Happy New Year!

Yesterday Ethiopia celebrated Enkutatash, the beginning of a new year. Ethiopia has its own calendar with twelve 30-day months and five (or six, in a leap year) extra days that make a thirteenth “month”. They also have different calculations as to when exactly Christ died, so as far as Ethiopia is concerned we have just entered the year 2008. 
Celebrations are mainly a private family affair, but it was easy to see the preparations on every corner. Vendors sold bundles of a sweet-smelling grass to scatter on the floor, and shepherds escorted herds of goats and sheep through the city for sale as holiday feasts. All the big shops had banners up to celebrate, and I even got a nice text from the local telecom.
In keeping with tradition I spent my New Year’s Day at home with my family (aka the cat). Except for an hour or so after I learned the hard way that my front door locks automatically. Oops. The first couple of weeks at a new post are always challenging as you learn to adapt to your new surroundings, but between the door incident and a small microwave-related fire a few days ago this may be my toughest transition yet. But as my father always says, it’s a good thing I’m tough.