Once our eyes are opened we cannot pretend we do not know what to do. God, who weighs our hearts and keeps our souls knows we know, and holds us responsible to act. Proverbs 24:12

Friday, March 4, 2011

Home and Doing Wonderful!

I have been feeling like a major failure at blogging lately.....guess it's because I've only posted once in the last 3 months!!  Yipes!  Well, much has been going on over here and the break from blogging was much needed for me.  I'm glad to be back and I'm hoping that I will be able to continue to post at least semi-regularly!!

The Luggage

We left on January 26th and, wow, what a trip it was!  When we got to our home airport we already had a really good idea of what we were up for.  Bad weather was heading toward the East and that's exactly where we needed to end up that day.  By the time we got to Chicago we knew we were in for some troubles!  Ultimately, our flight got cancelled, like most of everyone else's flights heading east that night. At first we were put on standby but the more rumors we heard and after talking to a couple flight attendants......side note: When you want to know what's going on in a situation like this...grab a wandering flight attendant!! .......anyway, we realized that no matter what plane they were finally able to put us on, we would never make our flight out of DC to Addis the next day.  So I went to a United customer service counter again hoping for some information but ended up getting a wonderful lady who specialized in International flights!  She was great!  She was able to re-route us to London that night and then on to Addis from there.....arriving in Addis one hour EARLIER than what we were originally scheduled to arrive!!  This is GREAT....we thought......until.....

What we saw when we got to the Grand Rapids airport

This is O'hare airport in Chicago....we were on our way to our gate when we 
found out that our flight was cancelled

Here is our confirmation that we were cleared for the flight to London!!

Here is Haylie right after landing in London...
We all felt the same way....ugh.....tired and not ready to 
be stuck in London for 8 hours!

Yep, we got to London alright and then had a 8 hour or so layover there.  We were tired and hungry and already wishing for a shower.  We managed to survive our six hours, even though the food wasn't all that great and we didn't get a shower.  We thought we were in the clear and were so glad that we were just about ready to take our seats on the plane that would deliver us to Addis.  Yeah....well, nothing's ever that easy when you are already in a big mess.....and it turned out NOT to be a piece of cake for us that night either.  I went up to the Ethiopian Air desk to get our boarding passes and she wanted our luggage tags......ummmm.....ok.  So I gave her the tags and she looked at them and typed a bunch of stuff into the computer..... I could tell she was getting more and more frustrated......she really wasn't in that good of a mood to begin with and I quickly realized that we were heading down hill fast on a bumpy road!  She told us....in not such a nice way....that there was NO WAY that she could give us our boarding passes without the proper luggage tags.....AND.....that we were going to have to go all the way back to the baggage claim area and find out WHERE our bags were.  I'm like, "Say What??!!"  Our bags should be on THAT plane, right now.  She didn't care and so we had to get all of our things, including 3 carry-ons and 3 backpacks and RUN backwards through the airport.....go down several flights of stairs......jump on a bus....run through another terminal of the airport and make our way to the baggage claim to find our bags....it kind of felt like we were on the reality TV show "The Great Race"!!  We had a limited amount of time because our plane was scheduled to leave in about an hour!  We got to the baggage claim and not one person was there.....and to make matters worse, the United desk would be closed until the next morning!!  Yeah.....I told you this wasn't good.  Can you imagine the range of emotions we were going through at this point??!  The lady in Chicago TOLD me that they would pull our bags and get them on the flight to London!  WHY were we having this issue?!

In despair, we were pointed to the Ethiopian Air front desk.  That lady had no idea what was coming her way that night!  Very long story, in a much shorter version, I had to call Susan Parr Travel a couple of times and the E. A. agent had to try and handle things on the London end for us.  The one thing that Kathy, our agent at Susan Parr stressed to us was that we HAD to be on that flight no matter what!  We finally told the E.A. agent that we couldn't worry about our luggage anymore and that we just needed to get on that plane.  By the time that we were finally able to get our boarding passes we had barely any time to make it back to the other airport terminal to check in for our flight!

We sat there exhausted after all of that running around and adrenaline pumping through us.....wondering if we would EVER see our luggage again.....and thinking about all of the stuff that was in our 6 large suitcases... all of our clothes and all of the supplies for our agency's care center.....AND all of the things that we were carrying for other families, "precious cargo" they were sending for their children who were waiting.  UGH....my heart sank.....deeper.....and deeper.....and deeper......

As I was sitting there in extreme and total depression.....not believing what we had been through during that previous 24 hours or so.......Todd told me to call Kathy back to let her know that we were getting ready to get on the plane and to make arrangements for her to get a hold of us to let us know if she found out anything about our luggage situation.  Kathy got on the phone and proceeded to tell me that she had good news...... she found our luggage!!!  The bad news was...... that it was in WASHINGTON DC!!!!  OY!  But she assured us that she was able to arrange for our bags to be on the next E.A. flight to Addis and that HOPEFULLY they would be at the Bole Int. Airport in Addis the next morning!  There was still a major fear that something else would go wrong and our bags would NEVER make it to us.... but at least they found them....that was SO encouraging!

Turns out, after another VERY long ordeal in Addis at the luggage "Bags Unclaimed" counter....we were able to get things all straightened out......we had no luggage but at least we arrived safely....and we had a very strong chance that our luggage would be in Addis the next morning!  It was...and Todd was able to go back to the airport and claim it the next day.......

WOW!  What a trip.....NOT for the faint of heart!  =(

Next post will be about our time in Addis......

Have a wonderful day....

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