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Notes To Our Future Selves

Fight mediocrity, Embrace life. Letters Between Feker and Rihana.

Updated: 2014-10-04T19:00:22.801-07:00


YAY to blogging!


It's 3:00am, i'm up surfing the net, mostly staring at Adam studying his every whimper, turn and toss because some dingay ras doctor told me it wasn't safe (dangerous and risky were the words she used) for babies to sleep on their tummies - and thats the only way he can sleep!. Becha guess what happened, i come across our blog!!! OMG how is it possible that i actually forgot we had a blog, and how wonderfully sweet it was to go back and read everything! - which is the exact reason we started it in the first place.

So i'm raising my glass - Here is to the Internet, our fabulousness and to reading this blog 50 years from now!

Feker to Rihana: kind of random


I'm in a writing mood, that's the only reason I decided to do this. Please don't be surprised if I run out of ideas and click on 'publish post'! So I was thinking about your voyage to the motherland, not the christmas one but the permanent one. And it got me thinking about a lot of things. It made me realize one thing above all. Mitisha, there is a great feeling about being a student, especially a student in a college like Mount Holyoke. When I was there, I had the luxury to put people outside our little bubble under a microscope and analyze them all I wanted. I made judgements, I sympathized, judged some more and in some cases, I learned. All those habeshas in Boston, DC, LA, Atlanta were mine to scoff at or admire. Seleda provided that outlet, a chance to glimpse at the life of yound, professional Ethiopians. Frankly, I loved my bubble even when I swore at How Sadly. I left college and lo and behold, I found myself under that same microscope, and I no longer had the luxury to do the examining. I was - say it - tera zega. I remember the deep dissapointment, bordering on despair, I felt the day my boss told me one of my job descriptions would be to order food and wine for cocktails we would be hosting. I said to myself, 'bekit kuch yiluachiual indih new'. So I went home and blurted it all out to Bele (he was here then) and even as I said the words out loud, I was embarassed by my silliness. So I sucked it up and last week I realized how rewarding work could be. Nothing special, I helped someone with a paper to be published soon. I actually used my brain for that one! But aleme, all this to say that lijinet is beautiful and sometimes we really shouldn't be so hard on oursleves. Sometimes the way I makabed things you would think the world (or atleast Ethiopia) would collapse if I didn't do this thing at such and such time. Sometimes, it's perfectly fine to stop and smell the flowers (or buna in my case). Another thing as well, both what Vinnie said and Henock repeatedly stresses, is the value in educating ourselves. Mitiye, if we believe in ourselves enough to KNOW we will be big shots one day, we have to know what we're going to preach about right? So all we can do at the moment is invest in oursleves, and leave the rest to God and fate (the latter, however strongly we believe we have control over, I'm still a firm believer of ye 40 qen idil).

Luv ya ;)

Rihana to Feker - " What are you going to do with the rest of your life?"



I really don't have time to be writing this, but if i don't, i'll hate myself in a couple years. You know those realizations i tell you about - how i feel like i've known about something for so long, but only understand it fully at a later time. I guess it's what they call having a new insight.

I was in Vinnie's political economy class this morning and we were discussing globalization and other related topics. Vinnie has this thing were- if you give a comment he automatically starts playing the devil's advocate and pushes you... and does it to the extent were every single students ends up stuttering at the end - it's really insane. But what happens is, at the end of class you are filled with so many questions you don't know the answers to. He never gives us the answer – of course most of the time its because there isn't one. They are dilemma’s that people constantly need to deal with and there are so many pros and cons to every situation, that getting a conclusion simply becomes impossible or requires deep analysis - very deep time consuming analysis. The journey, apparently, is suppose to be as sweet as anything can be, filled with constant inspiration and delight.

So, what has been happening is, i've been getting so frustrated at the end of each class that i really get pissed off. Today, a couple of us stayed after class and talked to him about some of the class topics and other 'life' things in general. At one point, i told him about my frustration because we never leave with answers. He laughed and told that it is because there really aren't any right or wrong answers - ok i said - understandable. But then something else he said hit me - he said - i'm paraphrasing - listen, the more you learn and the more you are able to analyze different situations the more you realized that you'll find more questions than answers. He added - you have the rest of your life, you just need to be dedicated and motivated enough to keep learning. I nodded, not feeling very satisfied - i knew these things already. But you know what else he said - you have the rest of your life, what else are you going to do with it?! Mitisha, it hit me - he's right! We've been going to school for all our lives, we don't know anything else but. Even you are in a similar situation because you still have gradshcool in mind. But after all of that is done - what are you going to do with the rest of your life? Of course we will get married, have kids and all of that stuff, but if you think about it, we have families now but we still need something more. Even then a husband and kids will only take a given amount of both our time and our energy - we're still going to want something more. What better way to spend that time than educating yourself more and attempting to make a difference and making a better world! Learning seems like some sort of a burden right now, but later on, i imagine it becoming a way of life. Really what else are you going to do? - chat about shoes all day?! As fascinating as that is... really i think all the world's unanswered questions are there for a purpose in a way - and amazingly enough, there are always solutions.

Anyhoo darling, I just love Mr Ferraro. I really do! I love being here, and no matter what - i will forever be thankful for this place, for having opened up an entire world for me. And of course i love you too ;)

Rihana to Feker - Happy Thanksgiving!!!! :)


Aleme, i've chosen to start off with a happy note! Yay! It's thanksgiving and we have a million things to be thankful for. We're healthy, young, beautiful, smart, alive and we have a lot of people who love us. We laugh until our stomach hurts, we have compassion towards others - enough to make us cry so often - we have cute shoes and fabulous hair. Really, we got a whole lot to be thankful for, we're just too darn blind see it. Life is too short,so i think once in a while we should learn to just let go and love it.

Mitiye, i think right now, i have a million things that should be stressing me out... i thought about it and said - really, we're never gauranteed tomorrow, why should i spend so much time stressing when i could spend it relaxing.

Aleme, look at yourself. you've got a job, a fabulous one at that, you're wonderful in the most amazing sense of the word, and you've got your whole life ahead of you - how exciting is that?! Ye Ethiopianem neger Allah yawkal, just be the best thing you can be now.If you're meant to be back there, you will be. Don't think too much about it now. Enjoy DC, love your starbucks coffee, and party it up. You're being way to hard on yourself.

