We are living large.

We’ve moved to a new guesthouse and this place is ridiculous! GT Guesthouse is a freaking marble palace. The owners are sweet as can be and the comfort of the apartment is much appreciated but I’m a little uncomfortable assuming such a stark and overt demonstration of American vs Ethiopian wealth.  I’m stifling the urge to tell everyone we run across, “We could never afford this in America! We aren’t rich!” But, compared to most people in the world, we are. Of course we are.

I feel a little more paranoid, here. This neighborhood is home to much of the more affluent of Addis’ residents and I’m not sure if my awkwardness is surfacing because of the uncomfortableness I feel being so blatantly privileged or if it could be, perhaps, the machine gun-toting soldiers standing in front of the banks?

Scary stuff, that.

I had a little trip-fatigue related breakdown last night. After a perfectly lovely day, I was suddenly cranky beyond belief.  The tipping point?


We are forever on the wrong rhythms here.  We leave too early on our tours to shop at the sidewalk stores. We arrive home too late for the supermarket.  We eat at 2:00 in the afternoon or 11:00 in the morning, when restarants aren’t ready for customers. We don’t understand the layout of the streets, the locations of the proper shops (you have to visit several to assemble a full contingent of food stuffs–the supermarket has pasta, peanut butter,  coffee and butter but no vegetables, no fruit. And no one has meat that I’ve seen, except live chickens.)

As a result we’ve eaten bread. Bread and rolls and bread and ramen and bread and pasta and pancakes and bread.

And bananas.

We’ve had two delicious Ethiopian meals and one uneven one at the touristy “Lucy’s,” one questionable Italian meal and on our first night, pizza.  Part of the problem is that as “ferenge” (white foreigners) people keep steering us to non-Ethiopian restarants. Though, if I were completely honest, I would pay many, many birr for an order of chicken and broccoli stir fry right about now…heavy on the broccoli.

Little Man had his own food related breakdown the other day and I must admit, I was not terribly sympathetic. He has eaten very little on this trip, terribly displeased that the food is “different.” Pizza sauce is sweeter? Won’t eat it.  Pancakes a little heavier? Won’t eat it. It wouldn’t be so much of a problem, except we have no other options.  I have been frustrated beyond belief with him– angry to the point that my hands shake.  In more than just food he is refusing to be a trooper; rolling his eyes at our guide, pouting about the tours. I’ve had to walk away and leave him to Hubby more than once.

Of course I know that it’s not about pizza sauce or pancakes…He’s off center, grieving and confused. He just wants a sense of home. But, honestly, what do you do with a child who, IN ETHIOPIA, refuses to eat his croissant, because the butter isn’t melted?

Breakfast at the uber-fabulous GT Guesthouse.  Don’t listen to Little Man. The pancakes were DELICIOUS.

The Rise & Fall of a Momocracy

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