Thursday, May 29, 2014

Lost in Space (and Time)

Time is passing. More than one month ("annd wer") has passed since I started this project. And the last two weeks have not been all that productive. I've been distracted by an article deadline and the prospect of a full-time teaching job next year, which I'm not sure I even want. I know that if I were to take a full-time job, it would spell the end of this project, practically before it even gets off the ground. I guess that's why I've been feeling down. I knew that this whole enterprise was counter-cultural, but I had no idea how much pressure I would feel from within to possess a full-time, all-consuming teaching position, even though we are doing OK financially for the time being. When I started this project, I thought I would commit to it fully, Forrest Gump-style, until it had run its course. Now my recent actions (and distractions) are threatening to sabotage the whole thing. I even had to cancel my FaceTime meeting with Jan today, citing lack of progress. Jan offered an encouraging text back, and we spoke in the language of Lost in Space. (Talk about cultural specificity!)
Jan's advice to do something everyday, even for 10-15 minutes.
I felt compelled to skip my FaceTime with Jan this week.
I've been feeling like a "bubble-headed booby" or "ludicrous lump" for neglecting my Amharic Project.
It will be good to see Lulit again tomorrow. My last lesson with her was all about time, so now I can measure in Amharic all the time I've been wasting! Interestingly, the Ethiopian calendar contains 13 months, but that doesn't buy me any extra time. All months last exactly 30 days except the thirteenth month, called P'agume ጳጉሜ, which consists of only the five days (or six during a leap year) before the new year on September 11 (or 12). In Ethiopia, the year is currently 2006 because of the way the Ethiopian Orthodox Church reckons the date for the Incarnation of Jesus. Since Anemo just turned 7, that means he was born in Ethiopia's year 1999, shortly before the turn of its own millennium (if you follow the cardinal rather than ordinal year determination of the millennium). So in a way we are both 20th-century kids.

I was trying to explain a lot of this recently to Anemo, but he got caught up in saying the word P'agume over and over, which, with its bilabial ejective p', is indeed fun to say, especially while eating pizza from Giorgio's.
video
We'll see where I am when the actual month of P'agume comes around, coinciding roughly with Labor Day and the start of the next school year. If I heed Jan's warning via the robot from Lost in Space, I'll still be firmly committed to this important project.

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