No we're not all moved into our new digs yet but, I am moving my blog away from passthekimchi.blogspot.com
This one was built for our travels and, as the address suggests, was a little too place specific. For Ethiopia I kept the URL but changed the name. Now it's time to simply move and start over, something a little more inclusive of all the pots my fingers are in.
So come see the new blog at http://ericswanderings.blogspot.com/
This is where I'll be from here on in, so change your bookmarks, blog links, whatever.
Hopefully I'll be posting regularly over there and it's going to be the best way for all of you, our friends all over the world, to keep tabs on us. So go check it out!
Due to our new digs being so spacious we not only have a baby room, but I finally get an office (slash/ scrapbooking room =) I've been working away, sanding and cutting. (Thank God for good weather!)Here the wood is "getting its stain on"......And here is me "getting my stain on".With a little expert help from the 1-800-CALL-DADDY line I got the pieces put together and moved upstairs.And then, viola! From design to completion, there it was!With room for all of my books and space for me to buy a few more (right honey?)Still a few touches to the room, a chair to add, some pictures to hang but... this was really the first time I got to do a room how I thought it should be and I kinda like it.
One more day off for me and then back to school for another 3 1/2 weeks. And then summer can begin! Actually, I have a bunch of reading and research to do for my Master's but at least that's at my own pace and now I have a great office to do it in!
Now you may not look at the news but this one one is fresh off today's, "Obama Dismisses Dobson" coming after yesterday's, "Dobson Blasts Obama on Bible." As you can see, a little dispute is brewing.
Now a caveat, I'm not an Obama groupie. Don't think he's going to change the world, or even America for that matter. I think he's a better choice than Bush. I don't think he's a miracle worker.
Another caveat, I'm not a Dobson fan. I think his organization does some good things and I think he's a headline grabber. I don't like his political stances and I think he misrepresents Christianity. He ashames me for the most part.
It's always better to let people know where you're coming from, the good ol' post-modern way. Situate, situate, situate.
Now to simplify this little dispute. Obama thinks the Bible's not really that applicable to governing a country. To support this he quotes Leviticus where slavery seems to be okayed and shellfish are an abomination. Obama also claims sections such as the Sermon on the Mount are too radical for governing a country.
Ol' Dobby refutes this claim and says Obama is misquoting the Bible to support his own twisted theology.
Here's where I put my foot down, whip out my most imposing lecture face and start swinging around my right pointer finger...
Obama's right. America is not a Christian nation and has a set of laws to govern it, not the Bible. He's right, slavery in not okay in America. And most importantly, he's right when he says the Sermon on the Mount is too radical for governing a country!
All Christ-imitators should be saying in unison, "My goal is not to change or rule a nation". Say it with me!
The Bible clearly states that our goal is to love Christ and then love our neighbor, the two most important commands. No governing of society. Christ's radical demands on Christian life just don't jive with civil rule. Government serves the "will of the people". The Bible is about the "will of God". They don't mix and, as the Bible clearly states, "You can't serve two masters."
So this is where Ol' Dobby gets in trouble. He rather likes the mixture of government and God, civil rule and Christianity. He likes getting his hands dirty and mixing it up politically, whether it's gay teletubbies, John McCain or Ted Haggard. He think his job is to "Christianize" America.
This is where I run fast and far away. My job as a Christian is not to change society... it's to have Christ change me and change individuals through me. We've seen how Christian societies turned out (Google "Munster" and "reformation" together and see what I mean, or try "Calvin" and "Geneva"). In fact, after the debacles of Munster we had guys like the Mennonites saying we need to remove ourselves completely from society, we're just too radical for governing!
So, as official scorekeeper for Dobby vs. Obama: Biblical Interpretion I score the Democrat 1, the confused Republican 0.
Tried two different salmon recipes: Terriyaki Pineapple and Sun dried Tomato. Both were yummy but all agreed the Sun-Dried Tomato was to die for... seriously yummy. I've been out BBQ'ing this week, rain or shine (mostly rain) - steaks, chicken, pork. I'm thinking meat and veggies is a solid diet. Normally that wouldn't fly with my Sweetie, but thanks to the bump in her tummy she's realized the importance of things like protein and iron! So fire up the BBQ, stock the fridge - we're having a BBQ. Once we move in proper, it'll be time to have guests over to share our deck abundance. Nothing beats a warm evening, a steak with a mug of Blackbery Porter, cool tunes and good friends to share it with.
We had a nice little B&B on the ocean with a hot tub on the deck (it pretty much doesn't get better than that!)I got to spend the weekend whiling away the hours with my sweetie (again, does it get better than that!) as we watched movies, walked along the beach and explored the ocean (I won "Who can find the biggest crab"!).All in all, a sweet way to spend a weekend and a temporary relief for my itch. I am reminded again of how much we all sometimes just need to get away. Even if you do the same things you might do at home, just getting away from the feeling of responsibility and feeling the road underneath does some serious good. Fun times.
The neat thing for Nolana is that two of her close friends are also pregnant, one of them due 2 months before her and the other due about 4 days later. Oh yeah, we're due around Nov. 1 and no we're not going to find out the sex and no we have not decided on names (just heading the questions off before they come, I'm a pro now!).
Not everyone was happy to see us back as we were greeted with uncharacteristically cold weather and an April record for snow in Victoria.
But we're settling in. We've bought a car.
