As I write this, the Milwaukee Brewers are in first place in the NL Central. Of course they are. I’m in Ethiopia.
Speaking of Ethiopia… I’m an official Peace Corps Volunteer. Last week we left our training site and host families to go to our home away from home in Addis. We spent three days there, and I had a fantastic time. On Thursday, the Huruta clan arrived at the hotel first, as we had our own vehicle and convinced our driver not to wait for the other buses. It was amazing.
PCVL Peter took me and three other Hurutans to the bank and then out for some drinks. Then came the most fantastic burger I think I’ve ever eaten. It may be the American food deprivation getting to me, but this burger was sublime. It had real mushrooms.
Friday was the big day. Swearing In Ceremony. US Embassy. The program was nice and short. Selected trainees gave speeches in three languages (of the regions in which we will be placed): Amharic, Afan Oromo, and Tigrayan. Those of us who brought some American dollars were able to go to the embassy commissary. I bought a random assortment of goodies with my $20, including whole grain saltines, bacos, tootsie rolls, and a cake mix.
The following day and a half was filled with more eating (chicken wings, pizza, hummus), drinking (beer, a bit of wine, a few shots), and general merriment, with a side of shopping. Oh, and I saw Harry Potter 7.2. Like, in a real theater. In Ethiopia. Amazing.
Sunday we left for our sites. It was sad to know that I wouldn’t be seeing some of my friends for a while, but everyone was buzzing about really starting the Peace Corps experience. PST just doesn’t count.
After a long, arduous journey, I arrived in Bahir Dar Monday morning. Thankfully I was able to stay at a PCV’s house because mine wasn’t ready. Seems the University didn’t think the apartment on campus was adequate. They have given me a home on a compound in a residential part of town. Roads are under construction. As it is the rainy season, they are a muddy mess. There go my plans to start running. But I’m moved in now. I have a few luxuries most other PCVs don’t have like a fridge (!), a toilet, and a bathtub. And a spare bedroom. And furniture. How lucky am I?
I’ve spent the last few days bumming around the city, buying things for my home, hanging out with other PCVs who happen to be in town. I can’t wait to start exploring my little part of BDar (as I will be calling it from now on).
I already miss things about Huruta, like my brother’s missir wat, my walk to school, and my friends, of course. But now it begins. The next two years are going to be full of choices, challenges, and cherished moments. Life is good.
Only way things can get better? Brewers stay in first place.
(P.S. If there is something you specifically want me to address in my blog, let me know either via email or in the comments and I’ll try to write about it. I’m not really sure what people are interested in knowing about my time here or learning about Ethiopia.)