Did you know...?

So. Now we're waiting. The documents shipped to Ethiopia a few days ago, and we have a few (or more) months ahead of us.

Instead of letting myself grow restless and impatient, I have decided to find a more positive outlet for my energy: Research! It's time to learn all kinds of stuff about Ethiopia.

Here we go... we'll start with the basics...

1. Ethiopia is called the "cradle of humanity". There are 14 discovered human and "pre-human" fossils in the world... and 10 are from Ethiopia. Lots of people believe that the human species originated in Ethiopia. All kinds of evolutionary-based debate surrounds the issue, but regardless, Ethiopia is established as one of the most history-rich nations in the world.

2. "Lucy" is one of those recently discovered fossils... she was found in 1974 and is estimated to be 3.2 million years old. She is loosely considered an ancestor of humans - and again, the controversy swirls. But here's the fun part... she was named that because the archeologists who found her were fond of "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds". How cool is that! (There's another Ethiopian skeleton that was more recently discovered and is 3.3 million years old... "Selam".)

3. Their annual calendar could be my favorite bit of Ethiopian trivia. They retain the "Julian" calendar, where each year has twelve 30-day months, and a thirteenth month of five or six days. Their calendar is almost EIGHT YEARS behind the Gregorian calendar... so right now in Ethiopia, it is 2001. The year 2002 will begin on September 11, 2009.

4. Ethiopia is widely considered the birthplace of coffee - specifically the forests of the Kaffa region. In fact, the word coffee in Ethiopia is "bun" or "buna", so the phrase "coffee bean" is very likely a poor anglicized interpretation of "Kaffa Bun". I'm looking forward to trying Ethiopian coffee...! It's the drink used to honor guests in the house, and coffee ceremonies are used as get-togethers for friends and neighbors.

Well, that's enough to get you started. I'll keep up the research and post again soon!