12 February 2008

i am the stuff of happy endings.

It's funny the random little things you're reminded of when you're
this far from everything you know. Sure, I miss ice cream and
twenty-four hour news access, but I'm more nostalgic for quirky
mannerisms, couches in familiar living rooms, and solving the world's
problems over cheap whiskey until ungodly hours of the morning. I
miss you all. Write a girl a letter sometime.

Although my boss has made a cursory effort to bring me to work,
Candace and I took matters into our own hands and cold-called
(visited?) the other NGOs in town, resulting in a series of gigs
teaching health education to caregivers of orphans and vulnerable
children for Child Aid Ethiopia, an indigenous NGO. They're excited
about having us, although they seemed a bit disappointed about having
to translate for us. If nothing else, I want to learn Amharic so I
can astound people by no longer requiring a translator. The schools
are on break this week (for reasons beyond me), but VSO will set us up
with a tutor next week. It's about time, and the delay is entirely
our fault, but at least we're taking responsibility, right? Okay,
we're failures. What we lacked in initiative we'll make up for in
dedication.

Thanks to middle school years playing pool after school for hours, I
was able to teach some Ethiopian men a valuable lesson about gender
equality. We spent Saturday evening at a pool hall with Michael and
Eric, and the sight of me in the building was probably shocking
enough, but imagine their surprise when it turned out I could, in
fact, nail a bank shot.

I've been on a reading kick of late, and everyone should read
Confessions of an Economic Hitman (John Perkens) and Infidel (Ayaan
Hirsi Ali). Seriously. Two of the most thought-provoking books I've
ever read. I see a frightening amount of myself in Perkins and hope
that's not the road I end up taking. If you only read one of them,
however, read Infidel. The entire last third of the book is
breathtakingly honest - agree or not, the woman has some incredible
courage to put her name on some of those ideas.

We've also branched into Ethiopia's blossoming bootleg film industry -
go watch Charlie Wilson's War. Philip Seamour Hoffman is a riot, and
there's a not-so-subtly educational twist at the end.

My guitar is on its way home from Addis. I'm sure my neighbors are as
excited as I am about my impending attempts to learn to play it.
Anyone (little bro...hint hint) wants to send some tabs (no actual
sheet music, I'm not even aspiring to that level) my way, I'll learn a
song for you.

On the topic of music - after several rounds of music-swapping among
the volunteers, I've been inspired to broaden my music horizons. If
you've felt the urge to write to me but packages are outside your
budget, I'd be eternally grateful for some CDs of new music. I'd
especially like the following artists, but I'm open to anything.
Please, please, please include a list with titles and artists so I can
satisfy my anal-retentive urge to keep iTunes organized! Much love!

Aimee Mann (except Lost in Space album)
Ben Lee (except Awake is the New Sleep album)
Hotel Lights
Kings of Leon
Mirah
Peter, Bjorn, and John
Regina Spektor
Rufus Wainwright
Ruth
Sun Kil Moon

Happy birthday, favorite cousin! Behave yourself in India!

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