***Please excuse any typos or poor writing. It’s all I can do to squeeze out the brain power needed to write this.
After a somewhat failed shopping trip yesterday, we ventured out to one of our local free concerts in the park. There was a Beatles cover band and there are always a ton of kids playing soccer, and I hoped the bonus boys would like it. We went, and it was a lovely evening, and apparently our new kids are so good at soccer that they spanked everyone else and no one would play with them 🙂 We only stayed an hour, but it seems like everyone had a nice time, especially with the glow necklaces we bought for the kids. I thought they were bored, but we’d ask if they wanted to leave and they said no, so we stayed about an hour and a half. I was definitely aware of some stares, and people trying to figure out who was who in our home, and that was new for me. We’ve never had a multi-cultural family before, and there’s definitely a layer of something there when it comes to how people look at my family. I could care less, but I did notice it, and it’s an interesting phenomenon, and definitely future blog fodder.
This morning, I took the boys to “their” church, an Ethiopian Eastern Orthodox congretaion they’ve attended a few times since arriving in the States. Fish out of water doesn’t even describe the way I felt, but I think the boys were at home and happy to attend. I asked my stepdad, who travels all over the world for work and has attended church services worldwide, when you stop feeling awkward about being the only white person in the congregation, as well as the only person who has no idea whats going on and is terrified of offending someone. He said it hasn’t happened to him yet. I wish I’d done more research, as all the women (and some men) had lovely white gauze headscarves. I stuck out a bit in my red and white paisley number that I’d grabbed just in case I needed a head covering. As if the red mohawk and tattoos didn’t scream “Crazy American Lady” loud enough. In any event, it was a beautiful and intriguing service, held entirely in Amharic, and I didn’t understand a word. I was able to clap along with the music, so there was something. When everyone knelt with their heads to the floor to pray, I simply went to my knees with a bowed head. When I called yesterday, I was told services began at 6am. I explained the situation, and we were told to come around 8:30. We did, and services ended around 11:00. As soon as I stepped outside, I was invited upstairs for bread and tea by some of the congregation, and it was lovely. Several people spoke to me and asked me about myself, and commented on the boys. One woman asked Dash (the younger one, and not his real name) if he needed clothing. He said no, and she told me the church could help with clothes, as she had seen Dash in the same outfit every week. I explained to her that we tried to take them shopping yesterday, and all they would allow us to purchase was tennis shoes and socks. The simply refused to let us buy anything more. There is a cultural barrier here, as the boys don’t understand that our agency will reimburse us for anything they need, and that it is my job to provide the things they lack. Also, having one or two pair of shorts is common where they are from, and they expect to have to “earn their keep”. We are doing our best to find small jobs around here, as I can tell they want to work, but it’s been a little challenging, especially since Gus (older boy) has a hand wound that he can’t get wet. I sense the boys are a bit bored and restless, but until we get a doctor’s okay on the hand, our group activities are limited. Plus, I sense the boys are just worn out, and need to rest and be still for a few days yet. Tomorrow is a busy day with several errands, and the boys asked for a haircut, so we will fit that in. It will good to have a busy day to break up the restful weekend. We did do a trip to the market, where I encouraged the boys to buy food they will like. They chose about 15 tomatoes, ten red onions, a head of garlic, and a box of Dora the Explorer cereal 🙂 I’m interested to see what they make for themselves, and I got a thumbs up on the Eritrean lentils I made last night, so food is less of an issue than I’d expected.
Slowly but surely, things are coming together. We will probably be nicely situated just as soon as it is time for them to leave.