Wednesday, January 03, 2007
The story continues...
Hey! I'm still here! A little bit overwhelmed but overall OVERJOYED to be back home. NYC is more amazing than I remembered and I've been super busy with friends and family. My "to-do" list seems to grow by the day and I should probably get working on: doing laundry, cleaning my house, getting rid of my old college stuff, understanding my students loans that I have to start repaying soon, getting a new State ID (the old one expired while I was in PC), etc etc. BUT....have been feeling lazy about it. Maybe its a remnant of my TZ days where accomplishing ONE thing the entire day was more than enough. I am, though, happy to say that I have finally put up some of my photos from Tanzania and Ethiopia. Check em out (click on the albums above) and hope you guys like em!
I'm still trying to figure out what to do with this blog...keep it, get a new one, what? But I definitely need to change the title, huh (thanks Ruslan!)?
Also been feeling scared/lazy/nervous about job searching so have not really started..... Have, however, given it much thought and talked to friends and have decided that I will start looking for things in finance and consulting. Any tips would be greatly appreciated :) The scared factor comes from being nervous about putting myself out there again and once I get a job, I'm nervous about not having time for friends anymore.... But we'll see, huh?
But overall, am happy to say that I still feel chill and calm about stuff, something I picked up in TZ that I was hoping would stick with me for a while.
PROMISE to post about Ethiopia soon (its on my list of things to do, hehe)!
Saturday, December 16, 2006
Hey! Yup! Its official. I'm back. Whoosh. Just got in late last night around 11pm from Addis. We had a stopover at Beirut, Lebanon and a layover at London Heathrow. The flight was really long but not bad at all and Ethiopia, in a word, was AMAZING! Sorry didnt get to blog. Internet was mostly dial up but surprisingly widespread. I also couldnt access blogs to read them...must be government blocked.
So what now? Lots of catching up with people (look out for a mass email Ill send in a few days) and SLOWLY adjusting back.... Its harder than I imagined. I freaked out a little last night, and will admit that tears were shed before sleeping. I don't know. It'll all be okay, no worries. Its just I think you build up this image you have of home in your brain for two years, get back, and see the reality of it all. And its just so strange being back to....home....after Tanzania and after travelling in Ethiopia for three weeks, where everyday I learned so much and saw so many new things. I'm inarticulate right now (probably could use some tasty food, haha) and will put up some photos soon (I took a trillion). More commentary to come.
Logistically, no cell phone yet but getting one on Monday I think. Monday also hanging out with Matt, my PCV friend I was in Ethiopia with. And already on Wednesday I'll be back to my old lab for a holiday lunch. I'm so excited to see people!
Friday, December 01, 2006
okay, really quick note cuz the internet here is dial up and super slow but i'm in ethiopia, have been here almost a week and loving it! its a really awesome, super beautiful country and i took a ton of pictures and have so much to tell you guys about. just for now though im doing well and safe and still planning on coming home dec 15 but slight possibility that i may move my flight up. hope you're all well and staying warm and cant wait to be home soon!
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
Hey, Happy early Turkey Day! Not sure I'll get a chance to actually update tomorrow, but hope everyone eats delicious things. I'm back in Dar es Salaam, in the PC office, and honestly, a bit overwhelmed. Three main reasons. One- a trillion volunteers are here for the Turkey celebrations at the Ambassador's house. Two- I'm leaving TZ in TWO days to go to Ethiopia. Three- my travelling around has been exhausting me. Tremendously. Its been awesome, but intense. Since my last post, I've spent a week in Mwanza with Brian, a few days in Morogoro visiting my favorite Kiswahili teacher who taught me during training over two years ago and also visiting my old counterpart from Ndwika Secondary who is studying in Morogoro, and then I went to Zanzibar to visit Erica. And I just got back from Zanz today.
Okay, so I'm really lame, here's a part of Brian's description of my visit to his from his blog-
So Michelle [check out her blog, link at the right, and congrats to her since she is officially done with her PC service!] was here for about a week and it was nice to share some of my experiences in my town with another volunteer. I don't get a whole lot of guests. And boy did we hit the ground running, the first day she got here we went to a wedding in a nearby town. It was scheduled to start [the party] at 6pm, and wedding parties here follow a VERY strictly organized schedule, with time allotted for greetings, gifts, cake cutting, etc. That is, everything is planned down to the minute when it is supposed to take place.
Of course, the kicker is that this is Tanzania. So most of the guests arrived around 8pm, a good 2 hours late, and the party didn't actually get started until 10pm. UGH. We were both very tired, her moreso due to the travels, but once it started it was pretty nice. The happy couple, of course, looked miserable, since that's what brides and grooms are supposed to look like here. But the GUESTS, we had fun, drinking soda and beer, clinking glasses and giving gifts [everytime you go up to the head table to give a gift or something, you have to sort of 'dance' your way up to local TZ music]. The food was nice, although it was at about 1:30 am, and there was a bit of dancing. I didn't know a whole lot of people there, but the groom is a good friend of mine and I have worked closely with him on several projects, so he was happy to see me there and I was happy to see him. Granted he's lived with his wife for 15 years and they have 3 kids, but they'd never actually had a wedding. One of the guests described this as 'fixing things up', as in, he had sort of stolen his wife and now he was setting things right. Oh yeah, they got 3 cows and some goats and chickens in addition to dishes and cloth as wedding gifts.
The next few days we hung out in Misungwi, greeting my friends and checking out all a small TZ town has to offer. Not a lot, but we had fun. She helped me teach my last period at the Secondary school [we reviewed STDs and then watched a powerful, GRAPHIC, but I think very educational video on STDs which shows up-close shots of syphillis, chancroid, gonorrhea, etc]. We also went to the TTC for my last period there, where I taught the most whirlwind lesson on condoms ever, but despite the rush it went well and I think they got something out of it, or at least I hope ONE person at least got ONE little thing out of it, I think that would be enough for me to be content.
