14 Oct Travel Handmade
I remember the intense feelings of sheer terror, excitement, and worry that I had before I left on this same trip last year. I could see those same emotions in her and wish I could’ve somehow convinced her that everything would be ok. I now know how my family and friends felt when I left. I’m really worried about her going over there but also have a sense of calm knowing she’ll be with a great group of people and in a wonderfully welcoming country.
Ethiopia is surrounded by Kenya, Somalia, and Sudan. Not the most stable of areas. There is so much that we hear on the news of the terrible things that go on in that area of the world: The mall shooting in Kenya, the unrest and separation in Sudan, and the Somali pirates (just to name a few). As a result, it’s hard not to have a one sided view of these places. The Ethiopia I experienced, however, and the one Boo will discover, is one not centered around violence but rather of love, selflessness, and sacrifice. The people that I met were some of the most genuine that I’ve ever had the pleasure of spending time with. They are happy, truly happy, without the “stuff” that tends to crowd and complicate our lives. I can’t wait for Boo to experience this with her own eyes and come back with stories of her own.
I wanted to send her off with some homemade goodness before she took off. I would have liked to pack myself in her suitcase and go along on her journey, but thought these gifts would allow her more space and poundage. Here are some of the gifts I gave her before the tears and hugs came:
+Love Notes: I wrote her a card for every day she’d be gone. I looked at her itinerary and tried to impart some advice as well as things to pay attention to, eat/drink, or avoid. I thought it would make her feel more connected to home, even though she’s thousands of miles away. The Ohio Card is for the last day when she’s heading home (kind of can’t wait for that) I ended each note with: “Love you like…” to try to make her laugh. My favorite was, “I love you like Chunk loves Baby Ruth.” Love that kid in Goonies. +A Minky Blanket: Boo is terrified of spiders, like many of us. Not sure why any creature needs more than 4 legs, but that pondering should be saved for another day. While there isn’t a magic spray to repel them, I made her a soft minky blanket so she can put it over her head while she sleeps to try to keep them away. I tried to tell her that she probably wouldn’t see any (lies) but there are some HUGE spiders in Ethiopia that greeted me each night before bed. Ugh. She could try Harry Potter’s “Arania Exumai” spell but I think she left her wand at home (not TSA approved). Hopefully this blanket will help her pretend they aren’t there. This blanket will replace the scarf that she usually ties around her head/eyes. Flashback to Botswana:
Here is the barrier we built to prevent the spiders from crawling up to our mattress:
We sprayed the entire can of bug repellent in our room that night. It was probably enough to kill both of us from asphyxiation but luckily we survived to see another day.
+A Dress: I also made her a Staple Dress (one of my favorite patterns) for her one night out in Addis Ababa. It will hopefully make her feel more like herself after a week of dirty hiking clothes and shower-less days. +Headbands: I bought this fabric in Botswana and used it to make her some headbands. I figured it’s always a good idea to have something that attempts to make your greasy hair look nice. We went out to dinner with Boo and her boyfriend Javi the night before she left. We showed up in the same shirt (not the first time) and my husband caught us picking our nails (terrible shared habit) at the same time. This pretty much sums up our relationship. I know she will have an unbelievable trip filled with happy tears, a humbling sense of what really matters in this life we live, and a chance to see these beautiful faces: I can’t wait for her to get home because I already miss her but I know this will forever change her in the best of ways. Her heart will be full and heavy when she returns and I look forward to sharing her experience with her.