband and teens with a stopover in Addis and all the way to Cairo, and it doesn’t change the fare.” Excuse me? We can fly them five hours to Cairo and it is the same cost as DC to Addis and back? Yup. The Addis part is considered layover, albeit a long one.

OH.
SCORE for the Egypt leg.
Slam dunk. Final Game.

As a homeschool mom, this was pretty hard to turn down. It WAS that opportunity of a lifetime that he said it was. Dang.
So, I still had security concerns. I didn’t want to sit in Addis and worry myself sick over them. I do that sort of thing.
But I really DIDN’T want to play that big veto card. I could have. They would have accepted it with grace. I know it. But I didn’t want to.
So, my husband agreed to use the travel agent recommended by Susan Parr, Yalla Tours, someone that they had used with success in Egypt before (and therefore accountable and with a track record instead of the hundreds, literally, who were sending me info on my email after I put in a search. Travel tip: don’t do that, use an info search for foreign travel agents website. But I digress).
So, in another flurry of emails and faxes and phone calls, we settled on all the travel arrangements and travel insurance (travel tip: GET THE TRAVEL INSURANCE, things happen) and we had a once in a lifetime trip planned.

My big kids were going on the most amazing homeschool field trip. Ever.
Now we had to get BuddyBug home and BooBoo off crutches. Because we were going to Ethiopia, and Egypt!

Buddybug’s last final was the day before we left. His school is eight hours away by car. Bananas and I were going to drive up get him, but it would mean two extra days gone from the littles. Not good. Happily, a dear friend (thanks MA!) was going to pick up her daughter on the campus next door to my son’s and she agreed to get my boy home. So she did, she brought helper sons to get them all moved out of their dorms (they had to do that too!) and into the van and home. They got in just before midnight. We had to be leaving for the airport by nine a.m. But luckily, we didn’t cut it close or anything.
So, after all this crazyness, we flew to Addis. We met our sweet Gabriel Tariku. We had an amazing week.
You know all this if you’ve been reading, if not, scroll down.

On Friday, one of the hardest days, we woke up early and met Tariku’s extended family. That was amazing and profound and made me/us cry. And that’s for another post. Then we went to Enrico’s and had a nosh and some coffee. Thank goodness! Also another post. We met up with other traveling families and Travis and Belay at Kolfe. Also another post. Then Kebebetsehay and Kechene. These orphanges were wrenching and wonderful all at the same time.

We had to leave Kechene to bolt back to Wagayu’s and throw clothes in bags for them to make their flight. As they packed, I found their tickets. It said “all travelers MUST confirm their return flights within 48 hours of arrival.” {That’s another, kind of buried but important travel tip…I’m gonna have to make a list, I know.} uh oh. We didn’t do that. Who knew?? So now I worried about them being allowed to get on their flight to Egypt, plus us being allowed to leave on our scheduled return home, if our embassy date passed after all. I kissed them all goodbye with tears and then went in to start calling Ethiopian Airlines. Until my cell phone (borrowed from Wagayu) died. And the power was out for the night.

Heartsick. Exhausted. So baby and I decided call it a night and take a much needed early bedtime. I went to sleep praying for a safe flight and trip for my bunch to Cairo.Later that night, I was awakened by Wagayu. My husband was calling him, for me. He couldn’t get through on my cell. Because it died. Wagayu woke me and then took me to his house and gave me his land line phone so I could speak to my husband in private. He told me to take it into the house for the weekend. He is a dear man, Wagayu. A bit later, they called. They were boarding! All was a go. They were on their way to Cairo. I didn’t think I’d talk with them again until I saw them the following Monday night. But oh, it was so good to know that they were good to go and on their way!Next stop for the adventurers: Luxor!
More to come (don’t worry…more pictures less talk).

Note: I know there are a lot of camel pics. I love camels and these pics. Camels are fun to draw and paint and just look at…I mean come on. They are on CAMELS! In Egypt!! How can I not put them up? Crazy!

6 thoughts on “>"While we are there……"

  1. >that is hilarious … what a great and fabulous trip … funny thing is your husband must love to travel as much as my husband hates it … lol … he has a terrible fear of flying so no worries for me … your family is beautiful and i love popping over and checking in on your bunch …

  2. >My husband DOES love to travel! I on the other hand like to BE there, different places…I hate the getting to and from, HATE it. So, it’s a little push/pull whenever he proposes another trip. But after all this, I AM so glad they got to go!

  3. >Um, good catch. Yup, duh. You’re right, Egypt IS in Africa. Yeah, I homeschool! šŸ™‚ I type like I talk, fast and long. And rarely get more than a moment to edit. So, someone w/ good eyes will catch all sorts of things, typos, grammar, content errors…heck I should send my kids on the hunt for them as a school drill! Thanks for the tip!

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