Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Recently, our state University held their annual "Culturefest".  It is run annually by international students and is an attempt to share and show the culture of their home. It is a large university and I would guess there were maybe 20-30 different countries represented. (Sadly, there were usually only 1 or 2 students from each country).

This event is put on by the Department of International Students and each of the students is strongly encouraged to participate. It is a 3 hour event hoping to encourage the white canvas to experience a little flavor and color.  It isn't an overly impressive, gaudy expensive affair. It is completely run, and organized by students (which of course change every year). Before Teg came home I looked forward to this every year- and thought "Wow. What a great thing to experience when he is home." 

At EC ET Culture Camp in NH this summer -with an Abatee from Care Center

As we walked around this year. I stopped at the African Students Allaince table and started asking some questions about the photos. She didn't know where they were taken. I looked at them closer and said.. "Ghana?"  She shrugged, "I dont know really."

A 'woman' stood next to me. (She looked 14 but was carrying a baby on her hip) I said hello. And looked closer- she wasn't Ethiopian- but... something... somewhere close- "Sudan?" I asked.

"Yes. Yes!"  She looked at Teg, tightly buckled in stroller, "Is he Somali? or Ethiopian?"

"Yes, Ethiopian! He is Wolayta." (We often get the Somali question as our state has a the second highest population of Somali - outside of Somalia itself. I should add- we ONLY get questioned by folks actually from Africa.)

We talked for a bit. Exchanged names and emails to stay in touch. She offered to attempt to braid Teg's hair.

As we stopped to watch some of the dancing and singing perfomances- I looked around at the students who were absolutely reveling in the chance to show off their stuff. Admiring and honoring their friends work. It seemed so new. Such a rare experience for them that it was extra special. I was reminded where we live and I was sad.

One Moon Ethiopia. Together sharing food laughter dance song and joy- and INJERA!

And then immediately realized how lucky we are. Teg and I. Because this. This 'culturefest'- in truth was anything but. And yet, in the past year (-) we have experienced great culture of our own. Many Many Many Many opportunities to share with Ethiopians and Ethiopia-ness!  We've had some real experiences with young adoptive families and adult Ethiopian Americans. We are lucky. We may have to drive and have overnights in hotels to join in the fun- but we are lucky. Sometimes it is hard and difficult to put ourselves in that place- it must be done purposefully- but it is always worth it.

That one 3 hour event- was likely the only chance those students will have to show and share their culture until the event comes around again next year. I ached for them. And rejoiced for us.

Celebrating Meskel

Friday, November 26, 2010

Friday Confessions- Surreality

I admit-
  • The times, they are a changing.

  • That 5 weeks ago- as I drove to my sisters house- I was spiraling out of control. I was the worst person in the world. I was sure of it. I had lost all perspective on how to to parent the hurting child strapped in a safety seat. Someone had pulled the plug and I was heading down the drain.
  • I now know, there was more than one drain plug that had been pulled.
  • That one (1) week ago- I was overcome with... surreality. Is that a word? It was surreal. Overwhelmingly. How could this same ride be so very very very different? How could we- ME and HIM- as individuals- and US as a family- be so very different. Had it only been 4 weeks?!?!?!
  • We are happy. Stable. Rested. Sane. Laughing. Together. Joyful. Safe. Trusting.
  • That I started writing this post 3 Fridays ago so far, we are still on the good foot!

      Tuesday, November 23, 2010

      Cheating. Write or Wrong...

      I've been cheating on you. Or the blog it self. You are not a blog. Nor are you a blob. Well, I am, but... that has no bearing on this short post.

      You see- I've been writing. In other places. And in fact I have 2 more "writes" to add to the queue.

      Yes the store wrap was still on it at this point....although many pages were already full

      In Ethiopia, I started journaling about my experiences there.  When I got home, it was a means to chronicle events, struggles and milestones my son and I were living. But--- it was hard--- and felt--- not fruitful.  As I looked into the future of what I wanted my son to have--- this wasn't really it.

      So that book. That book continues with Letters to our family in Ethiopia. Why not start a new one? It was with us. Both. Together. In that room. It is as much for them as it is for me. Lord only knows if and or when they will ever be able to read/have them. But they do give purpose and direction in my writing. I strongly suspect these letters, to Ethiopia, will assist greatly in my upcoming writing projects. 

      There it is. In my hand along with a tissue pack.

      For my son. For my son, I've started another handwritten journal. The paper is strong and hopefully durable. The pen is archival quality. I've purchased photo squares that are supposed to be acid free (I'm assuming this means it won't eat through the paper over time?).

      I write, free hand. I write to the adult. To the young adult. I write to the young man who knows his mother loves him and all she could share- but holds questions and suspicious back, that aren't age appropriate to share- if ever.  That perhaps only have value when placed in a broader perspective that only time can provide. I write honestly. Opening up my questions about details and bits we may never know the answers to. I write of days past. Of children he knew. Children and families that held eachother together. I write of where they are now, and try to update when I have more info. I wonder if one day, he may want to find some of his old friends. One never knows the questions one will carry or the connections he'll crave for a lifetime.

