Winter Break 2013: East Africa

Day 23: Leaving Djbouti 1/8

I woke up at 9am and showered then closed up all of my bags. I didn’t really feel like having breakfast because I was still full from the night before so, I was waiting for lunch. My uncle’s wife came to say goodbye to me and we talked for hours. She’s so sweet! 

I finally had lunch around noon. Hawa made me soup with meat and veggies. I ate and thanked her for everything. In the afternoon Edel came with parting gifts and said goodbye to me. She is really sweet. I hope she gets to come visit me in the states one day. I need to stay in touch with her. I almost cried when I left my aunt Zahra. I had the best time in Djbouti and I love her dearly. 

When I got to the airport, I got through security much easier than when I arrived. Although they still kind of doubted me, I got through. I’m so over being here! I miss home, and I’m honestly dreading spending the night in Ethiopia.

I got to Addis and my aunts friend got me from the airport. She’s a diplomat so she escorted me out from the baggage claim area. She is really sweet and I don’t think I can thank her enough for letting me stay the night with her. She lived really close to the airport so the drive home was quick. Her house was huuuuge! She bought me dinner and I ate it then went to my room. I had my own floor with a big comfortable bed and my own restroom. Alhamdulilah, I was honestly not expecting much at all (from previous experience) so this was so great! I stayed up a while and watched some tv with her. I couldn’t keep my eyes open anymore so I went to sleep around 11. One more day and I’m home sweet home! I cannot wait!

Day 22: Last Day in Djbouti 1/7

I woke up around 11 super exhausted from the night before. It’s my last day in Djbouti and it’s bittersweet. I got dressed and we went to the restaurant I came to before to have rice and meat. The food was perfect and alhamdulilah I was full by the time I left. Whenever I go there I never eat for the rest of the day! And thats not good today because tonight I’m invited for dinner. 

When I went to my aunts friends house for dinner, he was really happy to have me. Apparently my aunt speaks highly of me to him and he was really eager to meet me. They are Ethiopian, so, we had enjera. Unfortunately, I am so sick of enjera from having it every day when I was in Ethiopia that I was force feeding myself so that I wasn’t considered rude. Not to mention, I was still so full for lunch. Let’s just say this is the last time I’m ever eating enjera ever again.

We came home around 11 and I finished up packing then went to bed.

Day 21: Djbouti 1/6

I woke up around 11 and decided to skip breakfast. So, I had soup for lunch. Tonight Edel, my aunts friend is taking me out to Kempinski. There is so much to do there! They have a piano bar, restaurants, karaoke etc. I’m excited to see what we will get into. She’s so sweet and seems like lots of fun to go out with.

She picked me up and then picked up a friend of hers whose name is also Edel as well. I’m usually really bad with names so this made my life easier lol. When we got there people were karaoke-ing and the music was blasting. We had dinner and watched different people karaoke. Then a big group of people came and they were actually really good at singing. Towards the end they played English music and we danced the night away. I had a great a evening overall.

Day 20: 1/5/14: Djbouti

I tried to wake up early this morning but could not get out of bed. My aunt is making me go to the doctors because of the unusual amount of bites I have on my arms and legs. Since she went to work, I came with Hawa, her helper, who was also getting a check up done as well. She doesn’t speak any English and is not as friendly or as welcoming as Mimi in Ethiopia. I miss her.

When we got to the hospital, my aunt had already phoned the nurse and she knew we were coming. I spoke to her and we waited. I am in awe with the nurse and I watched her as she switches from Somali, to Amharic, to English, then French like its nothing.

They give me a little ointment for my bites and I was out of there. I spent the rest of the day at home and evening at home.

Day 19: 1/4/14

I woke up at 8am but stayed in bed until 11. I skipped breakfast and had a light lunch and was ready to go by noon. The cab didn’t come until 1 and we were off. when he picked us up he didn’t have much gas in his car so, we were looking for a gas station. Our journey began, and we drove passed dirt and sand and lots of rocks. I was really hot but with the windows down it felt really nice. 

The driver turned on the radio and Somali music was playing. I love that! We pulled over to take pictures of camels and the scenery. There we bought some souvenirs. We finally got to Lake Assal, were we saw hot springs. But at these hot springs no one can swim in them because of the amount of salt in the water. The area is known for their salt and because of the springs it was really hot! We took off our shoes and walked on the sand and saw the water. It’s so beautiful! After seeing the sights we came home and had dinner. My aunt went to go meet a friend and I chose to stay behind and rest. We had a long journey.

