Memory Lane

Today, in commemoration of  Austrian National Day which also happens to be when, twenty years ago, I unsuspectingly stepped aboard this vehicule de transport… and set off an adventure beyond my wildest imaginations – one that continues to this day – I offer up this little attempt at immortality which I penned thirteen years into said … More Memory Lane

Shock of the New

There’s this joke about an American who went to Washington D.C to teach English to new immigrants from Ethiopia. He ended up learning Amharic instead. When you can do an entire transaction at Starbucks in Amharic (granted, the store in question is right outside the arrivals gate at Dulles Airport) and even add to the … More Shock of the New

How a Dam Works

Abay is not just the name of the river which springs from the heart of Ethiopia, cuts through Sudan and Egypt, and ends in the way of all rivers big and small. It is also the name by which I best knew my grandfather. Officially, he was known by the more intimidating Shaleka – chief … More How a Dam Works

The Twisted Edge

I can be a flirty type as long as it doesn’t involve people. Ideas is where the chemistry happens. There’s one in particular, which started off as a little harmless flirtation, then bloomed into a full blown on-again off-again thing that’s been going on for years. It never works out, of course, for reasons x, … More The Twisted Edge

Eating Alone

Long long ago, as mortals have done since The Fall, so did Mary the mother of Jesus. She died. Sources better informed than I ( = sources informed) tell me that the filseta fast that I currently find myself a little over halfway through has been held every year since then-ish by Orthodox Christians in … More Eating Alone

The Big One

Few more hours and I head the way the raven flies (or was it the crow?), West, anyway. Time for the least explored destination of all: home! Time for the obstacle course known as Ethiopia. For some reason, nowhere else petrifies me as much as there. At the same time, there are few places I … More The Big One

Canada Special

Traveling with a first generation Irish/Scottish-Canadian friend last month, we would always get asked the usual question by people we meet. “Where are you from?” As usual, I hesitate. In that sliver of time she beats me to the answer: “Canada.” The questioners nod to her, turn to me to hear my answer. Nothing forthcoming. … More Canada Special