Thursday, April 23, 2015

Troop of Easter Carolers

From Ethiopian Good Friday until Ethiopian Easter, we lived at least a month’s worth of activity. :)

Since then, it feels like a few more months have happened. It’s been…eventful. As you may have guessed, internet has also been difficult, but once it comes back, brace yourselves, I’ve got so much to say! 

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On Good Friday, kids go around the village, singing, dancing, banging their sticks in rhythm. Each house is supposed to give them something that they will corporately eat at one house after they get enough for dinner. Bread or birr is normal, but the foreigners, not knowing how to categorize this tradition, we also morphed it into a trick-or-treating and gave out a piece of candy.

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They made the corporate decision to eat their bread and candy on sight. 

 

Thanks for your huge support of our family. We feel it and love our crew. 

Monday, April 13, 2015

Wide Open Doors

Thank you all for your kind words and encouragement on our green post last week. Our schedule was jammed so I have done little responding, but we feel your love through the screen. 

This weekend was Ethiopian Easter, but before we get there, let’s back up to late last week. God threw open the doors on many opportunities that I can’t talk about in detail here, but rejoice and know that your prayers are heard and changing things!

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Every room in our house is a disaster and I am behind in every area but am so full (in my heart and physically). 

On Easter, the two month vegan fast is broken with the killing of a sheep. I have been so amazed by the hospitality here!  We had more invites Sunday than we could attend and they extend with many today, Tuesday, into Wednesday. I struggle with this dynamic of being so glad to be there, feeling guilty to take of meat that is only eaten three times a year and then, here’s the hard thing…we are eating meat, that was killled on Sunday and since 6% of Awi people have power, you can guess the meat isn’t being refrigerated. Also, “white meat” is a blessed part of the eating, it’s what we recognize as the fat which we chop off our meat. Yesterday, I was served a whole plate of injera and white meat. That’s a whole lot of swallowing and praying I don’t gag right there.  However, it’s also a huge dose of being included in a culture and relationships. So we smile and eat again, even though our stomachs are stuffed.

Jon came up with this great trick. We usually bring our own water bottles as we don’t drink the homemade liquour. I fill them with Sprite and it helps cut any taste. 

And let’s pray we don’t get sick! Please?

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

My Kids Might Call You Fat...

The reasons why our home assignment looming brings much excitement but also nervous trepidation are many. Here’s a few humorous (and semi-horrifying to confess) examples

Example 1: I see a post on social media in which a mother confesses to wearing the same sweatshirt for three days in one week to three different events and I realize...

Sometimes, I wear the same clothes for as many days as I can before I pick up fleas. Yikes. 

Example 2: While getting a lower body hug from my girls, they complimented me on my “fat, squishy legs"

In Ethiopian culture, being called “fat” is a positive comment, if someone calls you skinny, it’s disrespectful and saying you look unhealthy.

Example 3: Sitting in a mud hut, enjoying the coffee, trying to follow conversation and feeling out of it, but realizing, this currently feels as known to me as :

Sitting in a room full of women in a beautiful home, chitchatting about things I don’t know about anymore.

Example 4: The spiders in our house. A few strategic ones that mind their own business have been named and are allowed to live because they are more valuable catching the annoying little bugs. (Don’t worry, if you visit, we will do our best to get them all…but we can’t…but they aren’t aggressive, so you can still book your flights. :))

Both places I don’t feel 100% belonging.

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On the airport floor, using their backpacks as pillows (excuse the undies)

I heard the perfect analogy for this from a fellow expatriate.

Let’s assign the USA a color, yellow.

Before, we thought yellow, we dreamed yellow, we were yellow.

We love yellow.

For the sake of the illustration, Ethiopia is blue.

We now partake in many blue events, we eat blue, try to understand blue, we are trying to be blue.

We love blue.

And we come out a nice shade of green.  

One foot in two worlds, straddling both, trying to juggle in spite of our awkward fumbles, leaving us feeling a bit out of sync in both.

As I explained to the Littles that we shouldn’t mention to anyone in the US that they are “fat”, the girls said, “Yeah, in American culture that’s not okay, but we can stick our tongues out to be funny in that culture”. Or upon hearing a dear (American) friend mention her “butt”, Little A leans over and whispers to me, “It’s okay Mama, in their family's culture, that’s what they say.”  

And here we come, our green culture, we’ll try to chameleon and in advance, if The Littles call you “fat” they sincerely mean it in the nicest, possible way. 

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Easter Fasts and Invites

Our community has been observing the Ethiopian Orthodox fast for two months leading up to Easter.  This particular fast is from all meat an animal products.

I sort of took advantage of this time by inviting in families in a time when I can’t serve meat because if you’ve been reading long, you are aware of my inability to handle the butcher process and subsequent food preparation. 

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Jon pulled out the guitar and everyone took a turn, learning where to put their fingers and how to strum.

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This sweet fam lives across the pasture and bless us with their friendship and I don’t think you could find a family with better smiles anywhere on planet Earth.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Great Expectations-The Easter Version

 Easter morning started in tears. The Littles had some expectations for Easter and what it entails. 

Then I was all bummed, Well…let’s just say the day didn’t start with much joy over our risen Lord. 

Ethiopian Easter is next weekend, so we were planning a low key day for Western Easter and on hosting our teammates and then a few visitors who arrived for the evening meal and overnight.

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Then, they got to hunt for six Easter eggs and they thought we were the best parents ever. They also wore their fancy, too big dresses, because it was a holiday.

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Our teammates came over (by that time the girls had changed into their “day clothes”) and they hid the eggs for the adults. 

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The Littles love Mark and Debbie and look forward to every time we get together.

For all our rough start, not a bad adjustment. :)

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Love these two silly girls, who’s hearts are deep waters. 

 

Thursday, April 2, 2015

The Pose

Oh friends, I cannot get enough of this picture. A friend was building two houses (one as a rental property, one for his mother). Jon was helping and the girls and I went over to watch a bit (we build houses in three days here. Lots to see).

Anyhow, I took many pictures that I will share here, but check out these teenagers. I cannot stop laughing at the pose in this picture. It was discussed and arranged and then viewed and then rearranged and it is amazing. I hope you don’t know them to appreciate the hilarious here. 

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Onto other fun…you have probably read enough details about how they build the houses on the blog, so I will spare you, I just love the people and the process.

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Mudding

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Inside all framed up, tin on the roof...

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Hauling mud with a partner...

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Mixing mud by foot. (Recipe is water, dirt and straw, although I don’t know in what quantities).

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The new home owner, Zelalem

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 There is so much sweet in our community, mixed right alongside with the gritty. 

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Killing Easter Eggs

Before we moved to Ethiopia, in my erratic preparations, after Easter, I picked an egg dying kit off a clearance shelf. Two years later, we are in the right spot and I can find it, so we finally put it to use.

The Littles were nothing but excited to dye Easter eggs, after we cleared up some confusion.

Me: “Let’s go girls, we are going to dye Easter eggs!"

Little A: “Why are we going to kill them?"

So excited they had to change clothes for it, matching pajamas in the middle of the day.

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When I suggested wearing their Easter Bunny ears, they asked, “Who’s the Easter Bunny?” 

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Hand painting eggs resulted in a cracked 30% and sticky hands, but great creative outlet. 

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The finished product, I had to remind myself, LET IT GO...