12 June 2012

we all see the same moon

Today marks one week since we set sail from Dulles in search of Ethiopia. We have since been on a Peace Corps crash course of the Ethiopian way. Many agree that our time spent here feels more like a month than it does a week; every day has felt more like three full days than one 24 hour cycle. In one of my first journal entries, I wrote that I felt like a newborn baby, cast about a world I barely understand, surrounded by people speaking in tongues that relay no meaning to my ears. As true as that statement was at the time, babies who will soon have to play a part in teaching English to Ethiopians must attain understanding about their surroundings at a substantially rapid pace.

In just one week’s time, I can tell you more about Ethiopia than I can about most cities in the United States. I have picked up some basic Amharic; enough so that my face doesn’t twist with confusion when the King’s Hotel staff offers a “Dehnah deh?” when our paths cross each morning. I helped teach a minimum of 30 Tygrinian children how to say “baseball” and thusly throw said sphere. I have learned that John Cena is beyond popular among Ethiopian boys (I learned this in Tigray, but apparently it’s true everywhere). I’ve figured out how to deflect barrages of “frenji!” from the many small children who own the streets of Wukro. I’ve even taken quickly to use of the shint bet, wherein I’ve realized my hidden talent of impeccable aim when directing my own waste toward a hole the size of a coffee can.

As you can see, it’s been a pretty busy week, and the weeks ahead promise an increasing amount of the same. We are in Addis through this week, after which we will be moving in with our host families, spread across several rural areas in a southern region of the country. Along with full-force rainy season (thank you, I. Goldberg, for the solid rain gear I packed), we will be up to our eyes in language, cultural, and teacher training, as well as socially occupied with our host families and throughout our community. There’s a good chance I won’t get to post much before, er, arriving at Post, but I will be keeping a personal journal, ideally daily, so I will have something to reference when I have some time to really collect my thoughts in a couple months. I’ll try to check in every now and then, but the next nine weeks promise to move at a rapid pace, and the first couple months at Post are sure to be full of buzzing.

All in all, I want you all to know that I am in good spirits. I’m experiencing stresses unlike anything I’ve ever known, but I’m handling them quite well. A lot of that has to do with the amazing support network here; Peace Corps staff in Ethiopia is nothing short of fantastic, in-country volunteers are there for you whenever you need them, and I’ve made some incredible friends in our group of 70 (officially known as “G7,” being the seventh wave of volunteers in the current installment of Peace Corps Ethiopia). But I owe just as much to each and everyone following along and cheering for us back home. You all gave me so many memories to carry over, and continue to brighten my day with little bits of encouragement. I love you all, and am beyond thankful to have you in my corner.

Wherever you fall in the spectrum of my support network, know that one thing, if nothing else, has kept me feeling connected to each and every one of you. If you’re thinking of me, just look up and know that we all see the same moon.


  1. Another chineese proverb was taught to you along a trip to Georgia with Popski.

  2. Yes, we all see the same moon my son! You know where I got that from - your very first movie theatre movie - An American Tail! Remember when Fivel and his sister sang the song, "Somewhere Out There"? In the lyrics is the line, "And even though I know how very far apart we are, it helps to think we might be wishing on the same bright star". So, star, moon - it's all out there in the sky and we're all sleeping under it tonight. It sounds like you're having an incredible experience thusfar, and I know it will only get better and better. Love ya!

  3. "Reading ten thousands of books is not as useful as travelling ten thousand miles"
    Stay well my friend.