Celebrating Alone…

From the other side of the world!

Week 7-10 in Deneba, Ethiopia- November 2014

It has now been 4 weeks since my last entry and a lot has happened even in my snail paced life. My birthday was on November 7th and was pretty much uneventful on the actual day. I did get several packages and lots of mail! Thanks to all who made my birthday away from home so special! I made myself a special birthday dessert in between power outages. I had vanilla pudding with an Oreo crust(both were care package items)! It was amazing!

I have also celebrated Thanksgiving away from home(or family) for the first time since I was born. I woke up in my cozy warm cocoon to the feeling of cold hitting my face. It has been extremely chilly at night here in Deneba. I didn’t want to get out of bed. In that way, it felt exactly like a cold fall day in Kentucky.

As I lay in bed, I realized that it was in fact Thanksgiving Day. I imagined I was waking up in my Granny’s house, as I would most any other Thanksgiving Day. I could hear Pops downstairs enjoying his coffee and donut before anyone else was awake. I could hear the clapping of all the solar figurines my Granny collects, dancing in the sunlit window. I really did hear them because I have one in my window, here in Ethiopia, that wakes me gently each morning with the sun.

I hopped out of bed and ventured down the staircase to find my Granny, still in her powder blue nightgown, beginning the preparations for Thanksgiving lunch. As the time grew closer for the rest of the family to arrive, I began rolling out and cutting the biscuits for chicken dumplings. Cutting and stirring the dumplings has always been my task since they are my favorite Thanksgiving food. I was now glued to that spot, continuously stirring the dumplings, as my family arrived and hugged me tightly. My granny, pops, mom, dad, aunt, uncle, siblings, cousins, and significant others all joined together for a wonderful meal prepared with love.

Of course I wasn’t actually enjoying this Thanksgiving with my loved one’s. In fact, they wouldn’t even be ready to eat their lunch until I had already completed my own Thanksgiving Day in Ethiopia and would be preparing for bed. But my memories comfort me on a daily basis. I have a lovely photo on my wall of a Thanksgiving past when even my sister, Amy, and her family were able to join us, all the way from Florida.

I have to admit, Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday. Mostly because it is the one holiday that stays the same for me each year. Christmas for the Cundiff’s can and has been celebrated anywhere in the country, as long as we are all together. We have celebrated many a Christmas away from home. When I was younger, we had a sign that we would travel with and place in the yard wherever we happened to be for Christmas, informing Santa where we were.

But not Thanksgiving. It is always the same. Thanksgiving is always at my grandmother’s house. On black Friday, we hit a few stores on the way to my papaw’s house and enjoy another wonderful feast.

Although I was not at home with family, my Thanksgiving was wonderful. I planned a fun lesson for my students and they were very interactive learning about Thanksgiving.

I have included a few photos of my class and their Thanksgiving project.

Other photos include:
– I have begun making my own cards and envelopes since my stationary has long since been sent to friends and family.
-My power outlet…it makes me happy when it looks like this! The electricity is ON! Lately, it has been off more often than on.
– My stack of birthday packages! I saved them up for about a week and a half in order to open them on my birthday!
-All the letters and cards I have received since I have been in Ethiopia. Yes, I am loved!
-Another great day…there is water! I love waking to the sound of water dripping outside. It is strange how excited I get! Now that the rainy season is over, it never rains. Deneba goes about 7-10 days without running water. I have several buckets and bottles that I keep full of water in order to ration it when there isn’t water. So far I have done well to always have some but it gets tight sometimes. Bathing and washing clothes are no longer priorities, eating and drinking are.

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