Selam Success

12 04 2011

In my head I have been practicing this sentence, “You look like you could be from Ethiopia,”  based on advice from Cazadora (Hot Soapy Agua) after my last post about Selam-ing someone. I am trying to get comfortable with it, and make it flow.  I think my big fear is it is going to come out like, “Hey, Black Person, are you from Af-REE-Ca?” (said the crazy white woman.)

I am honing in on a SE (suspected Ethiopian) who works at our local Walmart (which, embarrassingly, we have been frequenting lately).  His name has an unusual spelling – possibly a transliteration, and he couldn’t stop staring at Little Dude the other day.  But there was a line behind us and it was shortly after my last mucked up Selam-ing and I just couldn’t get the words out.  So, I am practicing in my head for my next encounter with him.  But, the Universe doesn’t deliver on my time-table.

So, today when we were leaving the library (which I am proud to say we frequent) we crossed paths with another SE.

The gentleman was across the street from us and we were both waiting for the light to change.  We would be passing each other in the crosswalk.  He looked Ethiopian to me, and I was trying to break down exactly why I thought that in my head.  Sure, there was the shape of his face and his general stature, but also the cut of his shirt and the way he wore it untucked.  I went back and forth in my head, yes, no, no, yes.

When the “walking man” appeared the kids and I began to cross.  I gave the SE a big grin and friendly nod, but as we passed I saw he had a tribal marking in the middle of his forehead, so before he got away I threw out “Selam” using my best Ethiopian accent.  He whipped his head around, changed direction and followed us back to the curb that he just stepped off of!!!!

We have contact.

S is actually Eritrean but lived in a refugee camp in Ethiopia.  He just arrived in our town about a month ago.  After chatting on the corner for a few minutes, we exchanged phone numbers (his suggestion). Our family will be taking him to dinner, hopefully this weekend!!!

I closed my last post about Selam-ing with the following sentence, “At this point, making connections in the street is my best shot.”  I had no idea this would become completely literal.





12 responses

12 04 2011

Holy, holy, holy SF, you DID it! Amazing! Good for you. This could be your connection to a whole community of people. Wow, that was amazing.

12 04 2011

This just made me smile. Good for you!

12 04 2011

Way to go!

12 04 2011

holy crap, that gave me chills, I am not kidding!

12 04 2011


12 04 2011
Meg B

Good for you! and good for him! He gets a connection in a new town and you are expanding your circle of SEs!

12 04 2011
Sam's Mom


12 04 2011

Woohoo!! Please be looking for the “you are my hero” medal to arrive in your mailbox within 7-10 business days. (not really, but wow! anyway)

12 04 2011

MOST awesome! And yet still funny, as usual.

14 04 2011

LOVE this story!

15 04 2011
tamara b

you are amazing. now do you think you could work your “magic” and find some Ethiopian’s in my area? Nearest town, population 500. I dare you 😛

17 04 2011

Two things:
-First, OMG…how have I never been to your blog before? Seriously. I know that we read the same blogs (so we’re almost bloggy friends) but I have never actually visited your blog before. But I’m here now. And I’m so happy. 🙂
-Secondly: Great post. Hilarious really. I was right there with you on the cross walk. Step by step! Keep us posted about how dinner goes. Very cool.

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