I’ve heard African Americans say they’ve come to this incredible continent, Africa, and have a feeling of being at home. I’ve visited several countries all of which I instantly loved and none of which I felt instantly at home.
It has sparked my curiosity of my ethnic background though.
This will not be a sad post, but I want to say this, if you are able to trace your ethnic background to your country/countries of origin that is incredible. To be able to say you’re Greek or Haitian places you in a location and it gives you tradition. It is incredibly painful to be asked where your family is from and only be able to respond with a blank stare, or my most recent coping mechanism of just picking a brown country so I don’t have to say “I don’t know”.
….but when I got to Ethiopia and walked around Addis I kinda had that at home feeling. Not just because people kept coming to me speaking Amharic, well maybe that’s part of it or because it’s a universal thought that Ethiopian women are drop dead gorgeous and I want to be too…well maybe that’s also part of it. I don’t know what it is, we just looked related and I’ve never been to a place where 1/3rd of the country looks like they could be my cousins.
The trip was in celebration of my 29th birthday and I was able to fly in on my actual birthday and might spark a trend of me celebrating my next birthdays on new soils. I went with a couple of my closest friends and fellow volunteers, in physical location and in heart.
It was a trip filled with delicious coffeer, an incredible amount of culture and some luxury. We saw Lucy’s Bones, the Lalibella Rock Churches which I’m pretty sure has made it to one of those wonder of the world lists, climbed the Semein mountain, got amazing and affordable beauty services at Boston Day Spa, visited the Yirhamne Kristos church which is carved out of a cave and is the home of over 500 skeletons of past pilgrims, ate at Ben a Beba restaurant and enjoyed it’s incredible architecture, saw the most amazing shoulder dancing in Bahir Dar and we made friends in every city we went to.
…don’t get me started on the juice. I almost want other countries to call their stuff liquid from fruit or fruit flavored beverage…juice should be reserved for Ethiopia.
I loved it there and I hope life takes me back time and time again.
My family has suffered a lost. Similar to American funeral traditions the family is coming together to support each other and celebrate the life that has passed on and food is very much apart of both the support and the celebration.
Today I bought four beautiful fish for our family dinner.
Water and oil don’t mix so before you fry the fish you have to dry out the water. I have seen this drying process happen in several ways but never hung on the fence.
This picture came out crazy against the ominous sky. I think it may be my favorite photo of my whole service.
That last post made me think about my last few birthdays. Man, they’ve been good. Here’s a few photos.
27: I’m in Miami *@&#%
26: Yes, those are ostrich feathers. Inspired by my friend Virdina of The Sole Pursuit
25: Classic Dynasty
Allow me to prepare you for the forthcoming disappointment because like all epic events the exact details of my birthday celebration cannot be revealed in a public forum. What I can say is if it inspired a TV series the episodes would be titled:
Episode 1: Hugs All Around
Episode 2: Salads, Burgers and Shakes oh my
Episode 3: Replacement Mugs for you to Chug
Episode 4: All Dolled Up (The Return of the Mohawk)
Episode 5: Cesar’s or Signatures?
Episode 6: Go-Go Gadget Legs on the Dance Floor
Episode 7: He did it Twice (Incredible Hulk Effect)
Episode 8: Taxicab Confessions
Episode 9: Drink This Water
…and that was just day 1.
I have this weird luck to always be in a team with the coolest people and my Peace Corps group is no exception. I don’t question this luck but I’m eternally grateful for it. Just when I thought I met my friend quota. These guys made my birthday so much fun and in return I made the weekend…uh…memorable.
I hope this has been poetically vague. Now I’ll let the photos speak.
In America, my guilty pleasure is reality chef competitions. I could spend hours watching the mastery in these televised kitchens, imagining the way the food tastes, taking notes of things I wanted to personally try and always ending each episode wishing I was a member in the audience.
I see I was dreaming and wishing far too small.
Ashley Palmer Watts, executive chef of London’s renown restaurant “Dinner”, was coming to Kenya and not just Kenya but MY AREA. WHY? To learn about organic fish farming in Kenya. And who is the master of fish farming? ME! Well I’m not I just got caught up in the emotional build up but I’m supervised and partnered with the people who are the masters of fish farming in Kenya.
And like that my dream of sitting in an audience was trumped by my reality of visiting fish farmers, learning more about fishing in the Lake and having a full out celebration with Mama Joyce and her family, Ashley and Farm Africa.
Fish Farmer & Lake Victoria Visit
Dance of the Harvest
Tomato, Potato, Ginger and Tilapia Stew
Grilled Fish on a Bed of Banana Leaves
Duncan: Before and After