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Hello from Nashville, TN.

Ok, so it’s been a little while. And I apologize for that…but things have been a little crazy. Considering I’ve only been out of school for 3 months, life’s been pretty chaotic.

  1. —Graduation
  2. —Spontaneous 3 day trip to test-drive Nashville
  3. —Texas vacation
  4. —Ethiopia for 5 weeks
  5. —Home for 2 weeks
  6. —Official move to Nashville, TN

It’s been a transitional summer to say the least. Stability is what Jeremy and I crave more than anything! Moving doesn’t really make things “stable,” but at least we’ll be in the same for longer than a month from now on!

Well, enough whining. I’ve been soooo eager to share these next photos with you! Today, I’m sharing photos from various meals we had, the coffee ceremony and different details of the Ethiopian culture we experienced.

Here are a few tidbits about Ethiopia we experienced:

  • As founders of coffee, the cups of joe were pretty phenomenal. And as Jeremy likes to say, “it’ll put hair on your chest.” —There’s no such thing as a “light” roast. Every morning the ladies of the house freshly roast, grind and brew the coffee. Many people have coffee plans in their backyard–talk about organic! And the favorite coffee pairing is….popcorn! Who woulda thought it was such an amazing pairing!?
  • Ethiopians eat with their hands. So, in order to do that more easily, there biggest staple is “injera.” It’s a flat, spongey, sour pancake in which the food is placed on and eaten with. It’s created from teff, a type of flour, and fermented. Unfortunately, my body didn’t like injera so I had to opt for bread when we ate traditional meals.
  • When not eating traditional food, our lovely cooks made dishes with an American spin. Their marinara sauce was AMAZING (considering there is a high Italian influence with Ethiopia being formerly occupied by Italians). Pasta, potatoes, rich and everything that has carbs were staples for us. One night we even had potatoes with marinara sauce–quite the combo!
  • Macchiatos were TO-DIE-FOR. Great coffee with steamed milk=delicious! Seriously can’t explain how amazing they were.
  • Bananas and mangos were our staple fruits, since we could only eat fruits with a peel.
  • Scaffolding for homes/buildings were pure wood. These people were brave!
  • Women do SO much work in Ethiopia. You can see the women cooking, weeding, helping carry stones and water, etc. These women are strong and incredible.
  • Talk about free-range chicken. I saw the chicken we ate right before it was slaughtered. Ethiopians never have to question where there food came from, it’s all natural!
  • The market was quite the scene. Animals walking, feeding and using the bathroom in the same area fresh veggies were sold. But, all produce was fresh from the ground. And you may think NYC is busy, but try the market in Addis or Mettu….so many people offering so many goods! Everything from chiles to scarves to bananas to you name it. Such a great experience!

Enough of me talking—here’s the video/slideshow! Remember to refresh your page if it doesn’t show up automatically:

Our cool hats we never got around to using much since it was more rainy than sunny!

One of the buildings at Jimma University.

Macchiatos!!!!!

“Sprite” in Amaric:

A view at the market:

Precious — Hawi and Jeremy:

Our translator Dawit (We called him David) being silly!

Our Chacos we only got to use on the compound since it was too muddy everywhere else!

Charcoal for roasting coffee–these girls moved the coals with their bare hands!

At the market:

The beautiful church we attended:

Coffee Plant: Red beans = ripe!

Fresh bananas:

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  1. Robin said:
    AMAZING, AWESOME! LOVE YOUR WORK AND THE MUSIC.
    September 6, 2011  3:02 pm
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  2. me said:
    I agree it is amazing!
    September 6, 2011  7:57 pm
    Reply

So I’m officially talking to you from my new home in Music City—Nashville,TN!

It’s completely surreal to finally be here and actively searching for work/jobs/careers. I’m not sure what the answer is to that. It may be a part-time job until I get on my feet with something full-time, it might be a full-time job right out the gate or something in between. I’m just trying to be patient, focused and trusting that God will guide me. I just hoping I’m listening carefully.

http://cache2.artprintimages.com/p/LRG/32/3212/U4P1F00Z/art-print/debbie-dewitt-typography-question-mark.jpg

So…you may ask, why Nashville?

Well, I knew that after graduation I had to do something. Unfortunately, I knew that even if I did the whole stay-at-home-to-save-money thing, I knew I had a desire to move here anyway, or at least out of the state. If you remember, I interned in Nashville last summer with Mocha Club (be sure to check them out if you haven’t yet!). Not only did I love my time with them, but I adored my time in Nashville. It’s all the city you could want with the southern pace that you love. There are always things to do between concerts, galleries and other types of random events. It’s a pretty eclectic and exciting place to be I must say. So, when Jeremy started job searching in Nashville and landed a position as a senior designer with a new and upcoming non-profit called Watermelon Ministries (more posts on this later!), I figured it would be best for us to just move together and figure it all out.

