I left my home for the last 3 months yesterday afternoon. I am now in Addis Ababa awaiting Friday, September 19, 2014 where I will be sworn in as a Peace Corps Volunteer. New Years Day was on Wednesday, September 11, 2014 and not only was there sheep killing but chicken as well. The sheep was killed at 3 in the morning and I awoke at this time to the sound of chopping outside. I was then woken up at 7 a.m. to see the slashing of the chicken. While I love me some chicken, the sight was not for the weak like me. I then swore that I would never eat chicken…. I had chicken that day and chicken and goat for the next two days.
New Years led to lots of eating, music and dancing. I awkwardly danced around my family but they didn’t seem to mind. I was part of the family and therefore having embarrassing moments is a must.
My host mom got back from university where she is obtaining her master’s a couple of days previously. To surprise her and the three sisters that had gone with her, my host dad decided to remodel the house. The backyard is now cement, the living room has chandeliers, the hallway has new lights and the front porch is now laminated. He also bought her a brand new Samsung galaxy and decided to give it to her on New Years. My host mom was especially grateful for the backyard and the new phone. To show her gratitude, she gave her husband a nice kiss and a really long hug. Keep in mind that Ethiopians aren’t particularly fond of showing affection so this was really interesting to me. I watched this exchange between the family and it suddenly hit me. I would be leaving in a couple of days to start my journey to go to my site and leave behind the people I have came to know as family and grow to care for.
My host mom asked me what was wrong as I must have had either my spaced out look or my pensive look. I replied “I don’t want to say as I’m keeping it together.” I left the room but something in me told me to go back. I needed to show vulnerability because that would be the only way they know how much they’ve changed me. “I’m going to miss you all.” start tears here. My comment then had a ripple effect. My 13-year-old and my 7-year-old sister started to cry. My little sister continued to bawl her way through even as I picked her up and hugged her. Through tears and in Amharic, she said she wanted to invite me to juice and use her own money. That moment, even though it never happened, is still by far my favorite memory I have here.
In Addis, I had the opportunity to go shopping for future household supplies. I am lucky enough that my site mate and a PCV in the next town over are ending their service in two months because that means that I can buy a lot of items from them. nonetheless, there are some things that must be bought in Addis that cannot be found in my site, Chiri. On my way back, my friend Chelsey and I had to navigate our way back to Kings Hotel by taking two different line taxis. It’s not as easy to be packed in a little minivan while carrying various bags. I really wanted my 2006 Mitsubishi Outlander right there and then. The more time I spend here, the more I am learning how to be even more grateful.
I am not looking forward to my 12 hour bus ride on Saturday to Chiri in beautiful Southern Nations but I am excited to go to the Embassy and officially swear in.
As a final note, looks like I’m going to Greece by next summer! And if I can afford it, India as well! Things just get better and better.
Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take but by the moments that take our breath away.