Another Day in My Life

23 Sep

So I’m slightly over half done my stay here, and I think it’s about time for another update on my day-to-day life.

I am now pretty comfortable in the city and for the most part, I can find m way around. I use the mini-busses when I know exactly where I’m going, but otherwise I use a contract taxi. The mini-busses are super cheap (usually just a few birr, a matter of cents), but you have to listen as the attendant hangs out the window and yells out where it is going. Then you need to know where you want to get off since there are no appointed stops – luckily I learned how to say “stop here” in Amharic pretty early on in my stay! The contract taxis are nice since they will drop you off exactly where you want, but they can also be a hassle. I have a few drivers in my neighbourhood that I like and trust, but otherwise it is a huge pain in the butt to negotiate the price. Some drivers are honest about the pricing, but a lot of them initially try to way overcharge (especially foreigners). Knowing a little Amharic helps a bit, and using some Amharic and making a joke about “forengi prices” usually helps me to drive the price down.

However, my Amharic is still very limited. I know the basics and can even have a short conversation, but usually I run out of Amharic and end up staring blankly as the person I’m speaking with overestimates my abilities. The kids in my neighbourhood are actually my best teachers though! They are also very sweet. One of them even invited me to her home for New Years dinner! Since it was so special, I have written a separate post about it.

I am still very much in love with the food and coffee here. In fact, here are some things I have learned about food in Ethiopia:

  1. Get over trying to ever look cute or nice while eating with your hands.
  2. Food WILL get caked into your nail beds.
  3. If you are a sectional eater like me, get over it. You can’t do that here.
  4. Food is for sharing. The portion sizes are for sharing, everyone eats family style and even if you think you ordered your own dish – you didn’t.
  5. You should eat A LOT. And if the people you’re with don’t think you are eating enough… well, it’s not unusual for them to just feed you. And when someone does this, it is very rude to reject it.

Overall, my experience here has been quite wonderful. I think it might be time for me to spend some time in Canada when I get back, but I wouldn’t hesitate to come back here if the opportunity presented itself.

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6 Responses to “Another Day in My Life”

  1. thebouchards February 3, 2015 at 12:50 am #

    Hi Kyla! I don’t know when you’ll see this, but my husband and I intend to visit our sponsor child through World Vision in Addis Ababa through in a few months, and we’re trying to book a hostel near the WV office. Buuuuut… I can’t seem to find WV on google maps. Is there a landmark nearby that I could use to orient myself in my hostel search? Thanks in advance for any help you can provide! 🙂
    Sincerely,
    Tamara

  2. Niall September 23, 2013 at 10:19 pm #

    Hey Kyla. We have tons of Eithiopian restaurants around us. When you are back you will have to come out with us and amaze them with your Amharic and also teach us what to eat.

    So happy you are having such a great experience.

    • kylamckee September 30, 2013 at 6:18 am #

      Thanks Niall! I’m sure that I will crave some Ethiopian food once I’m home so we should definitely do that 🙂

  3. Marnie Rice September 23, 2013 at 4:27 pm #

    Kyla– Thanks so much for writing! Very, very interesting and so glad you are having such (mostly) wonderful experiences!
    Love
    Aunt Marnie

  4. Lorna September 23, 2013 at 2:15 pm #

    אני שמח לשמוע. שאתה בסדר.
    Glad to hear you are doing well! (:

  5. shiggs91 September 23, 2013 at 1:01 pm #

    Oh gosh, I remember most of the food struggles! It’s a lot of fun, but it can be really challenging to adjust to. I do find that once I’m in Canada after being in a place where everything is usually served family style, I have a hard time figuring out my portions or getting used to just eating one thing for a meal because you feel like you should be grabbing a little bit of something off of everyone’s plate!

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