I am cheating, and posting here what I put on the Hananasif blog earlier this morning….
I went yesterday afternoon at Orlando International Airport, along with their host family John and Lisa Nelson, to greet Gustaf and Irene, newly arrived from the Hananasif Orphanage Center in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania. Although their flight landed around 3p.m., it took Gustaf and Irene nearly two hours to go through customs, due to long lines and a slight paperwork mix-up. Fortunately, a British Airways official with a walkie talkie realized we were waiting for the kids, and gave us constant updates as to their progress in customs.
Gustaf and Irene finally came through the ‘arriving passengers’ tunnel and looked remarkably upbeat after such a long flight! Their eyes widened in excitement as they saw us waiting for them. They both kept saying, “I can’t believe I am here!” I was thankful that I had the chance to greet them, and at least give them one familiar face in what must seem like a strange and overwhelming country.
Some funny differences between the kids: Gustaf said that Irene slept a lot on the airplane, and she said he watched too many movies!:) Gustaf is excited because the Nelsons have a dog and a cat, although Irene isn’t too thrilled about the dog. She said, “It will eat me!” However, Irene does like cats, so she is looking forward to having a new pet for awhile.
I was glad to have a chance to talk with them a bit before they left with the Nelsons for Gainesville. We ate some Chik Fila in the food court at the airport, and spent a lot of time looking at the aquarium in the middle of the rotunda. Even though he claimed not to be that hungry, Gustaf ate plenty of Chik Fila;)
I was pleased at how much Gustaf in particular seems to have progressed in English. And Irene was taking great care to make sure their baggage was in order and neatly packed–I had forgotten how organized she is!:)
My time with them was too short, but I hope to travel up to Gainesville sometime in the next few weeks to visit them.