I left for Germany on Wednesday morning. I arrived Wednesday night. On Thursday I had the ultrasound done. On Friday I was on a flight headed back to the Azores. Whew!
Ultimately, I might have stayed longer in Germany. However, most days of the week, a flight into Lisbon from our island requires an overnight stay before you can board a plane for Germany. This was therefore the only way I could work it out so that I didn't have to spend the night in Lisbon. (Side note: Lisbon is actually written and pronounce Lisboa by the Portuguese.)
My travel day on Thursday was simply perfect. The planes were far from packed, and I had plenty of leg room (always a key ingredient to me having a good flight.) I had a two hour flight to Lisboa, a four hour layover there, and then a three hour flight to Germany. But without children, that time was so well spent. I read nearly an entire book and got to work on my writing a ton! I also had time in Lisboa to have an awesome lunch at Harrod's Cafe which included a ham and cheese quiche and cup of fruit followed by two scoops of awesome ice cream! Man, traveling without children is a totally different experience.
I couldn't help but thinking, while I was traveling, how different my life is from the one I grew up living. Who would have thought I'd be hopping from country to country (and feel totally normal doing it?) I don't think anything of spending a day in the airports of various countries! Crazy! I also was reminded how very different it is to travel in Europe in comparison to Turkey. Everyone speaks English in Europe. Announcements are made in both languages. And the food and smells and sights are familiar. Traveling in Turkey was constantly stressful. You just never knew if you were going to the right place or if someone was going to change a rule on you or cut you in line at the last minute. While I miss Turkey in many ways, I don't miss the lack of organization and feeling of uncertainty.
I was so blessed that Shane and Linda live here in Germany. They picked me up from the airport late on Friday night. By the time we had made the nearly 90 minute drive back to the Base and their home a few minutes outside of the Base, it was actually Thursday morning. I managed just four hours of sleep before Linda had to head to work and Shane took me to Landstuhl hospital (where I had Abigail).
Shane dropped me off, and I spent the rest of the morning getting stuff done. I had to take a pregnancy test which, for some reason, was not in the laboratory computer system. So it took ninety minutes to wait for someone to put that order in. I then grabbed some breakfast at the hospital cafeteria before heading to radiology for my appointment.
The ultrasound ... sucked. There's no good way to explain it. It was uncomfortable, painful, and memory-ridden. But when it was over, it was over, and I could put it out of my mind and move on to other things. The tech and doctor were incredibly sweet women who were in love with our story of adoption and pregnancy and why we were going back for these embryos. I am amazed how frequently I am able to share my testimony of grief, sorrow, and blessings-- always mentioning the Lord's presence in the entire story.
While waiting for a CD-Rom of the pictures from my ultrasound, I quickly checked my email and saw that one of my friends from Lajes was in the hospital there at Landstuhl. She gave me her room number just in case I had time to stop in. I had thirty minutes to kill so I was able to chat with her and give her some company for a few minutes.
Then I picked up the CD, Shane picked me up, and we headed to Macaroni Grill for lunch. Unfortunately, my appetite the rest of the day was less-than-stellar. I was so cramped and uncomfortable from having had my uterus blown up with a balloon and pain medicine wasn't making it better. So I didn't get to really "pig out" in Germany on my favorite foods as I had hoped. But the company was wonderful!
Linda left to go back to work and Shane headed home. I went shopping with Veronica's older sister English for a few hours. She lives in Germany (her husband is stationed there) and was totally up for helping me accomplish my errands! I went to the huge BX and the huge Commissary and picked up all kinds of things that we had been unable to get on the island. (One of those things were a couple of extra pacifiers for Abigail which Bonnie, Shane and Linda's awesome dog, promptly ate later that evening. I guess Scrubs isn't the only dog who loves pacifiers.)
English returned me to Shane and Linda's. I got a little nap. And then we headed out for a delightful German dinner. We took a picture there. I need to try and get that from Linda.
I got to sleep until 8am! Shane made breakfast, and by 10am, Linda and I were on the road, headed back to the Frankfurt airport. It ended up working out perfectly since Linda had the day off and was meeting a friend outside of Frankfurt for a road trip.
My second travel day was as good as the first. I had a shorter stop in Lisbon this time and decided to eat McDonalds -- something I haven't had in close to a year. Yuck. Not sure why I thought that would taste good. It didn't.
I got to the airport at 7:45pm and walked out with my luggage to see all three of my kiddos waiting for me. Abigail was smiling so big, and as I held her and bent down to kiss the boys, Connie and JB said she just couldn't wipe the smile off of her face. The only bad thing was that she cried the entire way home because I wasn't able to hold her.
Now it's Saturday morning. Great trip. And so wonderful to be back with the people I love the mostest in the whole world.