more on the ups & downs

Traveling with a toddler is rough as many of you know well, but I would argue traveling across continents with one is one crazy adventure! God is good as overall our travel was great intermixed with moments of chaos. We missed our first flight to New York (along with most people in O'hare on Wednesday morning) after a United check-in disaster but were able to get a later flight and still made it to New York with time to accomplish our last leaving items.
Annikah & our backpacks...we are ready!
On Friday we packed a truck completely full with the 25 people's crates, boxes, and bags and loaded into vans to drive to the airport for check-in.



That was an experience as the line for British Airlines was long and with all of our luggage (25 people moving to Africa- read here LOTS of stuff) we waited for a few hours to check everything in. During the long wait we got to know everyone better and Annikah played with the other kids moving to Kenya. The most hilarious part was that the fire alarm went off for about 20 minutes blaring in our ears, we just had to laugh at how ridiculous it was. The best way to make an already stressful situation even more chaotic is by a piercing loud noise :) (I have a great video but the loading time here is terrible so, alas, maybe later..)

The flight to London was fabulous, expect that Anni was too excited to sleep. She informed us over and over again "anni, night-night, plane" because we had told her over and over that she could sleep on the plane. Unfortunately she only took her own advice for about 2 hours meaning no sleep for us either. After arriving in London we took a cab to a Holiday Inn to try to nap a bit before our next over night flight. When we arrived at the hotel around 7am they did not have our reservation (even though we had called to verify) but after a few minutes of Annikah tearing up the lobby they found us a room :) We were praying that Annikah would nap and after partaking of some British kid's show with a song about "cakes and biscuits" (cupcakes and cookies) she fell asleep with us. After a few hours of sleep and a shower we headed back to the airport to check in for our next flight. We parked ourselves at Starbucks for a couple hours and used the rest of a gift card while Annikah amused herself with some fun new toys (thank you everyone!). We also hooked back up with some other women traveling to teach at a school in Dar Es Salam. Our flight to Dar was late but we made up some time in the air. Anni did sleep a few hours on my chest and this was the flight that really started weighing on us. We arrived in Dar and 4 of our team members flew over from the island to meet us and then take our excess luggage over on the ferry (all our stuff made it although a couple pieces were opened so we hope everything is in there, we shall see in a month). We had to wait about 8 hours at the airport and did grab some spicy and yummy lunch. Annikah made tons of friends and as I mentioned the people were so warm and welcoming to her. She especially loved flirting and laughing with the taxi stand drivers.

The next flight was to Nairobi and although it was the shortest it was really rough, first there was a delay and after getting through security Annikah started losing her mind and begging for milk which we could not find anywhere. We were feeling so discouraged and exhausted and guilty for putting her through all this. We missed the early boarding (because Jason was off searching for milk) and then could not find our passports when it was time to board (found them after a few moments of panic).

"not another flight!!"
None of this is really a big deal when you have slept but without sleep and with a toddler who is losing it I was hanging on by a loose thread. We boarded and everyone was very understanding. Anni got to try her first soda ever; a Fanta! At first she did not like the carbonation but soon was gulping it down. After a short flight we landed and Annikah actually said "more plane" (she likes the take-off and landing) to which we happily replied "NO!" We picked up our luggage and a couple living in Kenya picked us up. After a short drive through Nairobi we ended up at the guest house.....finally! All we wanted to do was crash but dinner was being served and we knew it was our only chance to eat. We were in the dining room for maybe 2 minutes when Anni hit full on meltdown so we had to make a quick exit and put her to bed. We also had to force Anni's malaria meds down her throat which was so sad for me, she just does not understand why and I felt lik the worst Mama ever. After showers we finally passed out around 9pm. Since her system is so off she woke up around 1am and would not go back to sleep until about 5am. Around 4am (after being kicked in the side for an hour I lost it and eventually Anni and I cried ourselves to sleep), exhaustion is a funny thing, it leads to emotional instability and for me that is not pretty. Although some minor things have been tough everything has been better than expected by far! An awesome moment came when after cuddling a crying Anni for a long time Jason prayed out loud for her and she was immediately quiet and peaceful, it was a reminder in the midst of doubt and chaos that God has called us here and He will see us through the difficulties of this transition. Anni slept until about 9am and after a jaunt to Naku-Matt (The Kenyan version of Walmart- it is AWESOME!) and lunch she is taking a nap now (2pm Kenyan time). We walked about a mile to the market along a busy road and got some nets, an avocado and some yogurt for Anni, a cell phone card for local calls to Tanzania, and some cold cokes :) Time to enjoy the weather before she wakes. It is setting in that we live here now and we have a ton to learn. We leave for training tomorrow and word on the street is that there is "a water problem" (hmmmmm?) and Internet connection is abysmal so probably will not update for a bit.

Comments

Mark said…
WOW - congratulations on making the trip to Kenya. That was great to read about all your trials and successes. Way to go Anni for being a great traveler!

Naku-Matt looks awesome. We have been praying for you guys! Last night after praying at dinnertime, we mentioned, "Anni moved away to Africa" and Silas burst out crying with huge tears immediately rolling down his cheeks. So we have to be careful how/when we talk about you guys now to avoid a meltdown. Poor Sy-sy.
katie said…
i'm glad you guys made it safe!! not only is anni a rockstar...you and jason are too!!
Annie said…
wow.. what a little trooper that anni joy is!!! so glad you made it safely. love you guys!!
Christina said…
I have loved reading about your trip so far and we have been praying for you guys and thinking of you so much in the past few days. Sounds like despite a few bumps in the road you have had a great experience so far. Sounds like Anni is adjusting very well, already napping on your time! We'll be thinking of you in the upcomming days, hope things continue to go well.
Grandma Ronnie said…
so happy t see the pictures of you and Anni smiling. Love those monkey headphones. I thought they were so cute, so I'm glad she kept them on. Been praying for you all. Stay safe, and get some sleep!!!Love you......
Anonymous said…
The blog is great - we love hearing all of the travel details!! So happy to hear you arrived along with all of your bags/trunks! We prayed that your "rest" day would give you renewed strength for the days of orientation ahead.

Gma Rho
edie said…
So glad you're all safely arrived in Africa... will definitely keep tabs on you via the blog and will be praying for you often!

Liz :)

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