Monday, August 13, 2012

our "other home"

The girls got weepy and sad on Saturday night when they learned we were returning home to Addis Ababa on Sunday.  Justin and I were a little bit shocked at the response.  We knew the girls had a great time in Gonder but we had no idea how much they loved it.  We all loved it.  It was probably one of the nicest weekends we have had in Ethiopia.  For a number of reasons.
Our daughters are good travelers.  They love adventure and seeing new things and this was the first trip we've taken where there weren't any complaints for the amount of walking and site seeing we did.  They were as fascinated with the castles, churches and villages as we were.  I was extremely impressed with their stamina during the trip.
boys playing football in the streets.  We honestly couldn't walk anywhere without a gaggle of Ethiopian kids following us the entire way.  They loved speaking Amharic with Justin.
The children at Falasha village trying to sell us American coins among other things.
The little girl in purple picked flowers for Addie, Bella and Ashlynn at Fasilides Bath.
There were no major meltdowns even when we skipped naps for both Bella and Ashlynn.  We just crammed our day with adventure, had a reasonably early dinner and all three of the girls were asleep at 7PM.  They crashed for the night and were up early to start a new day.  Ashlynn is still at the age that she snoozed in my arms and on our horse cart rides.  I was mostly impressed with Arabella making it through the busy days without a nap.  We were pretty proud of their behavior.
Ashlynn playing the drums at The Four Sisters Restaurant, entertaining all the staff
A major contributing factor to the success of the weekend was keeping it to two days.  Kids (and parents) can only go full speed for about two days before everyone is tired so having just two full days of adventure was a perfect amount.
Dashen beer is brewed in Gonder and was a saving grace for Mom and Dad as we sat in the courtyard after the girls had gone to bed.
Our guide, Tamirat also helped things go smoothly.  The girls really took to him and having an extra pair of adult hands with three small children is always an added bonus.
We weren't surprised that Bella likes Tej.  She likes everything a 3 year old shouldn't.
Our Lodge was centrally located to all the things we wanted to see.  We literally only had to walk 5 minutes to the castles and the longest horse cart ride to the Falasha Village was only about 20 minutes.  Short travel times in between our site seeing stops helped move things along and prevent the girls from getting bored.

The girls are also pretty adventurous eaters.  Addie was satisfied with her meals and Bella asked for more of the boiled Ethiopian eggs that came with the tibs.  Go figure!
Justin and I laughed about how some day we'll be visiting some third world city and hail a run down horse drawn cart for a ride and our girls will roll their eyes and tell us there is no way in hell they are riding in one of these things.  For now, we are thankful they are still at the age that this kind of travel is totally cool, maybe even the best part of the weekend!
All in all, it was a wonderful weekend for all of us.  It's truly a once in a lifetime experience for our children to see Ethiopia and all it's history.  For them it's as normal as going to the mall for the weekend.  I'm sure some day they will realize just how spectacular it was and how cool it is that their weekend activities included ancient Ethiopian castles and historic churches.  When we returned to our home they were happy to relax and play but almost immediately Bella announced she wanted to go on the airplane again to our "other home".  Gonder clearly was pretty awesome.
Ashlynn is such a happy easy going baby that we couldn't go anywhere without crowds of local men and women cooing at her.  She was a rock star all weekend.

1 comment:

Fields of Heather said...

What an amazing place! Oh I don't think a single day goes by that I don't think how lucky our boys are to have these adventures.