Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Last Friday

Yes, we were the only crazies on the 6:55am train last Friday. Look at all those empty seats! We arrived at USCIS in Elizabeth, NJ with five minutes to spare and just as the long line outside began to move inside when the doors opened.

This joint is a well-oiled machine. Both of us gasped when seeing all the people ahead of us - only to be whisked through the line, handed a clipboard with instructions: go sit, sign this, return here, move there, check in over there, wait in the red chair area, take a number, move forward and exit out the gray doors. Oh no! but when can I go to the bathroom? I've had 3 cups of coffee and two waters and it's only 8:05am. Will I lose my place and have to start all over? Surely I'll be here for the duration of the morning. I started having flashbacks of Elaine in line at the Soup Nazi. I can't get booted out of here and risk the possibility of a Visa delay for our unknown child simply because my bladder couldn't withstand the wait in the red-chair area. Oh boy.

Fast forward 12 hours to midtown (west) Manhattan. We arrive for our long-awaited reservations at Queen of Sheba. Yum. I ordered chicken & Kai ordered beef (see below). It's served on injera (flat pancake-like bread) with all the side dishes along the edges and our entrees in the center, shared and eaten with fingers. A side of injera is served and used as your utensil. Injera is sometimes compared to the French crepe, but with a sour taste. This takes a minute to get used to, however the spices in the entrees and sides were absolutely amazing.

On a side note, if you've been following this blog you know who Haregewoin Teferra is because of a few mentions. On her very first trip to NYC, Ms Teferra arrived at Newark airport with no ride due to some simple miscommunication. She didn't speak English and had never been to the US. Thankfully, two Ethiopian-American girls noticed her and asked (in Amharic) if she needed assistance. Half an hour later the three of them were sitting at a table eating Ethiopian food at Queen of Sheba. Haregewoin worked the room by telling her story of her home in Africa, full of HIV positive orphans. She ended up raising a very handsome sum for the children and continued speaking at various locations around NYC.

This restaurant holds a lot of history in the NY-Ethiopian community and is sure to be revisited over and over again by the Gittens family.

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