Finding Yourself in the Unknown: Ethiopia

Maya Haile, Marcus Samuelsson, and Anthony Bourdain hanging out in Ethiopia.

Many of you know that Ethiopia is more than a place for me to go and visit.  It’s a part of my family, my friendships, my life, my story, my hope, and my wondering.

I was so pumped to watch Parts Unknown last night hosted by Anthony Bourdain, as he explored Ethiopia with Marcus Samuelsson and his wife Maya Haile.  Marcus and Maya, now married, were born in Ethiopia and both, because of illness and political strife, respectively, they left Ethiopia in their childhoods.  Marcus is now a world-renowned chef, and Maya is a stunning model.  What I love is that Ethiopia is an undeniable, intentional part of their lives.

Watching Ethiopia through their eyes was a beautiful new lens to see a place that has grown in my heart.  Marcus, Maya, and Anthony planted new seeds for me that I’m so excited to see bloom.  Here were some of my favorite parts from the episode:

“I come from a dusty land.”  Marcus said this to Anthony with a big smile on his face as he kicked up the dust in his home village.  Priceless.

“I always find it such a paradox that I was born into very little food, but yet I’ve made my whole life about food.  My structure and pragmatism comes from being raised in Sweden. And my sort of vibrancy and warmth to cooking and feel-based food that I love comes definitely from here [Ethiopia].”  This paradox is truth…life and death, joy and sadness, abundance in the face of scarcity.  These are a part of my experience in Ethiopia.  I wonder what my son’s experience will be as he walks through this paradox as well.  It will be a story for sure.

One of the coolest parts of Ethiopian culture is how food is celebrated, prepared, and shared.  There is a custom called gursha; this is where a diner will feed another diner; it’s an act of endearment of love for another.  I love so food, so if you want to stuff food into my face, game on.

Watching Marcus and his biological father hold hands while walking brought on incredible memories of how there isn’t a weird social norm where boys can’t be friends and express just pure friendship by holding hands.

I also loved watching Marcus and his father compare their feet.  Their feet were the same, and yet they’ve walked such different journeys.

Three kisses, because one is not enough. 

Everything Addis!  The blue buses, the skate park, the green and yellow fences, food, and community.

The old and the new.  The history and the future.

I can’t wait for April 2016.

Check it out for yourself!

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