I recently stumbled across a line from Cutting for Stone that really clicked for me:
Home is not where you’re from,
it’s where you’re wanted.
I wasn’t sure if Ethiopia would ever feel like home, but 6 ½ weeks here in Hawassa, and it definitely does. And that’s probably because for the first time since arriving here, I feel wanted.
I’ve spent three nights this week hanging out with my compound sister Lucy – each night she was home alone and asked if I’d keep her company. We laughed over American movies, shared experiences, and the differences between American and Ethiopian culture. She even showed me how to wrap my hair in a scarf…
Each night, as her family filtered in and treated me like I belonged there, I began to feel like I was home. We’ve eaten meals together…I finally tried fïrfïr (think ïnjära chopped up, spiced up, and served with more ïnjära), which I wouldn’t recommend, as well as a number of delicious fresh breads, which I would most definitely recommend!
It’s funny, but despite all the complaining I’ve done about my current home, I can’t imagine moving. Ironically, the Department of Education here just found what they consider an appropriate place for me to move into…and I had to tell them that I actually wanted to stay put! Bring on cramped spaces, mold, rats, and shower doors that don’t close ha ha I’m even starting to get along with the dogs – I might actually miss them two years from now.
I’ve also put myself out there and have made more Ethiopian friends my own age, and it’s been great having people to get lunch with and go on juice dates with! The women here are very independent and strong-willed and I’m proud to call some of them my friends!
And of course I’m having a great time hanging out with my PCV buds : ) We celebrated birthdays this past weekend and I realized that even though I’ve only known them four months, I already consider these people my family.