Exploring Downtown Addis Ababa


I get super anxious to take the mini buses alone but today I told myself I would go downtown. It was surprisingly painless. A little hot, but easy.

The first bus I walked up to was headed to Stadium so I jumped in. I had actually wanted the Bole-Stadium bus because my original plan was to walk up Bole, but no harm done. I’m still in the area I want to be in.

The difference between taking the bus during rush hour and in the middle of the day is massive. Last year when I was trying to get to the office in the morning I had to fight my way on to the bus. Fighting is not in my nature and so I ended up walking the 40 minutes down dusty Debre Zeit Road every morning.

I like being in Addis for many reasons but i think the second biggest reason (after love) is that being here pushes me outside of my comfort zone.

Canada is that comfort zone. I am Canadian to a tee. I say sorry way too much and try hard not to offend anyone. I appreciate diversity and support progressive politics. I am white and so I blend right in.

Here many of those facts are tested. Boldness is admired and necessary. Political opinion varies highly (think a mashup of ethnic groups trying to create policy for one country). Also being white here means it is impossible to blend in.

I am at a place personally where I need to really push myself. Going to college for four years pushed my life in a direction that I am excited about. It also let me thrive in a place where I honestly didn’t think I would. Now that I am finished school I have felt the static and it scares me. The last few months in Toronto were not happy ones. I had a solid work routine. I was drinking too much. I was googling mental health clinics and feeling seduced by the idea of taking anti-depressants.

Ethiopia is an anti-depressant. It is also a challenge I am happy to accept.


It’s been a good day. I took another mini bus to Friendship City Center. That’s two mini buses in one day!

Friendship was one of the first places K and I visited when we came┬áto Addis for the first time. It is a comfortable place for me. It’s really weird because in Canada I avoid shopping malls like the plague, but here they feel familiar. When it has been a long solo day of taking mini buses and testing out my Amharic, it feels nice to come to a mall. That being said Friendship is casual. I was at Dembel Center earlier and it’s very expensive relative to most things in Ethiopia. For my Toronto fam, Friendship is like Dufferin Mall and Dembel is like Sherway Gardens.

Anyway, Friendshipl has an intense grocery store in the basement so I am excited for that. They also have a lot of home decor type stuff down there too so hopefully I can find something nice for G. I want to find him a spice rack or shelf for his kitchen. I like his apartment but he definitely needs me to help decorate!