Thursday, October 6, 2011

I miss you in Nashville

Dawit came with me to Nashville this week to visit his Nana. He always tells me, "I miss you in Nashville." It breaks my heart in two. So we decided this would be a good week for him to join me there.

Yesterday I took him to Gojo, the best Ethiopian restaurant in the city. We celebrated Dawit's first birthday there. Ahmed, the owner, loves Dawit and always speaks to him in Amharic, which causes guilt to course through my veins for not working harder to learn the language and share it with Dawit. (Getting the tapes are on my to-do list.) So Ahmed says something to Dawit and Dawit says "yes." I looked at Ahmed, and he said, "I asked if he would like to come with me." So he asked again in English and Dawit took his hand and headed to the kitchen -- a place I've never been but would love to see in action.

A few minutes later, Dawit comes strolling back to the dining room talking on a cell phone. I hear him say things like, "Hop on Thomas" and "Thomas and Percy and Edward." Thomas the Tank Engine, of course, because that's his favorite -- and pretty much only -- subject. He eventually says "Bye" and hands me the phone. It was Ahmed's wife who wasn't working that day and was very sorry to miss D. I translate all of Dawit's jabbering for her and promise to bring him back soon.

As we're leaving, Ahmed invites Dawit to come spend the day with his family some weekend. He has children for Dawit to play with. Other than Ahmed's wife, I've only met his niece so I'm excited to meet more of his family and hang out. We chat about him being unable to go back to Ethiopia because of the restaurant. If he does go, he'd have to leave Shemsia behind or vice versa. It makes me sad. It makes me want to offer to run the restaurant so they can go together. I know they miss their country. And their families. And their own traditions. And their language. I hope they can make it happen. They're such wonderful people.

The restaurant was crowded at lunch. I love to see it crowded. And to watch the people try to figure out the eating protocol. But this day, people seemed to already know, which means they're likely regulars. And that's cool.

When we got back home after 3 days in Nashville, Dawit says to me, "I miss you in Nashville."


Evelyn said...

Aren't Ethiopian restaurants such havens for our families, especially those of us who live in Ethiopian deserts. So glad you have that connection!

HollyMarie said...

Ohhhh! I bet he does miss you; what a special time that he could come with you this time. And what a neat place, Gojos. We'll be going to "our" Gojos (same name!) in Grand Rapids, MI in a couple months. :)

Christine said...

I love Ethiopian restaurants. It's always an event. He's so sweet, your little guy.

los cazadores said...

Love the owenrs of that restaurant just from reading this post.

I wish Dawit and Oakley could know each other.