Sunday, February 03, 2013

The Craziest Weekend Ever

How do we even begin to tell you how this weekend has transpired.  It began as what was supposed to be a relaxing weekend at the Americana Hotel in Niagara Falls, swimming with our kids and spending time with my brother and sister's families.  We pulled into the parking lot, just ready to check in and our adoption agency called our cell.  "We found a boy" was the first words I heard, and my heart just about stopped beating.  We spent the next 20 minutes in the van with the kids looking very puzzled as they wondered why mom was crying on the phone. The kids were ecstatic when we shared the news. 
For the next day, while Derek played in the water park with the kids, I was on the phone at the hotel frantically booking flights, trying to get malaria prescriptions, arranging time off work for Derek, arranging childcare, talking to our agency about details and confirming those details with the woman we were to meet in Guyana. 
At the end of the day we had it all planned.  We had to be at the airport at 7 pm the next day.
After finishing up our day at the water park on Saturday, we raced home and packed, and left with Derek's Aunt Ineke for Pearson Airport.
It was all going smoothly
 Someone asked  me once "how on earth does a person loose their wallet in an airport??"
Somehow Derek managed to do this.
While Derek raced around the terminal, getting all of the people from Carribean airlines, and all Pearson Security involved in the search, I sat in the terminal praying!
It was 20 minutes before the plane was going to take off, we were still looking and praying.   All hope was almost lost when I got a call on my cell.  "hello this is pearson international airport.  We are looking for Derek Slingerland.  We have his wallet!"  It was found by an employee at the bottom of an escaltor, and returned with everything in it.
We boarded the plane with 10 minutes to spare.  Incredibly thankful!
The plane was pure torture for Derek.  We didn't get to sit together and the pressure was killing his head.  But at 7:20 this morning we finally arrived at Cheddi Jaggen International Airport in Georgetown Guyana.  Our driver, Jermaine was waiting patiently for us and proceeded to take us to our hotel.  The 40 minute drive was completed in 20 minutes!  Everytime I thought we were about to get in a head on collision I realized we were supposed to be driving on the left side.  There are people, dogs, kids and cows all over the roads here. 
The hotel is pretty nice.  Its clean (and that's a big deal for me), breakfast was good (that's a big deal for Derek), and it's safe....there is razor wire on everything here.  We slept for four hours and went to go exploring since we couldn't go visit the orphanage on Sunday.
Georgetown is a city of crazy contrasts.  Lush, green, beautiful trees full of flowers, are growing in ditches full of garbage.  One minute you smell amazing Caribbean food, fresh salty air and the aroma of the flowers, the next minute you get a waft of diesel fumes and open sewers.  The people here are incredibly friendly.  Everyone honks at us as we walk down the street, and teenagers were eager to get their pictures taken with us.  So far we are the only Caucasian people we have seen here.
We went to the Stabroek Market and bought lots of fresh fruit, walked to St. George's Cathedral and walked to the Seawall by the ocean.  The beach is filled with silt and the water looks like chocolate.  On the beach there is garbage, jellyfish, and dead fish everywhere. There is also trampolines with kids, bbqed chicken and cows grazing.  We have never seen such a crazy place.  Everyone hangs out there, and on a relaxing Sunday afternoon it is the place to be.  We literally saw only one public garbage can in the 30 blocks we walked today.  The amount of garbage on the ground, everywhere, is staggering.
Houses range from being clean brightly colored houses, to shacks with wood roofs that would barely keep out water....right beside each other.  There are taxis everywhere, and everyone asks if you need a ride.  There are many homeless people on the streets begging but their are also many children who are well dressed.  The kids are beautiful here, and a lot of care goes into their appearance.  Everyone has their hair done up, clean clothes and nice shoes (or sometimes no shoes).  It is such a city of contrasts.
We are now off to bed.  Tomorrow is the day we meet our son to be!!!  So excited and so thankful to God for His plan :)


cari epp said...

So very excited for you guys and we are praying for constant safety. Can't wait to see pictures and finally meet him. I can only imagine how excited you both must be and how surreal this must feel. God truly does answer prayers
Love you Both
Ral and Cari

Wilma Pennings said...

I can't believe you are where you are! Stay safe and enjoy your first visit with Akeem!

Maria said...

Wow, so happy for you guys! What a whirlwind! :)

james and kelly said...

Val, this is unbelievable! IT's like a dream! I am so glad, so excited, so overwhelmed, so thankful for you! Sounds like a crazy country! Just a word of warning-- PEEL that fruit! OR wash it in bleach before you eat it! Just sayin'. :)

We are so excited to hear about this day, about this boy.
Love you!