So that’s what we did and that’s what we’re doing. Sure, this is all scary since I’m unemployed in a new city, but as I keep saying, “It’ll all work out,” it will….because it always does. But, your prayers couldn’t be more appreciated!

Well, that’s my update for now. No worries, I DEFINITELY haven’t forgotten about the Ethiopia photos, but moving 11 hrs away kinda threw me off. I’ll be back on track by the end of the week. So please keep checking back, I promise I have some really great moments to share with all of you!

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  1. Jake said:
    I'm sure you'll find something employment-wise soon! Major props for having the guts to move out and go where things felt "right" - instead of taking the safe route and moving back home long-term.

    Can't wait to see where things take you - best of luck on the job search :-)
    September 1, 2011  8:42 am
    Reply
  2. Randy said:
    Wow , love the picture of the city!Looking forward to more. Moving takes courage... I,m going to be somewhat in the same boat , but we have to trust in our Lord , he will guide and keep us !!! Best of luck Amy ...and remember ..we're coming to visit!!!
    September 1, 2011  3:43 pm
    Reply

Well, now that you’ve seen some of the landscapes from Ethiopia(check it out here if you missed it), I wanted to share exactly what we were doing in Ethiopia.

Many of you know we were teaching English in Ethiopia for high school students. As for living arrangements, we stayed at a church compound that was part of the Illubabor Bethel Synod in Ethiopia. Synods, presbyteries, etc are all part of the Presbyterian Church government and structure, but you can read more about the Synod here– I’ll be sure to show you some more pictures of our living arrangements later!

Each day we had about a 1.5-2 mile walk to school. As you can see in the video, the road we “walked” was more like a hike with all of the rocks and the mud. And when it rained….we had mud cakes on our shoes I’d never seen mud like it in my life!

Throughout our time, I had the privilege of working with 11+12 graders. It was kind of funny teaching that age group with my brother being a senior in high school, but I loved every moment! Since their normal class structure is full of lecturing, I mixed it up with some group activities like creating their own coffee shops, writing plays and debates. Grammar and pronunciation seemed to be the main issue but I loved hearing all about their daily lives, their culture, their aspirations and their outlooks on life. So many stories and so little time!

So, I’ve created a little video for you to see our walk to school step-by-step. The kids we saw, the animals, the land and the length. I thought it would be a fun way for you all to experience it for yourselves!

But…before I forget…we did have a fun little surprise our first week of school—a baboon snuck into our classrooms! We have a hunch it was someone’s pet and a big joke on us, but either way, I’m pretty sure that’s a once-in-a-lifetime story!

(Remember…if it you don’t see the video above, refresh your page to see it!)

We saw this lovely girl each and every day. She always made it a point to walk with us and hold our hands as far as she could so I LOVED that she broke into a pose when I pulled out the camera!

Nothing like corn-on-the-cob for an afternoon snack!

I seriously LOVE this. How can you not just jump for joy?

Walking to our rooms on the compound…

Some of my students working on a group project

Presentation time!

The school compound — Mettu High School

The entrance to the high school

Flowers were a frequent gift from my students!

My classroom

Look at my students’ artwork for my farewell!

They loved taking photos of all of us, especially on their “mobiles.”

A farewell gift from my student, Kenzi. A jebana used to serve coffee.

All of our students lined up for the closing ceremony.

Tariku, the Illubabor Bethel Synod President, was our host at the compound and he gave a mini speech at the closing ceremony.

Giving away our dictionaries to our students with great attendance and participation!

We donated dictionaries to two high schools in Mettu and the public library–English for everyone!

This is Abanaga. And he loved to give me a hard time and make the class laugh. So, of course this was his natural reaction to the camera.

Megersa was one of my very top students, simply brilliant!

The gift of education…these students are so determined, so driven, so intelligent and so eager.