I totally know what you mean about just planning instead of living - remember my calendars?! yeah, meaning i understand lol. Allah yalew aykerem... andande egna enabezawalen... It's thanksgiving so lets make sure that we're counting our blessings.

Now wede kum negeru - " Mr X"!!! What, who, what?! Men? Has there been something we haven't talked about. Anchi amedam, dengay neger eko nesh. What, who, men, what?! call and explain!!!!!!!!!!

On my side... babe, my fantasy is getting sweeter and sweeter by the day. I'm on line 24/7 - its pathetic. But mitiye, it feels so good... so yeah... when i use the phrase " which one?" when being asked " how is he?" is finally true LOL. It does feel that way though. Mitiye, its really pathatic... i want to say more, but it just hit me that this is our blog and not yahoo, so i'll save the rest for our phone calls.

Yeah, so stop romantacizing Addis - i'm allowed to do that since i'm going to be there in four weeks!!! Love DC, stop thinking too much and love your fabulous self and life. I'll talk to you... love you my darlin.... " Mr X"? What, who, men, what?!

Feker to Rihana: Thanksgiving?


Aleme Thanksgiving is upon and I guess there is much I should be thankful for. I guess what hit me when I came back to the office from lunch today was, most people couldn’t wait to leave work because they had already planned something for the holiday. And I couldn’t care less. Mitiye, how long am I gonna exist in this space where nothing grounds me to anywhere. The only place I long for, oh specially during times like these (holidays) is home. But Mitiye, I am so afraid of my weakness. Will home no longer hold any charm for me after the life I’ve gotten used to here? Will I go there one day and laugh at myself (or cry with frustration) for ever thinking I could pick up and move? And why the hell would I even have a plan for my life when some GUY would just come along to screw it all up? (this one in relation to x, long story) Mitiye, what is wrong with me? It seems like my life consists of running from the minute I get up in the morning to the time I go to sleep. And this has NOTHING to do with work or social life. Its just my state of mind. When I was in Ethiopia, I would smell the air after the rains fell and would thank God I’m alive. I would listen to church bells and wonder at the beauty of the ‘infalot’ that came out of neighbours’ ‘madbets’. I loved the simple things that gave me comfort. Aleme right now my life consists of always planning. Planning my career, graduate school, family … I feel so displaced. And the holidays don’t help. They make me feel rootless, like an accident that just happened to be here at this moment. I think it might be PMS that’s making me blab so much. Thanks my love, even if you’re not next to me you’re virtually there and somehow helps. I love you.

Feker to Rihana: False hope?



Its no wonder that once again you've been able to mirror my exact sentiments. Although in my case, just for yesterday, just for those couple of hours, I let go and shut out all those very true sentiments you expressed. I went to bed hopeful.

Going back and reviewing yesterday's historic event, I was deeply touched by the hope Obama was able to ignite in people who like he said, have often been told that the American dream is only accessible to few. Now they've broken beyond that and I pray to see the day where we can tell our kids of a time when an Obama presidency was akin to a miracle, and he had made it happen with much grace and competence.

BUT, aleme, I also kept on thinking that there's something a little pathetic to the way people in Kenya, Ethiopia and other countries were glued to their TVs, watching an election which realistically speaking will not bring much changes to their lives. I saw people starved for a different kind of world, a different way of living mitiye, people sick and tired of poverty, tyranny and all the wretchedness of this world. And their only outlet was an American election, as if Obama will put those three meals on their table. Truth is, this should have been the responsibility of their own governments, and Obama should have only gotten their passing blessing, for being the first black American president. Instead, what I saw mitiye, and it breaks my heart to have witnessed it, is a people so sick of their own leaders that they have to project that on a country which has its own issues to deal with and quite frankly, will probably not change a damn thing in others. I saw this and all hope of me bringing about that change we've talked about so often just flew out the window. I don't know what will restore it aleme, and all this just to say, I completely understand how you're feeling. I pray to God that our kids and grand kids will live in a time where they will witness a similar triumph for our country.


Rihana to Feker - The night of Obama


Mitiye, Endet alesh? I'm assuming that you're asleep as i type these words. for some reason i'm unable to sleep and am engrossed with a feeling of lonliness and depression on one of the most important nights of our lives.

I watched the election in a quite comfortable lounge with three brunnett Americans... we cryied together and celebrated, this unbelievable night, a night we'll all live to tell of many years to come.

I heard the speech, impressed, i walked back to my room. Mitisha for some reason, contrary to what i thought i would feel, i'm engrossed in this feeling of total lonliness... weakness... hopelessness... is that even possible.

There was an article on BBC about Obama's extended family back in Kenya and the village they live in celebrating the victory. They had pictures of individual talking about what the election meant to them. They are hopefull... hopefull that Obama will be able to help their village and their country, hopefully that they will somehow be able to escape poverty through a man they call "one of them"... Mitiye i wondered how much of that would come true... not because he wouldn't be able to do that for them, i think he will, but i wondered of the real effect that will be seen in the village, given the political implications it would implicate... but that was just a stupid think that crossed my mind... you know what hit me - it him me, even as we stand at such a moment, there are millions of people who will never live to see a better day, lives who will never be touched, lives lost while we celebrate this vitory. This in no way diminish's Obama's or America's success in no way, but just think... with as great a hope as he preeched, it's still not great enough. I'm consumed by this feeling that no matter how big our hopes, it just won't be enough. This was the last thing i was expecting to feel tonight, given how happy and in tears i was only a couple hours ago. I'm back in my room, feeling empty and alone... and hopeless.

I know i haven't made much sense tonight, so i'll just stop and try to go to sleep. I don't even know what i'm feeling, i'm just going to post this and reread it tomorrow to see if i've even typed sentences.

I love you.

Feker to Rihana: what makes your heart sing?


My darlin,

Endet aleshilign? I can't believe I'll see you in a week's time, it shall do us both good. You are surely missed, dear friend.

