Sunday, September 21, 2014

Colorado trip

I'm late posting this, but back in August we flew out to Colorado to visit our Burji friends in Denver and to camp in the Rockies.

Things I want to remember from our Colorado trip:
  • That moment at baggage claim when I turned to see a man swooping down on my children with his arms outstretched, and them scrambling into his hug as if they'd known each other all their lives.
  • Playing soccer with a bunch of Ethiopians, most of whom are Burji.
  • The freshly killed and cooked goat for D's 7th birthday (he now has a summer birthday, too). I'm a strict vegetarian, but this is what he wanted for his birthday, and this is what he got. 
  • M telling D, "You are Burji. You have a strong heart."
  • NO ONE asking about our kids' names: "A__? You mean _____? D__? You mean _____?" the way most Ethiopians do.
  • Our campsite in Rocky Mountain National Park. The mule deer walking through our campsite. Cooking over a campfire every night. The Milky Way. 
  • The high-altitude lakes. The COLD water in the streams feeding the lakes.
  • Doing several leisurely walks with our kids, and then doing an actual hike with significant elevation gain. Rock climbing at the end of the hike. Note to self: Things go well on a long hike if I bring a chapter book to read aloud from every half mile or so.
  • LOOK, ELK!!!!! WOW!!!! Look, elk! Cool! Look, elk. Meh.
  • The aerial obstacle course that A completed in Estes Park. As my sister would say, "Dweam come twue."
  • D terrified to ride a horse. D overcoming his terror. D telling me, "I am Burji. I have a strong heart."
  • Vedauwoo State Park in Wyoming and the huge boulders that A and I climbed, just the two of us.
  • Our gorgeous shortcut on a dirt "forest" road in southern Wyoming: huge sky, ranches, horses, pronghorns. 
  • My normally very calm husband yelling "EVERYBODY GET OUT OF THE CAR!!!!" because the car was on fire he saw a bald eagle.
  • Trail Ridge Road, the highest paved road in North America. Watching the temperature drop, feeling the wind pick up, and finally, seeing snow fall. 
  • D calming his anxiety by repeating country names over and over and over: MaliMauritaniaMalawiNigerNigeriaIndiaChinaKazakhstan BangladeshBangladeshBangladeshBangladeshBanGLAdesh BanGLAdeshBanGLAdesh... Not a good memory, but I should remember it.
  • Back in Aurora, meeting another Burji man and discovering his mother is Gooda, which means that my kids are considered his "uncles." 
  • The weekend after we returned, D playing Monopoly with his cousin C, smiling with his eyes.


  1. Hello. My wife and I adopted our two-year-old son from Ethiopia about a year and a half ago and we were thinking about attending one of the culture camps this summer. We are secular humanists, though we attend Unitarian-Universalist church, and were wondering which camp would be most appropriate for us. Any help you could provide would be greatly appreciated.

    1. Hi David, we've never attended a culture camp, so I don't know which would be best. I'm guessing that if a camp is run by Ethiopians that religion would be a part of it, but that it would be a pretty low-key part.

    2. Thanks for responding, K. My concern is less about the Ethiopian Church than the religion--and religious motivations--of the adoptive parents we are likely to encounter.