Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Grateful for the Little Things...

We have now been in Ethiopia for almost 2 months.  It’s hard to believe, but it’s true.  In some ways, time seems to stand still here.  We often have to remind one another what day of the week it is, because there is no work schedule, and no weekly meetings to keep us on track.  Living in Ethiopia has been different.  I can’t really complain, because we have not lacked for much.  We have a nice little apartment setup here.  We have food delivered to our room every day.  We have two precious little ones who have changed our entire world.  For the most part, we have it really good. 

Of course, Dorothy was right….there really IS no place like home.  I can adapt pretty well to any country and any culture you set me in, but that doesn’t change the fact that I love home.  Wes and I both love home.  We love our house and our friends, and we love our Kentucky.  And there are some things about home we pray we will never take for granted again.  So today’s post is devoted to just that….

Things we miss and will forever cherish in the United States:

Strollers:  Wow, am I excited about using our stroller!  We got ourselves a double City Mini Jogger, and it is awesome.  I already did a trial run with my buddy Lisa’s children.  It is one smooth ride, and folds up perfectly into the trunk.  LOVE it.  Unfortunately, even if we had it with us in Ethiopia, it would be pointless.   For the most part, there is no stretch of sidewalk that lasts longer than 20 feet.  Usually, it is run down or busted every few feet.  Small piles of rubble are everywhere, and strollers would be pointless.  We are SO thankful for our Ergo carriers, but it will be nice to not have to carry our babies all the time.  Plus, I’d love to take a walk without having big sweaty marks all over my shirt from the little boiler makers that are our twins. 

Car Seats:  Oh how I can’t wait to have car seats!!!  After the 8 hour roundtrip with our twins the other day in a little mini-bus with no reclining seats, I am truly looking forward to car seats.  Oh my goodness!  I can only imagine what it must be like to not have an infant in your lap while you are riding in the car.  My butt would not be in pain from the hard seat, and my back wouldn’t feel like it was breaking, from trying to carefully hold my baby while we are going over bumpy roads.  I am dreaming of the day! 

Our own car:  Gosh do we miss having a car!  Here we pretty much have to depend on other people to do our driving.  And sometimes that means you leave late, because Ethiopian time isn’t always on track with American time.  It also means you have to spend a chunk of money any time you want to go anywhere that’s not within walking distance.  We really miss being able to jump into the car any time we want. 

Quiet Neighborhood Strolls: In the States there have been plenty of times I didn’t feel like going for a walk in my neighborhood because I felt like there were too many people out, and I just wanted peace and quiet.  Hahhahaha (I am laughing to myself).  What a ridiculous notion that was!  Now I am aching for that kind of stroll!  A quiet walk here would be virtually impossible!  At least here in the city.  Any walk here would entail people constantly coming up to us and asking for money.  People are always staring at us.  Everyone wants to come up and stare at and kiss the twins.   Traffic is never-ending.  Pollution fills the air, and there is no escaping it.  So now those neighborhood strolls are sounding like a dream come true.  I can just imagine it now.  As soon as we get home, I am going to bundle these little ones up, and we are going to take a nice afternoon walk through our neighborhood and it is going to be amazing.  I will breath the air in deep, and I will gladly smile and nod at the people sharing the same street as me. 

Our own kitchen:  Okay, so we have a kitchen here in our little apartment, but it is just a basic setup.  We have two electric burners, a sink, and a mini fridge.  We have no oven, so there is no baking taking place.  Plus, we only have a limited amount of dishes, so we are constantly washing those and bottles.  There’s just something about your own kitchen.  I miss it.

American Grocery Stores:  One of the reverse culture shock situations most people deal with when leaving a 3rd world country and returning to a 1st world country is grocery stores.  They are overwhelmed by the aisles upon aisles of food.  Well, right now, I am missing those aisles and all the variety.  I can’t wait to hit Kroger when we get back.  I’m going to get rotisserie chicken, cookie dough,  shredded cheese, hamburger meat, etc. etc.  I’m drooling.

Milk:  Well….good milk.  If any of you know me well, you know I LOVE milk.  I LOVE it.  It is like a midnight snack to me.  Nothing like a tall glass of ice cold milk.  Add it to a batch of gooey chocolate chip cookies, and I’m in heaven.  The milk here bites.  I have yet to find one that tastes good.  Thank you, Aimee, for sending that powdered milk.  It’s no Horizon’s Organic Milk, but it is WAY better than what they have here.

