internet marketing The Big Sis Diaries

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Braids and Cannonballs? Where does the time go?

To put it as simply as possible, I have decided to recucitate this blog. It occured to me when taking photos and videos on my family's last trip, to Riviera Maya, Mexico; where else would a video of Sasha, not yet three-and-a-half, flipping into a pool (with no instruction, and certainly no encouragement) be appreciated? This kid is amazing. And I can't even attribute it to the genes of the family.


Sasha has blossomed into a very energetic, albeit bossy and picky, pre-pre-schooler. She has enough personality for the whole family. I keep wishing I had a journal with me to write down the things she says. But leave it to her to get up and dance like crazy to the Top 20 Michael Jackson Videos special on MTV; we'd expect nothing less of her.

In the coming days, I'll certainly post more pictures and videos from the past several months. As unbelievably excited as I am to start at Smith this fall, I regret having to leave her, to say the least. I want to make my current time with her count and keep a close record of our time together, which I hope to continue in college during my visits home.

Happy 4th of July everyone! (And on that note, a special happy birthday to Carsten, my youngest brother; I can't believe he's 10!)

Wednesday, January 28, 2009



Without going into details (so as not to step on anyone's political toes) we're Obama fans in this house. The inauguration, which I got to watch in school, was incredibly momentous, more so than I expected it to be. Watching it, it made me feel happy. There was so much positive energy that it was contagious. In these tough times, it really gave me hope for good things to come. I think the fact that one of Obama's daughters' names is Sasha (or Sasha! for those of you who heard the funny way it was pronounced at the inauguration) is a sign of that.

I wasn't the only one affected by the new presidency. Sasha, as you can tell, learned a bit of politics too. (For the record: Sasha CAN say "president." It won't be long before she realizes the president can- in the basic sense- "make rules"...I wouldn't be surprised if Sasha wants to adopt that role in our family :))

Sunday, January 18, 2009

LONG Overdue Update!

First of all, my ridiculously long blog hiatus (more like abandonment) deserves an explanation. As a senior in high school, I have been extremely busy with college applications and all that goes along with it- and, sparing all the un-interesting details, I can just say that time to sleep was a luxury. But I am thrilled (most of all relieved) to say that that part of my life has finally ended- I'm going to Smith College next year, so I can finally peel my eyes away from Microsoft Word and At Smith, I plan on pursuing a double major in Education and French, and becoming a certified elementary school teacher. My dream is to someday work for an organization like the UN to develop education programs in third world countries, particularly Africa, and definetely spend time living there. I've always wanted to do the Peace Corps in Africa, but I want to travel after that too, living and working in African countries. I want to become fluent in French so that I can work in French-speaking Africa and/or teach French in the States (since the demand for language teachers is always so great.)

Anyway, first semester has also ended, and midterm exams (hopefully) successfully completed. I'm officially a second semester senior with an abundance of free time (hear that, mom?) That's the ideal, anyway. I just can't let myself completely fail out of school :).

In other exciting news, Sasha has officially graduated from the Terrible Twos and, as of this past Friday, is three. Her growth on all levels has been astonishing. She's seriously a little person now, with amazing senses of self and humor. She's extremely independent and is the only one in the family who does things before she's told to do them. You can always count on her to, with nothing better to do, load the dishwasher.

Sasha has also become extremely girly (I swear she doesn't get it from me, although I'm sure I endorse it by impulsively picking up dress-up accessories and stickers when I'm at the store.) The most common word that comes out of her mouth is probably "princess," although she can get pretty bossy when she gets into the role. A few weeks ago Sasha was trying on a new dress-up dress and our conversation went like this:

My Mom: "Sasha, can Mama wear this princess dress?"
Sasha: "No, Mama's too big."
My Mom: "Well can Susanna wear it then?"
Sasha: "No, Susanna's not a princess."

I know I've said this before, but she's honestly one of the most incredible people I've full of life and energy I wish I had every day. I can't even begin to think about what I'll do without her at Smith one day. In an interview I had with them before I was accepted, I talked extensively about Sasha and I think it made my interviewer want to accept Sasha on the spot.

Along those same lines, I also talked about my Sweet Dreams Project, which is still up and runnning. I came across a minor setback recently because several boxes of donations were returned to me by the recipient without warning, so the money I raised through bakesales to send the boxes was wasted. Obviously that won't stop me though! I'm convinced I'll be in contact soon with other people who will be able to bring them to Ethiopia for me, and then I'll hold another drive probably in the next few months. I also definetely plan to bring the project to Smith and getting other students involved in my efforts.

That's been my life in a nutshell over the past few months! I can think of many more stories and events to impart here, but I think this should do it for today :) I'm back in the swing of things, though, so I'll definetely update my blog more regularly now.

Stay tuned!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

June 22nd


We ordered and ate this cake the day we got our travel date, the date that will always hold a golden glow in our minds: June 22nd. On that day, however, we hadn't actually arrived in Ethiopia yet. Instead, we spent one last day in Dubai as a family of five- especially memorable since Carsten and I both got terribly sick. That made for a very interesting first meeting (more on this to come!!)

One Year Later

On this day in 2007, Sasha had no connection to us (although, of course, we felt connected to her!) Just see what difference a year made! I've never seen two siblings more loving of each other.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Flashback 2008

Alright, so I didn't really publish this on June 21st. But for the purposes of following what I'm about to do, I've decided to set the date back to the day my family arrived in Dubai from a 12-hour plane trek, our first stop on our journey to Sasha Eraye.


