Friday, May 14, 2010

One week in

Wow, what a week.
I am really pleased with myself to how well I have adapted so far to the culture, the environment and the huge changes that have occurred since arrival. I've done well to deal with the changes in diet (typical injera meal pictured) and with the changes in physical environment (mountains representing the change in altitude pictured). The culture is something that will come, but I've memorized about 15 or 20 amharic words. It's getting better, everyone seems really happy when we try our best to communicate in amharic.

I'm absolutely amazed by the microclimate that is exhibited on campus. In town, it's almost unbearably hot and dry. 25 feels more like 30 and I find the air to be really thin, and making it dificult to breath at times. However, in the beautiful green campus it's about five degrees cooler and so perfect at all times. Even as I write this now, it's 11:30 at night and I am wearing t-shirt and shorts. It's comparable to being close to the ocean on a warm August evening, with the breeze. Just missing the smell of the ocean...

Variety of food is already bothering me, there's not too many different types of food offered on campus so Dave and I plan to start cooking our own food next week. Just down the road you can find all sorts of wonderful tropical fruit, we want to give the custard apple another shot because the one we had wasn't ripe enough. Custard apple is the big green fruit portrayed below.

Work is different, it's unpredictable and a completely different structure than back home. There doesn't seem to be much in the way of timelines, and it doesn't matter how late you are to a meeting. If you make a meeting for 2:00 I will show up for then, and will end up amusing myself with insects until 2:15. That's been frustrating for me, as I am someone who likes to be on time and punctual, but I am becoming more adapted to it.

The people here are what's made it very easy, David and I have spent time with many students and faculty. They are all very kind, and very interesting. We frequently eat with two members of the faculty, who are extremely kind to us. They have also shown us around the city, and helped us with our amharic. Tomorrow, we are meeting with them to help mark some papers.

The biggest problem I have had is adjusting to the altitude. Due to the elevation, the air has less oxygen. And I get sleepy a lot. I sleep usually 11 hours a night. It could just be because of jetlag, but I think that the oxygen levels are taking a toll on me. Guess I'll just "force myself" to have some more chai and buna (tea and coffee)

That's all for now



  1. Paul,

    What's in the wooden boxes in the photo ?


  2. Paul, it appears you are learning so much and that you do not hesitate to be adventureous! Total immersion in the culture is the only way to'll learn so much and get so much respect from the people who call the place "home".
    This may seem like a 'teacher' comment,but I must say,you write beautifully!
    I am loving the pictures too!

  3. Paul
    I am in Nl and I find what you are doing only a dream for a lot of people. It is nice to see you are a student that really enjoys what he is doing however taking it serious enough when need be. I too love the scenic photos. Enjoy your trip I know you will get all you can from the experience. Must be Great!!!!!