stone soup. yedingay shorba

Below is the ferenj version of the story of the stone soup:

The etyopian version, well it is not so much a story as an aphorism —tagash yedingay shorba yiTeTal. This expression was made famous–at least in our circle–by Sami. The circle in question–or what’s left of it–comes together every several years.  In one such recent occasion, the story of the soup got the chance to be brought up again.

The four of us (two of the chicks, Sami and I) are kicking it with Mona’s mom and dad. Even under normal conditions, when you have brought Sami along, there would be no shortage of topics of conversations. But when Sami decides to bring along his outrageous dreads (Lord forgive that boy!), well then you know it is going to be topic bonanza. This song, Ganja Bonanza, is ringing in my head; but that does not mean Sami smokes weed. He’s just confused; or maybe he has got a lot of useful thoughts and he is trying to reach out to the world with his hair; share with us multidimensional pieces of his mind; or  he may recently have picked up the bible and stumbled uponThe Book of Judges; or maybe he’s just plain confused.

Dad is amazed by Sami’s dexterity with the Amharic language that he asks what his major in college was. Of course, all four of us are thallophyters (that is biologists for the uninitiated.) It’s testimony time from his friends and I jump in. I quote him on, what I believe is, one of his finest  utterances viz. the stone soup and patience. Mom and dad join us in our chorus of plaudits for the saying and the one who said it.  I credit the stone soup with being the one thing that keeps me going when I get frustrated by my haplessness (and helplessness) on matters pertaining to the fairer sex.

Sami goes on to heap insult to injury. He likens my excruciating vigil at the gates of love to that of a cat which waits on end for a mouse to come out of its burrow.

But it is all good. Once we have said farewell to our wonderful hosts, we were out on the streets, laughing it out, referring to potential targets as mice.

Unrelated; or a bit related…

When I came to Bahir Dar, I had told myself and others that it was going to be for three years.  After that, the plan was to pursue (it sounds as if I am chasing a paper and it is running for dear life) further education, or having failed to do that, relocate to a different part of the country. There was also that subliminal mission to be accomplished in those three years –I was to sow my oats. I’ve had it all figured out. From what I had heard, all I needed to bring was a copulatory organ and the girls in Bahir Dar were going to do the rest –initiation, follow through, the whole enchilada. A magazine with “Gonder and Bahir Dar: Bewesib YekeleTu Ketemoch” for a front cover teaser springs to mind. That was to be my life.

I hate it when Gonder is written as Gondar. It gives the impression that Bahir Dar and Gon Dar are twin cities or something.

Now it has been well nigh three years. And since the only oats I have been dealing with thus far is the one that I eat for breakfast, I believe it is high time for change. Kind of bide my destiny at a different location. I should move on before my attachment with Ba Da grows and makes it harder for me to leave.

And the nominees are (drum rolls)

With shared pros of newness and dusty roads and salty water for respective cons, ladies and gentlemen, damas y caballeros, I give you Jimma and Mekelle. Give it up for them.

There is also that lurking wish shared with almost every other member of the Etyopian intelligentsia (if I may dare call myself that) of going abroad and pursuing…

Why am I telling you all this? I am doing it for myself. I am using it as a public reminder for myself that I have got to make a change in my life in many respects; that I must beat my fear of the unknown which has started to creep up on me now that the deadline is looming; something that goes “but you told everybody that you were going to…” when I start to get cold feet (like I know I will).  I need to be prepared for and do what each of my possible alternate situation may require of me. And I am a Gemini and we are supposed to multitask.

This past three days have been disappointing in that I’ve been struggling to get into the rhythm of getting even the smallest of things done. (“The grand scheme of things thrives on the smaller stuff” Somebody. Somewhere.)

So get cracking!


from -100 to -50; lefitesha tebaberun!

I am trying to make up my mind about brands of deodorant – Old Spice and Rexona – and two friends walk into the shop. In an unprecedented act of I don’t know what, I ask them to choose for me (surprised, later I will turn to myself and be like “what?!”). The shopkeeper insists that they should not be given the honors because the particular products were designed for men. I clarify matters by saying that men wear deodorants in order to attract women and egg my judges on to choose the scent that they would find hot on a guy. One of the ladies prevails over her friend and a decision is reached: Old Spice is less strong and hence manlier. By now the shopkeeper has taken my cause and asks what if my girlfriend doesn’t like the product. I know that is my cue. I should say (and I so much want to say) something to the effect of “I am single, well nigh 30 and dying for a fuck or two”. But apparently, my new found intrepidity around women has a half-life of one minute and my tongue (the rascal!) is soon up to its usual shenanigans of looking for a hiding place in my oral cavity, making u turns and shit.  One of them says something to the effect of “Of course she is going to like it”; and that is the end. So much for stepping my pimp game up!

Would somebody please read the following written on my face?!

(Tsotawi) fitesha being the substitute for choms

People, make no mistake about it! There still is a place in the deepest recesses of my mind, dedicated to thoughts other than fitesha. For instance, gloating aside, 38.9% of my students scored As, a 27.5% increase over last year. Yet, I still have got a lot to improve upon. Most of the feedback I got from the kids has to do with how good and exemplary a person I was. Well, exemplary my ass! They obviously have not seen all them porn sites on my search history. What I really need is someone or something to reassure me that I have upgraded my teaching skills by at least 27.5%.

Note to self: Being abstruse in your blog posts may be ok; but lectures and lecture notes are another story. ALL CREDIT TO THE KIDS. This goes out to them:

So, a new batch and the challenge continues. Maybe that is one of the great things about being a teacher – the pressure to come up with new ways of doing things. I hate that I am not perfect but I would not have it any other way.

Check out an Old Spice commercial.


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