Ethiopian ties in Ottawa

Megan Olmsted, Reporter

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Most students have lived in one city, one state, or at least one country their entire life. A few, however, have had to adjust to a completely new lifestyle, with a new family, new school, and even a whole new language.

One of these students is Kady White [11]. White was born in Ethiopia and got adopted when she was six years old, then moved to Ottawa. She had to learn English as soon as she moved and struggled with it for a while, as anyone would in the same situation. Despite this, she eventually learned to love English and it is now one of her favorite classes.

Some of White’s earliest memories come from living in her house made of tin in Awassa, Ethiopia. She remembers kids playing soccer outside of their houses, brooms made of straw, and one word, in Amharic, “ቁጭ”, meaning “sit” in English. “I do not try to speak my old language because I do not really see a reason to, considering no one here would be able to understand me,” White said.

One thing she remembers is that on her way to America she was really tired. She fell asleep on the airplane on the way over. Also, on her way over, her dad showed her photos of her mom to get her excited to meet her.

“When I showed up, I was surprised to be one of the youngest there in the family,” White said.

There is so much more to adjust to than many people could even imagine. Even the food from one country to another is different and is something that takes time to get used to. One of her favorite places to eat was Red Robin. They went there when she got to America, and she ate pasta because that was the only food that was similar to what she had eaten in Ethiopia.

Though she has lived here for most of her life and feels at home in America, she said that she would like to visit Ethiopia someday.

“I would love to go visit the cultures and everything there, because I am slowly remembering less and less every day,” White said.

We are used to living with the same culture we were born into and living with that our entire lives. White had to switch to living a whole new lifestyle at a young age. Maybe someday she will go back and visit the lifestyle she spent the first few years of her life living.

Even though Ethiopia is where she was born, White doesn’t have many memories of being anywhere but the United States.

“I feel like I have been here forever, considering I do not remember my culture,” White said.