I got a hug!!! Yesterday I got a hug from a lovely Ethiopian lady. No, nothing improper, nothing sensual, nothing her boyfriend, standing right next to us, would have had reasons to be jealous about. So what made this so special, you ask, that it had to be announced on the internet? It was just a hug, wasn't it?
Ah, my friend, if only you knew how greatly it blessed me, you would not even have thought of using the word 'just' in that connection. I have such a deep love for the Ethiopian People (please see my post from October 9th, 2011 on this blog) but have never managed to get truly close to them. This hug gave me hope.
Don't get me wrong. Not ever did any of them treat me disrespectfully, nor were they ever lacking in good manners. Indeed, I received courteous smiles and firm handshakes whenever we ran into each other, and generous help every time I inquired about their language, which I am studying. But never before, not even in those whom I have known for many years and certainly much longer than her, had I ever sensed the kind of warmth that now shone so beautifully through this precious hug.
In my mind there were two possible reasons for this: either I was simply not loveable enough to be treated more affectionately, or else, their culture or native temperament just caused them to keep foreigners at a safe distance.
This hug proved me wrong on both counts.
It was not just a quick embrace, but lasted long enough to convey the sincerity behind it. It was genuine and heartfelt, and I would travel to the ends of the earth to get just one more. Hopefully I won't have to go to such lengths.
And would you do me a favor? Today, if you run into some acquaintences of yours, please hug them for me. To most of them it will be, well, just a hug. But who knows, to one or two among them it may very well be pure magic.