Ethiopian Coffee: Little piece of Home

As an Ethiopian, to experience a little piece of home, making Ethiopian traditional coffee and roasted sweet corn for finding more comfort from home while living abroad is the best way to go.

While having coffee in Luxembourg, I couldn’t help to contemplate a profound saying which resonates with my soul like it has never been before. The author of The Man Within My Head, Pico Iyer says, “…home lies in the things you carry with you everywhere and not the ones that tie you down.”

Ethiopian Coffee and sweet corn

Being Ethiopian is finding home in Coffee!

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A Historic Italian Car in Ethiopia

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I love witnessing details – which make a county and its people – being caressed beautifully. There is definitely a fascinating history behind this particular car, which now placed inside Haile Resort lobby in Hawassa, Ethiopia.

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The story goes like this, as exactly as the car telling its history in Amharic and English languages,  beautifully placed next to it, for visitors to read.

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“It gives me great pleasure when I say Hello and Welcome to Haile Resort, Hawassa. I would like to share a short history of my long life! I was made in 1927, which means I am now around 87 years old. I came to Ethiopia from Italy with Italian soldiers seven years after I was made. I was serving the Italian soldiers. By the time Italian soldiers left Ethiopia, I was given to one of the Italian Banda of the time. Banda’s are Ethiopians loyal to Italians. The Banda I was serving from around Jimma area. I don’t remember his name now.

When Emperor Haile Selassie returned back from exile and restored order the Banda couldn’t use me, because if he does he will be identified as traitor. Therefore, I had to stay hidden in the backyard for about 33 years. After such a long time of ignorance, I was back at work again. That was during the great Ethiopian revolution of 1974. Soon afterwards I faced another obstacle; all my necessary documents were lost. Then it was illegal to use me, back to the backyard again.

At that moment, I had no hope of getting up again until someone special came across and brought back life to me. His name is Haile Gebresilassie, for me he is a saint sent from heaven to save my life. I was taken out of the cage. Most of my parts were much damaged and I had to repair them. For example my wheel and tires, my battery and doors were almost like they were not there. The man again invested a lot of money in me to change my look. Then he brought me here and I am now standing in front of you with pride enjoying the beautiful scene of Hawassa Lake from Haile Resort, the best place to be.  

Here I don’t miss every sunset. I am very thankful for the life I am living although deep inside I still wish I could run and jump like my younger days. But that seems just a mere wish. I feel better and important when people visit me, thank you for that. My history may be much longer than this, but because of my age these is what I can memorize at this moment. Thank you once again. Please, help me to live longer, don’t touch me.”    

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Giving Homage to Details!  

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Ethiopia: Addis Ababa’s Street Art

Presenting a photo essay of Addis Ababa’s street art, which can be relished in while strolling through the city.

 Most of the arts reveals eloquent details of Ethiopia, like Amharic scripts and Ethiopian patterns in witty style which I really like. I also include, part of a building covered in graffiti around the old town of the city – Piazza.

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And here is to Ethiopian Artists … Thank you for providing us BEAUTY by honoring your passion.

Keep On Shining!

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Wandering Through Brugge

Sharing my very first video – moments I captured while wandering through beautiful Brugge. Enjoy!

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Luxembourg Legend Of Melusina The Mermaid

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While honoring my Ethiopian Wanderlust here in Luxembourg, wandering beneath The Montée de Clausen along the stream of river Alzette, one could not help noticing beautiful but sad looking purple mermaid.

My sense of wonder took over and fortunately being able to be rewarded with spellbinding, sad but thought provoking story which was beautifully framed and encrypted in four languages – Luxembourgish, French, English and Germany – put on display, on the wall across the purple mermaid.  The story goes like this as exactly as I read it.

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    The Legend of Melusina

One day, Count Siegfried was walking on the banks of the Alzette when he met a princess more beautiful than the day. This gorgeous creature was the nymph of the Alzette, named Melusina, and charmed the valley. Siegfried fell headlong in love with her and in no time had offered his heart and crown to the young woman, who accepted.

Melusina, however, made one condition, which Siegfried had to promise to observe or lose her forever. On Saturdays, the count was to leave Melusina alone in her room and neither see her nor attempt to find out what she was doing. Siegfried agreed and the couple married. 

For years, they lived happily and had many children. One Saturday, however Siegfried walked past Melusina’s room and, hearing a noise, looked through the keyhole. Imagine his horror when he saw her splashing about in a large pool, her body ending in a fish tail.

Now that her true nature had been revealed, Melusina uttered a piercing cry and was swallowed up by the earth. Since then, the nymph of the Alzette has been sealed in a rock known as the Bock and only reappears once every seven years.


