Saturday, March 03, 2012

March for Me

The last few days have been less than stellar. I've been pretty sick and weepy, for starters. Our students were all sick pre and during midterms, and apparently covering your mouth when you cough is not standard etiquette here. What does that mean? Well, it means that they cough on your while you walk around the classroom, and three days later, you're sniffly and congested and coughing. It's not fun. And especially during midterms, when you're grading under a tight deadline and administering over hundreds of individual exams, it breeds the perfect cocktail to make you an emotional wreck.

Hi, nice to meet you. I'm an emotional wreck. Have we met before?

A few random events of the week include:

  • Baby goats on campus. Here in Kigali, goats are tied up to the side of the road in the pastures for their grazing. The babies can meander around without being roped up because, let's face it, the babies won't go far away from the moms. Well, apparently, a nearby mom goat ripped away from her tied up bush and fled with her babies. They thought that our campus would be a fun place to graze during the next few weeks or so. And you know how I am - I think almost all baby animals (with some amount of fluff) are absolutely mind-boggingly adorable.
    The best part of the whole thing, aside from the sweet bleets of the baby goats and them leaping to the nearest tree branch for a leaf, was when the babies meandered into my math midterm. Imagine my squeal and excitement when I look at the door and see three confused and curious little goats at my classroom door, staring at the students. I couldn't help myself. It was too much. I want a goat.
  • I got hit by a bike. No, not the kind with an engine. But a real bicycle ran right into my while I was crossing the street the other day. I thought I had looked both ways, but all of a sudden a bike flew past me (and boy, do they ride fast!) and caught my arm in its contraption. Good gracious, did that hurt! My hand was all bruised up and scraped because of it. It was not fun.
  • On Thursday, it rained. Oh, I don't mean the kind of rain where you say, "Ho-hum. It's raining. I guess I'll sit down and read." I mean the kind of rain where you say, "Dear lord, run for your life!!! Forget the children and save yourself! Run away!!!" This kind of rain was so intense, that I thought the house would just crumble under the heavy rains and pelting cords of water.
    And it flooded our house, entirely. Denise and I were in the kitchen, and suddenly found ourselves in a flood of water that went up to our ankles. I ran upstairs, and our windows were not sealed well enough, so it looked like it was actually raining in the house! I came upstairs and shrieked when I saw our porch door bringing water into our hallway and towards my room. Luckily I had an extra towel lying around. Denise's bathroom was so flooded I managed half a bucket of water. It was incredible!
  • It looks like I have 2 extra jobs on the side, now. One will be an evening class where I teach the GRE/SAT. The other gig will be me teaching English to some Asian women in the evening once a week. Hey, if it helps me somehow, right? But I'll be a super, duper busy lady now. No sleep for the weary...
Denise and I have made March special for us. We both have felt like perhaps we need to pamper ourselves more. We need to take care of ourselves better, and get ourselves healthy again. So, we have coined this month as March for Me! For her, that means that she will work at not going on dates with random men for the month, and instead focusing on endeavors that make her happy. For me, I guess it means I have to seek out what I enjoy most and what makes me happy again. I have to rebuild myself a bit, methinks. I've gotten a lot unsure of myself since I got here, and I feel not so strong. I need to decide what I want to do with my life, and what I see for my future. How do I want to build myself to be the best me I can be? And be the best girlfriend I can be? The best daughter? Best sister? Etc. It's going to be a hard month of asking important questions to myself, methinks. Wish me luck!

One of the big questions I'll be setting out to answer is: Is Africa for me?

I'm not so sure anymore. I think I built up Africa to be this magical place where all of my dreams would come true, I'd learn some special parts about myself, and my dreams would come to me on some platter served by some dreamy Italian hunk with a six pack. I have been here, and for the last two months of me being here, EVERYTHING has been a struggle. And it's not the struggle I had anticipated, or really fully prepared for. It's not my safety or my ability to buy shampoo. It's the daily tasks that are a struggle. From getting up in the morning (to the sounds of the most annoying rooster that ever walked the planet) to getting food and haggling, to walking home and getting stared at. To having to wait for 2 hours for a salad at a restaurant. To having my stuff robbed, and my house flooded and my work environment being less than positive. And so on. Everything has just been hard, and I feel like I don't get a break, either. I don't enjoy the social scene here, because it's all about the booze and shallow conversation, and I am SOOO not into that at all. I stay at home, instead. Which makes me lonely. And I am too tired after a hard day at work to exercise, which is what makes me happy and feel healthy and good. And from what I understand, this country is EASY compared to many other African cities, and that just flat out discourages me.

Can I imagine spending my life here? No. Not really, no. I want too much the things I can't get here. My Celiac makes me crave rice cookies and gluten-free brownies. My body misses nice parks to go for peaceful jogs. I miss puppies. People here hate dogs. HATE. My mind misses meandering through aisles of books at the library or a Barnes and Noble. I miss having organic vegetables and tasty, healthy food that doesn't taste like cardboard or is drenched in mayonnaise. The transportation is infuriating at times, and always inconvenient. I don't know, maybe I am a creature of convenience. Maybe I'm not cut out for the hard life of Africa. Maybe I am too pampered, or just not happy here. Maybe it's the job. Maybe it's the city. Maybe it's not having a lot of cash. Maybe, maybe.

I don't know. But what I do know is that I'm not having a great time. I'm having an okay time, but it's not rainbows and butterflies (though I see them around here). I am counting down the days to be back home, enjoying the things I am used to. I actually MISS the states?! Do you hear that?! How wacky is that?!

And then I think, maybe it's that I shouldn't be working here in Africa long-term. Maybe I needed to just travel around and enjoy the scenery. Maybe I should go out and see the crazy kinds of animals here. But working here, it's no longer magical. It's just a place. Where I work. I am hoping to travel a bit and see the places, because perhaps that's what I'm here to do.

I panicked the other day when I thought about how long I said I'd be here. I just have to remember, though, that I can leave whenever I want. Whenever I want, I can go. I am not stuck here. Not like how I thought I'd be here forever.

I'm hoping to start liking it more here. I really want to love this place. I will be working on that more, now that March is for Me. I hope to find the diamond I've been looking for

1 comment:

eliana said...

What about a home remedy? Lemon, cinnamon honey- if you're able to get these ingredients u can drink this before bed - cut the lemon into pieces with skin and all (half will do)with a stick of cinnamon bring to a boil and honey for sweetness.... Feel better Kim!