Tuesday, December 14, 2010

In Country-Day 1

Well, we are here.  By the time we leave, hopefully I’ll be able to say where “here” is.

We left our house at 5 am on the 12th.  We got to the airport with plenty of time for our 8:20 flight.  It was so exciting!  We went to the counter to check our bags and they told us our flight had been cancelled.  The ticket counter had already booked us on a later flight.  It was supposed to leave at 10:30. No, big we’ve got plenty of time.  Then we went to the customs office to declare some things.  Everyone looked at us like we had 2 heads.  I guess most people don’t declare anything.

Erin at the food court
Then we walked what seemed like the entire length of the airport to find our gate.  Since we had plenty of time we stopped and ate breakfast.  It was very relaxing and fun.  When we got to the gate we found out our new flight was not leaving until 11, wait…they just changed it to 1!  Erin went to make sure it wouldn’t affect our connecting flight in Chicago.  It would, so we tried to find another flight.  We walked the length of the airport again to change flights.  She found us one that was leaving a bit sooner and would give us a fighting chance of making our flight.  There was a “blizzard” in Chicago and they were having trouble with the flights.  But, we were told that the international flights almost always get out.  So, I texted family to let them know.  We started praying.  Then we walked back to the gate, if you’re counting we are up to 3 changes of gates.  As we checked in we found out that that flight had been cancelled and they had booked us on the 1 o’clock flight, but that it was leaving at 10:30!  Yep, the second flight we were booked on…at the gate at the other end of the airport.  We had about 20 minutes to spare before that one boarded.  Erin checked at each change that our luggage was coming on the same plane we were.  Smart man.

Our flight from Houston to Chicago was neat.  Each seat had a TV screen in front you.  But, it would cost $6 to watch it!  We didn’t.  We talked, read and I watched the ground.  I love to see the ground from up so high.
Inside the airport in Chicago
The landing was a little scary.  The winds and the snow and the wings seemed to wobble.  Gulp!  O’Hare is a really pretty airport.  The weather was really nasty.  At least it looked that way from the airport…we never ventured out in it.
On the plane for Frankfurt, at O'Hare airport

The next flight to Frankfurt, Germany boarded right on time.  It was tough to walk past the business class and see how nice they were going to have the 7.5 hour flight knowing what we would have.  I’ll tell ya.  But, we had really neat seats; in the back and a row with just 2 seats and an empty space next to it.  So, I was able to put our coats in that space and not on us.  We sat on the runway for what seemed a long time while they de-iced the wings.  Yep.  Scary again!  When they spoke over the PA system it was in German first, then another language, then English.  Erin leaned over to me and said, “We’re not in Kansas anymore”.  Our seats were very warm.  But that was the only down side.  I took about 3 naps on the flight trying to escape jetlag. 
We landed in Frankfurt.  Another scary landing, I thought.  We didn’t roll up to the airport like we do in Houston.  We landed and taxied a bit.  We got off the plane on the ground and loaded a bus.  That drove us to the airport.  Once we got in the airport the first thing that hit me was a very different smell.  I can’t describe it, but it was very different than what we are used to.  We were herded to go through security.  So, we took off our coats, took our laptops out of our bags and I removed the baggie of essential oils I had for the trip.  Erin made it though no problem, but I set off the metal detector.  So I had to stand in a small area where a female agent used a metal detector wand and her hands to make sure I wasn’t trying to sneak in a bomb, I guess.  She was very through.  It was my boots that had set it off.  So, I had to take off my boots and have them x-rayed as well.  The airport in Germany was like a weird maze.  Up these stairs, down these.  Down this hallway, up this little tiny walkway.  We found our gate and sat down.  By this point my brain was starting to sizzle.  I was worn out and just wanted to be still.  I haven’t ever flown 3 flights in one trip.  But, we weren’t there long until it was time to board the bus to take us to our flight to the country were Alice is.  On that bus, we met a family from Texas that is adopting as well.  That was neat.  It was nice to hear English spoken around us!

