Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Live from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

We have been in Ethiopia a little over a week now. It’s just starting to set in that Addis Ababa is home now. It’s frightening and comforting at the same time. It’s very hard to explain. I’ll try.
In the past six months we’ve moved fromour home in Manila, Philippines to America for our R&R for two months (basically vacation). In Auguest wemoved into a rental home in Virginia, had a baby, and now we’ve packed up and moved to Africa. That’s enough life changing events to get most people through a decade. We packed it in half a year. I’m exhausted.A big part of me feels comfort and relief in finallyarriving at our home here in Addis Ababa. We can settle in and be a family with normal family life stuff without the clutter of packing and moving and transition. At least for the next two and a half years that is. I can’t wait to get our personal belongings we packed up in Manila. Ashlynn needs a proper nursery with a changing table and a crib. I want to rock her in my rocking chair. I’m looking forward to having my kitchen back and my bath towels, our TV, my bed. Everything! Walking into our new concrete home with marble and wood floors, stinky bathroom drains, florescent lights, tiny kitchen sink and Embassy furniture was a strangely comforting homecoming. Like a much larger African version of our condo in Manila.
On the other hand, arriving in a foreign third world country, mostly unprepared for the first few hectic weeks is frightening. The new landscape, culture, language, food, safety issues etc, is all rather unnerving after a mostly hectic month in Virginia just trying to get to Ethiopia. It all happened so fast I feel like I didn’t get to give America a proper goodbye. I think I would have had one more block of the Cotswold cheddar with chives from TJs (they serve this cheese in heaven) and one more walk around the block breathing deeply the fresh air. I’d hug and kiss all my friends and family just one more time. Seeing everyone through Skype is terribly saddening. It’s just not the same as laughing together in person.
Being a stay-at-home mom in all this transition ispretty tough. This past week I stayed home with the girls in our new empty house, with no food, no communication, and no car. The hours passed terribly slow while we waited for Justin to come home from work with word about our internet service or this or that maintenance crew that would be out to the house for repairs. There were a few evenings when I burst into tears when he walked through the door. Trying to keep it together with all the stress just became unbearable
to deal with alone.
I don’t like to dwell on the bad so I am going to focus on the good. Things that I love about Addis Ababa, Ethiopia already:
1. The blue sunny skies. 2. The 70-75 degree mid day temp that gradually cools down in the evening and night. 3. The lack of city noise and light pollu
tion. When I exited the airport the night we arrived the first impression I had was of how quiet it was. 4. Our house. It’s spectacular. Three floors, 4 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, marble and hardwood, tall ceilings, gorgeous decorative moldings, balconies on every floor. 5. Our garden. It’s small but well kept with flowers and grass. There are r
oses climbing the stone walls. 6. The girls smiling faces. Bella declared day two “I like my home!” and Addie says her favorite thing about Ethiopia is being able to wear her summer dresses. As long as that girl can wear her summer dresses she’s happy. And therefore, I’m happy.On a whole, my first week assessment is that Ethiopia is going to be a good home for us. I can see us being happy here. Not a bad state of mind to have 8 days in.


Emily said...

Good luck in your adjustment! Your house looks amazing!

I hope that your stuff gets there soon!

The Langley Family said...

The first week is the hardest, being alone with the kids in an empty house. Glad you finally have internet! It looks so rural, what are the grocery stores like? Are they close?

Heather P. said...

It looks like overall you all had a good first week. I am glad you are finally at a place you can call home for the next few years. Just thinking about what you all did in 6 months is exhausting, it can only get easier, right? What a beautiful house and yard...looking forward to hearing more updates!

Becky said...

Good luck! It sounds like you have a great attitude. I hope things continue to just get better for you.

Daniela Swider said...

Being in a new place without your things is hard. But when you are in a new country and don't speak the language it's that much harder. I am also hoping you get your UAB and HHE ASAP. The house does sound roomy and very nice. Plus, the girls seem happy and that is great. I can't believe how bit the littlest little is!

meredith said...

BIG thanks to your sweet sister for posting for all us!
What a huge transition - so proud of you for focusing on the positive - and how fabulous are the girls that they too have also found things to love about their new home!

Bfiles said...

wow didnt realize you were heading there already! good luck settling in, it only gets better from here. more photos of the house when you can!!