English speaking friends proved to be way more challenging than my husband and I ever expected. Even though we didn’t know anyone when we moved to this town, I figured that we would make friends fast. That was a very false assumption. Almost a year into our Ethiopia adventure, I still had no friends. If you are in a similar place, don’t lose heart. I have put together this simple step-by-step guide to making expat friends where there are no friends. Read the rest of this post on the Taking Route Blog.Read More
Language has always been a struggle for me but when we first moved to Northern Ethiopia I was determined to learn the local language. I regretted never getting the hang of the local tongue when I lived in Malawi. I hated being left out of conversation after conversation, and Ethiopia was going to be different, as I assimilated into the culture and language. Here are my keys to (almost) being successful. Read the rest of this post on the Taking Route Blog.Read More
The word ‘fashion’ immediately makes me think of New York or Milan— and more, how I don’t have very good fashion or measure up to people that do. Fashion seems to be divisive in its very nature. I am as guilty as anyone of perpetuating the division as I try to one-up friends and find worth walking around in new pair of boots. Interestingly, I have had a very different experience with the fashion culture here in Ethiopia.Read More
Hike: Moderate, 1 hour to reach the church.
Church Structure: Completely rock-hewn.
Paintings: Well preserved, sometime between 13thand 17thcenturies.
Views: Open view of the Hawzen plain.
What I like: Moderate hike, great view, and unique church.
Overall Experience: Top five.
Hike: Easy, 1 hour to reach the church, no climbing.
Church Structure: Only partially rock-hewn.
Paintings: Vivid, end of 18thcentury beginning of the 19th.
Views: No views but beautiful landscapes and farms.
What I like: Great for people who can’t do hard hikes.
Overall Experience: Top ten.
Ethiopia has been an amazing place to start a family. We have been so lucky to have had amazing adventures in this place. Here are the top ten things I will miss most about Ethiopia.Read More
Hike: Moderate, 1 hour.
Paintings: 14th century, lower paintings faded, but the ones out of reach are still vivid.
What I Like: Different views, manageable hike, unique church, great painting.
Overall Experience: Top five.
- Hike: Level–Difficult. There are two sections of free climbing. For safety, I recommend asking your guide to bring a harness and ropes, but I have always done it without. One hour climb to the church.
- What I Like: I love how treacherous it is to reach this church and what treasures await you at the top.
- Overall Experience: Top five, I would only recommend this for children over twelve and please request ropes.
You don’t have to be a person of the Orthodox faith to enjoy this deeply spiritual pilgrimage past pastoral farms, up through canyon walls and into the mountains in search of these ancient treasures. The physical act of hiking to these hidden churches mirrors for me the life-long journey of the pilgrimage toward God. It is a unique opportunity to see yourself, away from the busyness of routine and habit, as you climb up into the ancient mysteries that these mountains hold.Read More
I remember when my husband and I drove fifteen hours from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to our new home in the north. I loved every minute of the heat, the god-forsaken hotel, and the lack of water when we arrived at our new home. I vividly remember thinking, “I am the luckiest person in the world that I get to have this life.” Fast-forward six months to a year later, and guess who was crying? ME. Read the rest of this post on the Taking Route Blog.Read More
There are rhythms all around us sending us messages. The power goes out. The water tank is empty. The internet hasn’t worked in days. The car breaks down. The baby just wants to be held. In those moments there is a very critical choice that will make or break my day; will I listen to the rhythms or try to create my own? Read the rest of this post on the Taking Route Blog.Read More
Maybe I’m the only mom that has ever been nervous about raising and caring for a child in the developing world. I try to calm my anxiety with reason—millions of moms have raised their babies in the developing world in worse conditions. I shouldn’t have a problem. Right after my daughter was born, the reality of living in Africa became real and I honestly don’t feel equipped for the challenge. Read more of this post on The Taking Route Blog.Read More
I am named after my grandma Joy who passed away recently. I wasn’t there to say goodbye to her. I wasn’t at her funeral. And it was all so terribly wrong and unnatural. It was so wrong that I didn’t get to hold my grandma’s hand one last time. It was so wrong that I didn’t get to grieve with my family. It was so wrong that my mom had to pack up Grandma’s house without me. It was all so wrong, but it is just the way it was because I live an ocean away. Read the rest of the post on the Taking Route Blog.Read More
I always envisioned myself peeing in a porcelain toilet to confirm my first pregnancy, but there I was squatting over a hole in the ground.That was just the beginning of new experiences while navigating pregnancy in the foreign country that I call home. Somedays I embraced the adventure of it all and on others I caved in to the fear and unknown. At the beginning of my pregnancy I didn’t know what questions to ask to decide where to deliver my baby. Through this Taking Route community, I have come in contact with many women that have had babies while living abroad, but when I was first embarking on this journey I hardly knew anyone with that experience. Read the rest of the post on the Taking Route Blog.Read More
Need, I am finding, is one of the greatest gifts in the world. Maybe it is a gift to need redemption, to need grace, to need water, to need God to provide. I have never felt my need as clear as I do here in Mekelle; it’s a combination of the brokenness I have embraced in myself in recent years mixed with the vulnerability of our life here. Away from the familiar, distant from community, and adapting to the unknown.Read More
I hesitate to write this article, because I am worried that I will unveil one of the best kept secrets in East Africa: the Ancient Rock-Hewn churches of Northern Ethiopia. To get to most of these churches you have to hike up into the mountains, where you will find hidden 1600 year-old churches that have been preserved by the monks and priests of modern and of old. Most of the churches were carved deep into the rock to protect them, as well as their history, from invaders. Read the rest of the blog on the We Are Travel Girls Blog.Read More
Quitting my job last summer made me face my real life, or should I say lack of a real life here in Mekelle.Greg had started a business, he had employees and friends and was getting a hang of the language. It had been tons of work for him, but it was paying off. He was blossoming and I was sinking in to the shadows.Read More
For Easter I had my hair done in the traditional Ethiopian style. My friend owns a local hair salon. I went at 11am and was finished at 3pm. #4hourslater I will have to be honest that it was hard to sleep the first few nights, but by the fourth night I slept like a baby.Read More
I will have to admit that thinking about my breakfast routine at my house in Mekelle, on a cold morning, brings me tons of peace while sitting in a hotel in the middle of nowhere Ethiopia. I can almost feel the fur in the bottom of my slippers as I shuffle around the kitchen in my bathrobe. I yawn as I pour oil on a hot pan and watch it sizzle. I breathe in through my nose to smell the freshly roasted coffee beans as I pour them into the grinder. I watch the blender hum with frozen bananas, canned coconut milk, peanut butter, dates, and almonds. Its more like a breakfast milkshake than a smoothie, but before you get too excited you will need frozen bananas for all these recipes.Read More
In Ethiopia, the Melse is part two of the Ethiopia wedding celebration. The bride and groom wear the traditional Ethiopian clothes and partake in traditional dancing and food with a smaller group of closer friends and family. The word Melse means, ‘a return,’ and in this case ‘a changed return’. The significance is that the man and woman were recognized as single individuals before, but now they are welcomed as a married couple to the community by the Melse. Our Ethiopian friends and family wanted to welcome us as a married couple to Mekelle as we entered this new chapter of life with a Melse.Read More