Thursday, September 3, 2009
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
Here I am 72 days, 10 hours, and 38 minutes in and I'm finally getting settled in. I mean, REALLY settled in. Showing up at work every weekday morning has become a comfortable routine, I always remember to jiggle the toilet flush string, and I can tuck my mosquito net in under 30 seconds.
I used to spend my evenings alone in my room reading or playing computer games, but now I lean lazily on the kitchen counter chatting in Swahili with Sia (our maid) as she prepares the evening meal, or play games with my young "sister" and her friends.
I've reduced the nighttime awakenings to once per night, usually an hour before my alarm. Now that I'm sleeping through the 5 am muslim prayers and the roosters, I'm almost sleeping through the whole night.
The gekkos still scatter when I pull back the curtains but I'm cool with that as long as they make a beeline to hide behind the dresser. I've realized that we have a common goal-- avoiding each other.
I've learned to time my bathing with the on/off schedule of the water heater so that 9 times out of 10 my water is hot.
I'm no longer ashamed of my American accent and have begun speaking Swahili around the office even though all of my co-workers know English.
Of course, all of these are legitimate measurements of progress but my favorite is the change in my reaction to what i like to call TZ's "biodiversity". (This is an umbrella category including but not limited to the chickens/roosters/guinea fowl walking the streets, stray dogs, homeless cats that beg for food, monkeys that steal from clotheslines, mongooses that hang out at the trash dump, and bush babies that scream and chuckle in the night.)
Case Study: Flying Cockroaches
The first I time I saw one of these I screamed and then shivered as I watched it scurry under my bed never to be seen again. Later that night I lay awake in bed listening out for the sound of wings.
Flying Roaches: 1, Krista: 0
The second time I saw one, I stood on a chair with a shoe trying to kill it for 45 minutes before enlisting the help of the security guard who killed it in about 12.5 seconds.
Flying Roaches: 2, Krista: still 0
The third time I faced one I was called in as back up when the study abroad student in the bedroom next door spotted it chilling on her mosquito net. It took a team effort but we were able to knock it to the floor and squish it.
Flying Roaches: 2, Krista: 1
In the most recent incident, I was lying on my bed reading a book when I heard a strange buzzing sound. I looked up and saw a translucent, brownish flutter tracing circles on the ceiling. Fifteen seconds later it was keeled over on is back looking rather like the picture above, and I was standing over it holding the smoking flip flop. No assistance necessary.
Flying Roaches: 2, Krista: 2
If that's not progress I don't know what is!