      I write of this first year. Of our time together. Of our experiences. Bonding. Fun. Laughter. Travels. Therapy. Friends. This year. This year of our life. THE year of my life - I suspect.

      I write only, on one side of the open pages of this journal. I leave the opposing side blank- That space is for a photo. A photo related or representing the written word next to it.

      I always struggle to motivate myself to write in this journal- but once I do- it flows so fast. I run out of time before words.

      Two more writing assignments. Soon- Our first required annual report will be written by me and sent to Ethiopia (via Minnesota). About that same time- I will also be writing a more personal letter to our Ethiopian family. I suspect- given their physical distance from Hosanna, that sending both at the same time- gives them both a better shot at being delivered in a more timely manner.

      Special. Carefully. Chosen. Words. With care for Translation. Big. Heavy. Stuff. As burdened as I sometimes feel, to write something that -- "HAS" to be done right... I'm excited for these two. I don't know why. But I am. I think everything will be easier- flow out of my brain smoother, once I can purge of all that those 2 entail. I want so much to write more than I'll ever be allowed. And yet- I wait with baited breath- anticipating the envelopes detailing instructions for submitting these "extra special letters".

      Tuesday, November 16, 2010

      My Heart is Full...

      They say pictures are worth a thousand words. But- nothing, pictures or words can capture the emotion and milestones that these past five days has brought to our hearts. From realizing how new we are as a family, to- dancing, families, Ethiopia-ness, shared new experiences, special friends, old friends, reminiscing, hugs, kisses, comfort food, laughter.....

      I know I haven't written in a while. There is so much to tell you. So much important stuff. So many moving. Touching. Eye opening moments.  Mostly I've been experiencing the most wonderful times with my son. A month- has brought us so far. SOOOOOOO Far! Together. 

      Eyes wide open.

      Lovin Auntie

      Trains Trains and more Trains with Uncle

      Rest and Contemplation


      Jubilee in the crisp wet fall air


      Excitement growing FAST as the train!!

      SUBWAY. The train. Not the sandwich.


      Myrtle the Turtle


      One Moon Ethiopia

      Where did my little baby go?

      Monday, November 1, 2010

      Where to spend my time...

      I had a day. A whole day. Half day of school followed by full afternoon of NanaPapaAlexDog fun and madness for the kiddo. Left me. With. A. Whole. Day.

      What did I do??
      Did I do 14 loads of laundry? No
      Did I clean the bathroom? (which is seriously seriously filthy dirty smelly, as the dog was sick a couple days ago and I only did a cursory clean up)(Go ahead. Judge me.) No.
      Did I clean up the dishes from last nights supper still sitting on the stove? No.
      Did I make room for "MARGIN" by cleaning out the garage? No.
      Did I make room for "Margin" by cleaning out the over cluttered can't find crap in them, kitchen drawers? No.
      Did I change the bed sheets, which are overdue? No
      Did I vacuum, which is overdue? No
      Did I empty the trash? Yes but only partially as there is no new bag and it is still out in the entry way.
      Did I go for a run, walk, meditate, read? No
      Did I call a friend and catch up. NO. (Crap. Just remembering I was actually supposed to do that...)
      Did I call and cancel the cable? No
      Did I call Tegs Doctor with the list of questions and concerns that grows daily? No
      Did I take apart this forsaken Futon taking up too much play room in my living room? No
      Did I shower? No
      Did I shave my legs? No
      Did I pluck my eyebrows or exfoliate the pilings of dead skin on my face? No
      Did I do anything to further the cause of readying the house for winter? No
      Did I clean out the car? No
      Did I research any new jobs? No
      Did I network, or pluck away at my resume? No
      Did I cook any meals? No
      Did I do anything that is on the list of things that MUST BE DONE? No

      This is what I did.

      It took hours to go get it. Take it apart. Clean it. Poke holes in strategic places as it had been left outside my uncles house in a rain storm and was retaining water worse than me. Drained the water ... ever. .... so... slowly...  And then put it back together.

      As he arrived home to a 'surprise'. He insisted he would sleep in Thomas bed. Pray in Thomas bed. Read in Thomas Bed. Look at Thomas' face 100 times. And then his "Hat" 100 times (it doesn't really have a hat- but the 'pipe' is on top of his face so.. of course it's a hat....?) It matters not to this boy that the mattress is too small and actually sits on the floor covered with sleeping bags. Didn't detract from his joy at ALL!
      It was PJ day at school so it's just a coincidence but a nice one!

      Mommy crawled in Thomas to read our night time book together. And yet immediately after bottle....
      "My sleep Mommy's Bed".... and out. Hand landing with a loud slap and gripping my hair.
       He is still over the moon ecstatic, skipping, gleeful, yammering on and on about it, to it, crawling all over it, in it, taking books out of and putting back in to its little "container" (toy box), fawning over his face, joyful at the roof..... But there is now actual sleeping involved as of yet. So I'm not sure it qualifies as a 'bed'.