The plane was a lot like what we’d seen, but a much older one.  I couldn’t stay awake!  I think I slept the whole time.  The landing was REALLY bumpy.  I’ve decided I don’t like landings.  I’m a slow learner, but, yeah, I don’t like them.  Too scary.

Our final airport was the craziest yet.  We walk in from our bus, that brought us from our plane to the airport, and there are these lines that say “Visa” and “Non-Visa”.  We didn’t need a Visa to get into the country.  And since there were what seemed like a million people in line at the Visa counter, we went to the Non-Visa counter.  She scanned our passports and let us in.  We have since found out we were supposed to fill out a card at the Visa line we may need later.
We went to the baggage claim and waited.  We were nervous our baggage would get lost.  I prayed at each take-off that our bags were coming too.  We stood there for 30 minutes watching bags that weren’t ours go by.  I looked at Erin and told him that I thought we were in trouble.  He agreed.  Finally, I saw one.  I almost shouted for joy.  Then the other!  Yippee!  I contained myself.  Didn’t want to seem like the “weird, loud American”.  I’m sure I’ll be found out soon enough.
Then we walked down this little hallway and…more security!  We had to x-ray our bags again!  Next, was the scariest 30 minutes of my life to date.  We walked past a ton of people, some of whom were holding signs with people’s names on them.  Not one had the name “Frye”.  I felt like I was walking in a dream.  Slowly with a ton of details.  No one was here to get us.  The airport smelled of cigarette smoke and stale people.  There were signs in a different language.  A man approached us and asked if needed a taxi.  I told him no.  He asked Erin, who said no someone was meeting us.  He followed us around asking.  There was nobody there to get us.  I was tired and now, scared.  Erin made a sweep of the people with the signs…no “Frye.”  He tried the “information” desk.  They had a hard time communicating.  I emailed Reece’s Rainbow director.  But it was 6:30 am in America.  I emailed the facilitator we had here.  Erin made another sweep.  I sat down.  I thought of crying, but decided I was too tired.  Our facilitator emailed back that there was supposed to be someone.  That made me feel so much better!!  She asked where we were standing.  I had no idea!  Um, in the middle?  Next to the stand that said…uh, I don’t know what it says.  But, I emailed back that I was wearing a bright yellow hat!  The hat my sisters had made fun of because it was so bright.  He found us!!  He was late getting there, that’s why we couldn’t find him.  He pulled out his phone and called Yulia, our facilitator, and gave me the phone.  It was nice to know we had someone here.  Our driver didn’t speak English.  He took us to our apartment.  It was about a 30 minute drive, I guess.  

This country isn’t very pretty.  I think that is because it’s just winter.  The trees are bare and there’s no color.  But the people.  I enjoy watching the people.  They are very bundled up, but the women wear the highest heels I’ve ever seen!  The older women look just like a stereotypical Eastern European women on TV.   I see them trying to create beauty around them.  Almost every window has a potted plant.  
An apartment building

There are a ton of apartment buildings.  Most look old and, to my modern American eyes, run down.  We stopped at an eight story apartment building and got out of the car.  We were waiting on someone to let us in and I thought show us around.  A man walked up and said, “Well, hello my American friend!”  I wish I had taken a picture of him…he was wearing silver tennis shoes!  His name was Boris.  He spoke some English, not much.  His job was just to let us in.  He showed us the apt, the driver asked to be paid, we did, then they both left.  We were left there, no food, and no way to contact anyone.  We didn’t understand the maps.  I changed clothes and laid down for a nap.  Erin paced.  We were homesick, missing our blessings, and beginning to question what we were doing here!  

3 hours later our bell rang.  An older gentleman named Nikko was at the door.  He was supposed to pick us up at the airport and show us around.  But, he was helping another couple who are also adopting.  So, he had sent the other 2 men.  It was nice to hear that.  He gave us a cell phone to use in country.  He drove us to a large grocery store.  Ok, large for this town, maybe, but not for Texans!  He showed us where the milk was.  Then he said he had to go and we would need to walk back.  Ok.  He left!  We walked around a bit.  We picked up a few things…sugar, a large bottle of water, butter (this we knew what it was because it had cows on the package), milk, a frozen pizza, and cheese.  I don’t know how much it cost.  We just handed her what the number on the scanner said.  

