Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Please pass the Sambussa

One of my favorite parts of this past weekend with my Famiy was when Fre, our Ethiopian exchange student, and I went over to York and 83rd St. to a Zagat rated Ethiopian restaurant. When I was at home back in October, we went on Menu Pages and looked up Ethiopian restaurants in the City and found this one. I couldn't wait to take her.

We made the journey all the way to the East side of the City to lonely little York Avenue. It was this sweet little restaurant and when we saw it, Fre was so excited. We went inside and asked if we could get take out. After looking at the menu, I made Fre order in her native tongue (I forget what it's called). She completely ordered her dinner and two appetizers (for our family to share) in a language I couldn't even understand but what a thrill it was for me to watch her speak and to seem to be so "at home" where she was.

Fre and I then sat down at a little table while we waited for the food. It was such an incredible moment as she, it seemed, was overwhelmed with being in an Ethiopian restaurant, reminded of the culture (pictures on the wall, Ethiopian treasures for sell in the cupboard behind us). "I miss my country", she then said and shared with me a little about her parents who died when she was 11, 12 from TB and more about her brothers who are currently living in Ethiopia. I learned more about her way of life and even more when she began to open up.

I looked over at her and tears were streaming down her face. We talked about how hard it is to grow up with nothing and to come to America- study so hard and hope that there is a University that will offer her a scholarship, since she has little money and cannot work. We talked about what it's like to grow up poor and what it's like to grow up with the "security" money can bring. I reminded her that God can do all things. Oh how I pray she will be able to to college, and not just to appease her brother... but to work hard, study and learn new things and to enjoy this season in her life.

It was such a special time. I learned more about the world, more about Ethiopian culture and more about Fre. She opened up her heart to me and it was the best 20 bucks I've spent in a long time... it's almost as if there was no greater gift in the world that I could've presented to her that would mean more than her Ethiopian dish, a couple of (really, really spicy) appetizers and the chance to talk.

It gave me such an eye opening view of the world. And I'm so thankful that Frebers is helping me expand the lens by which I see it.

Here we are, excited about Ethiopian foooood!!!!


Allison said...

I loved that! I'm so glad you guys did that together! :)

Mom said...

Thank you for loving Fre. You remind her of her real mom, quite a compliment to you.