I read the article I posted on your wall, a couple of times actually. It got me thinking about a lot of things. You know, all the things we usually talk about. The subtitle I think said something like "What makes your heart sing?" What, indeed? You'd be interested to know that financial prowess ranked low, that if human beings have their basic needs met, additional wealth doesn't really add to your happiness. Religion was ranked high, and so were people; family, friends, lovers. Marriage, not so clear (hehe, that one made me laugh). So my love, I guess there is no escaping it. We NEED people in our lives, assuming we are rational and want to be happy in the long run. (goodness, i'm talking like an economist haha)But mitiye, you know what scares me about me? I've always known I needed people, I mean, growing up with three brothers and an assortment of cousins and zemed, I didn't really have a choice. But ... I sometimes think I am more enamoured with having people around me, not necessarily interacting with them 24/7. And that's scary isn't it? What am I gonna say to dear hubby? Please stay in the next room because I feel secure but don't you dare sit next to me and put your arm around me because that is suffocating? Ayiyyyyyyy! I need someone who understands what 'companionable silence' means. Someone who doesn't jump to the conclusion that I'm mad, depressed, angry, because i'm not my usual chatty self. What u think mi love?

Rihana to Feker - Senseless


Eshi aleme, I just wanted to write... meaning i don't have a single topic to write about. Eshi... men addis neger ale?... Well i'm sitting in the library, obviously not doing work and listening to R Kelly, it's pathetic how i still think the man is fine!...oh T Pain is on now... hahahaha... Music taste yelushal yehe new - bezi simeta eko deben yalku fendata negn. Did i tell you that a couple of my friends ( non-EPCS) use to call me Ja Rule, since i use to sing along with all those kind of songs... yet yedersal yalut zaf ale agu! hooo...

Ena... well Addis Ababe, well we sure are going to have one heck of a story when i go for that month. Demo zendero men drama yesera yehon....wiii mitiye kebaterkubesh aydel, well i better go and i think i should click post now. Last time after typing something twice as long i deleted everything since i didn't feel like i made sense so , no matter how senseless, here goes, i'm clicking Publish Post.

Feker to Rihana: My first love


I don't need to tell you that its not what you're thinking; obviously. The first love I'm talking about is Addis, my beloved city. I was coming back from work today and in the train, I finished reading Dinaw's "The beautiful things that heaven bears". Mitiye, I can't even begin to describe the emotions that book evoked in me. But more about that later. But I was in the train and looking out of the metro windows, lost in my own world of nostalgia, sadness and just pure wonder at the ability of someone to express himself so well. Then suddenly it hit me that the moment perfectly coincided with my melancholic mood because it was twilight; and twilight used to be my favorite part of the day in Addis. You know that time of the day, the sun is just setting, smell of 'tikus yekeseat dabo' in the air, distant voices of weyalas screaming their head off and that oh so beautiful breeze that is unique to Addis. Mitish, at moments like this, I just bowed my head and thanked God for being alive ... and in Addis. And today, today it was one of those days ... the whole outside world resembled Addis and I said to myself, maybe DC will be my second love. For its easy to fall in love with it ... the bustle, diversity, convenience, ... life of it all. Like Addis there are things that break your heart. Take for example this black guy who, when Israel was passing him by says hello to her and she, like we're used to doing in Addis, ignores him and walks on, and he replies ... "yeah you're right, this is nobody." Or when you see the general discrepancy amongst people of the city, immigrants vs natives, blacks vs whites, etc. And just like Addis, it has its slums and its version of 'bole'. I could think of a thousand reasons to love it, from its coffee shops, to the malls to the clubs, little things that creep up on you until you wake up one day, and realize you have yet again fallen in love with another one. But Addis? Too many meomories etched inside my head for me to ever let go. If you asked me what of the city I missed most right now it would definitely be ... how do i describe it ... ok let me try. You know that time of the morning around 5ish (kelelitu 11 seat) and everyone is sleeping, dawn is breaking, and for some reason or another tibanignalesh? You know you don't need to get up but you can't fall asleep right away either. So you snuggle in bed, happy that you have a few more hours of sleep. And then ... you hear them. The weyalas ... you remember how close our house was to the 'taksi tera'? It was just the most beautiful sound. It is faint with none of the chaos of the day, almost like they were making music of their own. On rare occasions when I would accompany my mom to church, this sound I used as my incentive to pull myself out of bed. And yesterday in the train, I realized that was the only thing missing from DC, lol. You see, iza honen indeza indtaltesadebin ... i'm telling you, we might as well drop the search for satisfaction ... human beings are way too fickle for that.

Love you, please write back soon, preferably on the topic you promised yesterday.

Rihana to Feker - Insha Allah, It will be ok.


Be tselotush aberesh negn. Aleme, but you know one thing which hit me, every time we talk, blog or email, there is this thing that you repeat - what you feel is GUILT, not sadness, or dissatisfaction, or confusion... but guilt. I believe guilt to be the worse kind of emotion. I fully understand where you're coming from and i do relate to the pain of feeling so privileged without the ability somehow "payback," in whatever way, to whomever we feel needs it most. With this said Mitiye at this time i do not think 'guilt' should not be something for you to feel now. I think we have this thing where we see ourselves to be a lot more than we really are ( this of course is vital and necessary - unless you reach for the stars there really isn't much point, and unless you believe you can do it, there isn't the possibility of doing so). But what i mean is in specific terms, is you just graduated from college and you're doing the first of many jobs to come, you still have an entire lifetime to do whatever it is that you want. We really are young and we have just started it all off. You can't expect the world from yourself now, ( you definilty should later on in life) i think our responsibility now is to constantly educate ourselves, to grow mentally and spiritually. To contribute to the world in whatever small way we possibly can ( Even a smile to another fellow human being, i believe, is a contribution). I think the key is to never forget who we really are and what it is will help us achieve our goals.

But God forbid, if we don't end up doing exactly doing what we want to do, say be able to go back to Ethiopia like you where saying, i believe we still have to make the best of what we have at hand. For me i believe in "Qadr," it's the Arabic word for preordainment. We may plan a lot, but at the end of the day it is what God wills that is going to happen, and the faster we learn to accept that the more happier and peaceful our lives become. The key is no matter what we end up doing, what place we end up living, we should always be the best of what we can be and do the best possible work.

Maybe feeling a little bit guilty now isn't all that bad, it will drive us towards what we really want to do, but if things don't turn out quite the way we have so perfectly pictured in our heads, it is still ok as long us we do become individuals who we will be proud of. You should know I’m typing these words for myself as much as for you. It is something i need to hear ones in a while too. Insha Allah, We'll be ok.


