Monday, September 05, 2005

Moving in and moving on

I don’t know what to say. No, I guess that I have so much to say that I don’t know where to start. First of all, I haven’t written in awhile, but please excuse me, school has kept me very busy. Besides homework, sports have started. In the fall we play Varsity volleyball, and there’s a tournament in South Africa in November; however, if you want to go to the tournament you also have to play six-a-side soccer, so we train for both sports during the fall. And MY GOD, not even having had been here for two weeks, I was training at a 7500-foot altitude after coming from more or less sea level; by the time we were doing our cool-down stretches I was so winded, it felt like something was inside of my body twisting my lungs, and the world seemed spotty through my eyes, and kept tilting from side to side. In the end it’s worth it, though: I’ll be in incredible shape, going to JoBerg will be incredible, and when we’re there we’ll be running in circles around the other team.

Secondly, I moved into CMC yesterday (Saturday)! CMC is the name of the development where I’m staying (named after the contractor that built it), and even though it’s on the outskirts of town it’s really very nice. It’s a gated compound, and so is very safe, and oftentimes kids walk around at night, or go to the courts to play basketball and just hang out. It’s really nice because it allows you that beaucolic neighborhood experience. For example, last night when Betty and I got home we were in her room and suddenly there’s a knock at the door and deep voice said, “Special delivery.” Lo and behold it was Elmo, a boy who goes to ICS with me, and a really close friend of Betty and her family. It was really nice because we all just talked in her room for who knows how many hours, Betty even fell asleep, and Elmo finally left a little after one o’clock when Dr. Salam made him go. But it’s weird. I’m past the “I-can’t-believe-it’s-really-happening” stage, but today I unpacked my clothes into a new closet, and tonight I’m sleeping in a different bed. I’ll still see my family, hopefully every other day, but it’s weird. It’s hard to verbalize, and that makes me feel even more immature, but this is a huge step for me. Moving in is moving on, not that I’ll ever fully disconnect from my parents, but it’s scary. Tonight I had dinner with my family, and afterwards when my dad called Abiy, the taxi driver, I had asked to be picked up and dropped back off at CMC as soon as possible, just because I had some things to take care of. But I didn’t know that as soon as possible would be only be fifteen minutes. And so it goes.

As for the rest of yesterday evening, last night was my first night out in Addis. During the day Betty and I had gone with my parents to Mercato, a busy, chaotic market area, to do a little bit of shopping. After that Betty and I met up with a friend of hers from Sandford, the British school, got pizza, and went to a concert of their friends’. I guess that these four boys are aspiring rappers, and they put together an exhibition. While it wasn’t the most enjoyable time ever, it was definitely an experience. It was pretty hilarious to watch some people dance, because even though they could move their bodies, some people had ridiculous dance moves. Also, I find it really funny to see how hip-hop culture has influenced other parts of the world. I’m on the other side of the globe, in a hall filled with Ethiopian teenagers, and I still haven’t escaped America. Everyone is matching like you’d never believe, and boys are wearing Ecko shirts that fall half-way down their legs, or basketball jerseys, baggy jeans, and the Air Forces to complete the outfit. But it doesn’t seem natural for all of them, on many it looks slightly ludicrous, yet they feel that because they’re black, it’s what they’re supposed to do. The best analogy I can come up with – and please excuse me if I offend – is that they remind me of those stereotypical gangster wannabe white boys that you see in the movies. It just doesn’t fit. But I guess I’m not the only one “moving on.”

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