Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Meeting an Old Friend

We had a great weekend in Michigan where Yikealo got to see Zipporah, one of his good friends from Hannah's Hope. AGCI had a family get-together at a children's museum in Grand Rapids, and since our cousin Eric lives in GR, we decided to make a weekend of it. We left on Friday afternoon, stopped in Toledo at a hotel, and then drove the rest of the way on Saturday morning. The hotel was great fun, of course, since there was an indoor swimming pool, and Yikealo cannot get enough of "big woha" entertainment. The bad part was that I forgot his water wings, and this child has absolutely NO FEAR!! His wriggly, slippery little body is not easy to hold onto in the pool when he is constantly fighting to get down. I definitely need to enroll him in swimming lessons before our trip to the beach this summer, because I don't think that David and I have enough eyes between us to watch him carefully enough around water.

One amusing picture from the way to the museum on Saturday morning:
Is this a spoiled modern kid or what? Shades pushed up on his head, looking at a Thomas book while listening to his I-pod shuffle and drinking the last of my Cinnamon Dolce Latte from Starbucks.

Zipporah's family lives close to the museum, so they were already there when we arrived. We had been showing Yikealo pictures and talking about Zipporah all week long, and he had been excited about seeing her, but he acted pretty shy once we actually saw her. She, on the other hand, came running up shouting his name and gave him a big hug! We spent quite a bit of time with her family while we were in Ethiopia, and they were seated just across the aisle from us on the flight home. Yikealo and Zipporah spent a lot of time jabbering to each other in Amharic and squealing with delight over all the cars and planes at the Dulles airport, so it was great to see them together again. She is such a gorgeous little girl!
Yikealo and she spent a little time playing with bubbles together, but then they went their separate ways for a while.

Yikealo ran around trying out all kinds of different things and especially loved playing with the legos, but before long, he was asking, "Mom, where's Kenean?" Kenean was Zipporah's Ethiopian name, so that told me that he really did remember her. I said that I didn't know, but we could go find her if he wanted to see her again. He replied, "Yeah, I wanna find her. I wanna give her a hug." Once we did find her, he decided he really didn't want to hug her after all, but apparently he just liked knowing where she was. They spent quite a bit of time chasing each other through a triangular mirrored tunnel, and she just laughed and laughed. I think that she may have a most infectious giggle I've ever heard!

Unfortunately, I never was able to get a good picture of the two of them together, but I did take some  photos of Yikealo and Zipporah's 5-year old sister Reese, who was adopted from China 3 years ago. Aren't these kids darling?

By this time, it was mid-afternoon, and all of the little ones were starting to get pretty cranky. Zipporah's family left for home in order to take naps, and soon after they left, Yikealo was asking about her again. "Mom, where's Kenean?" Me: "Sweetie, she went home to take a nap. Why, do you miss her?"  Y: "Ummm...maybe.....Yes, I do." We played for awhile longer, and then decided to walk around outside to enjoy the sunshine. A few more pictures from the museum:

It's around this time of year when I start to realize just how starved for sunshine I really am. We spent probably a good hour wandering around downtown Grand Rapids, thoroughly enjoying the mid-40's temperature. It's just so good to see the sun again!

We eventually met Eric at a great Ethiopian vegetarian restaurant for dinner, and then headed to his house for the night. Yikealo hadn't taken a nap, and was SOOO tired by this point. One interesting thing about this kid is that when he's tired he gets HYPER, so he was absolutely bouncing off the walls. Thankfully, Eric's a great sport and seems to really enjoy wound-up little boys. Either that, or he's a good actor! At any rate, a big thanks to Eric for his hospitality and for letting Yikealo tear around his house.

On Sunday, we went to church with Eric, where Yikealo started introducing himself to everyone as "Ike." We've tossed around the idea of using Ike as a nickname, but he's never really wanted anything to do with it before, always saying, "No, my name is Yikealo!"  On the drive home that evening, we talked about it:

Me: "Yikealo why were you telling people that your name was Ike today? It's fine if that's what you want, but usually you say that your name is Yikealo." 
Y: "I no wanna say Yikealo. It sounds funny." 
Me: "No it doesn't. It's a very nice name. But,do you mean that when you tell people that your name is Yikealo, they look at you kind of funny and say, 'What??'" 
Y:  "Yeah, I no like it."
Me: "Well, you know what? People do the same thing to me. When I say that my name is 'La-ree-sa,' they always say 'What??' and then they call me 'La-riss-a' or 'Lucinda' or 'Clarissa' or something like that. So I know how you feel, but you shouldn't let what other people think upset you. If you want to be Ike, that's fine, but if you want to be Yikealo, that's great too, okay?"
Y: "Okay. I wanna be Yikealo right now. Sometimes I Ike and sometimes I Yikealo."

Makes sense to me! Since then he's asked me repeatedly to tell him again about people's reactions to my name, and yesterday morning, he informed me that his name was "Yikealo David Larisa Joy."  Hmmm...maybe a bit unwieldy, ya think?


  1. I always love reading about Yikealo, you do suh a good job of capturing is personality and inquisitivity. He sounds so precious...It makes me wanna change our parameters to his age :)

  2. I thought I recognized his face on the other blog :) he he he.....he is so cute and funny!

  3. What fun! I especially chuckled at the picture of Yikealo (sometimes known as Ike) drinking his coffee & listening to his music. What a sweet boy!