Thursday, January 19, 2012

around the world

One of the big seventh-grade projects to help them learn geography is a "World's Fair," wherein teams of kids are assigned to represent a country, research the heck out of it, and present it to the entire school.

My son was assigned Ethiopia. (He had asked for the Yukon, but I think he got demerit points for not knowing the difference between a territory and a country.)

This is one of those projects that has dragged on, seemingly forever. I kept asking when the actual World's Fair was due to take place, so I could make sure I did my motherly duty by showing up, and he kept giving me vague non-responses in return.

Until yesterday, that is, on the way to the funeral. We were stuck on the NJ Turnpike in the mother of all backups—we nearly missed the funeral service as a result—and my husband and I were doing our best not to freak the frack out. It was at this well-timed moment that Secondo said, as an aside, that the World's Fair was due to take place Friday. As in tomorrow.

When I questioned him as to the status of his costume and food preparation (because of course they need to bring along a dish from the country), he promptly hit the panic button. My husband begged us to save the crisis for later, once we got through the current crisis, and so we tabled the panic for that afternoon.

There was only one choice for the costume, of course: the thrift store. Lord love the thrift store, I don't know how I would make it through a middle-school education in this town without it. Three brown nehru shirts later (because each kid on his team needed one) and we were somewhat in the ballpark, or at least as close as we were going to get.

Then onto the injera bread. I asked him to bring me the recipe so we could look it over. Thirty minutes later, I tracked him down watching sitcom re-runs on the iPad.

"Oh," he said. "I thought you were looking up the recipe for me."

No jury of my peers would have convicted me for the possible actions that ran through my mind at that moment.

I tackled the ingredient list this morning, calling around from specialty store to health food store to locate teff flour. While I was on hold with yet another place, my eyes skipped down to the instructions, which started "Mix all ingredients together, then allow to ferment for three days."

I knew I was beat. I called the Ethiopian restaurant in New Brunswick, after thanking my lucky stars that there is an Ethiopian restaurant in New Brunswick, and ordered plenty of injera bread to go.

Mama didn't raise no fools. I ordered dinner at the same time. Thank goodness, because I have spent the last three hours correcting such gems as "Addis Adada, the capital city" (it's Addis Ababa; so what's a few flipped letters) and "Gondor, with its castles and ruins" (actually, it's Gondar; Secondo was quite fascinated that they kept turning up images from Lord of the Rings, which does have a Gondor, during their research).

I can't wait to see what the rest of the world looks like.


  1. I can just hear him "costumes - my mom is great at that" and "food - no problem, she will do that too". No need for the other moms to pitch in. Glad to hear that he made the announcement with the date before 10 pm like my son used to do. Hope all went well!

  2. Ah yes, remember those days well. Only I would probably have run to the store, gotten chapatis and called it good!