Feker to Rihana: "yet yidersal yetebale ..."



It's monday morning, no more of the foggy, ye-addisaba weather and as I left my apartment for work this morning, I realized, for probably the millionth time, how much in my life I have to give thanks to the Lord. Sometimes darling, I feel so overwhelmed with all the love and support around me that I can't help but feel guilty, I really do feel like an imposter sometimes. I know these kind of thoughts are not healthy, since they might hinder me from the very goals I've set out to achieve. I can't shake it off though. Have you asked yourself mitish, why us? And if for some reason we were lucky enough to be granted with all these privileges, what is expected of us in return? Ay mitiye, inema keqen wedeqen ye Ethiopia neger yehilm injera iyehonebign techegirealew. Even Addis Amet, when I'm surrounded by Habesha people left and right, should have struck some sort of chord in me. Alas, I felt more of the Addis Amet vibe when I was in south hadley than in silver spring. Mitiye, how do I keep that link from snapping? I can't even begin to explain what is going through my mind right now ... don't know if i understand it at all let alone explain it to you. But I feel like a 'kehadi' aleme. I know, I know, you're probably rolling your eyes right about now with your classic, 'akabde' retort, but i'm telling you darling, right now i feel like that infamous zaf Agu often refers to. Bicha mechereshayen Egzihabher bicha new miyakilign. I will need a lot of 'tselot' on your part ...

Call me during or after 'aftir' ... wedishalew.

Rihana to Feker - Shi amet ayenor - Lost!


Mitiye, i know this blog is long overdue, and sadly it's really not even going to be an actual fully written text. I'll be going out in a couple of minutes, but i figured i should put a few words rather than non at all. It sure feels like it has been a long time.

I will not try to even attempt to explain what i'm feeling, or what i've been feeling for the past couple of days. Could i call it confusion? Maybe. But this is more...serious? It is somehow feeling lost... somehow being so unsure?... not unsure, maybe a feeling of floating in the air with no apparent direction. I feel so unsettled.

I hate feeling this way especially know that Mamo has been nothing but wonderful to me. but my brain seems to be going off to places way to often. I also feel terrible, since i'm in no way ready for ramadan which is suppose to start a day after tomorrow.

A couple days ago i got an email from Agu. He was responding to one of my emails and you know what he said to me? He said " Johan, i sense that your 'and shi amet ayenor' attitude has left you." You know what? He is right. Before, even when i was feeling like that attitude was leaving me,it wasn't all that bad because i, at least, could recall that i had such an attitude. Welahi Mitisha, when he said it to me this time, i felt like he was talking about a different person - i had forgotten that i was infact like that. In a wierd way those very simple and seemingly narrowminded words had been part of who i was, and that part had been a fabulous part of me. What happened? Has this country already gotten deep in my vains in already a few years to change my very being? Am i going to wake up every ones in a couple years to realize that i've lost one or another part of me. Am i going to wake up one day having lost the very best part of me - my very essence?

My thoughts are flying everywhere and Oh God i have a million and one things to tell you. I'm so scared to start off this year. who am i going to go to when i need to vent, when i need to just dis everything and everyone off. Welayi, mechem allah alegn, men elalew. I'm still not registered for classes, and for some reason i feel so unsure of everything - in regards to school - It's just wierd. I'm hoping ones i settle in my dorm i'll have more things figured out, insha allah. But you sure will be missed, my love. No words can tell you how much.

Oh God, you know what else. Mitiye, one thing i use to love about myslef ( ofcourse it's one among many lol) was that i was satisfied with who i was, what i was becoming, and what i had. In a wierd sort of way, i was content. I use to imagine being asked by someone - " if you could be reborn again, who would you want to come back as?" And i would imagine myself, smiling and looking fabulous, answer - " myself" and believing it a hundred persent!!! It has been a while since i have had this conversation in my head, and when i even get the guts to ask it, i hear myself saying "myself" but not believing it. The funny part is that for the normal eye, i am at a much more "better" place than i was three years ago. shouldn't i be more content? shouldn't i be happier?

Becha Mitiye, i think Mamo is ready to go out. I can't wait til i get to a better place to write more. I should go, I love you.

Feker to Rihana: Confused Me



I wanted to start off by saying how proud of you I am. Somehow, you've found the balance for everything; friends, a relationship, work and family. Its always my fear for us all that should we find ourselves in a new situation, we sort of loose sight of the whole picture. I don't know know why I'm even babbling about this but it just hit me that you haven't fallen prey to this fear of mine, and i'm all the more happy and grateful to you for that.

Aleme, the subject of today's post goes roughly like this ... I am SO confused. I find myself gravitating away from my one passion and its sneaking up on me without my realization. Everyday I find myself getting used to a certain say of living, meeting new people, friends ... creating my own circle of friends and family here in this country. A relative of mine had said that if I started working here I'm sucked in for good and darling, the me then had scoffed at his comment. Ato Masresha had sent me that excerpt and though I had understood where the author was coming from, yet again, I had considered myself above all that. Mitiye, I woke up today and can you believe it ... for the first time I was scared of forgetting. Home is becoming like a dream to me, you know, the type which gives you tingles when you think about it but you can't really grasp if you reach out for it. Out of the blue, at the wedding, dancing to Tilahun's "Abiyisiada", it hit me that it'll probably be another year before I get to go there and suddenly this fear that I can't really describe seized me. Mitiye, I think I've lost confidence in myself or the cause we've talked about so often. When I was in college, even if I was thousands of miles away, I still felt connected somehow. But these days, mitiye, these days I don't even know. I think the constant talk of famine, chigir, dirq, yenuro widinet have taken their toll. Darling, what to do? I think this is a first for me. Ever so often I would try and try to imagine my life wedefit, and darling, believe it or not, all I see is blank. Bicha mitiye, dunno. It might be PMS that's making me babble on, it maybe not. I wish I were one of those people who had five, ten, twenty year plans. I wish I could have a clear picture of what I wanted to do and who to spend the rest of my life with. At the moment all I see is just fragments of my futre floating everywhere. Engidih ihen yahil kaderekush yibekashal. I know this might not be the best of times to reply, try your best, me misses reading you. Wedishalew.