Zanzibar was really awesome, a bit rainy but totally got tons of gifts (hope ya'll ready for fun things!!!) and got really beautiful henna done up my left arm. Yes, I totally have photos but sadly, can't upload right now. It would take too much time and too many people waiting to use this computer. Which, my the way, means I should peace out now.
Going to Ethiopia this Friday! Coming back to America, for now, on Dec 15! YAY! I'll try to write from Ethiopia but not sure how internet connected the country is. Its the 2nd poorest country in the world....sweet. Tanzania is 10th. It will be interesting to compare. Bye for now!
Friday, November 10, 2006
Back in Dar...for now...
Hey! Its Friday afternoon and apparently...Veteran's Day. Who knew? I only found out when I got to the PC office and noticed that I was the only one present besides the guards... (the staff get days off for both TZ and American holidays). Oh well, my brain is not very American oriented these days. I was in Lushoto this past week visiting my friend Ness and we got a text from Matt about the elections and we were like....oh yeah! Elections! But am really happy to read just now online that the Dems took majority in both House and Senate. Makes returning home somehow easier...
So yes, am in Dar. Got in from Lushoto just this afternoon. Had an EXCELLENT time at Ness's. We did a lot of hanging out, chatting, cooking, visiting her friends and neighbors, and I helped her teach her Form 3 physics class. We did lab practicals, it was really fun. Made me think that maybe I don't hate teaching and that maybe it depends on the topic and the students.... Lushoto was just as beautiful as the two other times I've visited and may have been even more lush and green due to the intense rain its been getting lately. It rained, no joke, EVERY DAY, for the five days I was there. So it was way colder than I expected and we couldn't do much walking around or hiking but it was still really fun. I actually heard that its been raining a lot here in Dar as well as in Kenya, to the point where Kenya had to postpone its national secondary school exams. Luckily, and I continue to cross my fingers, its not raining here in Dar today.
Tomorrow I'm off to Mwanza, up by the beautiful Lake Victoria (3rd largest in the world? something like that). Brian tells me its not been raining nearly as much. Am totally looking forward to hanging out and more eating and going to work with him (he's also a health PCV like me) but especially am excited about washing my clothes and having them dry in less than 3 days :) The last time I was in Mwanza, I took the bus. This time, I decided to break out the big bucks and fly to both save time (the bus takes 2 days) and save my sanity. The latter especially since I'll be by myself.
Think that is all for now. Feeling a little bit nervous about my trip to Ethiopia with Matt; things are apparently heating up with Islamist fundamentalists in Somalia and Kenya... Ah well, we'll play it by ear and we might have to change our plans.
Friday, November 03, 2006
Oh man. Its official. No longer a Peace Corps Volunteer! Its a crazy, out of body experience. So weird. Two years. Has gone by sooooo fast! Still so much to do. So many more places to go before home. Official itinerary:
Lushoto,Tanga for a week
Mwanza for a week
Morogoro for a few days
Zanzibar for a few days
Then I'll be in Ethiopia from right after Thanksgiving until December 15, when I fly out to go home. Sweet!
So after I got back to Tanzania and my village from being in America, the days and weeks just FLEW BY. It was crazy how much stuff I had to get done. It was endless packing and cleaning and burning my old papers and things that Jess my replacement didn't need. And then there was the last few days in my village when I just went around taking a ton of pictures and saying goodbye's. It was incredibly stressful and sad but I promised people that I would be back in a few years to visit and that we could keep in touch through letters and Jess. Its crazy "closing" up a life you've led for the past two years and not knowing when you'll see certain people, if ever again.
After I left my village (incidentally, on my bus ride out they were playing this popular song called "starehe" and the chorus goes "kwa herini, kwa herini..." or goodbye!) I went to Mtwara to spend the night and Danielle and I met a bongo flava music star named Daz Baba (www.dazbaba.com)! Bongo flava is kind of like the hip hop of Tanzania and East Africa and I'm really into it. It was cool talking to him and his posse but its so interesting how different music superstars in Tanzania are from ones in the States. I mean, obviously, I knew there would be big differences (no stretch limos or red carpet treatment here...), but I expected that they would have a slightly higher standard of living. But nope, they were just staying at some regular hotel Danielle and I were at and riding the really really crappy bus (the one I was on that hit a tree) back up to Dar es Salaam. I was kinda surprised and then I found out from talking to our friend Tenney who knows even BIGGER Bongo Flava music stars that its basically the case with all of them. They are more or less regular people with not such fancy lives. I'm sure a buncha factors come into play but I think its mainly cuz things like royalties and contracts and money issues are not dealt with in a way that would give the artists themselves the most amount of profit.... I guess typical in developing countries?
Anyway, then after Mtwara the next day we got a ride up to Dar es Salaam with the PC vehicle which was an awesome air conditioned Land Cruiser. The road was pretty bad cuz the rains have started (its only paved in bits and pieces here and there) but it was definitely way more comfortable than taking a bus. About a million times more. So we were very grateful.
Once we got to Dar es Salaam (it took 2 days cuz we had to stay overnight; PC is not allowed to drive at night, for good reason) we just have been spending our time here finishing up lots of paperwork and medical appointments to offially close out.
So exciting! So yes. Thats me for now. My adventure here in Tanzania is coming to a close. I'm so so excited to visit friends and be in one place for a little while but have said some sad good byes to other friends who have already left to travel or go home. I'm also super excited but very nervous about Ethiopia but I know it will be a huge learning experience and good times. I miss you all! Write me, I love emails and comments :) Hope you guys like the pics; I dont think I'll have a chance to post more until I get home.