It took a week to say goodbye. It took an afternoon to transform eight pages of paper into 40 business card size tokens of love. It took all that nervous energy to sort through a mud house filled with knick knacks, lost macaroni noodles, and hidden roly poly reserves. It took a good pep talk to make it through the folder of love that held every parcel I received to PO Box 40, Adaba.
Overwhelming love. It took dozens of cups of coffee, lunch invitations, and kisses on the cheek to make it to the point where I could tell someone goodbye for good. Even then, nobody believed me. They all told me to stop by on my way out, until there wasn’t a way out again.
It took a village to realize that Ethiopia is more than just dirty and poor, even though it is dirty and poor. Oh horror, oh beauty. What a double sword.
It took two years to find contentment in quiet afternoons. It took two years to use the word amazing to describe things both good and bad. It took two years to let my guard down low enough to dream of home.
It took two months for my cash in lieu of plane ticket check to arrive. It took four hours to fly from Addis Ababa to Cairo. It took one 23 kg suitcase to stuff in the vestiges of hard earned friendships and a hard earned loyalty to a hard to love place.