No criticizing, no complaining, and no sarcasm

So I had a goal for today…no criticizing, no complaining, and no sarcasm. And maybe it was a coincidence, but today was one of the best days I’ve had in a while.

For the sake of full disclosure, I have to admit that the days leading up to today weren’t all that great. I hadn’t left my house in four days because Ethiopia thought it would be funny if the girl who had never had strep throat in the US (despite having a sister who caught it constantly as a child), got it here. I’m going to be honest, not my favourite illness.

But today the meds finally started to kick in and I decided to brave the outside world…mostly because I really had to get some work done! My goal for the day was to visit my four cluster schools and run a few random errands in between.

Going to my cluster schools is usually a hassle because they are not close to each other, and only some of their principals speak enough English that I can be positive they understand the point I’m trying to make. But I was coming prepared…I had already printed off flyers explaining why I was there (the final five sessions of my Teacher’s English Club) and figured I could wing the rest of the conversations.

I got to my first school, Edget Bandenet, and, in an unexpected twist, I was able to find the principal right away! (This is one of my favourite schools, super gobez, but the principal is often away at meetings or in a hidden corner of the school.) I told her about the club and my idea to do one big project at each of my cluster schools next year – since most of my focus will be on my primary school, Adare. We had a great conversation, and 15 minutes later I was on my way. While walking I encountered something I hadn’t experienced in over ten months…the smell of freshly mowed grass. It was incredible.

I arrived at my second school, Gebaya Dar, only to learn that the vice principal that I always work with was transferred to a different school. But before I could stress about how that would effect my work there, I was led to the new English Department Head…an incredibly young, incredibly motivated teacher who was also – incredibly – receptive to my ideas.

Then, it was on to some errands. I was able to score some cherry tomatoes, cauliflower, and zucchini in addition to my usual veggies at the market and I was in and out of the bank in less than five minutes (hard to believe, I know).

I caved and took a bajaj to my next school. During the ride I had a great conversation with a young woman while playing with and cooing over her newborn son. I arrived at school number three, Nigat Kokeb, just as the principal was leaving. After getting over my extreme happiness at having caught her, I discussed my ideas and she was so excited we already have everything planned for the next school year except the exact date of my training.

We left the compound together and I told her I was headed to my final school, Bahil Adarash. She pointed me in the direction of a shortcut and I gave it a shot. A minute in I heard some women shouting at me in Amharic. Normally, that’s something I’d ignore, but I turned around to find out just what it was they wanted. They merely wanted to let me know they had overheard my destination and I needed to turn down a street I just passed. So I retraced my steps and sure enough, I found school number four less than two minutes later.

Same scenario – a group of people really excited about my ideas…I really love when that happens! And then it was off to the post office. I got to mail a few letters and then found that I had some waiting for me as well. Including an AWESOME postcard from my bestie back home.

I decided to celebrate my day with some juice before making my way home to wash all the clothing/bedding I had been in contact with when I was at my sickest. But as I went to grab some sunscreen, I noticed two baby cockroaches climbing on it. I pulled out my face wash next to it and there were two more! But somehow, instead of screaming, I simply decided to get even.

One-by-one I took everything off all three of my shelves and killed all the little babies I could find. During this process, a friend called and I calmly explained that I was somehow enjoying killing the half-dozen or so little cockroaches, and her response was, “Bet you never thought that sentence would come out of your mouth.” We talked a bit more, and her goodbye included, “Enjoy continuing your mass genocide.” To which I promptly responded, “Bet you never thought that sentence would come out of your mouth.”

At that point I found the source of my problem. The mother. She was already dead, but deceptively small. I now know it’s not just the big cockroaches you have to watch out for! After I cleaned (and sprayed the shit out of) everything, I went back to my original task: laundry.

Now I’m weird, I actually don’t mind washing all my clothes by hand…I just hate washing my sheets. Which, of course, I had to do today. But instead of being by myself, I had a couple of the compound ladies to hang out with and we jammed to some good ol’ Tegan and Sara, always a crowd pleaser.

And now I’m in bed…feeling a happy tired after a long day. I’m going to make dinner soon and then get back in bed to watch a movie. Rumor has it Pitch Perfect is fairly funny…I think I’ll give it a shot. I’m in the mood for a comedy : )

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