Our journey began Friday morning after dropping the kids off at their respective places, kindergarten and the tire shop. Ryleigh spent the day at school and Layla spent the day with Freida and Danny learning to rotate and balance tires and do payroll and whatnot. After driving the roughly 5.5 hours to beautiful Detroit, we boarded the Lufthansa plane, bound for Frankfurt, Germany. Some random things from the plane are:
· The lady beside Leigh slept through roughly 95% of the flight. I mean mouth open sleeping. She was amazing.
· I sat on the aisle. A man kept getting in and out of his luggage which was stored right above my head. He touched my body several times with his body. My shoulder did not like it.
· A lady of larger proportions than I sat across the aisle from me. She stood up about halfway through the flight and proceeded to exercise her hips back and forth in almost a hula hoop fashion for several minutes. My eyes did not like it.
Once arriving in Germany, we were greeted with some rain and delayed about 25 minutes, after waiting about 2 hours. Security guards looked at me crazy when I removed my shoes to go through security. Looking around, I was the only one with no shoes. While waiting for our flight, people watching was a joy, as always. Once we boarded the 1.25 hours flight to Katowice, Poland, the exhaustion was beginning to fade and the excitement of what was really about to happen began to creep back in. Realizing that we were about to reach the city were our daughter lives continues to be overwhelming. We sat at the baggage claim, praying that Leigh’s bag showed up because the airport called my cell phone while in Michigan saying that our bag came off the conveyor belt but had no travel information on it. Luckily, Leigh had put our home address and my cell number on our bags. It showed up as did the other two and we then moved on to the realization that we were about to walk out of an airport in a city we had never been, into a language we know enough of to sound American and stupid, look for a young guy we had never met, hope that he takes us somewhere that a lady we have never met arranged, all because we were adopting through an agency of people we have never seen, yet sent thousands of dollars to. That in itself sounds a little crazy, but thanks to Allison who provided a pep talk on the way to the airport, we accept it as crazy and do it anyway. Stepping out of the tunnel with our bags in tow, we saw a young man named Tom who held a little sign with my misspelled name on it. Tom had a nice Audi with some Soulja Boy, some Polish music, and classic 90’s hits on the radio to make us feel welcomed. He zipped in and out of traffic all the way to the hotel. He spoke enough English to have a conversation and make for a comfortable, pleasant ride. He gave us a rough, muddy idea of what our schedule would be and said see you later. We hoped the hotel staff spoke English because we had no idea if the hotel was in our name of that of the adoption liaison we had never met. So fast forward to early evening Saturday, we were tired, hungry, nervous, excited and various emotions. However, Pizza Hut was next door and the quest for supper was short lived. After dinner, it was almost 7pm, we went to bed exhausted and full, though not as full as a supper at Leonos.Sunday morning came 14 hours later for us. Ryleigh and Layla make sure that sleeping anything close to that long never happens at home. Even the thumping speakers of techno music at the bar on the hotel roof could not keep us up. Breakfast was in the hotel restaurant and was included in the rate. They had a good spread of hot and cold foods, juices, coffee, and more. A good mix of traditional polish breakfast foods and some western foods like bacon and potato cubes made us content. It was now 1030, we had no church to go to, 1.5 English channels on tv, and no idea of what to do. We walked around town some and not much is open on a Sunday. After learning where some things were, Leigh made a plan. For quite a while I have been crafty at developing ideas to avoid going to the IKEA store just above Cincinnati. Oh but guess what, there is an IKEA here. Lucky me! So we take a taxi ride there and leanred that it is internationally true that IKEA is not really a store men want to go to. Just like I imagined, women running everywhere with their man following just behind.
Other random notes for those interested:
· Exchange rates are better when you use your debit card. They were 2.48 at the exchange place and we got 2.7 something by paying with the card.
· Our hotel elevator moves so quickly it makes your ears pop going up and down.
· 140 kilometers per hour feels pretty fast, because after conversion, it is fast.
· Katowice has less of an old town feel than other places we have visited. More western with regard to dress, music, restaurants. Less of a traditional feel.
· Our guy at the front desk works a fireman’s shift. 24 on and 48 off. We will miss him.
· Grocery stores only take cash, no credit cards and bags cost additional money.
· There are 230 volts coming out of the wall. Watch out for sparks.
· Deciding where to eat on a Sunday is as hard here as it is at home.
· It’s gross both here and at home to pull a hair out of a freshly opened bag of trail mix.
· Reading “The Hole in our Gospel” makes my toes hurt, just like “Radical” by David Platt.
· Lody (ice cream) is delicious over here.
· If you visit the “Patio” restaurant and ask for an English menu, you have to sit outside on the patio and not in the restaurant.
· Marek, my newest crazy guy friend speaks no English, is persistent, yells loudly, smells slightly of alcohol, is in need of money and gives decent directions. I am a magnet.
· There is a good chance that in roughly 12 hours from now, we will be face to face with our new middle daughter.