Sunday, February 17, 2013

Because life is strange and now, so am I

With the majority of my service behind me, and 6 months left, it is hard not to already be thinking about how life will be back in America. 

Things you will (probably) not hear me say in the States:

“Ugh, I have to get up to change my CLEAN, FRESH smelling clothes from one MACHINE to another one that will DRY your clothes for you in an hour!”
-----Seriously the chore of laundry here is the cousin of a Witch.  It’s Sunday and I should’ve done laundry today, but I don’t have enough water.  Dry season is a killer. Can’t wait to have a faucet that spits the stuff out at me whenever I want/NEED it.

“I don’t have any leg room in your car.” (Because I probably won’t have a car for a while.  And Peace Corps Volunteers have a rep for being moochers, because we are poor.  So get ready to hook me up with rides, peeps.)
-----Not ever going to be a problem ever again after being stuffed in matatus with your feet resting on luggage under you while hugging your own luggage in your lap, as you try to hold your own with the people next to you to keep a bubble of personal space, which this is a battle you will always lose, while there are goats, chickens, and dead fish somewhere in your vicinity.   Ya, matatus are just as jampacked as that last sentence…and then some.  NOT an exaggeration.  I’m serious.  It’s like a game of Twister but in a vehicle with strangers.  And I didn’t even mention the puking and peeing babies.  I have definitely gotten out of a matatu with wet pants and I didn’t wet myself, people!

“This trip is taking too long.”
-----I have spent way toooooooo many hours waiting on buses to arrive or for vehicles to get full (which again is double the amount of seatbelts).   The worst is when you pay for a seat in the vehicle and they hand you a 2x4 to rest on the seats in between the aisle.  Only to arrive to another stop to wait for another vehicle to fill before we can leave.  Oh and there are hawkers here who try to sell you anything from fruit to socks, to razors.  One woman slapped me in the face with a bottle of water because I wouldn’t pay her jacked up white person price.  Roads are horrible or even non existent and what should take 5 hours takes 15.  Traveling is going to be a breeze when I can walk outside hop into a vehicle just outside my door, turn the key and Vroom on. 

“So what’s your water situation?”
----- This is a real question we ask when we visit a PC volunteer’s site.  Everyone has a different set up for how they bathe, use the restroom, wash dishes, and get drinkable water.
I catch most of my water from the rain.  Dry season is not a friend of mine.  The water here would clog your Brita filter in an hour.  So upon my return and hearing rain I will most likely grab buckets and head outside.  It’s like Pavlov’s dogs.  BUCKETS, BUCKETS, where are my buckets!  It’s something I’m just gonna do. 

“There is nothing to eat.”
-----I was guilty of saying this A LOT before I left 20 months ago.  There really is nothing to eat here.  You can only do so much with kale, tomatoes, onions, rice and flour.  The possibilities are going to be endless with a stocked kitchen that comes with a refrigerator, oven, stove, and microwave.  We volunteers love to torment ourselves by talking about food that we will devour when we return.  Sometimes I curse Pinterest (and you for posting pics of food) that is out of my grasp. 

Things you will (most definitely) hear me say in the States:

“This one time in Kenya….”
-----Please feel free to slap me if I turn into that person.

“Wait, you mean I have to show up to a 9-5 job.  When are the tea breaks?”

“There is a machine here for EVERYTHING!  What do you call this fabulous place!?”

"Can't wait for dinner tomorrow night.  Should I bring anything?  Maybe chicken?"
----- Don't be alarmed when I show up with a live chicken in a plastic bag.  This has happened to me 3 times now, where Kenyan friends show up for lunch at my house with a chicken still clucking.  Ummm a bag of rice would've been perfect, really.  But ya, let's spend the next 3 hours preparing this in time for dinner. 

“Could you hold the ice?  I’m not used to cold drinks anymore.”
-----I don’t even know what ice cream is going to do to me when I get brain freeze from refrigerated water these days.  When I was home for the holidays all I drank was Gatorade and my family kept putting it in the fridge.  So nice and thoughtful, but I take my drinks room temperature these days.  Besides mayonnaise and ranch dressing I don’t know why anyone needs a fridge. 

“Do you sleep under your mosquito net?”  “Malaria this…..  Malaria that….”
-----I am glad malaria is no longer a problem in the States, and hasn’t been for a while, but my mosquito net has become like a security blanket for me.  If I’m staying at your house don’t be surprised if I show up with my net and not a sleeping bag.

“OhhhEmmmmGeee.  That is sooooo Good.  I LOVE FOOD.  Just give me a moment.”
-----And I may cry.  I’ve cried over cheese and sweet tea here.  It happens. 

“Wait, are you throwing that TRASH away?  Do you know the possibilities for that?”
----- I’m probably going to be a hoarder of the weirdest crap.

Since joining the Peace Corps, I'm just like:


  1. I'm impressed that you are already so introspective, and not even done yet. A positive way to deal with the culture shock, both ways. :) Ken won't mind if you show up for dinner with the chicken.

    1. Then it is settled. Chicken dinner with the Kaufmann's and conversation about culture shock. It was great seeing you during my time home.

  2. They don't call it FUNyula for nuttin'! I love getting these updates. You've got a great attitude and spirit. ...And I think you have a future as a writer (seriously). You're always welcome in the Bowling home (Lisa will come get you).

    1. Thanks for the encouraging words. I hate to write but would love to author a book. Not sure how that is going to work out. But really my monthly posts are only because I have Lisa in my head telling me I need to make another post. A visit to the Bowling's is definitely in order once I get back!