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Joe Umland
Here we go!
Tue Feb 14, 2017 13:39

Joe had been as surprised as anyone – except, he guessed, maybe Tasha; he had been surprised as the project was developed and they developed a menu for the project to find the Aladren girl rather cool and sort of hoped that their association didn’t completely end with the Fair – to find that Ethiopia was apparently very Orthodox. The differences between Catholicism and Orthodoxy were significant to Joe, who was a member of the former group, but he had been surprised, on researching a little more and writing back and forth with his new Ethiopian penfriend, to discover the degree of similarity. He was not musical enough to play anything, but he had been able to contribute what he knew about theology to the musical selection process and had made several illustrated ‘Did You Know’ posters for their booth discussing the history of the Orthodox church in Ethiopia (the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church had been granted its own Patriarch by the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria only in 1959), the relationships to their food choices (at least 250 days of fasting a year, and some rules much stricter than what Joe was used to; the Orthodox didn’t have days off during Lent and extended the prohibition on meat to dairy as well), how their liturgical language, Ge’ez, was an ancient South Semitic language which had only gone out of common use a few centuries ago, and a chart comparing their specific brand of Orthodoxy (the Oriental Orthodox were Miaphysites, apparently, and also Ethiopia specifically apparently rarely gave the Eucharist to anyone but young children and very old people) to the wider Eastern Orthodoxy (Dyophysite, like Joe’s own church, and their rule was just a somewhat stricter pre-communion fast) and the Ethiopian Catholic Church, one of the Eastern rite groups whose practice was more similar to Orthodoxy but who nevertheless were in communion with the Holy See, unlike both sorts of Orthodox.

John had been an undeniable help with all that. Joe had no head for theology, so working with his brother behind the scenes had seemed like the most sensible route to take, and they had had some interesting discussions in the process of figuring out what was what and how to present it. John had, to Joe’s immense surprise, actually admitted the Eastern Orthodox, at least (he was less enamored of the Oriental Orthodox) made some good arguments, though he maintained the Great Schism had been an error on their part. They had had a good time and now Joe thought he could converse with anyone who wanted to discuss those aspects of Ethiopian culture as long as they didn’t get too far into the details. John had scolded him several times for not knowing why they did or believed certain things, in between poking fun at him for the same thing.

Joe, as a bit of a nod to another part of his background. had volunteered to make the Ethiopian version of tea to serve with the snacks. It had interested him to find that the water was heated with spices – green cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, and ginger – and then poured over the tea to steep once it had boiled for ten minutes or so. Boiling-hot beverages were not, of course, ideal at a large event where people were walking around outside and it was, well, midsummer, so he had slightly Americanized the tea in the little cups people could take with food by chilling it, but he had a clear glass kettle going with the spice mixture for people to see and some more teabags so he could demonstrate how it was done if asked, and so he could make himself cup later. As they got the last details organized, he grinned at his teammates.

“Here we go,” he said. “Good luck, everyone.”

With that done, he looked around at the non-booth participants starting to come down and craned his neck trying to get a view of the nearest other booth, wondering if they would get a chance to see what everyone else had done. Poland had at one point been discussing outfits, and while he was reasonably sure John wasn’t wearing one, Julian would kill him if John was and Joe came home without obtaining multiple pieces of photographic evidence of said event.

  • Ethiopia!Isis Carter, Sat Feb 11 21:13
    It had been an interesting year for Isis, both personally and professionally. A year that, looking back at it from the end, had contained a lot of personal growth on a variety of fronts. In a... more
    • Here we go! — Joe Umland, Tue Feb 14 13:39
      • Letting the food do the talkingRaine Collindale, Sat Feb 18 03:16
        Raine was genuinely excited for the fair, and very pleased with how the whole preparation had gone. People had liked her idea. That simple sentence still filled her with a huge bubble of pride and... more
        • But talking is fun!Joe Umland, Tue Feb 28 12:46
          Joe smiled back at Raine when she complimented the spice mixture. “Thanks,” he said. “I guess I’m giving away stuff about my background when I admit I asked my friend about whether or not they take... more
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