Week 21 of Loving Somali: Urban Adventure

Loving Language

A helmet won't help on an urban adventure! A helmet won’t help on an urban adventure!

Most people don’t think of Minneapolis as a place for urban adventure or international encounters, but this weekend I found both here.

I pulled up to the Somali Mall on Saturday morning, assuming I would find a place for sambusas, sweet chai, and Somali conversation. Shivering as I paid for street parking, I saw a head peek out of the door of “Safari Coffee.”

“Subax wanagsaan!” (“Good morning!”) I hollered.

“Subax wanagsaan!” he answered. “Come in for samosas and tea! It’s cold out here!” Every hope that I had was answered in the first minute. And he was right about the cold, at about 0 F (-17 C) with a steady breeze. I always wonder how these Somalis handle the shock.

Once I came inside, I brought out my new fool-proof conversation starter: “Afka Somali baan baranayaa” (“I’m learning the Somali language

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