Sleep made things tough both nights. Somebody explain to me why my kids cannot drag themselves out of bed for school or church on Sunday mornings without me almost starting a war, yet when we go up there they don’t go to sleep until after 10pm yet are all up before 6am. Why? Someone please why? The later Lynn and I might be able to sleep, the earlier they wake up. I promise you they will all be up before dawn on Saturday morning…unless of course we have somewhere to be. Why can’t they use these super kid powers for good instead of evil?
But back to the point of today’s post. Every once in a while I remember that Zenash and Tarikua have only been in this country for a little bit over a month. Every once in a while I look at them and consider just how much has changed for them in such a short time. How overwhelming it must be to them sometimes. I am certain that I would be an absolute wreck. But for the most part they march along and soak in all of the new experiences. In fact they revel in them and seem to trust that we are providing them with fun opportunities to try something new. Much like Savannah and Carson we are always up for an adventure. However, perspective is a funny thing and there are occasional things that are just so foreign to them that they cannot deal. Last night, for example, I showed Zenash a hamburger I had cooked for dinner.
Zenash: “What theees?”
Dad: “It’s a hamburger Zenash. Would you like to try it?”
Zenash with a wrinkled nose and disgusted look on her face: “NO!”
Dad: “In America everyone likes hamburgers. You will probably like it too some day.”
Zenash contemplative: “Eees dog?”
Dad laugh’s “No” repeatedly to the next several questions
Zenash: “Eees cat? Eees Peeg? Horse? Goat? Lamb? Duck? Bird?” and finally… “Cow?”
Dad: “Yes! It is cow! Do you want to try it?”
But I digress. The real illustrative story and the point of this post was the zoo and how different the girls’ perspective is. We explained to Zenash that we were going to see animals. This was unexpectedly troubling to Zenash. “Zoo why Mom?” followed by “Animals why?” and concluding with “Animals no! Me car!” We got out of the car and, “No-o-o-o-o- pleeeeeeease Dad. Animals why??!?!?!” I then explained to her that animals were on the other side of glass and walls from her. I suppose these girls grew up where animals are predators and to be avoided. Zenash surely thought we were out of our minds to actively seek out lions like we had indeed discussed earlier. And as we walked into teh zoo Lynn and I got it. Our solution, let’s start with the farm animal exhibit! We'll sort of ease into the experience. A+ parenting! We should go get a couple more kids!
Unfortunately the concept of animals on the other side of walls is not the type of thing we are able to explain to Tarikua with signs yet. Even more unfortunately, she is apparently very afraid of all animals. Remarkably this includes farm animals. Now, I am not aware of vicious milk cows roaming the streets of Ethiopia stalking and presumably violently eating small African children, but I can only assume by Tarikua’s reaction that (a) this occurs, and (b) that she has witnessed it. Again, if reactions tell the story, my precious Tarikua narrowly escaped a bovine death herself. Perhaps on numerous occasions. Oh, apparently donkeys are also vicious, and (moving right along the zoo path) so are prairie dogs and turtles are not as innocent as they might seem; ruthless killers all.
However, to her credit Zenash calmed down in the farm exhibit and after explaining that her mother’s friend milked cows asked a question about the donkeys. “Donkeys why Dad?” Asked in a manner to say, “Seriously…you brought me here to look at donkeys??? You don’t remember the 40-50 donkeys we saw every day in Addis carrying things?” Oh yeah Zenash? The lion was a little more impressive smarty pants huh? I don't think she breathed and it was obvious she thought the lion might jump the moat. But 10 minutes into the zoo experience Z totally got it and was so pleased with herself. She very badly wanted to see the zebras. “Z for Zebra, Z for Zenash! Dad Zebra in Ethiopia!” Zebras, elephants, gorillas, gibbons, lemurs all very very good!
But I will confess, the terrifying moment of the day definitely came in the unlikeliest of places. The Small Mammal House. Much like I wasn’t aware of the vicious, flesh-eating cows roaming the streets of Ethiopia, I certainly wasn’t aware that a cow is a "small mammal." Thus begging the question of why some zoo designer put a life-sized and very realistic (albeit one dimensional) cow model in the middle of the Small Mammal House. And given the milk cow's appetite for small Ethiopian children was it really necessary to put one just around the corner of a wall where you aren't expecting it? Seriously. Why? And for anyone reading this who may have witnessed this spectacle and wondered what the horrible white man was doing to the little African child to make her scream like she was being attacked by a … well a blood thirsty cow I guess… please know that it wasn’t me. It was the cow. I swear. I am just the genius who decided that the solution upon her initial freak-out was to make her touch the picture to see that it wasn’t real. Guess we won’t be going into a Chick-Fil-A any time soon.
Just updated with a video taste of the adventure.