I like collecting information, though I’ve not done any serious polling of my usual victims since a couple of years ago. But those I communicate with frequently are never surprised to get questions on random of subjects from me. Of late, I have been asking ‘What is your least favorite single-word expression in Amharic?’ I forget what got me going … More Un-say

Talk Amharic to Me

There’s something English can’t touch. Amharic. That is the conclusion we – some fellow speakers and I – recently came to over the course of numerous, sporadic conversations on the topic. We had these conversations in English, of course – with sprinklings of Amharic thrown in when the Other tongue just wouldn’t do – because … More Talk Amharic to Me


Sew le sew, the longest-running drama series in the history of Ethiopian Television I’m told, is over. I’m sad but I’m also glad. It had pretty much taken over my life. In true soap opera style, a plot line that could be resolved in ten minutes stretches out over many episodes, conversations that could be … More bayte-what?

Permanent Hager Fikir

I have two tattoos which never fail to catch people by surprise. I guess I don’t come across as the self-stamping kind. This is partly true, which is why I have trouble giving adequate explanations of my non-Maryam Yesamechign markings. If only I could blame it on the Holy Mother. Nope, all me and my … More Permanent Hager Fikir

Code Error

Somewhere in Addis there is a house as old as me. All I ever had to do with regards to it was just live in there, stay cute, and be on my best behaviour, sorta like this: Until recently, that is. Decades since I last set foot in the yard, I was tasked with getting … More Code Error

Call Me…?

I’ve been doing a little experiment lately. A “social” experiment, I think it’s called. I’ve been introducing myself as “Rebka”. The idea has been in my mind for some time. Back in the Fall of 2010 I actually looked into legally changing it from “Rebecca” to “Rebka”. I would have, too, except that the law … More Call Me…?

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