Feker to Rihana: Chameleon aka 'isist'



If you're thinking 'why is she letting it get to her like this?' ... I'm surprised as you are. You might have already guessed where I'm getting at. Yesterday was like not a slap on my face mitish, it was more like 'yechama tifi'. I couldn't believe this feeling of betrayal that shook me to the core. Darling, I remember on one of your posts you had said, 'people don't deliver' and I had agreed 100%. But sometimes darling, this fickle thing that is our heart manages to get us hurt? dissapointed? yet again. Mitiye, the saddest part of the story is NONE of the people should merit such thoughts, anger, hurt from me. They are a bunch of hypocrites with their own twisted views of life. And I guess what is pissing me off is that I had believed otherwise. 'Neg bene' aydelem yagere sew yalew? I had heard people ridicule this woman in particular for her actions and I had just brushed them off as 'yabesha paranoia' eventhough deep down I sort of knew she was a exactly what they said she was. But the lady, atleast in the past, had been sweet to ME, mind you, ME. Bicha mitiye min libelish, cheguaraye latttt yalew eko not because she judged me per se but because i was judged by someone such as she, who claims to be 'yegzer beg' and yet, darling, min waga alew? I wonder if people like her realize their double existence before they pass off ... even for a second ... mitiye yibkagn, I needed to vent one last time before I put her out of my mind for good. Like you said, its small things like these that make us bitter in the end. And that mi love, is something we can't afford. I love you ... thank you for not judging me even when i'm my most irrational self (hehe ... hint hint last night).

Feker to Rihana: light or heavy?


My love,

I realized, after our brief chat yesterday, how much it sucks you're not going to be nearby. Suddenly, I reminisced on our college days ... you see already arejehu ... reminisce minamin. But all jokes aside, I kept on thinking how the past few years are a luxury we were lucky to afford. All we did was argue about our thoughts, beliefs, pretty much anything under the sun. We also laughed. GOD! Laugh we did! And that's when it hit me ... I wonder if we'll ever laugh like that again. You know? the type that has you running to the bathroom or me rolling on the floor. Come what may, I just wanted to say how much I will cherish those days.

Title of the book from last time: "The unbearable lightness of being." Mitiye, its a must read. I haven't finished it yet gin I'm hooked. If I'm not mistaken he raises issues I've always ponedered. He compares a life of light burden with a life of heavy burden ... chooses the latter because a life of lightness is unbearable. I've always wondered mitiye, if say the people on 'Laguna Beach' would claim to have lived life like the resident of Gaza. Now, I'm not trying to romanticize poverty or war ... I think it was one of Sidney Sheldon's book where he says "Poverty is only romantic in the books". I do believe that but I mean c'mon mitisha, norin lilu new? You remember that article on Seleda (inkuan ... so what if i've memorized every story on the site! ;) ... about the guy who used to work with refugees on the Ethio-Kenyan border but whose parents sent him here for college? He says that his happiest days were in the desert, even though he has done quite well in the land of plenty. Mi love, my question to you then, a life of lightness or burden?

Feker to Rihana: Rehearsal for Life


My dearest darling,I swear Mitish there are very few things these days that make my day as seeing a post from you, dear friend. To jump right to the 'kumneger', all my life I had imagined that with 'the' guy I would, somehow, just know he was the one. Like you put so beautifully, BULLSHIT! It can't get any more Disney than that. Hode, I know these past few weeks have been kind of stressful, more so because like we said you ARE new to this. But more than that mitiye, I think we've been so conditioned to think that relationships don't need effort. Well babe, the friendships I used to think were effortless are proving to be challenging as well, never mind relationships. I know what you're thinking, some friendships are easier to maintain than others true, and maybe some relationships too but the truth of the matter is, it needs work, dedication, patience ... you can fill all the tiresome adjectives.Mitiye, one thing though, I so wish this thing called loneliness did not exist. Its a human side that I wish I could just shove aside. Sadly its there. One writer said about death, "Most things may never happen, this one will." So is it true for loneliness I guess. But my question is "What is the price to pay?" I guess you've already gathered that I'm gonna be asking more questions, instead of giving you answers. I had believed in the kind of love that you see someone and you just KNEW that he was it. Hun, I honestly don't believe that exists. And its ok I guess ... not as romantic but all the same, life. What's important is to make a distinction between fairy tales and Its weird that I should be reading this book at this moment because the author breaks it down real good."Was it better to be with Tereza or to remain alone?""There is no means of testing which decision is better, because there is no basis for comparison. We live everything as it comes, without warning, like an actor going on cold. And what can life be worth if the first rehearsal for life is life itself? That is why life is always like a sketch. No, 'sketch' is not quite the word, because a sketch is an outline of something, the groundwork for a picture, whereas the sketch that is our life is a sketch for nothing, an outline with no picture.""What happens but once, says the German adage, might as well not have happened at all. If we have only one life to live, we might as well not have lived at all."Aleme, while I don't particulary agree with his last point, there is some truth to his words. Sometimes life is so ridiculous to the point of hilarity. With some mistakes you can amend, with other chances, you are only given one and you hope to God you don't mess it up. Is that fair? Of course not but fairness has never been a word associated with life. But darling, I do believe in one thing with all my heart. And that is our ability to make our lives the best it can be, even when other people are taking part in it. And in you more than scores of people, I have complete confidence of that strength. All you have to do, as cliche and ammateur as it sounds, is listen to yourself. Mitish, I can't tell you how I was cracking up while reading your post. Especially about the "guy your dad was close friends with" and the "God like whisper in the middle of the night". LOL! I'm telling you, those novels might have screwed us up in more ways than we thought. Bicha Egzer alelin. Wedishalew darling, and hoping to read you soon!!! muaaaaaaaaaaah Nafakish,Ke gizatachin.P.S. I knew you were a bit ticked off when you signed off as "Rihana" ... sounds so foreing lol[...]