Day 18: 1/3: Djbouti

I slept so well last night alhamdulilah. I woke up around 9:30 to texts from my friends and family back home. I spoke to my sister who I honestly wish was experiencing everything with me. I miss her loads. After connecting with friends and family, I had some breakfast. Most of my morning was spent googling why mosquito bites itch and how to get them to stop lol (in case you are wondering, ice helps numb the itching and reduce the swelling. AND we get bit by female mosquitos only. The itching is the body’s response to the foreign substance. The more you know).

It’s Friday so in the afternoon I listened to a khutba (lecture) on tv. One of the things I am going to miss about being in a muslim country is hearing the Adhaans outside. And mosques everywhere I go. Especially here in Djbouti.

Later in the early evening we went for a walk around the neighborhood. We came home and watched tv until we fell asleep around 10.

Day 17: 1/2: Djbouti

I slept in today so I skipped breakfast and had enjera for lunch. We lounged around all afternoon and caught one of my favorite movies “This Christmas” on tv. (Judge me!)

In the afternoon we just stayed at home and had a quiet day. In the evening on of my aunts friends came to visit. She stayed for a few minutes and after she left we got ready to go visit a family member. She didn’t live close so we took a cab.

We talked with her for a while then left to visit Edel, my aunts friend who was staying at her moms house. There I had dinner. I got a steak with veggies and a salad, it was good. I watched tv with her in French for a while then came back to the other room where my aunt was sitting with her mom. She planned on taking me out on her day off to some restaurant place that I keep hearing about. We agreed on a day and time then said goodbye. We came home and watched some tv until we fell asleep. 

Day 16: 1/1 Djbouti

I woke up texts from my friends and family in America wishing me a happy new year. We didn’t get out of bed until noon. And breakfast was ready at 1pm. We had salmon and cream cheese sandwiches and fresh fruit juice. 

In the late afternoon we watched some tv, and drank tea. After maghrib we went out to a little restaurant near by that my aunts friend owns. we made plans to go out tomorrow night. My aunts friends daughters were going to she me the town.

We came home and just relaxed while watching tv. After a few hours of talking we called it a night.

Day 15: Djbouti 12/31

It’s new years eve! I tried to sleep in as late as possible because tonight I need to make it passed midnight lol. I got up and skipped breakfast, then got ready to go. It was going to be the first time I left the apartment before sunset. My uncles wife came to visit and brought me gifts for myself and my family. 

A few hours after she left, they came to get me. We headed to the restaurant which was a 5-10 minute drive from my aunts house. From the outside, it looks like a little shack but, when you go in theres an upstairs and the room is much bigger than it looks. As soon as we entered, we went straight to wash our hands. It was crazy hectic! Especially by the kitchen, everyone was yelling their orders and trying to make sure no one took their food. One of them ordered the food while we went to get a table. I was watching him from upstairs, where we were sitting, and t was a yelling match! Whoever can get the attention of the workers first, gets their meal. We each had plates full of rice and a separate huge plate full of meat. It was so good! The meat literally melts in your mouth its so well done. After we ate, they dropped me off at home where I started to get the last minute accessories ready for my  outfit tonight. The girl who helps took it to get it sewed earlier this afternoon and after I got home, I tried it on. It fits perfectly. 

I took a nap and woke up to a phone call from my aunt. She came home and we were deciding what to do tonight. A lot of people changed their minds about going out, but we still wanted to. We decided on a late dinner at a restaurant in a hotel. As I was getting ready, I caught up with some friends from home. Then we were off.

We left around 10:30. Everywhere was full for dinner so we settled on a little Asian place. It became midnight before we even got our food! After we ate, we went to a hotel party. We danced and danced until our feet hurt. We ended the night around 3am. it was perfect. 

Day 14: Djbouti 12/30

I woke up around 11am because I was up with America last night. I swear as soon as I got wifi, my sleep schedule messed up. This year is coming to a close and as quiet as it has been for me the entire year (with me being in school literally the whole year) this trip made it interesting. I’ve seen so many things during this short visit. 

I had a really late lunch since I slept in this morning. I need to learn how my aunt made this soup! The girl who helps isn’t feeling well, and I am still not used to people serving me so, I quietly took care of everything myself. She woke up right as I put away the last of my dishes.

When habaryar came home we went out to eat at this place by the water really close to her apartment. It was a 10 minute walk there. We met up with her brother in law and his friend and they treated us both to dinner. They told me about a different restaurant and insisted I go, so they invited me out for lunch tomorrow. After dinner we came home, I showered and ended my day by 11.