Personally the second year in Addis was so much easier, I decided to sell my car and move to the apartment complex down the street from the school so I could walk. It was the best decision I ever made, it made my life so much happier. The apartment where I moved was newer and I was in a much better mood in the mornings because I was not driving. I could sleep later, eat my breakfast at home and walk across the street to work and if I was sick or had to stay late for a college presentation which happened periodically I could get home with little fuss or dealing with traffic 🤗 🤗 🤗. I was better prepared for the chilly weather with my brand new radiator heater for my bedroom #thelittlethings. I had a new routine for my shopping and access to more stores on this side of the city.
Professionally the second year was better as well because I had done the hard work of organizing the office so the college application process went smoother, there were systems in place to get the juniors started early and the child protection series went smoother because I had learned important lessons from the first year. I had more time and less stress than I did the first year and I was feeling good despite knowing that I planned to leave at the end of the year. The principal on the other hand was
salty surprised when I told him I was leaving and started acting different. I was aware that our relationship became awkward after I corrected disagreed with him one too many times but I chose not to let it become an issue. One of the occupational challenges of being a School Counselor is that sometimes in advocating for a student you have to disagree with administration; it is like walking a tightrope – one that I have encountered many times. Some principals understand and appreciate this but it can create tension. I read somewhere recently that people leave Principals not schools and although this was not the case for me, I could see how this could happen with him.
The WWW trip was better because I had learned some important lessons and instead chose to do sessions about transitioning to college life instead of the college essay. I had a stronger bond with this group of seniors to the point that some of them started calling me Mama Weekes and one of them decided he would be my son (his picture is above) and he and others have stayed connected to me two years later while they are in college.
My Sabit apartment complex neighbors were great, there were more dinner parties, lunches at restaurants and lots more good times. I have to say that having that group of people really made life happier and easier 🤗 🤗. I still went out to hang out but just chose to eat out less so as to avoid food borne illnesses and stomach issues.
I became friends with a parent from Barbados who I met during orientation, it was nice to hang out with her and talk about home and not talk about work as we often do as educators.
I continued my regular lunches with Nadine and Tyelise, bought way too much stuff at the craft fairs and bazaars, supported the students at track meets and
soccer football games, went to school plays, and other social events, and participated in regular community service at a near by community center. It was a busy year. People often ask why I didn’t date in Addis and honestly I don’t know, I was just never presented with the opportunity.
A major highlight was meeting Ishamel Beah (I love to read and meet authors) who came to ICS to talk about his new book thanks to the wonderful HS librarian. I had a surreal experience of feeling like his voice reminded me of my father which was spooky. When I told him he said maybe our ancestors were connected… Hmmm
The year went well but flew by due to the job search which seemed to be taking longer than the first two. Although I enjoyed my job at ICS and the benefits were great, living in Addis was difficult for me. While I had moments of happiness I did not love living there and missed having certain comforts and my health had taken a dive. I started the job search at the end of November hoping to stay on the African continent. The search was disappointing 😏🙄 in that I didn’t see many HS counseling jobs in countries in Africa so I was forced to look elsewhere. After much applying and soul searching I decided to take a job in Bangkok because it was a major city with great healthcare, warm weather, access to public transportation, access to beaches, great food choices, opportunities to travel for cheaper and Lucie had moved to Thailand so I could visit with her again. I knew all these things would make my next experience significantly more comfortable than Addis and I looked forward to it.
Travel around Ethiopia became tenuous the second part of the year due to police clashes with protestors around land rights and other issues so I never got to Shashemene the land that Emperor Haile Selassie gave to the Rastas which was on my list of places to visit within the country.
Personally I had a great travel year 😍🤗🤗🤗
Kenya twice once to Mombasa (#imabeachjunkie) and then to a walking safari in Limuru outside of Nairobi with the Paxtons a family I worked with in Jamaica where I saw zebra, giraffes, buffalo, and hippos
Thailand to visit Lucie and I loved the beach town Koh Samui where she lived 😍🤗
back to South Africa this time to visit Johannesburg, the Apartheid Museum, Soweto and Maboneng, the artist district. I loved the feel, people and the food of JoBurg and knew I would be back again
Accra, Ghana where I ate lots of great food, bought lots of clothing🤗🤗. I traveled to Cape Coast to see the Elmira and Cape Coast slave lodges where slaves were imprisoned and shipped from – this was an emotional but important part of the trip
Seychelles was meant to be a reward the day after graduation but I was too exhausted emotionally and physically to do more than just lay on the beach and eat for 3 days 🤗🤗 but when I left I was rejuvenated and felt so much better. I may need to go back to have the full experience.
Kigali, Rwanda at the end of the year to visit the Genocide memorial centre (an emotionally, exhausting but informative experience) I was impressed with the work the Rwandan people did to document and heal from the genocide that ripped their country apart. Kigali had recently banned plastic bags and I was surprised by the cleanliness and safety of this city. Here I bought more dresses 🤗🤗
I left ICS and Addis confident that it was the best decision personally but unsure professionally of what would happen at my next job. I had made good friends, liked working with my colleagues and enjoyed the relationships with the students and realized some bucket list travel dreams. I wasn’t sure if I would find this same combination elsewhere but it was a risk I needed to take.
I don’t regret the decision to leave ICS even knowing what I know now because Bangkok was the type of city life that I needed at the time.
Next post…Bangkok is a great place to live but this British school is way different