I've been struggling with keeping my blog interesting this year. Partially because I barely have time to stay on top of the news as I'm with our children most of the time. I don't want to blog about my children's lives all the time but little seems to happen these days outside of them.
So, I find myself 6 days outside of my 3rd and shortest trip to Ethiopia and notice that outside of fundraising I've barely mentioned the trip. I looked back at some of my older posts and have to say- packing is the easiest it's ever been for this trip-laugh. I'm throwing some clothes in a bag-grabbing my Malaria meds (out of the medicine cabinet) for my out of capital travel , finding my proof of Yellow fever in the piles that have taken over my nice neat home, grabbing my passport and printing my ticket.
Most of my planning time has been spent gathering a few gift and preparing hubby to manage the 3 weeks he'll have to juggle the kids with out me. My vagabond spirit is something Den and I knew would continue when we had a family-it's exciting to see that we are actually able to work with it-laugh. Having my husbands support and understanding is wonderful when it comes to my travel needs-laugh.
So many people have asked me why I am going back. Frankly and simply stated-my restless spirit has an incredible need to travel. With out a regular trip to the airport or the freedom behind the wheel of my car- or a chance to let my spirits roam- I am miserable. So, yes, I'm a mom, with young kids and to all of you questioning-here's my answer. My trip this year is a selfish one. I don't have any big "volunteer" plans, or big goals to reach. I simply have a need to "be free", to let my spirit wander at leisure.
The itinerary is as follows:
- Visit with friends and family and celebrate the new year. aka-Yumm- Tibs, Tibs, Tibs and hugs galore!
- Travel south for a week and visit some places to relax aka- read a book and go swimming and find some quiet time. I laugh that I am going to Ethiopia to find "quiet" ha ha. But when compared to the zoo I now live in.. it will seem quiet-haha.
- Come back to Addis - eat as much injera as possible while having dinner with lots of different friends so they don't see how much I am eating. ohh- coffee too... lots and lots of coffee.
- Spend some time playing and laughing with the children at Selamta and visiting at LemLem School. aka-exercise after eating-laugh.
If I'm lucky I'll be able to fit in teaching a couple of English night classes while there. I may even have the privilege of attending the graduation of some of my first students (at the practical language school near the piazza). They survived my first teaching assignment and happen to be graduating while I am there. So, hopefully I'll be able to see them (insert opportunity to cry here).
I'm certain the trip will contain an adventure worth talking about, some humbling and gracious moments- like the graduation above and providing the money to the children that many of you have sent me.
But mostly- this trip is about taking time- time to sit,time to cry and time to hug the people I love that live there. I hate that they cannot get visa's and visit me and that it's been so long since I've seen them. I want to hug the 10th grade students at lemlem (my old 8th grade students) and tell them how proud I am of their most recent scores on their national exams. And I want to walk in the dust covered streets (or mud) and negotiate the purchase of a goat or sheep in Amharic for the family for dinner. I'll probably have to visit the blind man again to get a decent price-laugh.
I want to feel alive- something I thought parenting would do a little bit of-but it has not-actually it's quite the opposite-ha ha. Having a family makes me feel a little like a trapped animal-and trapped is not something I can live with. For some people - family is a way to "finding a home" for me that is not the case. The road has always been my home. I feel more beaten up and personally defeated than ever in my life. I need to feel the compassion that Ethiopia and her day to day life there evokes in me. I want to simply see the people that in the past 3 years have become such a distant but daily part of my life. This does not mean that I don't love my children, in fact taking time from my family only makes me love and appreciate them more.
My trip this year is simply to say- I love you and have not and will not forget you- and that's all. Perhaps, I am saying that to Ethiopia- perhaps a bit to myself too. After all- 3 weeks at an Ethiopian's pace is really equivalent to a week at an Americans.
Hugs and peace