Where to start, where to start….
I have a bunch of stuff for out here, but I want to take it one event at a time. I guess I’ll go with the more recent for the first post.
We have now been married for officially 7 years!!! Monday was our anniversary but we celebrated on Saturday, as we could get an overnight sitter then.
So I spent the morning and switched my bike setup over to the 2 person configuration, it makes a very uncomfortable ride for me, as my seat SUCKS in this set up, but no one in their right mind will ride on my gunslinger seat that I use every day. I also put on the windshield and saddle bags for our ride, and it would turn out I would be very glad I did.
The day was HOT, somewhere in the 90’s, and you could see clouds here and there, and this is North Carolina, so you know it was raining somewhere, but it was hot and dry where we were, so we decided to head out on the bike. Now I was in the mood for Ethiopian food, and Heather was game so we decided to head down to Raleigh to try out the Abyssinia. We have eaten at The Queen of Sheba before and we love it there, but we wanted a shorter ride, and wanted to know if we liked the other restaurant as well.
We have a better camera this year than my camera phone from last year, and I wanted to grab a few photos before we left to document our trip. Now Heather was in one of her moods and wouldn’t let me take a nice photo of her, so I am using one of the photos I was able to take, I hope she likes it. She kept playing with her grape ICEE and wouldn’t cooperate, but that is a true representation of what I have to deal with on an everyday basis. Plus I think she is cute when she is being ornery.
So we opted for the slower “country ride” and went down the back way. Now I could see a bad storm to the north of us, it was actually quite beautiful to watch it from the miles between us. Unfortunately the storm moved into our path, and we rode right through it, and suddenly it became quite ugly. 20 minutes of a summer thunderstorm on my bike, and I was suddenly very glad I put my windshield on the bike. My only though in putting it on was to knock some of the bugs out of the way on the way home. 2nd year in a row we have gotten caught in the rain for our anniversary.
The funny thing is that by the time we got to the restaurant we were dry. That’s North Carolina for you. For those that are wondering, I had a t-shirt in the saddlebags for when we got there, I’m not that big on tank tops really.
This means we have now eaten at all 3 Eastern NC Ethiopian restaurants, even got to do Blue Nile pre and post divorce. I can’t say I’m any sort of expert but I know my preferences.
Between the 2 that are still open, Abyssinia and Queen of Sheba, the food is on par with each other. Honestly I think the Queen of Sheba has a better variety, a lot more in the vegetable range to choose from, but the cooks at both are EXCELLENT!
We sat at one of the baskets, and Abyssinia has the traditional Ethiopian chairs to go with the baskets, well, they are about 4 inches too short for a 270 lb 6’1″ dude, but I survived the 4 hours we spent there. You see it was a “off” night, for a few hours we were the only people in there, so the owner came out sat down with us while we ate and talked to us about growing up in Harare, the dgebo’s (hyenas), the persecution, his living as a refugee for 5 years, his coming to America, and to top it off he hooked us up with a Ethiopian Coptic Church that meets in Raleigh on Saturdays at a Catholic Church.
He told of about growing up, where friends and family were executed for being Christian, how terrorism is nothing new for Ethiopia and how he is confused about the Americans response to terrorism. For him, it is just a part of life, something to be expected. He told of his childhood games of hiding a piece of meat and throwing it into the pack of dgebos to watch them fight. Harar is famous for the dgebo problem there, and they simply walk the streets at night, looking for scraps from around the tannery (the primary business in Harar) He also told us that as an Ethiopian he learned to have pride in Ethiopia while he was still a doctor at Chapel Hill, and when American patients would tell him all about his rich cultural history. He was ashamed that he didn’t know as much about his own people as his patients, so he began to study his people and read every book ever written on Ethiopia. He spoke to us on how much he misses the community aspect of Ethiopia, and how he sees so many of the problems in America linked to the lack of connectedness between people. And he bought us some coffee and cheesecake to celebrate our anniversary and ate with us as we talked to him and asked him questions about Ethiopia, and even raising his Ethiopian children here in America.
I would say that one of the HUGE plusses of Abyssinia is that it is just a few blocks down the road from Pullen Park, get together’s at Pullen Park are always fun, the kids love the carousels, boats, trains, and the park is just laid out to be family friendly and relaxing. Then to be able to go right around the corner and eat Ethiopian food, very cool.
On the negative side, the Buna Ceremony is so very, very important to Ethiopia and Abyssinia doesn’t offer it. Therefore you need to go to Queen of Sheba, especially if you are trying to give someone a cultural experience. The ceremony is such a beautiful thing and is so needed.
Also if you want spices or cooking supplies, or even the cooking class she offers, Queen of Sheba is the place to go. Although we did buy 3 lbs of cooked injera (about 10 sheets) for $6. Abyssinia doesn’t cook the stuff, they buy it from DC. According to the owner for every 100 Ethiopian women that come through his store only 2 will know how to cook injera, and even less than that will know how to make it work every time. It’s my understanding that Freysha at Sheba cooks her own, and I know she teaches it at her class, this, and this alone is worth the money to take her cooking class. With it being so rare for Ethiopians to be able to cook a decent injera, how much of a jewel will it be to be able to pass that on to our adopted children, something that we can honestly say to them that their birth parents would be so proud of them for learning. This and the Buna Ceremony are started at the age of 8 for girls, this is a tradition that will definitely stay in our family. Now I know to become a man you have to kill a lion, I wonder if shooting a bobcat with a .38 will count?
We were very moved to dig even deeper into the Ethiopian culture and lore and to make sure we pass on the important aspects of Ethiopian culture to all of our children. We are a blended family and it’s not just the children that we adopt that need the cultural influence, it’s our family as a whole.
By the time Monday rolled around Heather was in the mood to cook something Ethiopian, so we invited my best friend and his wife and kids over. Well Heather likes them all too, but I’m trying to set the table for you. We use the injera we bought, but it was old and dry, and didn’t have the spongy feel that was needed. It’s OK though, because it tasted the same and worked for us. Heather created her own recipe for IAB, using ricotta, cottage cheese, lemon juice, basil and a few other things, it tasted spot on for what we had at Abyssinia, but I like the iab at Queen of Sheba better. We actually had a wonderful night, and wound up playing 90’s trivia pursuit until 11pm.
For those that are wondering, for our anniversary Heather bought me a small copper oil incense burner from a Rasta store and some dogwood oil. It smells great and looks very cool too, and it uses the small votive candles so there isn’t a huge risk of burning down the house. I bought Heather a dragon war trumpet from Nepal. It’s made from copper and Heather collect ethnic instruments. We loved the gifts we had for each other and our son loves my wife’s new horn, and walks around the house announcing he is going to kill something. Yep, he is a boy.
We are now in week 39 of waiting SINCE we got our referral. We are still waiting on the Nun to sign our kids papers releasing them for a court date. MOLSA is done, Region 14 is done, America is done, and all we are waiting on is a little old nun and then our kids can come home. I was hoping to spend our anniversary in Ethiopia, but obviously that didn’t happen. There is a small dream of being there before the courts close, but all I even hope for at this point is that my agency is capable of bringing my kids home in 2006. We have been in this process for 2 years now, I can’t imagine how hard it is for the families that have been waiting even longer than us.
I digress though, there you have it. Our anniversary, 7 years. Fun.