Today we woke up early and set off for the airport in Schipole. Hardy took us inside and I was whisked to a family check in line by a very helpful KLM agent. If I have not noted it before, the people in the Netherlands are so so friendly. In the little village where we stayed, many of the neighbors came and greeted us in the street because they knew we were strangers. Anyway, the agents were so helpful and we were checked in in no time. I was fighting tears as Hardy left me I realized what a huge trip was before us. Security is amazing in the Netherlands, it so efficient and friendly. The way they direct people and form lines is so intuitive but American airports just don't get it.
We wandered around until we found a breakfast spot, i had an omelet and Eden a croissant with ham and cheese. And of course I had a very strong coffee. The airport is incredibly organized and the departures board tells you how many minutes it would take to walk to your gate, very useful information. I let Eden walk off some of her energy in the huge airport and then before long it was time to board our flight. Again, the KLM agents were so helpful and allowed us to board first since I had a young child. And of course Eden made friends everywhere she went throughout the whole airport. Eden and I had an aisle seat next to a Dutch lady but the flight attendants switched things around so we had two seats to ourselves. I was so thankful because having her on my lap is not restful at all. Eden did really well on the flight with the exception of the time she woke suddenly from her nap way too early and was crying for a minute or so. She is also really confused because I have been telling her for months that we would go see Rwanda. So when we met Rwandans on the
flight and I told her they were from Rwanda, she said 'hello Rwanda'. And for the rest of the flight she asked me if various people were Rwanda.
When we arrived I was overcome with an awareness of the greatness of the moment: the first time Eden would set foot in Rwanda. A kind agent whisked me to the front of the impossibly long line at immigration. I felt bad but I went with I it cause i was hot and sweaty and anxious to get to the family. Even with the trip to the front of the line, immigration took about twenty minutes, I know It would have taken us over an hour otherwise. Then when we got to the baggage area, we were told that our bags would arrive on carousel one. So naturally they arrived on carousels two and three and only after forty five minutes of watching about fifteen agents standing around and 'supervising' while the carousels got repeatedly jammed with the hundreds of bags from the people waiting in the impossible line. And the inefficiency of the whole process had me reminding myself to take a Rwandan sized chill and pill and just go with it.
Finally an hour or so after landing, we made our way outside where my sister in law, her daughters, and my dear friend Olivier were waiting. And, amazingly, when they all crowded around Eden to greet her, she was incredibly calm. Usually she needs her space until she knows someone better. But for some reason she is always at home with Rwandans right away. It's a phenomenon. We took a fifteen minute car ride to the house and Eden and Stacy and Tona were squealing and playing the whole time. When we arrived at home Eden was thrilled beyond measure to meet Sianna, her cousin who is only one year older. They hugged and kissed unprompted and were inseparable.
As i lay down tonight my heart is full. Eden has her feet in the dust of this country that makes up half of who she is.
And she loves it.
My cup overflows