I often can’t remember how much of life lately I’ve shared with others or if I’ve even shared some of these experiences at all. I’ve written tens of thousands of words since I arrived in Ethiopia—in emails, in my handwritten and computer journals, on random notecards… wherever they will fit. Sometimes the thoughts make total sense, other times they make none at all… contradicting and reinforcing, at the same time.
It’s all part of the experience though. I said in the last post that my life feels completely normal, and while that is still true, I’d be doing you all a disservice if I didn’t say that the past few weeks have also been an absolute roller coaster. One minute I’m feeling down, frustrated by some seemingly small thing, magnified by the culture difference, and the next minute I’m sky high because of some other seemingly small thing, magnified by the culture difference.
As an American who has never lived for an extended period outside of North America, this experience so far has been both everything and nothing that I expected… often at the same time. The area we are in is stunningly beautiful, every time I stare out a bus window at the mountains of Oromia or stand on a hill overlooking Sagure, I feel gratitude. As I lay in bed listening to the sounds of the town waking or the wind on the tin roof as I drift off to sleep, I feel gratitude. As I sit smelling the incense at the night time coffee ceremony or the early morning tea, I feel gratitude. I feel grateful for so many things, but most of all I feel grateful to have this opportunity to live in Ethiopia, with Ethiopians and to learn their language and their culture.
This is a journey, not a destination, and I’m experiencing it slowly by slowly.