COMMENT

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  1. me said:
    I find this just so amazing. Touching lives like this. I am in awe.
    August 26, 2011  12:56 pm
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  2. Randy said:
    Absolutely inspirational!!
    August 26, 2011  7:16 pm
    Reply
  3. Renee said:
    Amy-
    This is great! I'm going to refer people to your page to check it out.
    August 27, 2011  10:34 am
    Reply
  4. Lynn said:
    They are so happy with so little. Glad you got to experience this, great pictures.
    September 1, 2011  5:58 am
    Reply
  5. Millie Hiner said:
    I truly loved your photos and videos! I am a member of the Partnership Committee of Shenandoah Presbytery but was not able to attend the meeting last week to hear the report on the Ethiopia trip. I have not yet been to Ethiopia but hope to some time.
    Thanks for making the trip and working with the students. I know this is so important to their future and I appreciate all who made the trip and who gave of their time and talent there. God bless you for going and also for sharing your experience with us.
    September 3, 2011  3:45 pm
    Reply
  6. Doug Sensabaugh said:
    Thanks so much for sharing these wonderful images of your time in Ethiopia with us. Although I have been there 5 times, and even have seen many of the places you have seen, it is amazing to see them again and through your eyes. Thank you so much for carving out the time to go give of yourself for this very important program. It can make such a difference to the students and to their futures. Blessings and peace be with you.
    October 26, 2011  3:28 pm
    Reply

Happy Monday!

So first, I want to apologize to all of you who have been waiting for photos! Normally I try to get through photos lightning fast but between my body getting back on track, jet lag, catching up on life, and the sheer number of photos I took, it took a little longer than I thought!

At first I was going to create one nice slideshow so that you could click on one post and see it all. But, when I started to find that the slideshow would be over 20 minutes long, I decided to save you all and break it into different segments.

1. The Beauty of the Earth
2. Walking Our Way
3. A Taste of Abyssinia
4. Brothers + Sisters
5. Living fashionABLE

So there’s the plan. I’ll be spreading out the slideshow/videos over the next couple of days + weeks. Along with each video, I’ll post some of my favorite photos from the slideshow on the blog post just in case the video doesn’t show great quality on your computer. Of course, I’ll be adding little facts of life with each post so you can learn a little more about our experience along with sights. I hope you enjoy all of the photos and I can’t wait to hear your feedback. It was an experience of a lifetime and it was an experience even my photos and words will never do justice. God taught us so much and is continuing to teach us so much. I’m sure I’ll be posting new realizations over the course of the next couple of months because even after a week of being back in the states, I’m still in awe of what we encountered.

God. Is. SO. Good!

____________________

Today, I bring sites from the beautiful land of Ethiopia. Though we picture Africa as a dry and hot continent, Ethiopia quickly threw those ideas out the window. The vegetation was wild and the views were greener than I’ve seen. It even reminded us of the Shenandoah Valley, just a different shape of mountains and different trees + wildlife. Oh, and don’t let me forget to mention that it was rainy season, which equals thick mud that coated your boots after a night of rain and the weather remained between 60 and 75 degrees most days.

The acacia trees are breathtaking. The monkeys + baboons are frequent. Ox, goats and sheep raid the road. The beauty is extravagant.

( P.S. — If the video doesn’t show right above this text, refresh your page! )

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  1. Laura said:
    Awesome! Can't wait to see more!
    August 22, 2011  9:52 am
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  2. Wanda Starke said:
    It looks really lush. Maybe because it is the rainy season. I will continue to follow this site. Very interesting and you are remarkable.
    August 22, 2011  1:08 pm
    Reply
  3. me said:
    Just Beautiful
    August 22, 2011  6:48 pm
    Reply
  4. Jeremy said:
    I know I am the most biased opinion on the planet, but your work blow me away!
    August 22, 2011  8:32 pm
    Reply
  5. Robin said:
    AMEN
    August 22, 2011  8:39 pm
    Reply
  6. Terri said:
    Amazing, can't wait to see more.
    August 22, 2011  9:21 pm
    Reply
  7. Annette said:
    Amy. This is amazing. So proud of you and what you do. love your site. Cannot wait to see more pictures
    August 23, 2011  12:59 pm
    Reply
  8. Don said:
    Beautiful! I can't wait to see more.
    August 23, 2011  3:28 pm
    Reply
  9. Lynn said:
    Takes my breath away. Thanks for sharing.
    August 24, 2011  8:45 pm
    Reply
  10. Grandma said:
    Amy your pictures are all so beautiful. Everyone tells you something, their smiles and their eyes. They tell you a story about love and Friendship. We are so proud of all that you do.May Our God always bless you and keep you safe. You are so special!
    August 24, 2011  10:47 pm
    Reply
  11. Randy said:
    very nice......
    August 25, 2011  12:36 pm
    Reply
  12. Pingback : | Ethiopia | Walking Our Way + Summer School · Amy Nicole Photography

  13. Kris said:
    Amy,
    Thanks for sharing these remarkable images.
    September 4, 2011  9:52 am
    Reply

So, how was it!?

It’s the question I’ve heard over the last couple of days and it’s the one question I don’t really have an answer to.

