Some Notes on Our Time Here So Far

There are some interesting notes about this trip:

  • I’m dying for a blog fix. The Ethiopian government blocks a lot of blog sites here in Ethiopia — sites like Blogspot in particular; WordPress seems to be ok — where a lot of the people I like to read post their blogs. So I have been unable to keep up on people’s blogs the entire time I am away! (Unless of course we beat the Ethiopian government’s ban, which is fairly easy to do… when BDH does not have his hands full rocking the babe and walking her around the room, that is. Like right now. Little stinker won’t nap. Too busy gurgling and smiling at us.)
  • The pollution in Addis is awful. It’s like being in the smoky part of a bonfire all the time. It comes from all the diesel cars which would give an emissions tester in Canada nightmares for a year. It’s best up by the transition homes, which is comforting since the children are there; and while it is tolerable here at the Hilton, down by the Weygoss, where it is close to a main drag, it’s awful.
  • All the babies at the transition homes have a terrible rattle or cough. ALL of them. It is not that they are sick, but it’s a result of the terrible pollution here in Addis. And seeing BDH after yesterday’s outing, I can totally see that — he is suffering. (My asthma has been ok, but breathing is still a challenge. The air is THICK.) Apparently, after the kids are home in Canada for a few days in the fresh air, it clears right up.
  • Dianne? Cutest baby pigtails EVER on your little one. I visited with her for a few minutes when we were picking up our girl the other day. She’s got a bad cough (see previous point) and did not look impressed to see me, because I think she would rather have been cuddling with her caregiver and getting ready for a nap. But we had a little chat about how her mommy and daddy would soon be coming to see her, and I eventually got a smile out of her (or it could have been gas, it’s hard to say). She’s clearly happy and healthy and thriving, and her caregivers and roomies love her dearly.
  • The bakery-slash-coffeeshop here at the Hilton rivals any in Canada. We go every day for breakfast of cappuccino and a croissant. The staff is so friendly, it’s a nice relaxing spot, and the food and coffees are womderful. Apparently you can’t go wrong visiting a bakery here in Addis.
  • Going shopping for groceries and want something “western”? Go to Bambis. It rocks the selection of North American stuff (yay for Pringles!) but you will also see a ton of European goods… and even diet Pepsi from Dubai for BDH! It’s also the best place to get diapers. We have a grocery store here at the hotel (more like a general store, really) and while it has a good selection of stuff, it doesn’t carry diapers. It has lots of formula, just not the brand we were told to use.
  • We made the decision based on the accounts of some of the staff at our agency that we were not going to distribute stuff to the local kids who invariably come begging. A lot of foreigners do it, but I have seen how one kid can become a swarm and I am not comfortable with that, most particularly when I have my child with me. I have followed the lead of the liaisons and drivers and just firmly told them no. There are agencies where you can get food vouchers downtown, which I think would be a better option, but we have not gone out enough yet to warrant that. I am not heartless; I know there is need and it IS hard to say no to the little faces at the window. But I think, for me, I would be much more inclined to give my support to an agency that can offer a broader relief, such as an HIV orphanage or an AIDS program or the voucher program.
  • There IS such a thing as too much Ethiopian food. And while tasty, 3-4 times in a 10-day stay is MORE than enough.
  • It is possible to spend time in Addis rather cheaply, since food, lodging and shopping can be done on a relatively low budget. But I am glad we spent a little extra to stay at a big hotel. The staff here are fantastic, and fawn over the baby whenever we come by. We like our creature comforts, and when trying to learn to parent a new baby, the small things like room service and internet access and grounds to walk the baby in are nice things to have indeed. And it will still be way, way cheaper than the same amount of time at a moderate hotel in Canada. Another great thing is the ability to cocoon and learn to be a family and have some quiet time, which is hard to come by at some of the busier guest houses, which I am hearing are much like living the college dorm life (without the booze, that is).
  • I am glad we came as prepared as we were. Yeah, we packed a ton, but some of the stuff has been invaluable. Bringing the laptop was inspired — we have movies we can watch, internet, storage space for pictures and video, and the wee one is positively ENCHANTED by Baby Mozart. Some things we were totally overprepared for, but that’s ok. I’ll have to post a comprehensive list when all is said and done and we are home.
  • You can set your watch by the rains here in rainy season. Sometime around 2 pm, it starts to rain, and soon thereafter you have downpours of fantastic proportions, and big rumbling thunder… It refreshes the air and makes everything look a *bit* cleaner. And while you are cocooning with a new baby, napping while she naps or cuddling in a chair or whatever, it is very relaxing. I love the rains.

8 thoughts on “Some Notes on Our Time Here So Far

  1. These posts are great – I know I will be reviewing them all when it is our time to travel (not that that will be any time soon!). I am looking forward to your comprehensive post.

  2. You just *completely* made my day. Thanks for passing on the message to Hana. I’m sure she slept better after that. Heck, it might even be what she needed to kick that cough! πŸ™‚

    Thanks for taking us along with you like this. I’m regularly stalking these days, just to live vicariously for a few minutes. Glad to hear things are going so well while you get to know your not-so-Mystery Baby!

  3. Sounds fabulous! I can’t think of anything more sweet then snuggling my baby with the sound of rain and thunder outside. You lucky lucky momma!
    And that list you mentioned? I’m counting on it!
    Please blow some kisses to Yonnas for me πŸ™‚

    Ricki

    I actually miss the smell of Ethiopia. Can you believe that? Every now and then when I get a whiff from a diesel vehicle it makes me ache to be back there.

  4. How awesome that you are able to post so much (and have the where with all & energy to do so!)

    The pollutions sounds so nasty but I think you are fortunate to have the rain to wash it down for a while at least.

    Looking forward to the next post!

  5. May I introduce myself as a single Mom who adopted internationally almost five years ago. As your daughter gets older all that you see and learn about your daughter’s birth country will become woven into the stories that you tell her about her adoption. She will want to hear it from your perspectives. The bonding will happen when you get home.

  6. Great to hear your impressions of Addis – Actually, I will find your list of what was and wasn’t useful pretty helpful.. so I’ll look forward to it.

    Cheers
    Nicky

  7. I am so taking notes. Thanks for the info about the pollution, hubby has asthma so the Hilton may be the way to go for us as well. I can’t wait to read more.

    Shannon

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