Thursday, November 28, 2013


Last year, I went to the Hilton for Thanksgiving.

This year, I went to an homemade Thanksgiving party.  It was much better.

One of my PCV friends had connection through her parents to USAID workers and we stayed with them for the holiday.  It was so nice being able to cook in a real kitchen! With a maid who cleaned as we cooked. Which was very helpful as we made 6 pies, a corn casserole, cranberries, sweet potatoes with pecans, and stuffing.

Pumpkins pie, and we peeled the pumpkin ourselves.

 Part of Thanksgiving is making the food, something I missed last year and it was so nice to fall into a rhythm of domestic holiday work.

The food was wonderful, as was the wine. No local stuff for the holiday! There's a reason even the locals mix the red wine here with coke. And let's not get into the white.

Every dish was delicious, and the entertainment was also quite unique. The family hosting the dinner had two daughters with pet turtles, who they decided to pit against each other in a race.  It was over quicker than I expected. I didn't even have time to place a bet. ^_~

It was also quite a novelty to sit down and watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade. I haven't seen a parade in years, and it made me forget for awhile I was in Ethiopia. Except for the fact that it was morning in New York and after dark in Addis.  Still, marching bands, and a Santa sighting, was a nice ending to the holiday.

That, and coming back to my digs for the weekend and just crashing. 

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Mt. Chilalo

Dex, a G6, is my walking buddy. We've spent hours tramping around the Arsi Zone. So I couldn't say no to one last walk before he leaves on Sunday. Climbing Mt. Chilalo.

Chilalo is the 4th largest mountain in Ethiopia, and Assella sits right at the foot of it. It's just over 4000m.

We left just after 7 am, walking with our guide and then the guard we picked up.  Guards a necessary, foreigners have been attacked before and hyenas live on the mountain. And there's no true trail so a guide is also a must.

We went through the country side first, past farm land, and apparently it's acceptable here to pull up plants to eat them while you go along. Our guide just pulled pea plants from the earth, picked off the pods, and gave them too us.

It was a long hike, more so cuz we went at a slow pace and stopped a lot. 11 hours of hiking!  But it was beautiful!  There's a wonderful rock formation at the top, and a holy water spring. We saw some deer, but no monkey's sadly.

Despite the longer than expected walk, it was a wonderful day.  I just crashed at the end, and woke up this morning tired and achy, but totally worth it. 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013


I didn't really celebrate Halloween last year. I might have watched Hocus Pocus on my laptop or on the TV. Actually, pretty sure I did. But other than that, no celebration. Which was quite sad cuz it's always meant a party or some type of adventure in the past.

I think this year made up for it.

We made chili for lunch, but didn't have bowls.

The weird thing about celebrating American holidays in a country that hasn't even heard of them is that the local think you're a bit crazy.  I when to Carlin's house in Hossana with a bunch of other PCVs and her landlord was just fascinated with everything we did.

He had to get pictures of every costume possible (I went as an adorable jack-o-lantern, but I think the best prize when to Kat who made a bumblebee costume.  She sewed bubble wrap to a black shirt for wings, and then added strips of yellow fabric. And also made bug eyes from yellow tea strainers.) and insisted on calling him when we began the pumpkin carving.

Kat and I made a tree.
Honestly, I was surprised to see pumpkins, they don't exist in Huruta and I rarely see them in Adama, but they had them in Hossana!  They're a pain to carve here, the flesh is twice as thick and the knives just are carving caliber. Still, it was fun to do.  I havent carved a pumpkin in years and there's nothing like a holiday tradition surrounded by people who know it to make you forget you're living in a foreign country.  For a few hours, you can pretend you're home.

I think the crowning glory of the weekend was the homemade pumpkin pie.  Ok, the crust came from a mix, but we peel and chopped up the pumpkin ourselves and then made the filling ourselves to cook in a dutch oven.  Many thanks to Jackie for the pie pan.   I can't wait to make it in the States.

Made the hat myself.
The trip to Hossana was four buses and seven hours long, but it was worth it.  Having something planned each month is making this last year speed by.