Monday, October 26, 2009

No News is Not Good News

Monday has come and gone here in Ethiopia with no news at all. We sat
here at the guest home pretty much all day, waiting and hoping for a
phone call. None came. There are still day trips I would like to
take, but not at the risk of missing the all-important phone call.
Instead, I gave the girls baths, Tinsae re-braided Birhane’s hair, and
we watched random shows on Al-Jazeera and other Middle-Eastern TV
stations that we have here. Only a handful are in English, which
obviously holds my attention better, but we’ve spent our fair share of
time watching cartoons that have been translated into Arabic or some
other foreign dialect. There are two Ethiopian stations but they are
both government run and the programming seems rather random.

Feeling extremely stir-crazy and without the stomach for one more
dinner of injera and meat drowning in oil and spices (recall that last
night, I all but skipped dinner, opting instead to eat dry handfuls of
Apple Jacks that Emily bought as her anniversary present for me –
that’s the official 13-year anniversary item right? I can’t Google it
right now to double-check), we went out to dinner. It was just a
restaurant attached to a hotel, but the Lasagna I had wasn’t bad,
although it was still swimming in the red-oil they cook all meat in
here. The girls ate injera and meat and seemed happy as clams. Mom,
you’ll never believe this but I would just like a side serving of
vegetables with one of these meals. We had an orange one day with one
of our meals, and cooked carrots another, but the only other thing
that has been available is bananas. Now you understand why we were so
excited when we went to a place last week that actually served salads!

So, I remain on what we were initially calling the 2-week African
adoption stress diet, although it is still quite effective even after
2 weeks. It’s not without its downside however. But, were I to go
into those details, I would certainly be labeled as providing TMI—Too
Much Information and since this is a family friendly blog, I’ll let
the better part of discretion rule the day. However, if we ever try
to market this effective appetite limiting and weight-loss inducing
diet, we’ll certainly have to list all those side-effects, for which
you should call a physician, like you hear on TV.

Tinsae still protests many of the breakfast foods around here, even
though they are prepared with her tastes in mind. This morning, we
had their equivalent of pancakes, although it looked more like thick
crepes or Ethiopian flat bread. But just add syrup and it was good by
me. Nonetheless, she refuses to even taste these creations. Today,
Berhane decided to hold solidarity with her sister so I let them just
drink their juice. Even the kitchen staff was clearly scolding them
in Amharic for not eating. By about 10 am when they were looking
around the room for food, I told them they couldn’t have any since
they didn’t eat any breakfast. I figure if they won’t eat in their
own country a hybrid dish that even the cooks feel they should be
eating, I’m not going to stop the hunger pains.

The other half of the family seems to be doing well. They went to see
a movie and by text, Jasper said he laughed through the entire thing.
I believe it. He’s a hoot to take to movies because he is one that
really enjoys the funny parts and gives full-volume belly laughs
throughout. I talked with them by phone in the airport and Emily was
lamenting the next 17 hours of her life in the air, but hopefully the
time will fly. Sorry.

It’s confirmed that the horse we have been so sick about every time we
drove by has passed on. This, after we drove through Debre Zeit and
Aki made more inquiries about the horse hospital located there for
these crazy Americans who were willing to spend good money on someone
else’s abandoned horse. Nonetheless, what a horrible final couple of
weeks this poor animal had and what a sad way to die. We have
continued to be disturbed by the treatment we see of so many of these
beasts of burden here.

During the girl’s quiet time today, I though I would pass the time by
watching one of the DVDs that are here in the guest home. These are
not real DVDs, but rather someone’s copy on Imation DVD-Rs but I
figured it would still be better than lying restlessly while they
slept. However, whoever originally copied them apparently had to use
two DVDs and wouldn’t you know it, only the first disc is here. So I
have now seen the first half of Mission Impossible II and Mission
Impossible III. Argh! Even the entertainment leaves you unsatisfied.

Oh well. We’re hoping for better news tomorrow.

Of course, we continue to recognize there are far more serious
problems than ours in the world. One we’re aware of is my brother
Rick’s little boy who is in the hospital with H1N1 complications.
We’re praying for you Chase and hope you can go home soon.


Brooke said...

Oh Steve,
You are a true Man! What a great dad you are to let the girls sleep while you are board out of your mind. Hopefully you can find the part II to the movies which you have already started.

I'm glad the horse has finally passed. It's a horrible thing to watch something die slowly. I even feel bad for my houseplants that all end up dying a slow death because I have no green thumbs.

When is the last day that you can get the fingerprints and travel this week? Have you already changed your plane tickets for a specific date? Oh how I wish that your agency would have just done all that they were paid to do. ARGHHHHHHH....

Hurry home!

Emily said...

I don't blame you for eating Apple Jacks when Emily is off in England eating Subway. The red oil meat baths sound disgusting.

My best to both of you and your last leg of perseverance.


Belinda said...

As I've said before....perspective is a beautiful thing isn't Steve? You need to brush up on your game of rock, paper, scissors, because if that is how it was decided that you'd stay behind, I hate to be the one to tell you your wife is home sleeping in your bed right now! Sorry, you can kick me when you get home! Kidding of course, what a huge sacrifice in many ways to stay, I hope the girls will understand some day and I think they already are getting the message, on how much you want them in your family.

Hang in there, I'm off on a work trip, but I hope you are here when I return.

Safe travels, we're all thinking of you!

Amber Swensen said...

Thank you for thinking of us amongst your own struggles. We continue to pray for you as well and your safe return, with ALL your family.