Four door special. And we have a place to move into, top part of a house with 3 bedroom, great area, and the best thing about it is that it's a steal (thanks Mom and Dad! lol). So yesterday I painted the baby room and we're making plans to get somewhat moved in the next couple of weeks while the parents are moving out.
Nolana's started back at the hospital and already has a full time job which is great, she'll work enough hours to get her maternity leave in a few months. Myself... due to some complications I am back in school for this year, taking some courses to qualify me for my teaching certificate. Starting May 12 I am a student again. Not sure how I feel about it but at the same time I feel up for the challenge.
As for future plans... we are all up in the air. We loved Ethiopia and would love to go back there or possibly somewhere else on the fair continent of Africa, so we're looking around for opportunities and hoping God will lead. We are back in Victoria for at least a year and then we'll have to see. So if we haven't seen you around yet, we have some time to catch up with everyone!
Hopefully I'll be updating this more regularly but no promises. Hope you are all as well as we are, which is pretty peachy keen!
My Grade 4 class which is my absolute favorite. 24 kids who for the most part love to engage and think the world of me. We have a lot of fun. I see them about 7 periods a week.My Grade 6 class which is quite small. The 7 kids and I have some great discussion such as "Is it ok to beat your wife?" or "Is it ok for a Muslim to marry a Christian?". The girl in the hijab in the back is the smartest girl in the school, she could easily go to school in Canada and excel.These are 3 of the boys in my Grade 5 class. You are looking at trouble. Just this past week 3 of them (including the 2 on the left) were expelled for a week. That class just does not know the meaning of quiet or of work. Amazing how 11 kids can cause so much trouble! This is Hamdiya, one of the 3 Canadian children at the school. She was born in Canada and has lived there all her life until 2 years ago when her family moved back to Ethiopia. Her English is excellent and she has a pretty sharp wit. Always talking away and asking me to sing the Canadian anthem for her!Some of my Grade 2 and 3 girls. I taught them at the beginning of the year and now I don't so they miss me and love to just come chat with me. I love my kids' smiles. Some of them go a long way in making a crappy day a lot better.The boy in the back is Feysal and he is my biggest fan. He's in Grade 6, stands about 5 foot 9 and is incredibly affectionate. He started off the year failing miserably until he got in my class and all of a sudden decided he was willing to work at it. Now he averages around %70. He always states how much he loves me and always has to hug me or kiss me on the cheek. Ethiopians in general are way more affectionate but to see a teenage boy trying to kiss his teacher still sometimes gives me a bit of a shock! Me and the boys! They like to chill, play football (soccer) and cause trouble like most boys do. And suprisingly enough most of them love their English teacher. Which makes what I do here all so worth it.
We hooked up with a company called Tourism in Ethiopia for Sustainable Future Alternatives (TESFA) which has taken some small communities and worked with them to build a sort of tourism infrastructure so that they do not have to rely as much on their subsistence agriculture. We stayed in tukuls (local huts) built by the communities, had locals cook food for us, had local guides, got invited into community tukuls to have injera and coffee made for us, and spent our days moving like a real Ethiopian (walking) in the mountains and the farmland, in places where the only foreigners are the ones TESFA brings and the occasional NGO worker.
All of the TESFA sites are ideally situated in the cliffs, looking out at the beautiful mountains, mesas and valleys.
So you wake up each morning, open the window and see the sun rising over the mountains. You wake up and have a leisurely breakfast in the morning sun.
Most mornings we were on the trail by 9am for our daily trek. We had a donkey to carry our packs and a couple local guides supplied by the town we stayed in that night, as well as our guide for the whole trip. Most days we trekked about 5 hours, some uphill but mostly flatland along the edges of the mesas where the communities were.
We would stop for a picnic lunch somewhere along the way and usually arrived at the next community around 2pm, had a snack and time to just relax and have some fun.
It really was a great way to see how the majority of Ethiopians live and do it in a way that aids them. The majority of people in Ethiopia live outside of cities and a recent UN report said that around 70% of Ethiopians live on less that 2$ a day. In the country I am sure that number is something like 97%. And yet they were quite friendly for the most part. They invited us in and cooked for us.
The kids tending the cattle and goats in the fields all ran when they saw us to have a picture taken. The communities we stayed in were grateful and we had one evening where we stood around with some of the men and some children, they gave us some local brew beer, served to us in a re-used tin can (recycling on a new level!), one man pulled out his prized battery-operated tape player, turned on some music and we danced a bit with them until it got too dark to see.
I don’t want to romanticize life in the country (which is what we Westerners tend to do). It’s hard and dark. Women bear the brunt of the work, cooking, taking care of kids, hauling water, etc…
Life is good if you own a cow, some goats, some chickens and a dark little tukul that keeps the rain out when it comes.
Most kids don’t go to school. TESFA has been working with Save the Children out in this area and still no more than 50% of kids are in primary school and most will never go to high school. There’s no money to do it, no school nearby and even if they did, no opportunities to use the learning. Kids stay in the same village, grow up there, marry there, work there and die there. When we arrived back in Addis it all of a sudden felt pretty luxurious, imagine being able to take an automobile to go get a pizza! Can’t say I ever thought of life in Addis as easy before but that’s exactly what it is compared to the country. Guess it is all a matter of perspective.
We had a great break and are happy to be back in the city, back into the routine and starting to think of all the things that have to be done before we arrive back in Canada . Hope to see you all there