Everything went swimmingly. We got to the airport on time with very little to do. Well, there was the moment when the suitcase handle hit me in the face while we road up the escalator and it felt like someone full on punched me in the face. You see I had loaded one of the cases front heavy and b/c it is such a pain to take everything out and repack it, especially when you are packing to go overseas and carrying stuff over for other people, I left it front heavy. Then I mistakenly gave that case to Chloe to wrestle into the airport. She let loose of it and it swung backward hitting me in the face. Ouch!!! It really hurt, but I did not yell at Chloe. God gave me the grace to just move quickly past it which is really good b/c me yelling at Chloe for accidentally hitting me could have really wounded her and gotten things off to a rough start or ruined the trip all together. We got the bags checked and only had to move a couple things out of one bag and into another. Chloe and I were not seated together, but I was directly behind her. Since it was such a short flight to Washington DC, we let it go, but I promised her that I would make a fuss if they did not sit us together flying from Washington DC to Addis Ababa.
Washington was a blast. We got there and went straight to the car place. I declined paying for a car with a GPS because I am cheap, but the guy ended up giving us a car with a GPS for no extra charge; that must have been God’s favor because we used that silly GPS to get everywhere. We got tons of laughs out of it, too. The GPS ladies voice was pretty interesting and at times she sounded a bit drunk when she pronounced a few of the street names. Chloe got pretty pro at programming the GPS to take us where we wanted to go. She was such a trooper too. We walked so far in Washington. We ate pizza for lunch right by the hotel and decided Rubino’s pizza was the best Pizza we had ever eaten. Then we went to the Zoo. We started off at the giant Pandas because Chloe really wanted to see them. She was pleasantly surprised that they had a red panda (like Mr. Shifu from Kung Fu Panda). We walked all over the zoo and had a great time seeing all the animals in spite of the fact that we were freezing to death. The zoo is also at a major incline, so a lot of our track was up hill and I mean major up hill not a little. After that we were so tired and almost talked ourselves out of going to the national mall. Then we figured we would really regret not having taken that opportunity while we were in Washington. Besides the more tired we got the more likely we would be to sleep on the 13 hour plane ride from Washington DC to Ethiopia. We went for Starbucks hoping it would be a big enough energy boost to get us through the National Mall. That turned out to be more major walking as both of the Starbucks the GPS pointed us to in the DC area had absolutely no parking in front of them. We parked 6 blocks away and walked up to the Starbucks, had Salted Caramel Mochas and then began the trek back to the car. As we began walking we realized that we were, once again on a very steep upward climb. We maneuvered our way to the national mall still a little reluctantly. When we got into the mall area, we were suddenly pretty geeked out about seeing the monuments. We really regretted not having gone to the Mall before it got dark. We were pretty taken aback by the Lincoln Memorial. It was really almost a religious experience to see it. For one thing, it is enormous. That giant Lincoln towering over us was a sight to see. There is also a reverent feeling of quiet respect inside the memorial. We then took off walking to see the other memorials. Chloe specifically wanted to see the Vietnam War memorial. We were pretty exhausted and it had begun to rain on us, but we were in pretty good spirits and wanted to find that memorial. We saw several memorials including the World War II monument and the Korean War monument, but it seemed the Vietnam monument was hiding from us. We got to the Washington monument only to find out it was closed for repair. Thoroughly exhausted and somewhat frustrated, we started back toward the Lincoln memorial, which also happened to be near where we parked. We finally found another sign directing us in the direction of the Vietnam memorial and so we trudged on. At his point we had been walking all day and were soaking wet, but determined to find this “seemingly invisible” monument. We almost missed it when we got to where it was because it was dark and they do not have it very lit at all. We walked the wall and took a picture of Chloe in front of it. You can’t really tell she is in front of the monument, but we know where she was when we took the picture.
After that full day we were tired. We had wanted Sushi for dinner, but decided that as cold as we were we wanted something hot. Then we couldn’t really find anything on the GPS yellow pages, so since we knew where the pizza place was we went back to that. We took it to go, ate at the hotel and called to talk to daddy (Larry).
We slept very soundly and woke up early. We made a mad dash to gas up the car(it only took $4 worth of gas to refill the tank), pick up some Starbucks, return the rental car and do the airport thing again. We got there later than we really would have liked, but got in line to get our boarding passes. When we got to the attendant we found out that our bags hadn’t been ticketed all the way to Addis. We were supposed to pick them up in Washington. Oops!!! The lady told us we had to go to United and claim them, then recheck them with Ethiopian. Then another lady said, “No, they do not have time. They have to go to the gate now. Print the tags and I will go get them from United, retag them and have them loaded.” What a relief. I thanked her profusely. We got our boarding passes and took off to security. I explained to Chloe that there was a pretty good chance that our bags would not be in Addis when we got there b/c of this mix up. I told her it was just stuff and that we needed to just be okay with what happened, but we prayed and asked for the Lord to get at least the shoes there because otherwise it was going to be a mess to find someone else to transport them and to get them to that person. We were in the longest line imaginable to get through security and I started to worry that we were going to miss our flight. We passed security and took off in a full sprint to make the plane and arrived just as the announced that it was our boarding groups turn to board. On the plane, the nice lady came and assured me that she had gotten our bags on the plane and had me sign for them. I am so thankful that the Lord took care of everything so things were smooth.
I forgot to mention that the orbits lady told me the wrong arrival date, so I woke up to a message from Jessie worried because Levi went to pick us up and we weren’t there. I felt so bad.
On the plane we were not seated next to one another. I told Chloe just wait and I will find someone to trade. The man beside me refused to trade seats with me Chloe even though it was exactly the same seat only 2 rows forward. Chloe waited and the plane continued to fill up. Finally, she started to cry because it didn’t look like we were going to be able to sit together. A couple of the passengers got the Flight attendant and asked her to help solve this situation. She kindly asked the man to trade seats, but he still refused even when she told him that it was a little girl who was crying. Finally she moved me and just said she would move the person who was supposed to sit there when they got on the plane. We were all very relieved. The flight was very long and very packed. We were so glad when we landed.