Who could have tell a legend belongs to a country than its own country? I loved the fact I stand still to learn about this Luxembourg legend about Melusina the mermaid. I felt like I spent a moment with a story teller and could not help to turn around and take good look at the purple mermaid as then I felt I know her better through the Legend.

And then an intriguing quote that I read once reappeared itself in my mind, for me to contemplate even more.

If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be very intelligent, read them more fairy tales.” Albert Einstein.

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Let us all keep our sense of wonder… wanderlust rewards with Serendipity!

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Ethiopia In Luxembourg

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On one winter day, here in Europe, nostalgia took me to a hidden gem, where I experienced home away from home. Approximately forty minute drive – From Luxembourg city to small town in northwestern Luxembourg known as Heiderscheid – which gradually changing from city feel to suburb through long trees and wide open fields each side, made the journey as meditative as the destination.

Disguised as nostalgia, actually living in Europe as an Ethiopian is actuating me to discover myself even more through the things I am missing the most from back home – the sweltering sun of Africa, Ethiopian national staple – Injera, and the spirit of deeply religious people.

Bundling up before hitting the outdoors during winter is one of the things that took me a while to adjust. Even though I miss ‘the 13 months of sunshine’ which my homeland know for, I am blessed to witness the beauty of winter in its own unique way as well.

Loved autumn in spite of the fact that it felt cold for the child of sun like me. Beautiful was witnessing green leafs gradually changing into yellow and golden brown. Eventually falling on the ground creating beautiful mess. I smelled winter from afar through the wind excitingly swirling leafs on the ground and bare trees which I loved as everything has its own season.

Greeted winter by witnessing its own beauty which changed bare trees into sparkling gray and White Sea like fields brimmed with snow white. While learning to be friends with winter, homesickness knocks on the door to take me on a date – down to memory lane while stirring up my soul.

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Who would have thought that I find Ethiopian restaurant in a small European country like Luxembourg – which I am letting to grown in me as my new home.  As an African, bold happy colors like the building in which Chez Jimmy Restaurant Ethiopien housed in lures me instantly. Obviously the two story building is typical Europe and Luxembourg, nothing about Ethiopia from the outside but I hardly judge a book by it is cover so my curiosity soar way up high as a child to go inside and discover my home – Ethiopia, Africa – in Europe.

The moment I opened the door and took a step in, I smelled home through incense, food being prepared and even the furniture. My sense of hearing also instantly welcomed me to home through local Amharic music which was being played softly in the background … from then on I can’t really help feeling sense of belonging.

I was looking at the furniture and the decorations which screams out loud ETHIOPIA with a sense of wonder as I have never seen it before. Being away from home for a while made me realize how we tend to take ordinary things around us which makes the big picture whole for granted.

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I was not quick to order rather I took my time to see myself in everything that made up this Ethiopian restaurant. Small wood carved chairs which usually and beautifully conveys treasures of Ethiopia on them – the rock – hewn church of Lalibela, the obelisk of Axum, and the fairy tale like castle Fasiledes.

Mesob – table like colorful straw made basket – surrounded by small chairs. White curtain which is the emblem of cotton made Ethiopian traditional clothing with colorful embroideries.

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For a moment, I contemplated the restaurant as a museum, re-learning about my own country as the restaurant’s wall is embellished with eloquent details of Ethiopia – Jebena (clay made traditional coffee pot), Kirar and Begena (traditional music instruments), paintings, Amharic scripts and many more.

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Obviously food is the most cherished way to discover a country. Unlike Ethiopian traditional restaurants in Addis Ababa or any other parts of the country, which most likely tends to serve locals by locals, I choose not to compare and expect exactly alike experience as this restaurant is in Europe literally being a  representative of Ethiopian cuisine for the rest of the world.

The menu comprised emblematic Ethiopian dishes, which I grew up eating and missing so much. It took me little while to decide as I was bit overwhelmed by the whole experience. As I always do, I eventually followed my guts and went for a combination platter of Ethiopian food.

There are two kinds of platter in Ethiopian cuisine culture, one which contains little bit of rich, warm, meat lover, comforting and holiday stews known as Maheberawi (Ye Fisik Beyaynetu). Ye Tsome Beyaynetu is more vegetable and grain based dishes which usually consumed during lent offering (fasting days) for Ethiopian Orthodox Religion devotees.

Clearly I went for the rich, warm, holiday feel platter of Ethiopian food as my soul needed a hug on that gloomy winter day in Europe and it was a date with nostalgia after all so the choice made sense. For my Belgian husband we went for his Ethiopian favorite dish Tibs ( Ye Beg Tibs) – grilled or stir fried lamb cubes with onion serve on traditional clay pot.

