Archive | October, 2010

1 year down!

10 Oct

I got my hair did

Well, it’s been a whole year since I’ve been in Ethiopia, or the land of 13 Months of Sunshine (however, I don’t know how this tagline sticks for the country, as the sun sure isn’t out during the few months of the rainy season!). Our plane landed the evening of October 7, 2009, when 42 Peace Corps Trainees (PCTs) showed up in the country’s capital city, Addis Ababa. From the time we cleared customs to the time we made it to the bus that would bring us to our hotel, I was bitten by 3 mosquitoes. Great, I thought. Bring on the malaria when I’ve only been here for about 10 minutes and have yet to start any prophylaxis! (Don’t worry, I’m still malaria-free)

This past year has been so different from anything I have ever experienced – it’s been full of change, challenge, and reward, but it’s something I signed up for – Peace Corps didn’t come knocking on my door! The whole application process was rigorous and took about 11 months to complete, from the time I applied to the time I left…that alone should have given me some clue as to what the next couple years of my life would entail…things that are long and drawn out. I didn’t really come over here with many expectations, as I had heard that everyone’s PC experience is just so vastly different, which is so true.

I’ve gone from living in an apartment with ample space, to having my existence be in 1 large room…it’s kind of like a large dorm room. I cook, sleep, eat, and live all in one room. When describing my living situation to my mom when I first moved to site, she was a little concerned that I may get bugs in my room…well, it’s not really like I had much of a choice…plus, I live in Africa! All things that I used to have at my fingertips, such as hot water, indoor plumbing, sanitary conditions, space, privacy, TV, a car, a bike, appliances, noise control, access to a gym, the ability to walk down the street unnoticed, etc.(just to name a few things) are all a part of my past life, but I will return to such simple luxuries again one day.

Adjusting to life here and integrating into my community was harder than I had it envisioned it being. It’s hard to explain how just existing/trying to live in this country is at times very difficult. There are so many daily hassles/frustrations that come with being foreign, and sometimes those hassles make me not want to be here, while other days I am able to look past them and thrive/take pleasure in my daily living. Every day is not a walk in the park (if only my town had a nice park, haha), but it’s not all that bad either.

It’s always been my theory in life that most things are doable in small increments of time. When it’s all said and done with, the time length for PC is not much in the grand scheme of life. It’s challenging, it’s rewarding, and it’s interesting, to say the very least. If anything, I will have some great stories to tell with great pictures to go along.

Surely there are things and people I miss from home. Mainly 4 factors in life: Comfort, convenience, efficiency, and variety. Those 4 concepts aren’t overly prevalent here. I still can’t say that I love everything about living here, but I do enjoy it for the most part. I’m content with where I am in life right now. It’s been a very unique experience thus far, one that such a small percentage of Americans will ever take part in…and I still have a little over a year to flourish. So, 1 year down, 1 to go. This is a tough country, I’m not going to lie about that fact…so here’s a virtual shoulder bump to myself and everyone else in my group who has made it this far! Gobez…or go home. And we’re still here!

P.S. – I really appreciate all the love and support I’ve received from friends and family, both back home and in-country. It really does mean a lot 🙂