At least it might have been scary for Anemo had he been aware he was doing it. Of course, it is completely our fault. We've been looking only at the date on Anemo's Permanent Resident Card (his "Green Card"), which expires in 2019, forgetting to check his Ethiopian passport, which expired this past January. Really, we should have applied for Anemo's American passport by now; we just have to get the paperwork and do it.
|Anemo's Ethiopian passport expired on January 13. Notice that my first name still serves as a placeholder for Anemo's middle name. We have to change that.|
With no entry stamp in Anemo's passport, we thought we might have a problem leaving the island. When Suzanne handed our three passports to the immigration official, I couldn't watch as she (a different woman) flipped through the pages. Instead, I just listened for the satisfying sounds of the exit stamps...1...2...........and 3. We were through without incident. Now we just had to get back into the United States.
|Anemo waiting in line to clear immigration in Curaçao on our way home.|
It turns out there was no need to panic. The new automated passport control kiosks relieved a lot of the burden from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers, so we breezed through the line. The officer who examined our passports didn't seem to notice the date of expiry either, which dissipated the remaining tension in our bodies. After all the rushing, our flight was delayed by a half hour, so we were able to have a joyless dinner of rice and beans at La Carreta, the Cuban restaurant near our gate.
I asked Lulit about the syllable and she wrote:
The ዊ on the passport indicates belonging to a type or citizenship. So, if you want to write democratic, you would change democracy (ዲሞክራሲ) to ዲሞክራሲያዊ.And therefore,
ኢትዮጵያ (Ethiopia) --› ኢትዮጵያዊ (Ethiopian, pronounced EtiyoPyawee)It sounds funny to my ears to have a syllable I associate with childhood, even infancy, at the end of such official words. I was listening to a broadcast of political news in Amharic and heard the syllable several times so I asked Lulit to help me with the translation. The ዊ (wee) syllable turns each of these nouns into adjectives:
አሜሪካ (America) --› አሜሪካዊ (American, pronounced Amayreekawee)
ስለ (about) ኢትዮጵያ ፖለቲካዊ (political) ኢኮኖሚያዊ (economical) እና (and) ማህበራዊ (social) ጉዳዮች (topics/matters).I still have much to learn about how the ዊ syllable functions in Amharic. I also have much to learn about how to get Anemo an American passport to replace his expired Ethiopian one (the topic of a future blog post I'm sure). In the meantime, we are all waiting for our 15-year-old Haitian exchange student to arrive from Port-au-Prince. We were supposed to meet Sasha Olicha Obagou Charmant this coming Saturday, but we were just informed yesterday that recent problems with the Department of State’s visa issuance system will delay this Haitian student exchange program, which was supposed to run for 10 days. Anemo, who is working on a welcome poster for Sasha, asked today if his temporary "older brother" is still coming to stay with us.
We hope the answer is oui.