Two Years of Learning

Last week I had a goodbye program at my primary school where one of the teachers graciously thanked me for teaching them so much. Even though my main job here was to teach, and to impart my knowledge onto others, I couldn’t help but stop and think that compared to how much I have learned in my past two years in Woreta, I have taught next to nothing. Now, I’m not going to get emotional and sappy here, and as sad as I am to be leaving Woreta, I am ready to move on. I am, however, going to tell you some of the small, strange, and important things that life in Ethiopia, and more importantly, Woreta, has taught me.

I have learned….
that I can adapt to almost anything
that electricity, water, and indoor plumbing are incredibly precious
that you can coexist with cockroaches (rats, not so much)
that best friends come in all different shapes and sizes
to be patient, very patient
that teaching English is really hard
how to build a garden
to eat whatever is put in front of me
to enjoy doing nothing
that I don’t always know best
how a mud house is built
to ALWAYS carry toilet paper
to be able to go to the bathroom pretty much anywhere
to stand up for myself
that holidays away from home are really lonely
that donkeys are adorable
to find humor in almost every situation
to laugh at myself
how to eat with my hands
to tolerate cold showers
that a passionate teacher can be inspiring
that you should carry an umbrella rain or shine
how to choose my battles
that hand washing all your clothes really sucks
that Ethiopian women are incredible
to enjoy my own company
to have a healthy fear of cows
just how privileged I am to have been born in America
that injera and berbere can be comfort foods
to drink lots of coffee
that the small successes are the best kind
that I can find happiness anywhere

And I’m not done learning. Which is why I’m not leaving Ethiopia. For my readers who don’t know, I have decided to extend my service for one year. Tomorrow I will be moving to Addis Ababa to start working with Catholic Relief Services as a Program Quality Officer for Natural Resource Management/Agriculture. While I know that moving from the Ethiopian countryside to Addis Ababa is going to be an adjustment, I am so excited to start my new job. I also have a new address, which I have changed on the sidebar of my blog so please take note before you send me anything!

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2 Responses to Two Years of Learning

  1. ingeharding says:

    Love it!!!! Especially the fear of cows!!! Those things have a mind of their own 🙂

  2. Susan Smith says:

    Courtney – I hope you know how incredibly proud I am of you. You are far wiser than your 24 years. We can all learn a lot from you. I just hope this next year will go as fast as the last two have. Miss you more than words can express Counting the days until you come home for your visit in October!

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