We are here in lovely Armstrong, BC and I will be completely honest, it feels SO good to be home as a family. I know many of you are eagerly awaiting hearing about our journey and Olivia’s first impressions of Canada, so here goes.
We had no problems in the airport on the way out. In fact, we were ready for problems, so it was kind of surprising. We were met inside the door by a guy who was taking information of all kids traveling and the whole time he kept thanking us for adopting from Haiti. Going through Immigration they asked if we had copies of all of our papers to leave with them and when we told them we didn’t because we weren’t told we would need them they just waved their hands and said, “Oh, don’t worry about it!” and flagged us through. The immigration lady also thanked us for adopting, as did a cute old gentleman in a tiny room of a snack bar in a white straw fedora. We get so used to having people say things like, “Blan, that baby’s not for you!” that people thanking us for looking after one of Haiti’s kids feel good and has extra meaning because they get it. We also both lost about 3 lbs in sweat from the time we walked in the door to the time we got on the plane.
The Air Canada boarding lounge in Haiti is right at ground level so we had fun watching planes coming in and out and getting loaded etc. Olivia also got to ride the escalator for the first time, and then proceeded to drag one of us up and down about a dozen times. And she did it giggling the whole time.
Olivia is going to be a great traveler. She’s not a big fan of take off and found that covering her ears with her hands and yelling, “I don’t like it! I don’t like it!” over and over was effective. Once in the air, it was all good. She really was a trooper because our flight to Montreal was 4 hours, 15 minutes. Our flight from Montreal to Calgary the next morning was 4 hours, 30 minutes, and the last one into Kelowna was just under an hour. That’s a lot of flying time for a 2 1/2 year old, on top of the waiting and sleeping in a new city etc.
One thing that was really fun for us was that after we got on the plane we realized that our friends that I asked you to pray for last week had made it on. We had read their blog a couple days before and they had hit a major road block in the visa department, so it was such a great surprise to see them on the plane on their way to Canada. When we got to Montreal we had a visit while we navigated Immigration and Baggage Claim together. The girls all ran around being excited and us parents were happy that we could share that moment together, with people who understood what the journey was like.
We overnighted in Montreal and one of my favorite moments was being cuddled down in our bed and looking past the night stand at Olivia cuddling down in her bed. She rolled over, looked at me and said, “How are you doing?” as though she really wanted to know. It had me giggling. We know that Olivia talks and sings to herself when she goes to bed at night, but being only feet away from it in the same room had Chris and I in stitches. And if you’ve ever traveled with a young child you know that you cannot make noise when it’s time for sleep or they will think it’s party time. Many times Chris was elbowing me in bed while I was giggling into my pillow because she was just so darn funny. The best part was when she started singing in Creole.
I had one moment yesterday morning as Chris and I were getting things together before we woke Olivia up where I just said, “I know we’ve been parents for 2 1/2 years already, but this is big. I feel like we have so much more responsibility now that we’re traveling with her to another country!” Chris looked at me like a was a little overtired, and rightly so. I mean, we live in Haiti.
My mom, Chris’ parents and my brother and sister-in-law were all at the airport to meet us, which was so fun. We weren’t sure how Olivia would do as she normally gets a bit overwhelmed in new situations and will be quiet until she gets her bearings. Her bearings took all of three seconds to be found, and then she was set.
We’ve had so much fun watching her settle in here. We were both concerned about Olivia being overwhelmed with so many new things all at once, but apparently she is very adaptable. She’s settled herself right in. This morning Chris and I had some errands to do so we left her with Mom. I got home first and after excitedly greeting me the next thing out of her mouth was, “Mom, I don’t want to go home.” I asked her if she meant home in Haiti and she said yes. Apparently Canada is suiting her just fine. It wouldn’t have anything to do with the constant attention from everyone around her.
Yes, Olivia will be just fine in the Great White North.
And now for the observations of the parents who have not been here together for 2 1/2 years…
- We are very much cold climate people. In fact, cooler weather makes Chris down right silly. I’m not used to the silly. I forgot about the silly. I like the silly. It’s amazing how much more sane we both feel when it’s cooler.
- You can do things really fast here. Chris has sort of been walking around in this daze of amazement since yesterday because we’ve accomplished some important things in a very short period of time. The icing on the cake was getting his BC drivers license renewed yesterday – in ten minutes. It took me 9 months just to get my license in Haiti. No exaggeration there. I had to go to get info about BC Medical. I walked in, waited a few minutes, went to the counter, told the lady why I was there, she was helpful and pleasant and I walked back out with what I needed – in ten minutes.
- We went for two walks today. Two! On sidewalks.
- One of the walks was to see my grandparents, which is such a blessing to me. They just moved from across town to within walking distance of my parents house. While there we got to see two of my aunts as well. I just feel really loved right now because I see the joy on people’s faces when they see us here and they’re just so happy.
- I told Chris to be prepared when we came home because people would be more excited about seeing Olivia than us. It’s true. In fact, yesterday when we were in White Spot for lunch I was in the bathroom with Olivia. A lady came in and went in a stall, then a minute later came out and said, “Is that Olivia?” I was surprised and said, “Yes,” kind of wondering what was going on, then she told me that she goes to my church (it’s big) and that she had seen pictures and they had been praying for us. She then went on to tell me how happy she was that we were all home together and was so sweetly encouraging.
- Time changes suck. Chris rolled over in bed at 3:15 this morning and asked if I was awake. We looked at the clock and realized that if we had been in Haiti our alarm would have just gone off.
And now in closing I want to share one special story with you. I apologize in advance for anything that may occur in relation to it.
So, we’re leaving the airport yesterday after having to deal with a lost luggage claim (just one bag that has now been located and is on it’s way to us) and just after we go through the pay window and are heading out of the lot Olivia tells me she has to poop. I tell her that there’s no where to go and that she’s wearing a pull up so she’s just going to have to make due, so to speak. Everything is fine. She spends the car ride from Kelowna to Vernon singing away. As we get closer to the restaurant in Vernon where we’re meeting family for lunch the car starts smelling and we’re laughing at how stinky she is. We get there and I grab the wipes, a clean pull up and Olivia and we head for the bathroom while everyone else goes to the table. I start pulling Olivia’s pants down to change her diaper, and as I do a big blob of poo falls out her pant leg and onto the floor. That’s when I opened the bathroom door and told Chris I needed the diaper bag, like YESTERDAY. I spend the next 5 minutes cleaning her, myself and the bathroom floor up. I’ve done pretty good with the poop since we brought her home and have never thrown up from the nasties. I almost broke that record yesterday. It was very close to being disastrous as I scooped poop off the floor. We get all cleaned up and go eat lunch with everyone.
As we walk out the door after lunch there is a BIG blob of something right outside the main entrance. I am one of the first out and flippantly say, “Don’t step in that,” because knew what it was. But then it registered, and I really knew what it was. I started laughing so hard I was crying and was bee-lining it across the parking lot. Chris caught up to me and said, “That isn’t from Olivia is it?” and I nodded that yes, in fact it was part of the poop that had been running down our daughters legs and on to the bathroom floor. He asked me if I was going to clean it up. I looked at him and said, “And what am I supposed to do, clean it up with my trusty pooper scooper?”
And yes I did just tell you a poop story. And yes, I laughed my butt off after the gag reflex subsided.
And now I’m falling asleep at the computer. I’ll post pictures tomorrow.