We’ve been doing post research lately because we’ll probably move to a new country in 2015. Yes, already. It seems like we just got here, right? I’m just getting used to this place. It strikes me as odd that we make such an effort to learn a place, only to leave it after two short years. I haven’t traveled since we arrived in Addis, so I feel like I have really had a full immersion experience here. I’m used to it and no longer feel overwhelmed by the cultural differences or amazed by how different it is from every other place I’ve lived. It’s just life, now.
I love our house, and I’m even learning to live with the bugs. Different bugs prefer different rooms. The roaches, of course, love the kitchen. They especially like to hide out in cupboards and then surprise me when I’ve let my guard down. The big black hairy spiders like the basement; they also love the SURPRISE! game. The daddy long legs live in the corners of the living room; plenty of space to stretch out and relax, I suppose. The bright orange fuzzy caterpillars hang out in the girls’ bathroom, especially on the towels, so I always shake those out before using them. The silverfish and earwigs like my bedroom, which used to freak me out, but now I calmly swat them with a magazine. See how tough I am? Seriously though, it could be worse! Some people have mosquitoes. Still others, rats.
Now that I know all of the Amharic letters or “fidel” (well, pretty much all of them), it’s opened up a whole new world while I’m riding around town in the car. All of the signs are opportunities to sound out words. The other day I got so excited when I sounded out “Addis Abeba” on a street sign. Abu laughed, but after that he would point out other signs that I might like to try reading. It generally takes too long for me to sound out a word while the car is moving, but luckily the traffic is pretty bad, so I often have time to sit there and figure it out.
There are 238 letters, and I know all of them; plus a bunch of diphthongs which I haven’t learned yet, for a total of about 280 or so. I can’t get a straight answer from my teacher. The good news is, there are a few that resemble English letters. There’s an L, H, P, O, U, M, W, and a T. The bad news is, the L makes an R sound, the H makes a Z sound, the P makes a Y sound, the O makes an A sound, the U makes an H sound, the M makes an “explosive” T sound, the W makes an S sound, and the T makes a P sound. Oh well.
Another favorite car activity is to take photos of the windows when it rains, preferably when a blue Lada taxi is passing by. I don’t know why I do this. I have never enjoyed rain; I grew up in the dry desert air of Egypt. Perhaps the photos are my attempt to be creative despite the gloom. Or it’s just boring to be in the car for so long. I have dozens of photos like these:
Now that the seasons are changing, everyone is getting out of town. From June through September or so, it rains every day. Streets turn to mud, the kids are stuck inside, and everyone gets grumpy for a little while. We’re heading to the States for a few weeks. I’m happy to feel settled in Addis, but really grateful to get away for a while.