I’m a little bit homesick. It’s been seven months since we arrived in Ethiopia, and I haven’t really left Addis (except for that brief day trip to the Portuguese Bridge). It was all a big adventure at first, and every day was just so fascinating and different. I missed Pretoria a lot (and still do), but as time goes on and my friends in Pretoria move away to other countries, I am able to move on too. I would be really surprised if we didn’t end up back there again someday, but for now, we want to explore a little more.
So why am I suddenly feeling frustrated and vaguely homesick? It just seems like everything is a challenge these days. And it’s not entirely related to living in Ethiopia. Both kids have been sick a lot lately after several relatively healthy months. Today was the second Saturday in a row where we had to miss a fun birthday party because one of the girls had to go to the doctor (on the bright side, our pediatrician is perhaps the best doctor I have ever met). Work is crazy busy–I am hoping to take some time off after July so that I can recover from this whirlwind of starting my consulting career. I can’t find coffee creamer ANYWHERE, and after several weeks of not having my morning coffee just the way I like it, I’m more than annoyed.
When our housekeeper asked me last week how Dan is doing while away on his business trip, I said, “he’s great. He’s in America. Everything is wonderful in America.” I’ll admit, I was grumpy from being awake all night (both girls stopped sleeping through the night when Dan left two weeks ago). That was probably not the most culturally sensitive thing to say, especially since Ethiopians are very proud of their country (who isn’t?) and don’t really take criticism well (who does?). She was taken aback, and replied, “everything is wonderful here in Ethiopia, too.” I backtracked: “Oh yes, it is wonderful here. But in America, you can eat any kind of food you want! Even Ethiopian food! And… it’s very clean!” She nodded and said, “yes I know. But you just love it because your family is there.”
Nope. I mean, yeah, I love being near my family and friends. But I love America for a million reasons. It’s certainly not perfect, and you can’t really generalize about a place and population that huge, but generalizing anyway, it’s beautiful and clean, the people are friendly, you can say or blog about whatever you want, practice whatever religion you want, and in a bunch of states now you can even marry anyone you want. You can start a business almost without any paperwork at all. It’s just an awesome country. I can’t wait to visit next month.
When I got into a cab the other day and saw a bunch of Obama stickers, I was so touched that I asked the driver if I could go grab my camera.
Generalizing again, Ethiopians seem to love Americans and I always feel very welcome here. People are always interested in me and why I am here. I can’t get on an elevator without someone asking me about myself.
So it’s not that I have any problem with this place, I just want to go home.
The girls are also looking forward to our trip (at least, Charlotte is. Willa just says, “ba!” and da!” when I ask if she’s excited). It’s hard to believe that when we left, Willa was a 5-monthold and Charlotte was… well, she hasn’t changed that much! When I ask her if she wants to go to the beach in Michigan she gets very animated: “can we go to Oval Beach AND Douglas Beach? Can we stop by the hot dog stand? Can we go to story time at the library?” The U.S. made quite an impression on her last summer.
Dan gets back from his trip tonight and that means I get to sleep in tomorrow. Well, technically I will still get up with Willa (I am still nursing–and please don’t judge–she is a difficult kid to wean) but then I can take a NAP. I don’t know if I can handle the excitement!
With that, I will leave you with a few photos of the girls in the garden from this week.