As I mentioned Injera is one of the things I missed so much while being away from home for so long and I can relate with many Ethiopians on this matter. I used to hear about having Injera outside the country is never the same from Ethiopian friends and family who lives outside the country so now it is my turn to find out what they really meant. Obviously being informed beforehand prepared me to lower my expectation on satisfying my craving for authentic Injera outside my country.

Many Ethiopians like me, who grew up eating Injera with everything and almost every day and witnessing Ethiopian mother’s, turning beloved tiny Teff grain with love into a round very filling base of Ethiopian cuisine, argues that Injera is hardly the same once its step out of its home land – Ethiopia – due to different factors – ingredients, utensil, weather, adjustments, overall vibe and alike.

During traveling to another country one of the basic things which most probably could be found in an Ethiopian luggage would be Teff flour. Obviously not only for the restaurants but for many of us hardly manage to bring the true essence of Injera like we know it back home in another foreign land in our new home where ever it may be.

Injera has sourish taste due to the fermentation process and we Ethiopians believe that this sourish taste goes very well with spicy Ethiopian dishes. Obviously it takes time for many foreigners to get around Injera on the very first time trying it and as my foreigner friends would say either you like it or not.

Thus, it would make sense to make it less sourish by minimizing the fermentation process or mixing it with other grains like rice, corn or wheat in which is the case these days in regarding making Injera more approachable to foreigners and of course for another factor of not having easy access to this tiny grain Teff like in its own home land –Ethiopia. Either way for many Ethiopians including me these approach kills the true essence of Injera and having it in this form makes us to miss home even more.

Back to the restaurant, I loved the warm presentation of the food. The very thing that stood out for me was the tray with bold Amharic script written on it which literally means ‘Bone Appetite for Ethiopians.’ The little traditional clay made bowls made me feel at home.Ethiopia In Luxembourg 9

Even though there is no written rule on sticking to the combination of Ethiopian platter dish and of course there is room for being creative but I like the old fashion way of Mahberawi (Ye Fisik Beyaynetu) platter as I mention earlier, so here a bit of twist made by adding two fasting dishes which I think they belong to in the other platter but that is just my take on it.

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Unlike European table etiquette – food being consumed with knife, fork or spoon, and going through from one little course to another – Gathering around one big meal and dipping into it with hand, getting intimate with the food and expressing love via Gursha – feeding one another – is all about Ethiopian communal eating culture. Thus we put my husband’s order in a round tray which my order served in, just like Ethiopians would eat with family and we plunged in with our hands.

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Unlike the Injera, I would say the stews are as good and as closer to home. As an Ethiopian, my taste bud love that kick of a heat. Berbere (a chili-spice blend) is another basic ingredient of Ethiopian cuisine and like Teff flour Bereber spice mix is also a travel companion which usually ends up in many Ethiopian travel luggage.

I enjoyed Berber very well in two stews – Doro wot (Chicken Stew) and Siga Wot (Beef Stew) – which are included in this Ethiopian Restaurant version of Ye Fisik Beyaynet (Mahberawi). Cottage cheese comes along with many holiday dishes of Ethiopia, not only to ease the heat but for comfort as well.

Last but not least, it was refreshing to have the other two vegetable based Ethiopian dishes in this assortment, Ye Tikil Goman (white cabbage and carrot with hint of turmeric) and Selata (simple tomato and lettuce salad).

After having deliciously filling Ethiopian dish, washing reddish and bit messy hand even though the lingering smell of exotic spices that made up the stews definitely leave traces behind which doesn’t wear off quickly.  Unlike having sweet dessert after a meal, it is coffee that always follows the big hearty meal in Ethiopian eating culture.

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Being the origin and land of coffee, having this worldly admired hot beverage in Ethiopia, Ethiopian household and of course Ethiopian Restaurants in another country is a must have experience all by itself as Coffee is a religion for Ethiopian.

In Ethiopia coffee comes with all its glory along with eloquent details that makes it unique –Traditional coffee pot, cup, burning incense – soul reviving  way of welcoming all human race to their own home as Ethiopia is indeed cradle of humanity.

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Jimmy Ethiopian Restaurant is a hidden gem which I am gratefully surprised to find here in Luxembourg. I say thank you for a beautiful experience…

Home away from home!

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BRUGGE: Hot Chocolate Seasoned With Love

Here is something from my Ethiopian wanderer diary.


While learning to merge with my first time winter experience here in Europe, I found myself, savoring delicious hot chocolate in a chocolate world and postcard like – Brugge.

“Love calls – everywhere and always. We’re sky bound. Are you coming?” Rumi

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