Ethiopia: Learning To Set New Patterns.

“No,” I said to Scott, “It’s noon. Midnight is at 6am.” 

The group was at dinner, 6pm in our regular time. But “zero hour” in Ethiopian time. But Scott and I were disagreeing on how to refer to the hour.

In my mind, it was noon. Twelve hours earlier was the start of the day, at 6am. So that would make 6pm halfway through the day, and therefore noon.

Scott explained that I was wrong, and that 6pm was the start of the night hours, and more like midnight.

“What?” I said. “That can’t be right. You’re wrong.” 

I wasn’t the only one who was confused by his logic. But we dropped the gentle argument and agreed that the following morning, the group would have breakfast a 1 daylight hours, and we would leave for our excursion at 2 daylight hours.

The next day, after breakfast, Malcolm explained to the group what we would be seeing for the day. And he took some time to segue into a discussion about time.

“I’ve observed that the way time is referred to here is confusing for some of you.”

“Heck yeah it is,” I said.

I could fully admit I was one of the most vocal on that within the group.

“Let’s use Ethiopian time as a way to break old patterns,” said Malcolm.

He explained that rather than dropping our old sense of time and fully immersing into the Ethiopian time, we were struggling by trying to adapt our old understanding of time to Ethiopian time.

We were trying to adapt something that wasn’t going to work, rather than just flowing with the new way of interpreting time.

“We tend to not truly start new patterns,” Malcom said. It’s human nature. “Instead, we modify old ones. And we carry the baggage of the old patterns into the new one.”

Now that is a concept I understood. I felt that pretty much anyone could understand.

“It helps to be integrated into the new structure,” said Scott. “It becomes a new pattern of thought.”

It was like with trying to change any old habits and behaviors and ways of thinking.

“I do it too,” said Scott. “I try to rewrite old patterns. And it’s confusing.” 

So we all agreed. Adjusting to Ethiopian time would be an experiment in recalibrating our brains on an old pattern. One that wasn’t gonna serve us completely while in Ethiopia.

An experiment that would maybe serve us beyond the trip’s two weeks… In helping effect change in our ways of evolving our personal behaviors.