Six years ago, we arrived in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia as a family of four. The next day we were a family of five… at least on paper. In reality, you don’t just snap your fingers and “become” family. It takes time and shared experiences — lots of both. The good, the bad, and the mundane.
This week, we returned to Addis as a family of five, having shared every minute of every day together over the past six months+. We know each other inside out. The good, the bad and the quirky. We have a shorthand with each other that is quite profound.
For a number of reasons, it hasn’t been an easy week. In fact, Addis is not an easy city. It’s gritty. It’s crowded. Even simple tasks are challenging. And the poverty. It can overshadow the vibrant spirit of the beautiful people here.
But it’s so much easier than it was six years ago. We’re not struggling to find our balance as a family. And having spent so much time in developing countries, often in very basic accommodations, our standards have shifted. The guesthouse that seemed kind of grungy six years ago is now our oasis. We love it here. It hasn’t changed. We have.
Tomorrow we set off to tour northern Ethiopia. Later in the month, we’ll visit the area where Meskerem was born and reconnect with her birth family. It’s exciting and overwhelming at the same time. And we’ll experience it together as a family of five.