The people aren’t what we are used to.  They park where ever!  On the sidewalk, behind someone else-even if that means in the street.  They don’t seem very friendly.   They may be if we understood what they were saying!

It’s very cold, but we have a lot of layers on, so it’s not too bad.  Our apt has a very good working heater.  We aren’t cold inside, just outside.

We are at a café with wifi. We just returned from an underground mall.  Not like the malls back home.  It reminded me more of a flea market.  The stores are just booths, some large enough to walk in, but not as big as the stores in the mall back home.  All the clerks, in the mall and the grocery store sit down while working. We bought a backpack, a razor and a translation dictionary!  We should have brought that with us.  We really need one!  

Sorry this is so long.  I wanted to get as much detail in as I can.  We are hoping to Skype with the children back home sometime today.  But, as I write this it’s 3 am there!  So, that will be later.  Not sure how often I’ll be able to update, but will as much as I can.

 Just being able to do this has done so much to soothe me.  I miss the kids so badly.  Hopefully this will help them not miss us too much.


  1. We are praying! Wow...so many memories are flooding back! "Be strong and courageous!"
    Love you guys!

  2. So glad to know you made it safely! Loved reading about your experiences! Can't wait for the next post!

  3. Oh, Emily- I know how you're feeling with all of the International travel, weird sights and smells, and language barriers! As you were saying things that were new to you, it reminded me so much of Bahrain! I'm surprised that they didn't just make you take your boots off in the first place before passing through. They always make us and all the blessings take our shoes off first. :~/ That's my least favorite part. I always make sure we're wearing socks!! Ick. And the body wand. Getting onto busses instead of getting straight off the plane into the airport. I hear you! And it's funny how you talked about everyone sitting down if they're in service. Same thing here. But, after 2 years, I'm used to all of it. And, thankfully, most people here speak English!

    Glad your journaling here eased your tensions. It's a lot to process, I'm sure. You really had a bunch of hurdles in the travels, but they're all sort of normal for this time of year. Hang in there! You may have some similar issues on the way back.

    It must feel so strange living in an apartment in a strange land!

    I'm struck by the great amount of love you two have for Alice Faith! It made me think of 1 Corinthians 13:1-8. You, by your love, are suffering a great deal to look after your daughter. Once an orphan, now she will be enveloped in a love she could never have imagined!! And you are storing up treasures in heaven! It's such a beautiful and heart-warming story. Thank you for sharing with us as you journey through this epoch.

    I'll be praying for the other blessings and for you two as you're separated. Wow. So hard, but will be SO worth it!

    The Lord bless you and keep you,


  4. This is such a great post - thank you so much!!!! We leave Sunday and this is just so helpful!! I am so excited that you are so close to meeting your precious daughter. GOD BLESS!!!!

  5. I am praying for you that all goes well and you are home soon! I am so proud to know you!

    Chris Duffy

  6. I'm so excited to read an update! What an adventure! Praying for you...


  7. So glad to hear you arrived safely. I REALLY, REALLY miss you!!!

    Our family is praying for you.... lots of prayers from us.

    Keep posting! It was great to turn on my computer to my home page and see you had posted. :-)

    Love you,

  8. Oh! Emily I can so relate this brings a flood of memories. I remember the flight delay...praise the Lord yours were in America with English speaking people, but it is still stressful! Glad all the connecting flights worked out. You made it! I got the same VIP treatment through security as you in Germany...we must look so suspicious. heehehee
    The sights and smells sound so familiar to our time in Russia. I am so excited to be going on this journey with you now as you did with me almost 3yrs ago. Patiently,(mostly) waiting for your next post and first pictures of you with Alice!!!!

  9. Love all the details! Yes, it helps when the children can look around on your blog...Anna spent a lot of time reading and clicking on pictures to look at them up close. So glad you made it there safe. You are in our prayers! Love, The Tossells


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