How do I explain the things I saw and the things we experienced in even one conversation? Between the culture, the people, the beauty, the poverty, the teaching, the learning, the loving….the only way I can sum it up is how I speak best–through photos.

No worries, I’ll be posting plenty of stories over the next couple of days, but I will also be posting tons of photos. The details are in my photos, because no matter how hard I try, I’m pretty sure my words will not do any justice.

So, I have a sneak peek for you today! Keep in mind, I’m still processing it all and figuring out the best way to present my trip with you all. Below, I’ve posted random pictures from traveling, visiting, etc. Some photos are from the beginning, some from the end, but it’s just a sneak peek!

Please keep checking back this week!!

This boy was a trip. He posed for a photo then popped his little hand out for money. Had we been standing still I would have, I mean, he was a great model–so adorable!

We saw these little spider monkeys everywhere, I’d trade squirrels for these any day!

Checkers anyone?

Did I mention coffee was always fresh roasted?

I may miss Ethiopia, but I certainly don’t miss this mud!

COMMENT

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  1. Robin said:
    Thanks for posting. These pictures are awesome. Cannot wait to see more.
    August 15, 2011  2:29 pm
    Reply
  2. Lynn said:
    Love the pictures:)
    August 16, 2011  5:25 am
    Reply
  3. Lynn said:
    Spider monkeys!!!! Love the pictures.
    August 16, 2011  5:27 am
    Reply
  4. Tim Gresham said:
    Amy, so glad you went. So glad you're back. Your pictures are, as always, very moving. God bless you.
    Tim
    August 18, 2011  10:27 am
    Reply

Josh GarrelsMom and I just sat on the back deck with pecan pancakes, eggs and berries. Definitely the way I love starting off my last full day at home. Beautiful weather + favorite food = can’t complain!

It’s finally here.

It seemed so far in the distance and just a trip I dreamed of going. But we’re actually going. After all the anticipation and preparation, our flight takes off at 7 p.m. tomorrow.

We’ll have a pit stop in Frankfurt, Germany before finally heading to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. After a couple days in the capital, we will head to Jima, Ethiopia where our sister church is located. We’ll experience our first church service in Ethiopia there then finish our minibus trip on an unpaved road to Mettu, our final destination.

Just in case you may be wondering, I’ve listed some fun info about our trip for you below:

  • Trip dates: July 7 – Aug 10
  • Group: Renee McCulloch, Teresa Davis, Jeremy Cherry, Me!
  • Dulles >> Frankfurt >> Addis >> Jima >> Mettu
  • We’ll be teaching English to high-schoolers to help them succeed in passing the national exam so they may continue to university-level education
  • Class will be held 9 am – 12 pm each day , some community activities/hanging out with our students after!
  • Weather: it won’t get over 80 degrees!
  • I will be taking my camera, of course!  — Check back in August for tons of photos!
  • We’ll be staying on a compound in Mettu
  • No cell phones, no laptops, no Facebook/Twitter, limited email and landline access = So looking forward to being detached!

Things You can be Praying for:

  • Protection for our group –protection as we travel by plane and car, etc and for safety against illness
  • Open hearts and minds
  • Strength and ability to be true disciples and great teachers for the high-schoolers
  • Communication in every aspect, especially since it’ll be a different language
  • For no distractions and full-on loving like Jesus would
  • Smart and eager minds
  • For God to use us in big ways and to work in big ways
  • For lives to be changed —ours and those in Ethiopia!

So, since I won’t be blogging for the next 5 weeks or so…I wanted to leave you with some of my favorite things so you can be looking, sharing, thinking, etc!

Favorite Graphic Designer: My very own Jeremy Cherry >> Check out his new portfolio site!

Favorite Photographer:  Jeremy Cowart — He’s passionate + creative, he serves others and he’s worked hard to get where he’s at.

Favorite Band Right Now: Freelance Whales

Favorite Songs Right Now:

Further Along – Josh Garrels

I Just Realized – Matt Wertz

Take the World but Give Me Jesus – Ascend the Hill

Favorite Non-Profit (s) : Mocha Club / fashionABLE

You know this by now…I interned here last summer and loved every minute. You give up 2 mochas a month, or $7, to aid sustainable development projects in Africa. And then there’s fashionABLE. FashionABLE is a venture of Mocha Club‘s that sells handmade scarves by women in Ethiopia so they may have sustainable jobs…sooo awesome! Check out these awesome projects by clicking on the links above and go get yourself a fashionABLE scarf!

Favorites Sites // Where I Waste My Time

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  1. Randy said:
    Good luck and Godspeed to you both, may you enrich and touch many lives while you are over there . Be safe and may God bless and keep you!
    July 7, 2011  5:12 am
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