After arriving, completely jet-lagged, we spent two leisurely days in Dubai, mentally preparing ourselves for the life-changing events to come!


Sasha is, clearly, the spark of energy in our lives!

For the following posts, I'm going to be comparing photos from that day with photos from a year later, to show how radically our lives have changed! I'll then give a much-needed update on what I have been doing with my life recently. Enjoy :)

Friday, June 20, 2008

Do you remember...

what happened on this day last year ?

That day will forever stand out in my was like no other I had, or have, experienced. What are you supposed to think on the day you embark on the journey to bring home your sister from Africa? I had nothing to compare my pending experience with. It wasn't like traveling to Kenya, nor was it like either of the births of my brothers. In no way was it like a combination of the two.

We woke up early that morning, following scattered hours of restless, excited sleep. We proceded to spend the remainder of the day on our 12-hour Emirates flight to Dubai, throughout which time I could not decide which way to direct my thoughts. I was unbelievably excited, probably more excited than I'd been in my entire life. To quote my post from June 19th, 2007- 17.5 hours before we were set to jet off from the home which was now to house six people- "The day I've been waiting for for two years is finally right around the corner- it seemed like it would never happen!! It's amazing to think about how my dreams are about to come true..."

The magnitude of what was about to happen, though, was overwhelming. I can relate it to how I similarly felt when I was seven; I had been begging for an American Girl doll ceaselessly, and my biggest wish was to get one for Christmas (which happened to be several months away.) One day- probably to shut me up- my mom conceded: "Okay, you can have one." I couldn't believe how easy it was; I had completely assumed I'd have to fight my way through her arguments against it. I almost didn't want it anymore. I had been yearning for it for so long, and I was alarmed at how soon my wish was to be granted. Of course, I had waited for Sasha for years. Yet in that time, I had so many visions- conscious and subconscious- of how our meeting and lives would be that, when it came finally time, I became nervous. What if she resists us completely? What if she never will feel a part of our family?

And now, here I sit, a year later. It blows my mind how fast the time has gone. Sasha grew from

a baby who knew nothing about us or what was happening to her to a bold, self-confident toddler who is hyper-vigilant and always- amazingly- in the know. Of course, as we watch her take the initiative to feed the cat or load the dishwasher, we can't help but remember the 17-month-old who followed the nannies at the care center on shaky steps, helping arrange cups and plates and plastic chairs. What I guess I never realized in my fantasies was how much of a person she was. In my dreams, she was my sister, relying on me and needing constant attention. But the attention she demands is not out of need but out of pride. And so, in my first annual reflection on when Sasha entered our lives with a bang, I understand not that she shaped our lives, but I realize the numerous ways she does.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

I'm Dreaming of A...Baby? (No, Not an Adoption Announcement; Don't Get Any Ideas ;))

First of all, I'd like to attribute my severe lapse in blogging to an insane load of work. Although I survived SATs and AP testing, I have finals next week and I'm taking the ACT the day after school's out. Yikes.

I can't help but remind myself, though, the excitement that was practically visible on me a year ago. As you recall, at this time last year, we were in the mere weeks before travelling to pick up Sasha. It was, simultaneously, a weird time, since I had no idea what to expect of the whole situation. Living sisterless for the first fifteen years of my life, I couldn't imagine living- every day- with a toddler girl.

Sasha is, of course, the absolute light of our lives. I'm embarassed by my lack of funny Sasha Stories here, but it's like I can't even begin to describe her. Her happiness is so tangible and so contagious. And she has the biggest heart I've ever seen.

A few weeks ago, our kitty Coco ran away (we actually haven't seen her since, which is pretty disheartening.) About a week after we last saw her, I started researching coyote and hawk relationships with cats, and I just burst into tears. Sasha came up to me with a look of genuine concern and empathy and said to my mom, "Susanna sad." She then, without any prompting, gave me a really long hug. We told her "Coco went bye-bye" by way of explanation- which she understood- but it almost didn't matter; she was completely shaken up by the idea that I was upset, because she's very rarely seen me crying. Recently, she saw a picture of Coco and immediately announced, "Susanna sad" and frowned. Her complete concern for others is so touching.

On a much happier note, the number of referrals our agency has given out lately is astounding! I feel so happy for all the lucky families, and my mom and I are feeling a little jealous. We asked Sasha, though, if she wanted a referral, too, and she sighed, "Noooo." (She doesn't know what a referral is, of course, but we had to laugh.) Having said that, though, I'm not sure how Sasha would take having another child in the house; she's extremely nurturing towards her dolls, and is obsessed with other babies, but she gets jealous if Carsten sits on my mom's lap for only a second. It would definetely take some getting used to.

Although it doesn't seem like Sasha will have to deal with that in the very near future, a family in a neighboring town were just matched with sisters who are 3 and 4. Sasha already has regular playdates with T, who just turned 3, so we think these new additions will be perfect. I'm glad that Sasha will be expanding her network of little Ethiopian friends.

The crazy end-of-the-year happenings, and an eventful year in general, calls for a vacation. Three weeks from today, we'll be heading to Florida to visit Key West, Key Largo and Miami. When we asked Sasha if she wanted to go to Florida, she characteristically sighed "Noooo," (which is her automatic response to anything she doesn't know anything about), but when we showed her a picture of a waterslide at one of the hotels, she pointed to it and exclaimed "Sasha!" I'm already looking forward to it; I'll be glad to spend more time with my family, since schoolwork, work, extracurricular and social commitments have been pulling me away lately. And of course, by the looks of it, Sasha will really enjoy herself too :-)

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