Tuesday, October 2, 2012

There's a warm wind blowin', the stars are out (The Year in Review)

·     Shockingly I now speak Portuguese (more or less). I’ve even stopped saying pero instead of mas (but is different in Portuguese than in Spanish) and am really trying to say ajudar instead of ayudar. It’s a learning process. Am attempting to learn basic Xitswa, but this is definitely an uphill battle.
·      In other news, my students now know what chill out means and use it on a semi-regular basis. They also know “stop.” Not quite as cool as “manda hollas,” but I’m working on it.
·      I am a Chemistry teacher (don’t worry, this fact makes me laugh too). While it’s only basic chem., it’s still something I was completely unprepared to do a year ago (plus most volunteers who are told they’re going to be science teachers end up teaching English anyways – still haven’t met anyone else who came as an English teacher and is now teaching a science). Still not sure how skilled I am as a chem teacher, but at this point if my students have finally realized that they don’t need to use their phone or a calculator to divide 7/14, I’m a happy camper.
·      I lived with a Mozambican family for 3 months. Really wasn’t bad (although they didn’t have Costco-sized jars of Skippy peanut butter – thanks Grandma and Grandpa!) except for the whole lack of personal space thing. Which I’m still not great at dealing with.
·      On a related note, I’ve eaten almost 12 pounds of said Skippy peanut butter. This is somewhat concerning.
·      I’ve survived three rat invasions and even managed to sleep during the last two. Also, cockroaches no longer scare me, but I hate ants with every fiber of my being – the other day I was washing dishes, turned around for 2 seconds and when I looked again the entire wall was covered in hundreds of migrating ants carrying their eggs. Ew.
·      Mosquitoes suck. And I’m pretty sure I’ll end up with whatever nasty long-term effects DEET causes. Also, putting bug spray on right after every shower is just depressing. But I’m fairly positive that malaria would suck more.
·      I still pretty much dance around the post office every time I get a care package or letter (on that note, I’d love some more letters – they only cost about one dollar to send, unless you’re Anna and somehow get the post office to send a letter to Mozambique from Boston with only one stamp).
·      I am on my way to becoming a master bagel maker (Vilanculos has cream cheese! A Mozambican miracle). And I know just about every possible sour cream substitute.
·      I’ve sat on a bus for a 27 hour journey, spent innumerable hours on a chapa with a broken seat coil poking me in the butt, and have become a discerning hitchhiker.
·      This past month (perhaps to make up for the fact we didn’t have electricity for 8 days) I started getting 3G in my house (not even sure if we have that in Sequim) – it’s not America-fast, but I did watch a short youtube video yesterday. Woah jeez.
·      I’ve made it to nine of the eleven provinces and been on more white sandy beaches in the last year than in the previous twenty-two. Sorry Washington, your beaches just aren’t quite up to Moz standards. Plus I would probably go into instant hypothermia if I stepped foot into the Pacific.
·      I just finished my first year of teaching and am now more or less free from school between the end of October and the end of January (minus some days of testing monitoring). Still trying to figure out what to do with this time so that I don’t go crazy, although I do have a number of Kindle books as an emergency back-up.
Per usual, I miss you all (as my parents’ google voice bill can verify). I hope the weather is beginning to get “crisp”, Starbucks’ chai tea lattes (grande-extra-hot-no-water) and pumpkin bread is as awesome as always, and that everything smells like cinnamon (this is my somewhat delusional idea of what fall in America is like, as this will be the second time I’ve missed it, please let me remain deluded). It’s starting to heat up here, although the weather granted us a bit of a reprieve this week – it actually got a little chilly (under 75 degrees) at night. But summer is definitely on its way . . . with all the accompanying joys of humidity, cockroaches, MANGOS, AVOCADOS, and drinking over 2 liters of water a day (I’m still working on this metric thing). As long as this eight days without electricity thing doesn’t become a trend, my trusty fan and I will most likely survive until March