Tuesday, May 22, 2007

A New Friend from "Opia"

Whenever Ayana sees another black person, she points, and says, "Opia", meaning they are from Ethiopia. She gets very excited to see a new friend from her country.. whether they really are from Ethiopia or not! But the other day, she got to meet a new friend, who really was from her homeland.
There is an ESL student at our school, from Ethiopia. Her name is Bethlehem, and she's in the ESL grade 9/10 program in the highschool. She came in September, and when I found out where she is from, I was so excited, and so was my mom. She wanted to arrange a time to meet her, and get to know her. Unfortunately, it never worked out, until this last weekend. She's really sweet, and when she first saw Ayana and Moses at school one day, she was so excited. She said that when Ayana gets older, she's going to give her braiding, and Amharic lessons, because she said, "You can never lose your culture. That's a very important thing, ok Ayana?" She also said she'd love to come and help us with Ayana's hair some time. So, of course when my mom found that out, she jumped on the opportunity! :D

Bethlehem came over last weekend, from 2:3o, to 4:30, and braided Ayana's hair, and spoke Amharic with her (a little bit.. Ayana wasn't responding too much.. she was doing her hyper/shy mood.. a strange combination, but Ayana seems to pull it off well! :D) and talked to us about Ethiopia. It turns out that when we were in Addis Ababa, she was there too! And we arrived in Vancouver on roughly the same day...that was pretty cool to find out! She laughed at that, and said, "We probably saw each other walking around, but just didn't know it!" My mom thought we could have even been on the same plane.. but I doubt it!
Anyway, she did Ayana's hair beautifully, and said she had a lot of fun, and would love to do it again, anytime we need her to! She also offered to do our hair too, just for fun.. I'm thinking we should get Josh's hair done in cornrows! :P
She really loved playing with Ayana and Moses, and when she met them, she kissed them on the hand, just like they did everywhere in Ethiopia. I love that greeting for babies! Its so cute. When we go to an Ethiopian restaurant again, my mom said we should invite her.. she's only been to one in the 8/9 months that she's been here! :( So hopefully we'll get to know her really well.. Ayana and Moses really loved being with her too.. and so did I! Hopefully we all have a new friend from Opia!

Of course, I'm not sure my dad was having as much fun as we were on Saturday. While we were inside listening to stories of Ethiopia, and watching Ayana's hair getting braided, my dad was outside (for seven hours!!) renevating our back yard. He tore down a whole bunch of bushes and trees, and moved our big bunny cage to the side of the house, and got rid of part of the garden. My mom was looking at our back yard one day, and suddenly realised that the way it was landscaped, was a really big waste of space.. at least it was for a family of 7! At least one third of the yard was taken up with bushes, and garden, and our bunny cage. So now, with all the trees and stuff out of the way, our yard is huge! It doesn't look very good at the moment; my dad still has to tear out the stumps, and we have to turf the yard (when I say 'we', I mean it.. my dad has told us that we were helping him next time, or else!) and build a nicer deck, but you can already tell its going to be a really nice, big area to play in. So in the end it will all be worth it.. but on that particular Saturday, I'm not so sure my dad would have agreed!

Another funny story; the other day, I was sitting at school, with Ayana and Moses.. we were just about to walk home, when this guy in grade 9 walked past. I think he may be from Ghana, but I'm not sure at all. Anyway, he walked past, and saw Ayana and Moses, and pumped his fist in the air, and said, "All right, some of my little brothers and sisters from Africa!" It was so cute. Then he came over, and asked where they were from, and their names, and how old they are... he was really interested, and yet he was trying to be a 'cool guy' at the same time. It was really funny! But sweet at the same time.

So, we had a great Saturday, and Ayana's hair looks beautiful.. thanks Bethlehem! :D


Lesley said...

Great post Erin, even if you did beat me to it. I am still going to post about this though! :)

Scarlett_333 said...

How exciting! Her hair looks gorgeous. I'm sure once Ayana is a bit older she will really appreciate having someone from Ethiopia live so close and be able to remind her of the culture and language. It really is so important.