Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Things I Will Miss About Tanzania

As our first home assignment appears on the horizon (we leave two months from today!) I find myself noticing some of the things that have become familiar and comforting here in Tanzania over the course of our first term. Here are some of the things I have come to love about our African home:

1. Amazing fresh tropical fruit
2. Being able to take a day trip and see elephants, giraffes, and hippos in the wild
3. Two housekeepers
4. Perspective….I now know that my lack of mocha frappuccino isn’t that big of a deal
5. The school kids who like to practice their English on me when we pass each other road
6. The sense of accomplishment that comes from exchanging a joke in a second language
7. Taking hot tea out to my night guard
8. Fresh air coming through open windows year-round
9. The way noisy children are viewed as blessings and not as disturbances
10. East African fashion – I love seeing all those bold colors that I could never pull off
11. Soda made from real cane sugar instead of corn syrup
12. The slower pace of life
13. Getting to be the one who teaches a 10-year-old to swing for the first time
14. Hearing offhand news like, “So, my little brother tried to kidnap a second wife last weekend…”
15. Eating seasonal and organic without having to pay extra
16. Pilau (a type of rice…just come here and try some, I can’t describe it). And fresh chapatti. And kachumbali, and…sheesh, seriously, what are you waiting for?
17. My kids’ best friends are from all over the world.
18. I know a secret language that I can use when I go home if I don’t want other Americans to know what I’m saying.
19. I have a friendly dog who lives at my house and loves me unconditionally but never requires any upkeep from me.
20. I eat so healthy most of the time that if I get the chance to pig out on something indulgent I don’t have to feel bad.
21. The monkeys that habitually play on my water tank
22. The majestic mountain range in my backyard
23. I now have cooking-from-scratch skills that will serve me well the rest of my life.
24. Tea time
25. I have a group of wonderful friends who are becoming like family to me.
26. Spending my afternoons analyzing linguistic data that I collected myself.
27. I go to a church where probably 50% of the people in the congregation offer up a word of praise during praise time.
28. I am no longer afraid of giant millipedes. Still working on giant cockroaches, but it’s good to have room for personal growth.
29. Engrish bloopers in every restaurant menu
30. Buying eggs from someone I know and not having to refrigerate them
31. If you really need to transport 9 people (six of whom are children who would have to be in car seats in America) in a vehicle with five seatbelts, no one is going to bother you about it
32. Being able to accept grace from people I once thought had nothing to offer me
33. American t-shirts on people who don’t know what they are advertizing
34. Pigs, chickens, cats and children wandering through my yard
35. The laidback parenting style here that helps to put some of my paranoia to rest
36. Buying prescription medications without a prescription, and paying only pennies to get them
37.The inability to take myself too seriously that results from making language and culture mistakes on a daily basis and learning to laugh about it
38. I have a milkman. He delivers on foot.
39. Not having to pay to heat the house
40. Excellent authentic Indian food
41. I never know when the mushroom guy is going to show up at my gate with a box of overpriced fungi strapped onto the back of his bike. It’s like surprise Christmas.
42. When I buy anything, I always feel like I’m boosting the economy and helping a real person who can truly use my business to support their family.
43. The beautiful harmony of Swahili singing
44. Baobab trees
45. Trying to create familiar food products from locally available ingredients is a fun expat-community hobby, and we all share in one another’s successes. I never knew you could “make” marshmallows.
46. Constantly being surprised at how much freight can by moved on a bicycle.
47. The unity with nature that I feel while using the bathroom where there is no bathroom
48. Feeling like I’m in Back to the Future, amazing people with stories of the exotic land from which I come (“We have machines to dry our clothes. And to make the air cold. And to make ambient noise so that we don’t here the sounds of nature when we are trying to sleep.”)
49. Tanzanians know how to party.
50. The cute, ubiquitous little geckos 

1 comment:

  1. I enjoyed those things too. Also, when the air moves through the house day and night the noises do too. Not upsetting noises but constant noises. Makes it so you can't hear all the little creaks and other noises that might worry you. No A/C noise..that is good.