Monday, July 04, 2011

A Typical Day in Addis Ababa

I thought it might be nice to let you in on what life is like for us over here on a normal day. We usually get up between 6:00 & 7:00AM and get ready for the day. Then we head downstairs to the lobby where we get our breakfast (included). We have the option of hard boiled eggs, an omelet, scrambled eggs or “pancakes” (more like a thick crepe but not quite as good). We have the option to have our breakfast in our room, and sometimes we do that, but we enjoy chatting with other people who are staying here, so we usually choose the lobby option.

I have been running every other morning, so that happens before breakfast. We are at 7,750 feet above sea level where we are staying and it makes it harder to breathe than back home. My first outing I thought I was going to collapse lung as it was on fire! I have been getting more and more used to the air so each time I go a little further than the last. I am training for the Hood to Coast relay, so I HAVE to get in shape. (good motivator). I finally got to run with some Ethiopians, but more on that in another post.

We are currently on a 2 times a week visitation rotation with the babies. Usually that is Monday and Thursday or Friday. We get 2 plus hours with them on those days. On days we are not visiting with them we do any number of things. Some days we just chill around the guest house. If it is sunny, I like to go up to the 4th floor and sit on the roof for 30-60 minutes and read a book on my Kindle. I have discovered that this close to the equator, I should not be out longer than that without sunscreen.

About every 2 to 4 days a new couple “moves in” and we like to get to know them. Weygoss Guest House is known for its adoption friendly atmosphere, so most who stay here are adopting, though recently there have been several single guys who have been staying here, but they mostly keep to themselves. Almost all the couples we have met here we have really enjoyed getting to know. As with anyone, there are some who just like to keep to themselves, and that is fine, but I feel bad for them because I think they miss out on some shared community. Most of the couples that stay here are from Canada, but occasionally we find a couple from the States. One couple, Dave and Becky, actually know someone I know. He is a pastor and he works with a youth pastor who used to work in our district. They are also adopting through the same agency as we are. We have also gone out with Shirley, who is here adopting and has been here since November (she has a story and it’s hers to tell), and she has an amazing attitude and we learn a lot from her experience.

Like with Dave and Becky, we have gone out for meals or other little excursions with many of the families who have stayed here. That has been a real joy. Some are here for their second time and they have introduced us to some new restaurants, but the longer we are here the more places we get to know and we are usually doing the meal introductions. We typically go out for one meal a day and eat in for one meal. I am planning a post on restaurants later that I hope will be helpful to other adoptive families in the future who google “where to eat in Addis Ababa” or whatever. I know that the few places that Josh and Bex and Nina and Wes have recommended have been really good for us to know. We also met some missionaries our first weekend who drew us a map with many restaurants and other sights to see for us that has been very helpful and copied to hand to other couples.

Many of these places we need to grab a taxi and drive to but there are plenty of places we can walk to as well. We live on a main drag in Addis and so we don’t have to go to far. One of our favorite places to visit is Kaldi’s. This is a straight rip-off of Starbucks. The round green sign, the names of their sizes, the look and feel. Jeanne-Ann loves their caramel macchiatos and they have a killer strawberry “juice.” It is like a smoothie and is amazing! They also have fantastic desserts and ice cream too. A big difference from Starbucks is that you could have a legit meal there. We have really enjoyed the french toast, though it doesn’t touch Word of Mouth back home or the Sassy Onion. They also have really good french fries. The kids are always asking if we can walk to Kaldi’s and we very often acquiesce. 

Kynzi has made great friends with all the ladies who work at the front desk. Eva, Betty, Tsion and Bisrat. She loves going down there to play cards with them, tell funny stories or just sit and talk with them. Karston likes to hang out there too, but not as often. A couple of them have even braided Kynzi’s hair. She has really enjoyed that! Eva has also been giving me Amharic lessons. It's a really tough language! There have been a few kids their age that have been here, so for those days there is plenty of playing outside with the other kids.

The main roads here are pretty rough to walk down. It is not because they are not paved, they are, but the cars and buses pump out so much exhaust that it can be hard to breath at times. There are also lots of beggars who either sit with their babies with their hands out or they follow you and ask for money. I will do another post on the poverty here likely in the near future, but needless to say it is hard on the heart to see it everywhere.

There are a couple of small grocery stores in walking distance that we buy things for our meal in and we will often go to the closest one to buy 2 5-liter jugs of water as we can not drink the water here unless it is bottled. 3 times since we have been here we have seen military guards and police line the streets and even shut down traffic so that some dignitary can be driven through at a very fast pace. There are soooooo many embassies here its crazy. Because this is the capital of the Africa Union pretty much every African country has an embassy here, but so do many other countries around the world. I assume most of these shut downs is for someone important headed to their embassy in a hurry.

At around 2:30-3:00PM they do a coffee ceremony in the lobby. Nunu makes up coffee and I have made an effort, as with any country I visit, to try everything I can in that country. I tried the coffee. If you know me at all you know I hate coffee. I had a cup when I was in 6th grade and hated it and haven’t had a cup since. I have sipped here and there to be polite, but have not had a complete cup. It smells good and I know most people have told me that if I get a cup that has all those different sugary things in it that it doesn’t taste like coffee at all. I don’t need another expensive habit thank you. The thing is, I don’t hate this stuff! I have actually had several cups! I know...shocking!

The afternoons and evenings are often filled with card playing or iPod playing. We have been playing a bunch of different card games. Sometimes we play in the room as a family and sometimes we head downstairs and invite others to join us. There is a TV in each room and there are some all day movie channels so sometimes we watch movies or a TV show. There is a little movie rental place around the corner that costs about 25 cents to rent, so we have rented from there some too. I recorded a few shows onto DVD before I left home so Jeanne-Ann and I have been watching Chicago Code most nights before we go to bed. Of course we also jump on the internet most days to do email and Facebook and Skype. It costs about $2 for an hour of wireless internet. Some days it works great and then there are the others. ;)

It’s been a pretty good time for us here. It will get better as soon as we get custody of Nyah and Haakon!

Tomorrow we are taking an overnight trip to some hot springs and to see monkeys. I am sure that will be worth a post so I will put that up later this week.

That’s life in Addis.


Bex said...

This is such a well-written and lovely detailed post! what a gift to us back home. so glad you are getting to know another Dove family! Where are they from?

P.S. Wish we were spending Fourth of July with you!!!

hugs to all six of you!

Andy said...

Stay away from the Canadians.

Michelle said...

Thanks for another update friends!! Great to hear about what's happening there... we'll try to wait patiently for the rest. Oh, you want to know our daily routine?? Sure...

7:30 am - wake up - check twitter, fb, blog & skype for a message that Haak & Nyah are with you. Pray. Then check Nina's, Bob & Ia's fb, etc just to see if they posted an update. Pray again...
8:00 am - repeat 7:30
8:30 am - repeat 8 am
9:00 am - repeat 8:30 am...
You get the idea... =)

We love ya'll so!!!

Anonymous said...


Christy said...

Is it really hot there right now? Been praying for your papers to go through! It's weird not reading you Fb posts & twitter updates. Hope all is well!

erik w/a "k" said...

Bex...they r from California.
Andy...literally impossible, as much as i would like to!
Meesh...ur hilarious...and nice.'s rainy season and we are 7,800 feet above sea level so it's not too hot. But mix of sun and amazing lightning storms!

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