July 6, 2011
Happy belated 4th of July! Last year 4th of July weekend, my family rented a cabin on Eagle River in Wisconsin. This year, we had a 4th of July party with all of the Swaziland Peace Corps volunteers and trainees. It was fun to have some sort of celebration acknowledging the holiday but it was not the same. I really missed boating, hotdogs, and fireworks. So, on that note, here’s some of the things I just generally do and don’t miss about life in the US.
-A dishwasher. Oliver and I washed dishes by hand for a year in our first apartment but believe me, it is a heck of a lot harder to wash dishes by hand without running water. And you can’t leave dishes for a few days and do them all at once when you only own five dishes.
-A clean floor. It seems like no matter how much I sweep, there are still random bugs and dirt on the floor. We have a red concrete floor in our hut and my socks are always turning red.
-Food. I’ve tried typing and retyping this section but it is just making me think of Captain Crunch so let’s move on.
-The internet. It is just amazing that I don’t have access to it—except for the 10min/week we get in town! I miss being able to easily look things up or send a message on facebook.
-Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I know the movie comes out sometime this summer, I remember specifically not looking up the date before we left so that I couldn’t torture myself on opening night. Yes, it is true, I knew I would be living under hardship when I joined the Peace Corps but to miss the last Harry Potter movie…
I don’t miss…
-Television. What a surprise! I do enjoy watching things and so we brought our laptops with some movies and television shows but I feel like that is different from an actual TV. What I didn’t like about TV at home was how it always seemed to be on and how it makes it difficult to focus on people or things that you are doing. It was a good distraction for sure but really 90% of what I watched I could have done without.
-The washing machine. I actually like washing our clothing by hand. It doesn’t take that long and I feel like we do a better job than the washer.
-Texting. Sure, it’s fun to send a quick message to someone, but, in the last year or so, texting was the primary way of setting things up with other people. It was difficult because you could only type so much and also you can’t read anything in facial expressions or voice like you can in person or through a phone call.
Ok, with that said, hopefully, it sounds like I am intergrading well into Swazi culture and not that I am just growing bitter over my lack of appliances. Of course there are more things, and people, I miss about the US but those are just some of the things standing out to me right now.
This Thursday we have our LPI which tests how we are doing in SiSwati (I’ll actually be posting this after we take the LPIs but there really is no time to type blog posts at the internet café so we try to finish it the night before). We have to have a 20 minute recorded conversation in SiSwati with a native speaker. There are also a few more tests and interviews we have to do but then this weekend we leave for a field trip around the country! It will be very exciting. Among other things, we are going to a cultural village, a museum, and a wildlife sanctuary. I had better see an African animal soon! We keep joking that we haven’t actually seen anything to prove that we are living in Africa and are really a part of a government reality show. That would explain a lot more than you would expect! So it will be a big week for us but hopefully we will be able to post some great pictures of our field trip!
Here is a picture of Swaziland that didn’t make it into the last post…