• english
  • spanish

Adopting an older child has been so far, an unending fountain of discoveries and a pretty interesting journey. We are entering our third week home and everything is getting more and more extraordinary.
First, there is the fact that our new daughter has become a mirror in where to look at ourselves, she reflects so well our hits and misses that it is incredible.
I have discovered which is the word we use most because it’s the first one she learned and continuously repeats no matter the situation: “this”.
Then there are the funny language confusions in this word soup we are immersed in everyday: English+Spanish+Amharic.
One hilarious mix-up: at home we tend to use the word in Spanish “basta!” (enough! in the sense of “stop that!”) to end an unwanted behavior, but that our girl understood as “pasta!” and left her quite puzzled because she thought we wanted to eat spaghetti all the time!
She is constantly comparing Ethiopia with America, which is quite funny. She categorizes everything into one of two groups: Abesha or American. Of course, anything belonging to the Ethiopian category is waaaaaay better.
A funny anecdote to illustrate: Since we arrived home, we had quite a wet and cloudy weather but every time the sun decided to come out and shine for us, she said: “Sun, Abesha!”. She definitely claims the sun as being the creation of Ethiopians!
She can’t believe that we have injera in America… that’s impossible! Something so yummy can only be found in Ethiopia.
Which lead us to another categorization, things that are yucky, and things that are yummy and not only referring to food, but almost to anything. If you like something, it’s yummy, and that includes things so different as chocolate or a dress. If you don’t like something, it’s going to be yucky, whether it’s chicken or dirty clothes. 
Cultural collisions have also happened and it’s hard to navigate the misunderstandings.
Of all the problems we have, the main one seems to be the language barrier, the inability to communicate, to express complex sentences or ideas, for us and for her.
It’s truly frustrating to try to understand each other and we are using a combination of words and signals. We tend to repeat three times an idea; a complete sentence in English, the equivalent in Spanish and then, finally, simple words plus acting out the idea.
We still have almost three months until the start of the new school year so we want to at least try to teach her some English/Spanish words and commands and give her a brief introduction to American culture.
Anyway, I think she will do well since she seems so eager to learn new things and anxiously wants to start school.
It’s going to be a fun summer, that’s for sure…, under the Ethiopian sun, of course!

Abesha Sun