Some days I wake up to a beautiful 65 degree and misty morning, that fades to a 75-degree day; and I think back to PA and how it’s probably 36 and rainy (or recently 9 degrees and snowing!!!) and I’m so glad I’m here. Other days, like on December 25th, I wake up disoriented from a vivid dream where I was playing in a high school production of Carmina Burana with my middle school music director (who was absolutely fantastic)….and then I remember my sister is thousands of miles away, and all I want to do is cuddle with her and my dog while we wait for our
parents dad to wake up. (Mom usually woke up a few times and went back to sleep.) And those mornings are tough.
Before I left, I asked a few of my friends and family members, people I worked with and people I love; to write me letters. I brought those with me, and have been opening them a few at a time while re-reading ones I’ve already opened. They help. My sister and I had been talking about getting a tattoo together for years, but when I knew I was leaving, we figured it out and got it. That helps. Most days I’m so glad I’m here because this is still a crazy adventure of mundane things….but on days like Christmas, it’s definitely hard to see the point. Especially when the internet is blocked. That’s when I call friends here, eat snack foods I’ve hoarded (from care packages – you know who you are – I love you all), drink a few beers and listen to music.
(Abu and one of her puppies.)
Since Ethiopia is on its own calendar, (either Gregorian or Julian…I’m not sure sorry. And I don’t have access to google right now soooooo) our New Years is nothing special. Their New Years lands on our September 11th, usually.
Ethiopian Christmas just happened on January 7th. They celebrate by visiting family, drinking lots of coffee, eating doro wat (spicy chicken soup…ish? With hard boiled eggs and eaten on injera), kitfo (chopped up, spiced raw meat. Absolutely delicious. Eaten with injera or this banana-leaf stuff I don’t remember the name of…again, no google. Sorry.), kurt (chunks of raw meat (usually dunked in arake – the local moonshine that tastes like soap) I haven’t had the courage to try it yet, especially since when there’s been kurt, there’s usually kitfo too), kai wat (which is like doro wat without the eggs or chicken. With mutton instead and served with the omnipresent injera). What they make depends on the family, but everyone takes a day (or two) off from work. I celebrated with my neighbors by eating more food than I’ve had in one sitting since I’ve been here. It was all delicious.
And as I’m writing this a full 24 hours later, I’m still stuffed.
(The puppy I named Cricket.)