Rihana to Feker - To commit or not to commit


My dearest friend,So finally Dell has decided to be kind enough to send me a new laptop which actually works, Alhamdulilah, lets just hope it stays that way. Mitisha, i'm at the office right now, keep in mind it's a Sunday afternoon, and i'm trying to do some decent sort of work. Well, the fact that i'm writing this to you shows that i'm not really succeeding at that.Mitiye, i don't think i have ever been so confused about anything in my entire life ( the confusion resulting from what we discussed last night over the phone - i know we discussed a lot of thing, but i think you'll know what i'm talking about as you read on.) The question for today my deer is To commit or not to commit.Oh my love, how wonderful it is to be single. What a relief it is to have nothing to lose, to not be responsible for another individual, to simply live for yourself, being the best person you know how, and just... you know that feeling where you have everything under your control, to wake up in the morning and know what you're going to be doing for the rest of the day, to know that you are the one and only individual who can harm yourself, thereby decreasing to the minimum the risk of pain and disappointment. You have everything and everyone at a distance and you can be your fabulous self, and not care. Period. I know of course there are those nights within which you crave for another humans touch. where loneliness creeps up and makes you question that very fabulous self which has always been on 'the straight path.' We have said it so many times, loneliness is not something which we can easily adopt to, like yagerochachen sewoch endemilut - meches men yemayelemed neger ale? - Well, i don't know if loneliness can be counted within this group. I wonder if anyone of us can ever get use to that feeling where our bodies are screaming for affection, where our emotions seek deep understanding, where for a few scary minutes, nothing matters under the sun except having a significant other next to you...And then comes the question of who that significant other must be. Is that touch i crave for each night expected to come from a specific kind of individual? Or are relationships much more than the touch, the security, the simple beautiful moments of bliss you share with that person? ...Yet again, even before we get to the kind of individual, i guess there is that question i had hoped to raise earlier - that question of whether or not to give up that wonderful feeling of 'singlhood.' For the fist time in my life i think i understand exactly what that really means. Are we to be so terrified of loneliness so much that we bring in so many complication in our lives just to avoid it? If i chose to be single, am i risking too much? Will i be one of those women my mom talks about - rasachewen semay seklew komew yehew keru! - yemibaluten. Will i regret that decision i've made of going only after my career in a couple years and realize that it was simply not worth it? Should we just give up on the human's ability to stand up just on its own?… after making that decision of crossing the line between being single and being two, who and what is the other individual suppose to be? Should i be satisfied if he satisfies me and only me, or should i make sure that he goes beyond that and satisfies my - mom, uncles, aunts, brother, friends, my friends families, professors, my fellow workers, financial advisor, that man my dad was close friends with, even that guy I’ll meet while i'm having coffee at starbucks - because… i can picture the scene... “why exactly are you with this man?” the starbucks dude asks [...]

Rihana to Feker - Choosing to love


My beloved friend,I have so many things to say to you. I'll simply attempt to say as much as i possibly can. I'm so sorry to hear about your zemed, and i can only imagine what it must have been like to hear about it, and what it must have felt to think of the never sent splenda packet. Oh mitisha, i want to tell you how much i love you for being able to write so well and in ways that i can almost hear you through your writing. I'm not kidding this gift of yours shall not go to waste and i'm certain that it won't. I can almost hear you in it and even within the sadness, i smile imagining how you would pronounce every word. All this to say, i love reading you!Mitisha, active love - with these simple words come so many emotions, i choke. It hits me do deep that i may even consider a bit about what exactly i'm saying while i'm typing. I can't imagine what your zemed must have endured. We are constantly failing to realize how much the emotional part of ourselves needs, just as much as the physical. I think for me the love being "active" is the issue. Sometimes it becomes issue enough for me to question even my ability to love. Remember that doctor Dostoevsky mentioned, who loved humanity but hated the individual? In a somewhat related... but yet again unrelated way... - i love humanity - Alhamdulilah - i love people and that has been a blessing in my life, and i love individuals also, but i wonder so often if these individuals know it, or even understand it. I lack that ability to show them constantly that i do in fact love them even though it may be behind my laughs, my jocks, my 'easy goingness', my 'i don't' mentality....Mitiye, my work this summer has been a blessing. It has thought me in a much deeper level what it means to smile at a person, what it means to give another person the time to hear what they had to say, to show them they you care and that they matter as an individual. Oh my love, what a smile does! what being real means? What a wonderful feeling to be unselfish, no matter how seldom that feeling comes. The other day i had this idea of writing all the people i love a letter to show them what they mean to me. Of course i would never go through such a thing - abeso enen abedech belew amanuel yelekugnal. Even though i thought of all the smiles it would put on so many people's faces, i refrained hoping that they somehow new. But, there is one thing i want to say - one thing that we both need to work on is our chelegnanet. Agu always use to warn me - yet yedersal yalut zaf kebele koretew honesh endatekeri. These very small things we do end up meaning the world to the other person on the receiving end. I've caught myself so many times missing opportunities, so many of them. I think this should be something we should keep in mind, but moments like these do come - where it really does become too late to do what we could have done, to say what could have meant the world to someone.I'm learning in so many levels how hard life can be. Sometimes the way to deal with it is to embrace this very fact. Do the best you can do and them have the ability to to let go. I just finished the book by Ayan Hirsi Ali - i loved it. She did a great job. But you know what was so wonderful. I disagreed with most of her beliefs and ideas. I believe one of her aims in writing this book, and i think one of her aims of her career is to make Muslims question their beliefs and possibly "liberate" them from that very belief system. Mitiye, i finished that book with even an even stronger understanding of why it was that i was a Muslim. I was proud of myself for ha[...]

Feker to Rihana: A packet of 'Splenda'


My dearest darlin,

Please be warned that this post might not be the most positive of my letters to you. This weekend, I called home to allay their fears of my apartmentless situation. Even with my uncle, I know thy won't cease to fuss. So I was talking with my dad about this and that until he drops the news; a close zemed of ours had died. The news? not so shocking. My reaction? Most definitely! You know the me that never cries infront of people? I think my pillows have seen more tears than any human being. Well, when he dropped the bomb, I cried like a child. I really don't know what got into me ... it was bizzare.

So this zemed of mine had diabetes. She's had it for as long as I can remember. I remember us all kids, cousins and yezemed lijoch all congregating at her place on Saturdays. It is one of my most treasured memories from childhood. So it would be me, cousins in MD, and some others from back home ... very young ... saturday late afternoon sessions while our dads drank beer and did their 'ikub' thing. I remember liking her very much because she was always warm and kind to us kids. But I always noticed that she was a shadow of everyone else, by everyone i mean her brothers and sisters. You see, she has this older sister who is much more outgoing ... you know ... what you and I would refer to as 'keltafa'. This one, however nice, was just ... nice and chewa while the other one was exciting, talkative, says what she wants to say to whoever and for us kids she was the cool one.

