11 12 / 2013
After talking to a guy friend the other day about differences between Botswana and the US, he turned to me and said, “you sound like you loved Africa and hate America”.
I find this hilarious given how miserable and lonely I was sometimes in Bots.
The thing is that there are great things about every place in the world, and not great things about everywhere too. Just because I said I wished America had a healthcare system like Bots (seriously if Botswana can have single payer, why can’t we?) doesn’t mean I think Bots is the be all, end all.
The best thing about living abroad is that it gives you something to compare your standards too. We don’t really know what’s good or bad unless we have something to measure it by.
05 12 / 2013
Here’s an update: Margie just texted me to remind me that one of our South African friends guessed that Mandela’s death date would be engineered to coincide with the beginning of the holidays, so that people will already be off work when the whole nation grinds to a halt and goes into mourning.
Lo and behold. Hmm.
Nelson Mandela was a great reconciler. Reading his autobiography earlier this year was such a wonderful lesson in history and in the power of leadership. But like Ariana said, if this is true that is some crazy 1984 shit.
As far as death conspiracies go, this isn’t too bad. Just have the mourning period coincide with the festive season so that people take 6 weeks to mourn when they were already going to take 6 weeks off for the holiday. And the economy is saved!
Anyway, no way to prove it. Just a thought.
03 12 / 2013
One thing that is kind of weird about Americans is that we’re kind of self-centered. We love to talk about ourselves, our ideas, and our own lives more than anything else. We are more likely to tell a story about ourselves than ask a question. We’re an individualistic society.
In Botswana, I feel as if people are just as interested in other people as they are in themselves. As a result they talk about other people as much as, or more than, they talk about themselves. From an American perspective, this looks like gossip, and we think of being in everybody’s business in a negative light. But to people in Botswana it’s just sharing the news related to people in their lives.
I told this to a friend, who replied, “What a positive spin on gossip.” I guess so.
24 11 / 2013
but none of this shit:
This resonates with me on two levels. One, now that I’m not in Botswana I don’t get daily marriage proposals or other romantic propositions. As a result my ego is a little bruised. Two, dating in America is exhausting. The texting, the fb chatting and what what take up way too much time.
I can’t just come it and say I like a guy, that is too forward. Instead there’s a little dance we do. Too much effort. I give up. I would frankly rather stay home and read a book.
16 11 / 2013
One thing that bothers me a little bit when taking to people about peace corps is this common conversation;
Them: So tell me your story.
Me: I just got out of the Peace Corps in Botswana
Them: oh I have a friend in Kenya/Ethiopia/Congo and they love it.
Why do people think this is interesting? Instead of just stating that your friend is in Africa (a totally different part of a continent with another language/culture), tell me what they were doing, or ask me what I was doing. Just stating where they are isn’t really a great conversation starter.
Oh well, just smile and nod. The thing about peace corps is that it’s a personal experience. I know I got a lot out of it and that’s all that matters.
15 11 / 2013
Guys can we just agree that America is really great? I have been in the grocery store almost every day since I got here and it is still BALLER. Fresh fruits and veggies galore! Other places of note: coffee shops, friends’ abodes, people listen to radiolab, and there’s the GYM! I am still not over it, nor do I ever wish to be.
I realize I wasn’t enjoying it as much when I immediately got home because it was just a tad overwhelming and my initial reaction was to go and hide in my house. But now I’m over it and I can just enjoy everything! Hurray!
06 11 / 2013
So I’ve been at home for a week now. Got an iPhone, fresh veggies, and all the salad I could eat. It’s great being home with hot showers, my family, and fast Internet. I’m an American again, back in the 21st century, and glad to be back.
Adjusting to all these amenities has been easy, but adjusting to the American pace of life has not. Everyone expects me to be doing something all the time. In Botswana I would be expected to sit and chat for hours at a time. In Bots that drove me nuts, but I guess I didn’t realize how much it grew on me. Here in America, my friends and family want me to go do things, meet people, apply places every minute. All I want to do is sit and drink bush tea.
That’s one part of reverse culture shock; Americans are all busy busy busy. But I guess I shouldn’t have expected any different! Time to get moving!
01 11 / 2013
I am home! Finally! After I closed my service on October 11th, I went on a big 2 and a half week trip through southern Africa. My friend Ashley and I hopped on buses to Mozambique, where the wonderful Ariana Marquis flew all the way from America to meet us! From there we went to the beach, played in the waves and ate tons of seafood. Mozambique is a beautiful country, with an interesting history and path to independence. After that we went to Swaziland, the land of green, to see PCV friend Maureen and go to Oktoberfest in the Swazi capital of Mbabane. Seeing so much liederhosen in Africa was a little weird, but fun!
Then Ariana and I went to Kruger National Park, to see the Big Five and also hyenas and wild dogs! We also road an elephant together! Pretty cool! Then we were off to Lesotho, the magic mountain kingdom, for pony trekking and hiking. What a great trip! I have now been to every southern African country except Angola. Hurray!
I am happy to be home but also so happy that I did a post-service trip. By the end I didn’t want to leave and had fallen in love with Africa all over again! Yay traveling!