Sunday, March 31, 2013

livin' and livin' in Ethiopia

I don't have many opportunities to photograph the daily life of average Ethiopian people or families.  It's always something I wish I could do more of.  This would require walking in Addis and this city is simply the worst place for walking. Although it's the only mode of transportation for most Ethiopians.  OK, so I could walk if I were more adventurous.  

While we were in Gonder we took horse drawn carts through the villages to get from one historical site to another and during these rides I snapped a few photos of what we saw.  Using a term coined by my wise 3 year old Addie during our time in Manila- "Everyone's just livin' and livin'".  Indeed

Making injera

 Market Day in Gonder
women selling onions
the mattress and bed shop

shopping in Addis

There is very little traditional shopping in Addis.  When I say traditional, I'm referring to driving to a store, parking in a parking lot, walking in a door, choosing something and paying at the register. Not in Ethiopia. Most shopping is done at little road-side stalls, often grouped together on long stretches of roads or side alley ways.

We drove to one of the larger market areas at the bottom of Entoto mountain to show Kiki this wild way of life and let her purchase any last minute souvenirs before her flight back to the US.  We were bombarded by street children and beggars, people selling pirated African DVDs and just the average Ethiopian market shopper that crowded us and followed us with their friends or family laughing and pointing and generally acting shocked that this group of white people were walking along and shopping at the local stalls.  For the new-to-Addis tourist this could seem fun and delightful even. Seeing the colorful goods and locally made clothing and smiling at all the locals who are surely just heckling.
 But for me, a fairly seasoned third world resident, these situations just turn me into a total jerk.  I admit it.  I hate it when people touch my daughter's hair (let alone their faces).  I don't like the snide comments or laughing.  I hate being charged quadruple the price for something because I'm a Westerner.  The street children with their green dripping noses and flies buzzing around their lips make me cringe. Especially when these faces are way too close to my baby.  See, I am a total jerk.  So we don't normally shop like this. Or walk in areas like this.  I hate being a jerk, but when the kid that runs to my car door, so he can open it and assist me into my car in the hopes of getting one Birr, slams the door on my foot-because he doesn't really get it; I kind of loose my cool.  And that's when we leave! But not before I can snap a few colorful photos of the stalls.  I think Kiki was a little overwhelmed by this shopping trip.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

play dates in Addis

There is a huge crew of amazing expat moms in Addis.  Tons of families with young children.  Maybe even more moms than in Manila, which is hard to believe because there was something about the water in Manila.  Everyone was pregnant or carrying around a newborn (including me).  Maybe because Addis is so much smaller it just feels like the place is teeming with expat kids and their Mamas!

Anyway, the moms here are super active and always have something planned for kids.  I received an email of a list of activities/play dates/outings scheduled for every day during Spring Break.  It was amazing and dizzying.  There isn't a whole lot for children to do in Addis, but I swear these moms who plan these things find every thing there is.

After a whirl wind of visits and bakery orders for me the last few weeks; the girls and I laid low this week We decorated for Easter and hosted our own play date with close friends we needed to catch up with.  In a lot of ways Addie, Bella and Ashlynn have a life long play date all day every day in our house so I very rarely feel the need to take them other places to play.  They play wonderfully together.

Friday, I decided to take the girls to the planned play date because it was just too cool of an activity to pass up.  The entire morning was scheduled for a traditional Ethiopian meal (all homemade by all the ladies' personal cooks) and a troupe of teen Ethiopian dancers were coming to dance with the kids.

True to third world form, the music was way too loud so most of the kids, including Arabella, ran for the other side of the compound every time the dancers came out to perform.  But I loved it!  The kids were so dynamic and wore the brightest colors!  Seriously cool play date.  Another reason to love Ethiopia!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Easter photo shoot

I ordered these sweet matching outfits for the girls last year (hello end of season sales!).  Easter is as good of a time as any to snap a few pictures of my beautiful daughters.  We used a friend's yard for the setting and poor Ashlynn was not happy with the wet grass.

Coffee ceremony for Kiki

The best way to feel like you are experiencing the real Ethiopia is to take your guest to a shady hole in the wall joint for dinner (called Master Chef!) and then stop by a little hut on the walk back to the hotel to have coffee and tea served in the traditional coffee ceremony style.  Kiki is a trooper.

DIY: Baby’s Breath bird nests

Baby’s Breath is the perfect Spring flower to use for Easter decorations.  I love how simple and sweet the little white flowers are.  Used in large amounts it can make a big impact.

These little birds nests are by far my favorite idea I've had this week.  They look so sweet holding tiny blue eggs on our mantel.

You will need
Deep cereal bowl
Baby’s Breath
Wax or parchment paper
Hot glue gun

Place a small square of wax or parchment paper in the bottom of a bowl. Place snipped baby’s breath blooms in a bowl with the blooms on the outer edge forming a more shallow space in the middle.  
Place a heavy jar or object in the middle to help shape the nest.  
Using a hot glue gun, coat the middle of the nest with glue and place another small square on top of the glue and weight it down again. 

When ready to use the nest, remove it from the bowl and peal off the paper. The baby’s breath may flatten out a bit but can be reshaped in the bowl again overnight.  I like the way they spread over time.  

Fill with pretty dyed Easter eggs and place them on your mantel or use as a table centerpiece.  

decorating for Easter

I vowed this year I'd have things a bit more put together than last Easter. Lucky for me, this week is Spring break and the girls have been eager to get crafty and decorate.  Here is what we've been up to.

Turning our Halloween branches into Spring branches with Baby's Breath, floral wire and stuffed birds. Baby' Breath bird nests (see my DIY)
spooky no more!
Making glittery Easter egg ornaments for the tree.

Easter egg bunting for our mantel (bunting obsessed I tell you!)

Dying adorable little Ethiopian eggs
Eggs resting on my mini muffin tin!  Tiny eggs are more fun!