Saturday, March 26, 2011

i want screens on my windows

Oh my goodness it's been so long since I last updated. I finally have my own modem so I can get online whenever I want and use as much as I want. Things here have been getting better and better by the week, I feel like a lot of it is the fact that we were so sequestered at the beginning of training that it didn't really seem like Peace Corps. There have definitely been moments of "Holy crap two years is a long ass time, can I really do this??" but the short answer has always been YES when I honestly think about it. I have not yet wanted to leave or go home or tuck tail and run. The good outweighs the bad by far, and I would be so disappointed in myself if I quit after a month and a half, because that's really no time at all, and I haven't even started what I came here to do. Here's a run down of the last 10 days (it seems silly that so much has happened in such a short period of time).

17 March: St. Patricks Day. None of the Ugandans knew what this was. I tried explaining it to my host family but it turned into my host dad just lecturing me on how Halloween is celebrated in Uganda and how girls in boarding schools get in trouble but boys would never think of celebrating such a day. Lots of my attempts at cross cultural conversations end this way (not specifically with an explanation of Halloween, but some such other Ugandan way of life that is superior to all else...) I wore green, taught in a PTC (Primary Teacher College), ate some green cake that Erica made, and drank some Scottish whiskey that Alex bought. All in all it was the best day that far.

20 March: (Straight from my personal journal) "This week has been so intensely exciting and finally feeling like PC (I think)." We took a tour of Kampala, which is lightyears beyond NYC or Boston when it comes to freaking me the eff out. Rainy season finally started here, so most of the side streets and the taxi parks are 4 inch deep mud/I don't know what, and I got so many stares and exclamations of "BAMBI!!!!" (which btw means "OMG I"M SO SORRY") when I sloshed through the mud and got my feet dirty. Cleanliness is huge here, I have no idea how Ugandans keep their feet so clean because mine are atrocious. (My first day walking home from training, the house girl, who speaks no English, goes "Oh Jesus Christ" upon seeing my feet) I bought a modem in Kampala, and a map of Uganda. It's not as sweet as my two Nat Geo maps of the world and Africa, but it will do. I am starting to get anxious to finally move to site and be able to set up my own house the way I want it, cook what I want when I want, walk around in my underwear and leave the windows open past 7pm.

21-24 March: Language Immersion. We traveled 8 hours (which should have only taken 4) to Lira to immerse ourselves in Lango for the week. The bus ride up was a bit harrowing as the wheel kept coming lose or something and we'd stop every 20 minutes to tighten it. On one such stop, we sat there for a good 45 minutes when three of us decided that we should pee. It cost 100/= to use the bathroom, and of course as soon as I got in there, the bus decided it was ready to go and all of the sudden in a huge hurry to get to Lira. I almost got left on the side of the road in East Jesus Nowhere, Africa. But I didn't. At the stops, people rush up to the bus trying to sell meat on a stick, chapatis, sodas, water, and oh, live chickens. We bought meat on a stick and chapati, the people sitting next to us bought some chickens. My hand to God they passed money out the window of the bus and were passed two live chickens with their feet bound together so they couldn't run around. It was fantastic.

Lira was fabulous. The people there mostly ride bikes, so the air is much much cleaner, and the streets are generally cleaner too. We ate so much street food there. Pork joints are little shacks in alley ways that have pork on skewers in big charcoal ovens. They pull one off, and put it in a plastic baggie along with fries ("chips") cabbage, tomatoes, onions, and hot sauce. All for 2500/=, or $1. We ate a ton of rolexes too - a fried egg with tomatoes and onions rolled up in a fresh chapati (Roll eggs = Rolex). The best drunk food ever, this needs to be taken back to the states. Those cost about 7-800/= or $.40. During LI I got to sleep in a FIRM bed that wasn't a freaking BOWL that I fall into. It was amazing and made me really excited thinking about my future house at site.

I talked to my mom on Sunday night and she told me all about the US being involved with what's going on in Libya. Being on this side of the world when so much is going on is so much different than being on the secluded side of the Atlantic. I'm interested to see how it all plays out - being an American serving in a country where official alliance might be on the opposite side of my home country's. I'm obviously not going to voice my opinions on here, but I will just say that I'm paying close attention and listening to the BBC nightly.

Lastly, my cousin Molly, who is possibly the only person in my family who gets how much books mean to me, is taking up the task of sending me a new Kindle! My mom bought me a new one and had it shipped to Molly (thank you mom!) and she's going to finagle some sneaky packaging that will look unassuming and hopefully pass right through the hands of postal workers unharmed. I got a new phone that texts back and forth to the states, let me know if you want the number :D (I still have the other one, I just have two now, kind of how it works here)

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