To go from Dallas to Brazil, to Ethiopia, and then back to Dallas, can take at least 40 hours of looking out from a small window and sleeping in a chair.
But yesterday, I was able to visit these far-away countries and enjoy their traditions in less than 24 hours. And how did I do that? Am I a hero that travels at supersonic speed? Did I catch a spaceship to travel that distance? Was I just dreaming? None of the above. It turns out, the Dallas area had two cultural festivals that sounded interesting and I decided to use my imaginary passport and my camera to visit them:
During the morning, I traveled to McKinney to join the Brazil’s Independence Festival. The venue was a home rented for events, which gave an intimate feel to the celebration. I was glad some attendees recommended I tried the shrimp acarajé and chicken coxinha. In addition to the vendors that offered desserts, jewelry, and clothing, there was a bounce house and soccer area for the kids. It was a really nice family event for the Brazilian community to get together.
In the afternoon, I traveled to my next destination, Ethiopia Days in Plano. There, I met the cutest Ethiopian sisters, Meba and Meklit, whose aunt performed the coffee ceremony ritual. I couldn’t pass the opportunity to try their famous injera, a 20-inch flat bread, topped with lentils, chicken and beef stew, and other vegetables. They had a talent and fashion show, music, kids zone, and vendors, who offered traditional apparel, souvenirs, music, furniture, and more.
There are obvious differences between these two countries, such as the language they speak (B=Portuguese / E=Oromo), the continent they reside in (B=South America / E=Africa), and their currencies (Brazilian real / Ethiopian birr). But they also have similarities: soccer is a big part of their daily life and their national pride (team nicknames: B=Little Canary / E=Walias), and according to the International Coffee Organization they are among the top 5 producers of coffee in the world (Brazil is #1 / Ethiopia is #5).
The Dallas/Fort Worth area is home to a vast number of expats and I can´t wait to meet many of them and write about their celebrations here.