Our trip to Ethiopia is settling in my soul. I knew it would take awhile. As you might imagine, I haven't had just a ton of time to devote to processing our trip, so I've just had to let it quietly roll over me without working very hard at it. And over the past five weeks Ethiopia has found its way into the deepest places of who I am. I'm not finished. In fact, I'm not sure I will ever be finished processing it and I think that's a good thing.
On Monday as I was driving Ava and Eden to school, we were listening to this. K'naan is Somali, not Ethiopian. But the lyrics always make me teary. And on this day they reminded me of the lovely driver, Elias, Erik and I had on a day trip we took to see Yonas' birthplace.
I didn't get teary that morning because I pitied Elias, or even wished for something better for him. I got teary because I missed him. Ethiopia and her people will do that to you.
Soon, I think, I will begin to recount our trip here. I took a journal. I think of myself as a writer, but didn't write down anything about our trip while we were there. Not one thing. I just couldn't do it.
The day we met Yonas, I took off the necklace that I'd been wearing for 10 months in honor of him. It had the Ethiopian flag on one side, his name engraved on the other. I was wearing another necklace, one I meant to leave at home and I took off that one too. And on the day we went to the U.S. Embassy to take legal custody of Yonas, my purse got turned upside down and the other one, the one not bearing Yonas' name, got lost. I really liked that necklace. I was bummed when I couldn't find it.
This morning, as I was driving to a parent-teacher conference I realized something. That necklace, whether it is now around someone else's neck, whether it gets thrown away or lost, it will probably always be in Ethiopia, even after I stop breathing.
On that day, I lost something inconsequential in the scheme of things in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, while Ethiopia lost one of her sons.