I went out to eat the other day in an Ethiopian restaurant that is near my neighborhood. It is one of those things where you pass by on a regular basis, but you don’t seem to take the time to come inside and find out what might be interesting. When you stop and consider how many opportunities that are around you like this one, you can’t help but wonder how you can possibly fit them all into your life. Which is one of the reasons I finally decided to go in and check the place out.
The waitress was pretty friendly, and I guess the restaurant serves mostly Ethiopian expats, or second generation Ethiopians. Not like your average sushi restaurant on the corner of pretty much every mini mall, where you will see the normal lunch crowd that you see in any other restaurant. The wait staff seemed to recognize me as a first timer, and were appropriately friendly and welcoming to me. She asked me if I had ever eaten Ethiopian food before, and since I hadn’t I went by her recommendations.
Probably more interesting than the food was the waitress. She went through plenty of struggles to get where she is now. Most people who were in her shoes might have given up much earlier. But she kept pressing on, until she got an opportunity and seized it with all her skills and abilities.
When I was a kid I used to build these models. Sometimes cars, but mostly planes, specifically WWII planes. It didn’t matter from what country, any plane would do. One thing about the models is how they all came with detailed schematics. You could lose yourself in the minute details of each particular part your were working on, or you could look at the larger schematic, allowing you to take a broader look at things. Sometimes when you get a bigger picture of how things fit together, it’s much easier to fit the individual parts together.
I had an uncle once that I used to visit when I was a kid. He would take me fishing for catfish on this small lake. One of the reasons catfish are different from other fish is that when they bit into your bait, they donâ€™t’ make a big deal. If you don’t check your line every so often, you could have a fish on there and not even know it. So they key is to always check what’s going on, and see if you have something, even though it doesn’t seem like it. Another thing he told me was how important it was to change your strategy if you weren’t getting what you wanted. Some people would show up to a lake, throw in a line, and then complain if the fish weren’t’ biting. Others would change their bait, change their position on the lake, and even change their fishing poles. Those guys would always go home with a basket full of catfish.
And probably the best model I ever made was of a Japanese Zero, the ones they used in the pacific war. The thing that made it so easy was that not only did they have an exploded view of the entire plane, but also they had an exploded view of each individual section. That gave you the capability of taking a step back and getting a bigger perspective on many different levels. That model came out looking really good.
So next time I go back to that Ethiopian restaurant, I’ll have a better idea of what to order for all those reasons mentioned above. And I know now exactly how friendly and welcoming those people will be.