Thursday, February 13, 2014

Lessons from Ethiopia

It's seems appropriate to summarize my time living in Ethiopia somehow.  Instead of just not writing and letting the next few months slide on by, I want to document how I feel (and maybe how the entire family feels) after having spent two and a half years in Addis Ababa.

My first memory in Ethiopia is so vivid still.  We arrived exhausted, as it is with all overseas flights with children, on December 31, 2011.  We apologized profusely to our sponsors who were a young married couple about having to spend their New Years Eve at the airport, picking our tired family up and driving us to our new home.  Surely, they had something more exciting to do on their New Years Eve.  They assured us that they didn't.  The only thing waiting for them was their beds.  That might have been the first clue (which went over my tired head) that Ethiopia didn't have much to offer in the way of "stuff" to do.

We gathered our bags, kids, dog and selves and walked out into the dark Ethiopian night.  My first impression was how cool and quiet it was.  Almost silent.  There was a breeze, no humidity and it was such a different feel from Manila.. I was almost shocked.  I guess that's what will happen when you move from a city of 25 million to one of only 5 million people.

We drove to our new home which was not far from the airport (another surprise since our apartment in Manila was a significant drive from the airport).  We surveyed the huge house, settled in for the night and slept in that first night-excited to wake up and see this country-way every first night in a new country is.  The next morning we looked out our second and third floor windows onto this large open grassy space.  Once again, I was surprised.  I was not expecting trees and flowers and greenery.

My first lesson from Ethiopia is that it's good to be surprised in life.  Ethiopia has continuously surprised me.  Over and over.  There is always a new side of Ethiopia that I see from time to time and it helps to keep me on my toes.  Surprises are good.  The unknown is a way to challenge ourselves.

The surprises in Ethiopia have been good and bad.  On one hand the types of surprises we are faced with is enjoying a lovely evening out with the children at a surprisingly good restaurant only to have it ruined by driving by a vehicular homicide on the way home (sadly a very common occurrence here in Addis).  On the other hand we could be having a very stressful few days managing daily life and the frustrations of Addis only to be presented with a generous gift of Ethiopian coffee cups from one of Justin's colleagues.

1 comment:

Stephanie D. Adams said...

Oh, I am challenged by surprises. It's always nice to be reminded they can be good-- all about your attitude. Thanks for such a wonderful look into Ethiopia.