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A Day Off?

Tea EthiopiaThis is the time of year when many of us need more rest. The pollen and the mildew (from the gorgeous flowers, trees, grass, and the rain which makes them beautiful) just take the energy right out of me. It’s also harder to sleep in the morning when the sun comes up earlier and earlier, and wakes me before my normal time.

And one day it’s 65F and so warm I leave my coat in the car. The next day (or even later in the same day) I wonder why I left my ear muffs at home! I think it is no surprise this is cold season. The body has to switch between cooling off and warming up, back and forth, and it is hard on us.

tea in Cairo HotelAnd then I did my annual stay-up-too-late evening before the meeting with the tax guy. I know better, I think I’m all prepared, and then the night before I panic and dig through all the millions of piles of papers I have until past 3am. It’s not a lot later than usual for me, but with the early sunrise it’s a bad combination.

So today… aaah. Today I rest.

Peasant Breakfast, EgyptI had scheduled a class for today, but the class is not a “go.” I then planned to dye yarn, but I’m very tired. For once in my life, I’m going to listen to my body talking to me. I’m going to rest. Preventative maintenance. If I rest now, maybe I can avoid illness later. That is my plan, anyway!

I did get up a bit early today, to go to a dance rehearsal. The Habibi Dancers’ big annual show is a week from today. I’m in two dances, so I have regular troupe rehearsals on Wednesdays, plus one of my dances has rehearsals on Fridays, the other has alternated Tuesdays and Saturdays. I’ll be glad to have fewer rehearsals in a week, though it is good for me to be physical more often.

But now I’m at home, alone in the quiet happiness of my cozy house. And I am knitting my Watercolor bag like there is no tomorrow (I’m almost done with skein 2 out of 3 skeins of Kureyon). I am going to just prop myself up with a zillion pillows on the couch, wrap up in my Ethiopian gahbi (a wonderful, warm hand-woven cotton blanket with 4 layers), and knit.

mourning woman in EthiopiaAltu gave me a bit of fresh ginger root today, so I am pretending I’m in Altu’s mother’s house in Ethiopia, drinking the good tea she always made for me. Altu’s mom made sure I had a full thermos of tea 24/7 while I was there, and it often was flavored with different herbs and spices, sometimes ginger. I’ve got some black tea from an Egyptian company (I think the tea is actually from Sri Lanka), and I’m dreaming of Egypt and Ethiopia while drinking this great tea. Mmmmm….

Photos today: 1) Tea at Altu’s Mom’s house… the spoon is silver and you can’t see it well upside down, but the handle is in the shape of a native Ethiopian animal, I think an antelope, with curly horns. Notice the green herb on the right side of the cup. This is a very aromatic herb which is often added to tea, we had it for breakfast a lot. An interesting point is that in Ethiopian restaurants they often serve you spiced hot water (it tasted like cloves and cinnamon at minimum), in a teacup or small pot. The teabag is often on the side, as you see in the US, but spices are already in the water. It’s very good!

2) Tea at the Cairo Marriott restaurant which featured Egyptian cuisine and dancing (the hotel had many restaurants, all with themes)… tea was often served in a glass when we were in Egypt. 3) Tea and fresh bread, local honey, and a cottage cheese dip, which we ate on Christmas Eve day, somewhere on the road between Cairo and Alexandria. We were told this was a “peasant breakfast,” and it was some of the best food we got in Egypt.

4) Woman in Ethiopia probably wearing a gahbi. From the placement of the seams, I think it’s a gahbi, but she could be wearing a lighter-weight gauze wrap instead. The length of a gahbi is the same as what you see here, anyway. (The lighter wrap is more commonly seen on the street because it’s not very cold too often. The gauze blocks sun when it’s hot, and blocks a little breeze instead of a windbreaker. The gahbi is more likely to keep you warm at home in the evening chill, but can be a sort of “coat” on the street if warmth is needed.)

An interesting note about this last photo, is that the woman is coming home from a funeral. You can tell she is in mourning, because she is wearing the decorative trim of the fabric around her head. Usually the decoration is on the bottom hem, but they wear it upside down when they mourn.

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