Sunday, February 14, 2010


I have 16 file cards. A word in Amharic is on one side, the English translation on the other.

Went on a date with Emma and Gracie. Ran out of shopping steam. Went to Caribou. Took out my file cards. Began to practice. Noticed two men at the next table who were fairly Ethiopian looking, definitely speaking another language. I, ignoring my good upbringing, stared at them wondering, "Do I ask them how to pronounce a couple of these words?"

The "I'm Leaving for Ethiopia in Four Days Mentality" won out over the "Maybe These Men Would Just Like to Enjoy Their Coffee and Be Left Alone Mentality." So I asked, "Are you, by any chance, Ethiopian?" When they said yes, I went on to explain my cards, my necessary vocabulary and my inability to pronounce some of the words I had copied from the internet. (internet Amharic is very sketchy when it comes to accented syllables and vowel sounds in case you're wondering if my asking for help was warranted or just another outcropping of my craziness).

They dutifully took my file cards and began to help. I pronounced, they stifled a giggle, they re-pronounced, I tried again. After a couple easy cards, we came to a really long word. "I just cannot get this one," I told one of the men. "I can't ever remember what it means nor can I say it." He smiled. He got sort of quiet. He said it; his friend erupted with laughter. That's when I suddenly got really, really hot.

"I just made you say 'I love you,' didn't I?"

About then, 2 women showed up who were obviously with my newfound friends. And lover. I quickly explained what I was doing, even pulled out a picture of Lizzie to make me look increasingly legitimate as my reputation was fast slipping away. They were extraordinarily gracious. The women went through my cards. They might have even been just a tad bit impressed.

I left before anyone had the chance to tell them what I'd done.

Happy Valentine's Day, me.


  1. I am dying laughing!

    Only a few more days! YAY!!!!

  2. Love triumphs over good upbringing.