Friday, July 24, 2009

Shopping-Embassy: June 9

We had Dawit - now we had to make it official with a visit to the U.S. embassy. But first we went shopping with Birtukan and Emane. We steered clear of the Mercato, Ethiopia's largest open air market because Emane said "there are bad boys there." Instead we went to shops that lined the road. Shadley, Lindsey and the Mooneys went too and they racked up. I didn't do so well. Sometimes I just can't decide what to buy, so I don't buy anything. That's pretty much what I did, although I did get some traditional Ethiopia clothes for Dawit and Caroline. Birtukan was a kick-butt negotiator. Occasionally, when she didn't think the prices were good enough, she would say, "let's go." And we went.

I also bought a traditional Ethiopian stool that is often used for coffee ceremonies. It is carved from a single piece of wood and now sits next to Dawit's pack 'n play so I can pat, pat, pat him to sleep. (By the way, it's 5:30a. He's been asleep since 7:45p last night, and here I am awake -- since 4a. Guess I'm gonna need a coffee ceremony soon!)

We dashed back to the guesthouse for a quick lunch of wat and injera (D likes injera), then headed to the embassy. It was a serious understatement. We had to leave our cameras in the vehicle. We all, with our kids strapped to our tummies, trooped across the street to a canopy outside a building under which 20 or 30 people sat on rows of benches. It was hot and I wondered how long D would hold out. I figured if he wigged we might be bumped to the front. It appeared we were in for a long wait, but they actually moved us to the front and within 5 minutes we proceeded into the building. As we stood in line waiting to pass through security, a commotion commenced. People started yelling and guards started dashing all around us. All the Ethiopians in line with us were told to leave the building. No one seemed concerned about us. I assumed an "about to hit the floor" stance, but things settled down pretty quickly. We learned later that a man in line had fainted, creating the stir.

We proceeded through security into another waiting room, where we filled out our I-600s. Wait! No, WE didn't, because WE brought an I-600A form. That little "A" almost spelled disaster for our appointment. After packing and hauling across two continents a ream of paper consisting of our entire dossier, all our referral paperwork and various update documents, none of which anyone cared about or asked to see, the one form I bring that is necessary for us to bring Dawit home is WRONG. I managed to borrow an extra I-600 from Shadley and Dan -- without letting on to Spence, who was busy fiddling with D, about my mistake. I told him later and he rolled his eyes.

We waited about 30 minutes then headed upstairs to another waiting room lined with bank-teller-type windows. Ten minutes later, D was asleep and we were called to one of the windows to answer a series of questions that would give us final clearance to bring D home. The guy at the window stamped our form and unceremoniously announced, "Congratulations." We left the embassy one family member richer.

We headed back to the guesthouse to rest, eat dinner and visit with Nesibu and Birtukan. It was a good day. Tomorrow we visit Gelgela.

1 comment:

los cazadores said...

Did we go shopping at the same place? That little D, adorable.