When my parents were here, they told me that she had taken a turn for the worse. Mitish, I don't know how to explain it but ... beka ... how do you say it? anjete telawese. So I told them that I would buy her a packet of "splenda" for them to take to her. In the end darlin, yesew lij mecheresha ihew newina, I ended up not doing it and they went home empty handed. The part that hurts mitish, is when I proposed to send her the packet, I was sure it wouldn't do her any lasting good. But I wanted her to know she was ... thought of? loved even? And because I have this nonchalance disease deep within me, I neglected to do that one simple thing which would have brought a smile to her face.

Mitiye, a good friend once asked me, while I was going on and on about how awful it is to be UNable to love, "What about not being loved? I hate not being loved". Mitiye, that's exactly what entered my mind when my dad told me the news. I asked him if I should call the older sister and he "I don't think that's necessary. She's not making a big deal of it". Wow. so so cold. Mitiye, Doestovsky? Love? I have a sneaking suspicion her death was caused by diabetes just as much by lack of love. Mitiye, I really do believe that. And it makes it worse doesn't it? Ay darlin, all this to say we shan't forget our lessons on active love, however circumstances might force us to. To love or not to love? There shouldn't even be a choice.

Your disconcerted friend.

Feker to Rihana: Mama Mia


Darlin,This might be a very long and confused post so I beg you to make the most of it. Like I told you yesterday, I went and watched Mama Mia last time, enjoyed it tremendously but couldn't help leaving the movie theatre a little down. While enjoying the beautiful costumes, amazing songs and some of the ridiculous parts of the movie, Merryl Streep decides to kill the moment for me. This she did by singing "Dancing Queen". "You are the dancing queen, young and sweet, only seventeenDancing queen, feel the beat from the tambourineYou can dance, you can jive, having the time of your lifeSee that girl, watch that scene, dig in the dancing queen"17! Darlin 17 is considered young. It was this peircing realization that I was, not only NOT seventeen but 18,19,20,21,22! Look how beautiful they look even written down? I can't believe those years have gone ... Its just scary yemir. Not to say I don't like where I am now but ... I can't have them back. They've gone ... puff ... leaving only fading memories in their wake. I kept on thinking, on the ride back, that what would be the most regrettable thing of these years. And I guess you already know the answer to that one. Mitish, ... don't know how to explain it but I wonder if we could ever really say 'I've lived my life to the fullest.' Well, except for the regrettable fact that I haven't met one guy to impress me or better yet, allowed myself to be impressed, these past years haven't been too shabby at all. And the gloom subsides ... heheThere is a certain kind of charm to our office right this moment, most people are out on vacation leaving me with ample time to write to you; dear friend. Other than this cherished act, I've also had time to review most of my favourite blogs, not excluding newspapers from back home. You remember I told you about that column I really enjoy on Addis Admass, Inichewawet? I used to love it when I was back home, it literally had me doubling up with laughter ... the guy is talented aygeltsewim. Bicha, I was catching up on his writings since the website had stopped working for a while and now its back on. I realized, when he talks about women, habesha women to be specific, the dude, I'm afraid to say is down right sexist. Now i know what you're saying mitish, 'anchi demo, inezihinu feministoch litihogni minim alkeresh, tsegur sinteka new eko yeteyayazshiw' ... but not really babe. Honestly, I still find most of his comments funny but what dissapoints me really is that its not just him. Women in our habesha culture still don't get the respect they deserve. Mitisha, would you believe I have never once thought of my being female as a disadvantage, even when we were back home. NOT ONCE! But I'm wondering if the reason you and I never felt it was because we've been sort of sheltered from the prejudice by our parents, siblings, teachers, zemed azmad? Mitish, its amazing how recurrent this theme of the habesha woman as a fickle minded, money grabbing, just a pretty face, ... well you know the rest. Even our very own columnist on Addis Fortune alluded to the same thing ... pretty much agreeing with this friend of hers who had returned from abroad and who had asked her to introduce him to someone because he was looking to settle down or something like that. She said her mind went blank; she couldn't come up with ladies she could see this guy compatible with. I'm not criticizing what she said, but I'm just putting it out there. At least her article offered ways by which we should change this perception of our women. My question[...]

Feker to Rihana: Disjointed thoughts



I realized, while reading your mail from yesterday, that I can't really offer you any good, better yet, any real advice. As you know, I'm very much in the dark when it comes to matters of the heart. To me, and to you too until recently, a relationship was tantamount to disaster. I don't know where we picked up those ideas but it is a fear that is still deep within me. Like you said, without knowing why, your ship has sailed. And you really didn't know why, you said. I think I do. I do think, mitisha, looking back you saw there was something missing and so you braved it. As much as I applaud your boldness, I also believe it was the natural thing to follow. What comes afterwards, mi love, is the true 'fetena' so to say. After all, its only worth it if you're willing to fight for it. So don't stress darlin, I have a feeling like everything and by everything i mean moving here, going to MoHo, and all the other countless challenges, some things take a while to get used to.

I am now sitting and writing to you dear friend, after a long day at work, a quick 'mekses', alone in the apartment, and a thunderstorm which reminds me of our beautiful 'kiremt' back home. Couldn't have asked for a better setting. Darlin, you remember when we always said how much of our blessings we took for granted? Well this week I found another one to make me ... i don't know if the word thankful alone would describe my feeling. Mitiye, bewinet new milish when people congratulated me during graduation I couldn't help but be surprised. At home, graduating from college was you duty, not a success that should be celebrated. Honors, yes ... a good job, definitely but certainly not graduation. And yet these days, I am reminded of how precious our education is. To the point where I almost feel guilty about it, our lives are so different from the average habesha here. I mean we had heard stories when we were in MoHo but to see it fit lefit is an effective reality check. I had somehow drifted off thinking that our lives were the norm, that everyone had time to ponder, reflect and ... i don't know, take the morning off if you wanted to. The reality however is definitely less rosy. Take for example a friend's boss who hang up on her when she told him she will not be coming in that morning because she was not feeling well. She had worked for him for the past two years. Or my other friend, though she is a professional, she got a witch of a boss who refuses to give her credit for anything she does. Through all this mitiye, i can't help but see how truly blessed, lucky I am and these thoughts instead of elating me I feel this guilt I can't explain. No matter how hard I've been trying, its something I haven't been able to shake off. Hode, I think i should stop here ... i haven't written half as much as I would like but my 'cheguara' for some reason tenestoal and i need to lie down. Will continue with my disjointed thoughts tomorrow. I love you.

