5 emotions before lunch = a normal day in Ethiopia

Ok so I’m nearly a year into service… such a crazy thought but with this one year, I’ve learned so much.  I’ve learned more this year than 16 years of education, although it mostly revolves around learnt lessons about me.  It really hit me today when I had about 5 extremely strong emotions before lunch, if this happened in America people would start questioning my mental stability… here? It’s normal.

I finally got a good night sleep last night so I woke up and really felt good and refreshed for the first time in a while. I stayed in my house doing a bit of work creating plans for my environmental clubs.  Then I get a knock on my door, it’s my neighbor kids and what seems like the whole neighborhood.  A kid had caught a butterfly… I don’t know if everyone knows this about me but I really really really don’t like butterflies.  To be honest they just really freak me out, even though they are beautiful.  For the purpose of this story though and to fully understand how mad I got please insert any fear you have and put it in this little kids hand.  So I open my door and they go, “Look Carla!!! BIRRABIRRO!!!!!!” and in turn shove it in my face.  I slam my door shut and yell at them.  Later then call me out again I ask where the butterfly is and they say that cat, like me, doesn’t like them and ate it so I walk out… rookie mistake.  They hid it under a bowl and then started throwing it at me… pissed off I thought of a ton of things I wanted to scream at them, “aren’t you ashamed God is watching?” “Go to hell” “shut the *beep* up” but I instead just locked myself into my house with just telling them I really didn’t like it.  They tried a third time and I was just pissed… I’m not throwing lizards at them, or spiders, or frogs (they are absolutely terrified of frogs) why is it ok to throw a butterfly at me? Stupid! So like the 23 year old I am I told them to shut up and go away. Great Carla you gained 1 maturity point today.

So by lunch time I’ve cooled off, watched an episode of Glee and finally am back in my chilled out place and thus I get another knock on my door…

Hermayla is at the door.  “Carla buna NAY! Tollo Bay! Tollo Bay!” (Carla coffee come! Hurry, hurry!”

Me: “Ishi gin birra birro allash?” ( Ok but do you have a butterfly?)

Hermayla: “Ay, birra birro mueta” (No the butterfly is dead)… Thank god.

I step out of my house to find little Dehlina instead shoving grass through the cracks that surround my door.  I don’t know if I have mentioned it here but my door is really a modern marvel.  It somehow stays where it is but is not actually touching any of my walls… So bright side I have a modern marvel as a front door, bad part I have a few centimeters surrounding my whole door that bugs, spiders, lizards, frogs and rats can crawl through, so I often get visitors.  But back to the story, I look at Dehlina confused as to why she is shoving grass into my house through little cracks and I just decided this is one of those daily things that I just won’t understand.  I then walk into my landlord’s house who I really consider my family now, and we just sit there.  So I’m sitting there and we get fresh oranges and zetune (passion fruit I think in English) and I find out that my awesome Police neighbor is transferring jobs to Mahony, a town just northeast of me.  I get pretty bummed to hear that. He has always been a great neighbor and someone I know has my back if things go south, and his wife is AMAZING when she visits.  She like all other women in this compound have become a family and support group.  She visits and brings the girls presents, she comes for birthday’s and holidays and is just an awesome person.  So I’m pretty sad that she is leaving here.  Then I get the first cup of the buna ceremony which is amazing today! It lifted my spirits a bit and then the topper of all tops, Kadist, Hermayla, and Dehlina decide to put on dramas… The first one Hermayla dressed up like her Dad and Dehlina her Mom and while prancing around the living room they started saying things that their parents say all the time. It was really funny… Then Kadist was a teacher with the other two her students, while practicing the alphabet (no easy task in this language) Dehlina started acting out (no surprise) and got “kicked out of class”… over all pretty funny.

So emotions of the day:

  1. Refreshed
  2. Anger
  3. Confusion
  4. Content
  5. Happiness

The one thing that I learned is that you can never hold onto anything… If you’re angry let it go because a new and often better emotion is bound to happen and today was the perfect example.  Ya so the little kids pissed me off…  but I got over it and had the opportunity to watch this amazing family entertain themselves and put on performances where loving parents sat and watched, laughed, and so clearly loved their children.

Ethiopia can be hard emotionally, there is no doubt about that… and that is why you have to learn to find pure happiness in the little things like interactions with other people, otherwise this place will eat you alive.