I thanked my driver for finding me. His radio was blasting with some sort of morning show trying to trick people admitting they cheated. It was something I probably would have listened to in my 20’s when I was living in New Mexico. That was when I and others around that same age were figuring out our boundaries.

I asked him how he was doing with dating. My driver told me that he was dating long distance – very long distance. His girlfriend lives in Dubai. I asked him how they were making it work. He said they get on video chat every day. He also usually tries to visit once a year, and he hopes to this year depending on what the travel restrictions will be. I asked my driver where he was from originally, and he said Ethiopia. I told him it’s my favorite food. I especially like the injera bread and using it to scoop up the food.

My driver said he couldn’t wait to get married and “give this girl his babies.” I asked if she worked or went to school, and he said she works at a mall right now in Dubai. But as soon as they get married she will be taking care of his family and she won’t be working. I asked him if she was okay with that. He seemed a little taken aback by the question as if no one had ever asked him before and then said, “Of course. It’s part of our culture. She is the woman, she takes care of the children.” That wasn’t quite what I asked. I have heard it quite often from the Somali community – right next to Ethiopia and culturally very similar – they have their expectations, but then when the women are immersed in the United States culture, the dynamic and expectations change. Unfortunately, that’s also when domestic violence increases as well.

I asked my driver how long he had lived in the U.S.. He said he has been here for 8 years, with no family. I told him that I would imagine it would have felt incredibly lonely to move half a world away from everything he had known, speaking a different language, and to only be surrounded by strangers. I’ve moved to cities where I haven’t known a single person (including Phoenix), but I’ve never tried to move to another continent.

Ethiopian Woman On Blue Sky wall hanging

Sunrise In Lac Djibouti Ethiopia serving tray

Expecting framed art print