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that time of year… by Selam G. '18

...when every day feels like 48 hours instead of 24. When's summer?

it’s that time of year folks, the time of year that I don’t even have the strength to capitalize properly no more (nor the energy to invest in proper grammar standardized english).

It’s the time of year (midterms, projects, psets galore!) that I kinda wish I was anywhere but here. Summer cannot get here fast enough. My brain is very fried. There’s only a couple things that have kept me going.

And a big one is listening to this video on a loop:


You are in the front yard of your aunt’s house. 

You have many aunts. One of them is your father’s sister, Askale. The rest are her sisters, The Little Sisters of Jesus. Askale is a sister of that order. Why shouldn’t it be that all her sisters are your aunts, too? 

They’ve known you since you were small. Coming here is always a repreive–a faint smell of cattle hide, grass, earth, flowers. Trees.

It’s both noisier and quieter than the city. Here, the sounds of birds and insects fill in where you’re used to hearing cars, or horns, or construction. It’s warm. It’s sunny. You don’t know when you’ll have the chance to be here again, thousands of miles away from where you normally live and go to school. You want to capture this moment, a very regular day, yet extraordinary all the same. 

So you take out your phone and you start filming, just capturing the moment. 

One of the aunties laughs at you. “Are you taking a photo, a photo of me?” she says. You just smile and follow a sound from the garden. It’s the chickens, under a coffee tree, next to it, an avocado tree. It frames the solar water heater, metal being overtaken by grass–it’s long been broken. 

You turn back to the concrete houses and look up, up into the trees, to see if you can spot a lemur. There were so many there the last time you came. 

When will you be here again? When will you have the time to feel like this–calm, happy, patient, whole. Instead of thousands of miles away, your relatives live just down the dirt path, a short walk. The aunties are preparing the coffee ceremony. The cattle are grazing quietly. And everyone knows you here, greets you by your name, and your father’s name, and inevitably, his father’s name too. 

It’s midday, in Kafa.