Monday, September 14, 2009

Happy New Year

Happy New Year! Did you know that it's the New Year?

Well, I definitely did not.

On September 11th, the Ethiopian New Year known as Enkutatash is celebrated. I understand that the Ethiopian calendar known as the Julian runs seven years and eight months behind our calendar which is called the Gregorian. So, right now in Ethiopia it's 2002. I am considering a visit soon since I looked a lot better in 2002...less gray hair, twenty pounds lighter, fewer wrinkles.

Anyway, back to my original story....

Our gracious neighbors, Tsegaye, Betty, King and Kate, invited us over for a traditional Ethiopian dinner on Saturday. That's all I knew about the lovely invite. I figured we'd be eating in their backyard, so I dressed very much for a BBQ (t-shirt and shorts). It wasn't until well into the dinner that I realized that it was a celebration...a New Year celebration. Silly me! You'd think I would have caught on when Missy's husband Bill said the prayer and mentioned the New Year. I thought he was either being optimistic about the rest of '09 or a good planner for the upcoming year. Really...who knew?!
Betty and her friend Sophia made an elaborate dinner that took days to prepare. Not only was I impressed but a little intimidated to eat it since I didn't know what I was doing.

The bread to the far right of the picture is called Injera. Injera is not only a gluten-free bread, but also works as an eating utensil. I recall Madison telling me once that Kate brings pancakes to school everyday for lunch, which at the time, I found hard to believe. Now, I know what she meant since Injera does look like a pancake, but thinner and has more of a sour dough taste. Injera bread is a main staple for traditional Ethiopian meals.
Here's Missy's family (and Kate) that I mentioned in an earlier blog who recently adopted a darling little girl from Ethiopia six weeks ago. Missy and Bill also brought back these beautiful traditional outfits for their children while in Ethiopia. Obviously, they looked like they were celebrating a New Year compared to me in my jean shorts! Oh, well! They were darn cute!
I was delighted that my children were so willing to partake in eating traditional Ethiopian food. Tyler did look like a deer in the headlights when he sat down with no silverware. However, Betty was so sweet to offer some anyway. The food can have some "kick" to it since they use a lot of spices and curry flavoring. I must was very, very good!
The end of the meal was followed with having coffee, which is much like the coffee here, but stronger in taste. They begin by heating the beans on the stove top which makes for a very rich and warm smell throughout the home. The coffee ceremony tradition includes inviting friends and family over and having coffee to show hospitality and friendship. I found this experience to be priceless! How very fortunate I am to have such nice neighbors like Betty and Tsegaye!

Thank you and Melkam Adis Amet!


Mamma has spoken said...

Sounds like a great time! What a wonderful experience to have!!!

missy said...

well you aren't clueless anymore...bustin' out the Amharic phrases and knowing about injera and the Julian calendar! what a special new year's celebration. we loved sharing it with you all. they were incredibly gracious hosts, weren't they? thanks for getting a family (plus kate) pic for us, btw.

Tracey said...

What a fantastic experience! They are wonderful neighbors.
Enjoyed hearing about the evening.
I must say I laughed when I saw the look on Tyler's face. He looked a little unsure of what he was putting in his mouth. LOL

Mindee said...

I am totally jealous. What fun and the food looks delicious. I love trying new things from new places.