In some ways it’s as if I’ve started back from the beginning. I thought that I would still be used to ferenji being yelled at me and stares being cast my way, but it’s proven to be just as hard as the first months I was here three years ago. However, through all the confusion of the crowded streets of Addis Ababa, I have found a refuge, a diamond in the rough. The school that I am volunteering at is a peaceful haven. The owner Muday Mitiku is Mother Teresa, honestly. 13 years ago Muday Mitiku opened Fresh and Green Academy at the age of 18. At that time she thought of it only as a business that would sustain herself and one day her family. However, when Muday became shockingly aware of the need for education and basic living necessities in her community of Kotebe, she abandoned her original business plan and came up with a new one!
Well Addis Ababa is just as crazy, loud, and hot as I remember…the people are just as lovely and the food is even tastier! It’s amazing, in some ways, it’s as I never left, it feels so natural for me to be here. And then, sometimes it hits me all over again and I cant believe I’m really here, after two years of wishing to come back to Ethiopia, I AM HERE!
I had forgotten the leisure in which life is lived in Ethiopia. Taking time to make human connections, over buna or shay (coffee or tea), sitting and eating together, walking hand in hand..the true meaning of quality time. It is all very surreal and wonderful!!
Things have changed, but so much it still the same. You can still smell Berbarae (a local spice) in the air, the language is just as rhythmic and beautiful, the taxi’s are just as wild and my friends are still my family. Ethiopia is still my country, full of loving people, vibrant colors, energetic conversations and an abundance of laughter.
My Amharic is rusty and my friends say I sound like some character off of True Blood, who apparently has a country accent. I told them compared to some people in the States my accent is very appeasing to the international community :), although I definitely have lost my ability to speak Ethiopian English, that’s for sure! It is an adventure after all!
My US mobile is still set to the proper time over there in little old Boone, North Carolina. So don’t think I’ve forgot about y’all!! I miss everyone! See you totes soon!
Someone very special once told me, “there is nothing like an end, it is a transition. ” I thought about this for a while because at the time I did not agree, but the more I think about it, his words begin to make sense. You could argue that a transition is an end in itself but I would have to disagree. Yes, a transition may be ending something but it is also the start of something new. What transitions have that ends dont is a future. So yes, in life I agree “there is nothing like an end, it is a transition.” Some may say excluding death of course, but even then I would have to disagree. But having said that, it doesnt mean that transitions are easy. Most times, with dramatic transitions, it is very hard, even impossible for the person involved to see the new promising future.
SO, getting to the point, One Love…. I have grown up hearing that phrase, I think about everyone has, but it was not until I made Ethiopia my home that I truly felt the essences of One Love. People here dont just say One Love, they live it, bakka. So, to the One Love Crew….Although all our positions on the Earth have changed, I’m always there with you. “Love mean you can never be apart.” This beautiful thread of love we have created will never be broken, spreading out over all the continents to many many countries. I’m there with you in Yemen. I’m there with you in Switzerland. I’m there with you in Brazil. I’m there with you in France. I’m there with you in India. I’m there with you in Germany. I’m there with you in New Zealand. I’m there with you in Sweden. I’m there with you in Finland. I’m there with you in China. I’m there with you in Australia. And of course my family, I will always be here with you in Ethiopia, my home.
I leave you with one of my favorite quotes by the witty Bilbo Baggins, about finding your way back home, back to where you belong, through all obstacles.
“Roads go ever ever on, over rock and under tree, by cave where never sun has shone, by streams that never find the sea; over snow by winter sown. And through the merry flowers of June. And under mountains in the moon. Roads go ever ever on, under cloud and under star, yet feet that wandering have gone. Turn at last to home afar. Eyes that fire and sword have seen and horror in the hallo of stone. Look at last on meadows of green and tree and hills they long have known.”
All in all, I’m not done with you yet! ONE LOVE!
I could tell you the 365 ways I have changed this year, the 365 experiences I have had. The 365 times I’ve cried, the 365 times I’ve laughed. The 365 people I have met and the 365 reasons I love each one of them. The 365 ways this country has crept underneath my skin and become a part of who I am. The 365 times I swore I would never see my 365th day in the Ethiopia and the 365 times I swore I would never see a day without it. But that would take 365 pages.
When I first arrived in Ethiopia, I didn’t think I would last 365 minutes, much less 365 days. I remember on our trip up north my first week in Ethiopia. The door to our Land Cruiser kept flinging open when we went around a curve. After a strenuous week, physically, mentally and emotionally, it was finally my turn to sit next to the door. I told Nura (my partner in crime and solace), “I swear if this freaking door opens I’M GOING HOME!” I recall secretly wishing it would fling open and give me a reason to throw in the towel. But low and behold, it didn’t and one year later, here I am. I told you in my first blog here that I wish I could tell you I have had some romantic life changing, self finding experience….well folks, do I have a story to tell. Continue reading
This weekend (December 11th 2011) marks one year since i have seen my best friend. One year since we stood outside our flat on Ringo Drive and awkwardly hugging, both feeling strange and unreal. The reality of the year in front of us not quite sinking in. One year until we would ride down the road screaming king of leon to freaked out drivers. One year until will would danced around our small loft to music we used to listen to in 8th grade. One year until tears would stream down our faces, while we fall over with laughter. I can’t say there wasn’t a time when i worried our friendship wouldn’t be the same while i was here or after I came back, but that time has long since passed. Even though we are no longer a part of each others daily lives, our friendship is still as strong as ever. I believe this defines a true
friendship sisterhood. One that is not geographically confined. One that can not only last but thrive over mountains, valleys, rivers, and oceans. I am blessed to say this past year has filled my life with friendships like these; however, I will always only have one sistersoul.
They can be for long periods of time, who knows even forever or just 5 minutes. Saying goodbye to someone you may never see again is, well, devastating. Then again, a goodbye to someone you will see tomorrow is easy and insignificant. Yet we cram this whirlwind of emotions, tears, hugs, and simple shrugs, into this one simple word: goodbye. It doesn’t seem fair to the devastating emotion to pair it with something so insignificant. Goodbye can be in regards to anything….maybe you are just letting go of a part of yourself. Fighting it and suppressing it for the comfort of those around you. That’s not easy; fighting nature, but are goodbyes meant to be easy? Maybe we should break down the word into smaller categories like tinish goodbye and tilik goodbye.
1. farewell (a conventional expression used at parting).
2. a farewell.
Today I said a tilik goodbye.
Living with two bloggers has really gotten me fired up about writing again.
Much has changed since I wrote last….. here is a quick over view:
I moved : I love the house I live in. My flatmates are my family…
I changed jobs: I am a 2nd 3rd and 4th grade teacher at a private school in Addis Ababa now. I am teaching literature. My kids are everything. I love them like I will love my own children.
……and I have become much more content with my life in general.
I realize that it has been way too long since my last entry….and way too much has changed to recount more than I just did. So here is reality….