Monday, August 25, 2014

Reverse Culture Shock

#1: When in the bathroom: "Where the hell is the flusher on this thing?! Oh, right."

#2: "This tissue paper is so soft I think I'll spend several minutes rubbing it on my face before using it."

#3: When at a coffee shop: "And what would you like?" "Uh . . . Coffee?" "What kind?" "Uh . . ."

#4: When watching American television: ". . . WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS?!!!!!!"

#5: Eating off other people's plates . . . That's not a thing here.

#6: Speaking Amharic when nobody knows what the fuck I'm saying: "I'll have some wuha." "What?"

#7: When buying alcohol: "Why do you need to see my ID?"

#8: Brushing things onto the floor does not constitute cleaning.

#9: Why are the doors so fucking heavy?!

#10: American money: "Oh, that's not so expensive." "Julia, that's not in Birr."

Not Reverse Culture Shock: Driving a car: It's like riding a bike.

Bonus: Me eating an American hamburger for the first time in a year.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Perilous Journey of the Jebona

When I went to America for my cousin's birthday I thought it would be funny to give her a completely useless something from Ethiopia that would only serve to collect dust . . . What I didn't think about was what it would take to get it to her.

. . .

Excited to see America.
Jebona's first plane ride.
Layover in Istanbul.
"Keps' Wall of Cross-Stitch" -- Best tourist attraction in Chicago.
Watching the Illinois countryside.

Final destination.
 I think it had fun.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Pearls Before Swine

My mother sent this to me in a letter. I wonder if she's trying to tell me something . . .

Monday, August 4, 2014

The Sheraton

Dear Friends and Family,

Well, I'm back in Ethiopia. And I think, to transition back into my simple country life I will go to the pool.

That's the entire Sheraton compound folks. It's massive and beautiful!

See the pool?

Only 17 birr to go swimming and 450 birr to stay at the hotel! Oh wait, did I say birr? I meant dollars . . . Oh the life of a poor volunteer.

Monday, July 28, 2014


Yes people, they do exist. Baby donkeys are not mythical creatures. I know, I was surprised as well, but donkeys are not born into this world old men who eat thistles and grouch pessimistically about pigs.

And aren't they just the cutest things ever!

Monday, July 21, 2014


Most of the time my life involves lots of sun and dust (You should see my epic tan). Sometimes it rains, which means I either read in my room while drink apple cider or sit quietly in my classroom with my students because it's really hard to hear anything with rain pounding on a metal roof.

Every once in a while It hails . . .

Snow in July.

Monday, July 14, 2014

The Techie Fair

The Techie Fair

There is a technical school behind my house in Deneba. This school teaches trades to young people from word working and metal shop to IT and automotive mechanics. They threw a giant fair to display what their students were learning.

And then there was light.

There was a raffle for the bedroom set made by one of the woodworking teachers.

Not just the bedroom set was on display . . .

My friend Jeff and I got a tour of the facilities.

There were even games.

No goal.

You can pay 2 birr to play the games. You see the tiny pot hanging out on the right? The guy with the stick on the left has to whack it. Whoever hits it gets all the money in the pot. It's like a little clay piƱata.

It's really hard.

I didn't come close.