High Chairs/Booster Seats:  Seriously, there is no way you can know how amazing high chairs are until you live without them.  Ironically, since our first experience with being parents has started in Ethiopia, we can only imagine what it must be like to have high chairs accessible to you all the time.  Right now we usually just sit the twins on the couch or bed, and hope they don’t move too much while we feed them their apples and bananas.  Lime Tree is the only restaurant that has had high chairs (well, ones that don’t look like death traps), and the couple times we have been there, it has been like a dream come true being able to sit the twins in a chair instead of our laps, so we can actually eat.  It’s not like we can trade off.  We have TWO babies!  Each of us has to hold one, and try and wrangle them while we attempt to get some food into our mouths.  Once again I am so happy to have the Ergo.  They often hang out in the Ergo while we eat, as long as they aren’t too hot and cry to get out.  Note to self:  I MUST buy booster seats upon arrival in the States.  That’s one item we have yet to purchase!

ESPN:  Wes threw this one in.  Especially since we are in the peak of basketball season, we are really missing this one.   Lord let us PLEASE be home in time for March Madness!  Not really because we want to be home to watch basketball, but because we really really want to be home before the end of March!

3G:  Wow, we really miss being able to use our iPhones.  I know that sounds shallow, and it’s probably the least of our worries, but we still miss it.  Once you have access to the internet 24/7, you really miss it, and appreciate it.  We might as well throw in Internet access here also.  Internet access here is kind of crappy and very inconsistent.  I miss my high speed internet. 

Clean Air:  Aaaaah….clean air.  I love clean air!  Granted, after a while you kind of get used to the pollution here in the city, but you never forget about it.  I especially noticed the affects when we entered the U.S. embassy a few weeks ago.  They’ve got all this green grass and flowers, and are constantly watering everything.  It’s amazing what plants and green grass can do for your air quality.  When we were there I just kept taking in deep breaths.  It was so refreshing!  I just wanted to bottle up the air and take it with me.  I can’t wait to be in the beautiful rolling hills of Kentucky again, and soak up all the beautiful clean air.

Good Friends:  Wow.  I miss my friends.  Especially my girlfriends.  They know what this girl needs.  Aimee is especially good at anticipating my hair-playing needs, and cookie needs.  She knows me the best since we’ve been friends for the last 15 years. Lisa fulfills my funny bone (we laugh a ton together), and Angela is fantastic at getting passionate about everything I am passionate about.  Can’t wait to go to Chili’s with my girls again!  (mmmmm…margaritas, chips & salsa, chicken crispers, chocolate molten lava cake….)

Blue:  No, not the color.  Blue is our North American Retriever, and she may be the best dog I have ever known.  We miss her TONS!  She is SO sweet and loveable, and I can’t wait to introduce her to the twins.  She is SO good with kids and babies.  I think they are going to love her!

Okay, I’m sure I could go on and on….and please don’t take this post to be an anti-Ethiopia post.  It’s not!  It’s just a sincere appreciation of our home, and our country, and our culture.  I love traveling the world, and I love meeting new people, and experiencing new cultures, but there will never be any place like home.  For now, I will just go with my husband and two darlings (once they are fully strapped on in their Ergos, of course), join our friends, Josh, Bex, and their little Mercy Bear, walk down the stairs of our guest house, walk through a rocky alleyway, take a few deep breaths of exhaust fumes, and eat a good meal at Cloud 9.  Ah, life is good.


  1. Seriously, nothing makes you appreciate HOME as much as being away from it. I love to travel, but once I'm some place for a while, I really miss the familiarity. I'm sure you love Ethiopia at the same time, but I totally understand. There is truly NO place like home.

  2. I guess I should tell you now that Chili's has banned us from coming there anymore. They said you ate all the chips and Lisa never buys her own Coke. I miss you TONS and can't wait to go out for our 1st Official MOMS NIGHT OUT!!


  3. If you and Wes want to have a date, I am coming to babysit. - and it will be soon, very soon. I love you all

  4. Oh Nina, I can hear the longing in your blog for home. I do not blame you at all. Will be a new life in Kentucky with your babies and I know you are ready to get started. As are your families and friends. Soon I pray!

  5. Awwwww....miss you too Niners!