Laugh Past The Pain. Laugh Until You Can’t Laugh Anymore

I saw this little beauty on the tele a couple of days ago and it peaked my interest. What I love most and what I find most fascinating is the intensity of the dance. I’ve tried dancing like that, moving the shoulders while skipping with their feet, and for the life of me it just doesn’t work. I can try to dance to Ethiopian music but for the most part, I’ll leave it to the professionals.

I was craving American food for days, so this past Saturday I finally decided to make home-made pizza and boy, was it a struggle! I had to make a vegetarian pizza as my family is orthodox so they are on their 16 day fasting period. This means no dairy and no meats. So, for market day, I asked for garlic, onion, tomato sauce, pepper and kale. What happens? No tomato sauce, no pepper and no kale. So here, I am looking at tomatoes, onions and garlic pizza, with no ingredient of tomato sauce. Luckily, there were tomatoes so I had to use a blender to mix the tomatoes and I now have my tomato sauce. “Great,” I thought I could finally get started. Power goes out twice. What do I do? Do I cook pizza in pieces over the charcoal stove or do I wing it and pray the power comes back on. I proceed with the ingredients, with Hane along my side helping me with the dough. The power finally comes back on, so we have two pizzas that now need to be put in the oven. As one is cooking, I am preparing the other, and again I lose power. Hane, Babey and I look to each other and we just laugh. How could something so easy to make back in the States be so frustrating to make in Ethiopia?

While I was making the pizza with my sister, Hane and I discussed her future. My 16-year-old sister, Hane is interested in leaving Ethiopia and studying abroad for university so I have been helping her set up an email account and start looking at the admissions site on several American and European Universities. We also discussed relationships and work/school. She explained that while there are young people in relationships, the majority of mature relationships in Ethiopia start when you’re an adult and only after a degree is earned. I told her that I had my first serious relationship when I was 13 and we were together for three and a half years. She was completely baffled by that and asked if my mother did anything. Hane explained that her parents would not let her date until she had her priorities in check. It’s difficult for me to understand this because for the majority of my life, I was taught and raised to be in an independent and individualistic society. I looked at this pretty girl and knew she had many more to learn in life.

As a “thank you,” Peace Corps took us to Lake Langano which is in Oroma region and it was wonderful. It was an hour and a half drive to lake so that meant waking up early to be at the meeting point by 7 a.m. Being there, took my mind off the fact that I have bed bugs and so I’ve had to clean my room and wash my sheets not once, but twice. Here’s to hoping they’re all gone. Overall, that day was filled with swimming, kayaks, canoeing, drinking and food. Most importantly, it was exactly the relaxation we were all craving.




2 Comments Add yours

  1. Anne Thureson says:

    Andrea: I am following your posts. It is a real treat to share this experience with you.
    Tia Anne from Seattle


  2. Ruth says:

    Mi amor, nice story. I was interested in your comment about the girl having to learn many more things in life. I agree with it, all of us have, but I do not agree about the reason you said they have. I agree with your sister parents, there is not need to rush, there is always time for everything in life and everything must be at its time. What better time than when kids are prepared to move in society, professionally and emotionally, without passing for so many struggles. I think that every phase of our lives has a beauty, and why not enjoy it without having those conflicts a relationship brings.


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