Sunday, September 30, 2012

One Month in Addis Ababa

This is a little overdue (the one month mark was September 23), but here is my report for the first month in Addis Ababa.

Since my last entry:
  • We let the cook/housekeeper go.  She wanted way too much money and wasn't very good.  So if we keep up that attrition rate, we're on track for beating our record in Beijing (7 housekeepers in 4 years).
  • We hired a new full-time cook, and a separate part-time housekeeper.  Their combined pay is only slightly more than what we paid the one we let go, and they are MUCH better.
  • We visited our driver's house (at his invitation) and had a wonderful lunch and participated in a coffee ceremony.  Since Ethiopia is the birthplace of coffee, they burn incense and wear special clothing while they roast, grind, and brew the coffee.  Also, our household staff surprised us with a coffee ceremony at our house on a Friday afternoon.  This is already infinitely more social interaction with the local people than we had in Beijing.  Coffee is often paired with popcorn.  The boys ate it all.
  • I have learned the numbers 1 through 39 in Amharic, though I can't remember the numbers for 40, 50, 60, 70, 80, or 90.  I do have 100 and 1000.  So as long as the tens place isn't 4 through 9, I should be okay.
  • We got unlimited bandwidth ADSL installed at home.  Normally the telecom company reserves this for businesses, but the embassy Information Management section made an arrangement for ADSL to be installed in embassy houses.
  • We continue to rent a 1980-something Toyota Corolla.  It is small, rattles a lot, stalls all the time, but it allows us to get around so we're not (always) trapped at home.
  • I am learning more about our neighborhood and how to get around town, so by the time our own car gets here and we get driver's licenses we should be good to go.
  • Our air freight was finally delivered, after sitting at the airport (less than 3 miles from our house) for nearly a month.  Our household effects from Beijing may be coming this week.
  • The boys attended their first playgroup in Addis, something we hope to make a regular event.  The host of that gathering inspired me to build a playhouse for the boys out of our air freight cartons.  Just got started so you can't see it yet.
So, despite our house still being a significant disappointment (I've now seen two houses other than our own and they are WAY nicer), things are looking and feeling better -- though we still have 2 months or so until we'll fully adjust to the altitude.

1 comment:

ShoNuff said...

Glad things are starting to smooth out. Sorry the house is still disappointing. Hope it starts being more good to less bad... which it sounds like it's moving toward.