Being so far away from family during the holiday season is the hardest thing about this overseas lifestyle. Added to the fact that we missed out on the holiday parties over the weekend when the girls were sick, we were feeling pretty sad and homesick these past few days. But we’re so lucky. We already have people here who care about us. Even though it’s not Ethiopian Christmas until January, our neighbors brought over gifts of huge bags of homemade shiro and spices. I can’t imagine making these things from scratch, but apparently there’s a big process involved and it’s done in large quantities to last a long time. They also invited us to their family’s traditional Christmas celebration in January, so I’ll report back after that happens. I can’t wait.
Today, our helper Genet brought us a wrapped gift as well. Maybe she noticed that I don’t have many decorations around the house.
And then Gazaw (the gardener / day guard) brought in another wrapped gift. It’s called a jebena, and it’s used to brew coffee in the traditional Ethiopian way.
Our driver, Dejene, who has only been with us for a week, gave us the sweetest Christmas card–our first of the season (due to the slow mail, or at least I hope that’s why we haven’t received any yet). I love how he spells our names: Dan, Trecy, Shalet, and Wela.
Such generosity blew me away. Tomorrow is not even a special day for them, but they remembered our special day and wanted to do something nice for us. I know I’m their boss, and they are not really family or friends. I know that they depend on us for their livelihood. But they didn’t have to give us gifts. I’ve never given a boss a Christmas gift, and I have had like 25 bosses. Maybe I’m just a jerk. But whatever the case may be, all of these wonderful Ethiopian people just made our week.