Rihana to Feker - A blank mind


I didn't want you to open our blog and not find me in it, so i thought i would just put in a few words to tell you that i've tried. Currently my mind is blank. I can't think straight. Mitiye, every day i realize our naive we are, and how much i don't want to let that go. Some times i have such a hard time understanding Mamo, because i can feel that a few years back he was almost me - believed in the possibility of a beautiful life and our capacity to embrace it. But now i fear that he has lost that. He questions everything, and i don't have the answers. I don't know why people betray eachother, or why "bad things happen to good people," I don't know why we fall in love and i don't know why... well there is much i don't know. But if there is one thing that i do know, is that i won't let all these negativities put me down. I want to be able to love and laugh at the same time. With him, though i think i am way past the point where i can walk away like i've done with so many. I'm in it way too deep to have the heart to do that. I'll stick it through, but what scares me most, ones past another point ( possibly the next point) it might be too late to turn back.
I think i'm also suffering from my constant inability to express exaclty what it is i'm feeling. I do try, really do try, and sometimes i do succeed. But other times, my love, i never find the right words, or the few word which come into my head just can't do justice to what it is that i feel inside of me.
Aderashen, yehen hulu selesh, don't think i've changed. Because my darling, i haven't. I wish i could tell you that i have, that this and that has happened to me and all that BS. I still can't wait til i start school, and i can't wait til i get into my dorm and have sunday brunch and find a cozzy corner in the library. But i think what has happened is, i've taken maybe another step in life, which either one of us use to never dare of. Don't ask me why i did it, or if it is even a good idea. But like they always say, yelm teferto sayetegna ayetaderem. Do i did do it. And i guess we shall live and see. I think i'll stop... i did start off with a blank mind, but i guess it did have a few random thoughts in it... and i didn't want to break your heart with an empty page - mechem lanchi beye, ye anboha termus west new megbat yemikeregn!!( Taruku's classic saying - mechem you remember him - 5 years temehrt bet yamelalesen)

I love you

Feker to Rihana: Renewal of our vows



What can I say? Our conversation from last night keeps on resounding in my head ... its amazing how every time I talk to you a little part of me is ... how should i put it ... my naivety is renewed. And however much people might scorn me for being an idealist, better that than average any day. And babe, for this blog I thank you since its just the outlet I've been looking for to ... what was it you said ... vent? exactly! I need to vent about my apartmentless situation right now, about finding my self in a world not so rosy and people so caught up with everyday mundane details of life so many of us have forgotten about what the big picture is all about. And GOD! this certainly is not it! How do you explain millions of people slaving away, worried about their financial status 24/7 (it doesn't matter if they've been on the job 20 years, they worry just as much as the next person) ... and yet this is the dream land thousands flock to every day. And yet, I can't help but think of the few at the top who accumulate all that ... mitish there is something wrong with this picture. You see people ... existing. Sort of what we were talking about last night ... about the African American plight here. Semonun yeyazkut tsebay degmo ... whenever I walk by a homeless or a seemingly 'ibd' sew, instead of shrinking away like i did when i was a kid ... i simply imagine myself in their place and ... beka min tiyalesh mitish? But I guess what you said last night makes a lot of sense, it's beyond us to even dare try make sense of this world. All you can count and believe in is the little changes you can make at a time ... and even for that small opportunity, we shall forever be thankful to God. Darlin, now that the wirless on my laptop has miraculously started working i shall continue on. ohhhhh forgot one tiny detail ... our wanderer friend just called right now, she'll be arriving on friday. lol. she was very disappointed that she won't be staying at our apartment, even went so far as calling us loosers, four years in college has thought us nothing! (you know that saying yemitadu iyale ye inqibu tentata?!!!!) bicha ... today we shall put down in history as a sort of anniversary ... oh no ... i got a better one ... renewing our vows? lol ... GOD! was that corny or what?> bicha wededishim telashim i'm calling it that. wedishalew babe ... read you soon.

From Rihana to Feker - The First of our Letters through this blog.



It seems like i haven't talked to you in a life time. I guess both of us being busy with our jobs - can be seen as a good excuse... well, i don't think it's good enough. I had spent the last few days thinking about a possibility of you and i runing into eachother on the streets of washington DC with our men or possibly kids 10 years from now and saying " oh... we were so close back in college! wi wi, mechem sew kalmote yegenagnal" - well if this happens - gedeyesh kerchele! i'm not kidding. I feel like we're both drawning in the realities of our every day lives, in two different states of the country, possibly going towards the path of 'indifference' when it comes to a lot of things.
My love, i don't have the luxury to take this risk, i can not possibly risk of losing the many passions we have within our selves - oh babe, how easy it is for that to happen....

My fear has initiated me to create this blog for the sake of the soul of the both of us and our futures. I've seen many people get into a life which breaks the hearts of people like you and i. and the way it looks to me at this point - we might end up being one of them. I hope you will not hate me for putting some of our previos private emails up on this blog. But it had to be done. We both need this to vent. You and I are probably going to be the two people who'll look at this blog. But the beauty of it is that it's in an organized fashion so that we will keep doing it for as long as we possibly can. It is suppose to be a constant reminder of what we believe in, the changes we've went through ( oh God if you read back on our emails, you'll see how big those changes where) and the destinations we're heading towards.

It's suppose to be a documentation of our passions, our thoughts, our dreams - a documentation of who we are. So here, i have started it, and it's now your responsibility to get it going. So next time i check my yahoo email - i don't wanna see an email from you. I'll be checking this blog. ( you'll recieve the username and password in a text on your phone.) Start blogging as soon as possible and we both have to blog at least once a week. I love you, and i have done this without your opinion because i honestly believe with everything that i am - WE NEED THIS - there is a lot at stake here!

Adnakish Ke Michigan