Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Adjustments

It’s probably a good thing that the internet is slow here. This means that at 99 cents a song I can’t do too much damage with i-tunes and my AmEx card. Though I certainly try. It’s also interrupted many an Old Navy browsing. I do love that I can have yahoo messenger. I have only one friend that I regularly chat with, so it’s basically my Dave-messenger system. And of course this blog serves as a nice outlet too. I’ve always had trouble keeping journals because I can’t pinpoint my audience: future self? Grandchildren? Eh?? But with a blog it is quite clear: friends, family, and a few perfect strangers who stumble across the site. I can always just print it out, laminate it, and save it for the grandkids.

Kindu is, by all standard definitions, quite lonely these days. But I am taking it in stride. This is just how it is here: friends travel a lot. I must learn Spanish since so many of UN peacekeeping buddies I can’t communicate with. Perhaps that’s why they think so highly of me. I just smile and nod. Of course I had to take five minutes to explain to the Bolivian commander that I was coming back after my vacation in December (he was about to plan a party for me). This involved a lot of hand signals (plane leaving, plane returning).

I’ve decided that listing the things that might cause “adjustment” issues when I go back to American might help me make this a fun and safe vacation:

- Driving: In Kinshasa you have to be aggressive to get to your location alive. In Kindu you can just do whatever you want so long as you don’t go too fast. But for America I will keep in mind that driving on the opposite side of the road when cars aren’t there isn’t acceptable, that curbs are not supposed to be jumped, and that it’s okay to keep more than five feet between you and the car in front of you.
- Planes: Apparently in America they will give me a time for the flight and it will take off without too many problems, maybe a few hours delay. You also won’t get stranded in random cities that weren’t even on your routing. However, in America, friends won’t be at the airport to hold the plane for me if I am running late.
- Money: In Congo I get used to carrying mad-cash. But in the good-ol-USA I can use this thing called a Credit Card.
- Work: I might as well accept that at the first mention of living in the Congo people will assume that I am in the middle of an African tribal-war zone. The real question is, how many free drinks will this get me?
- Conversation: Topics such as intestinal parasites, military movements, and malaria medication aren’t going to be the dinner party norm that they are in Kindu. Ha! As if we have dinner parties!

I’m sure that it will all work out just fine…

6 Comments:

Anonymous David Bernick said...

"In America, you drive your cars. In Soviet Russia, cars drive YOU! What a country!"

6:52 PM  
Blogger Judy said...

yay! parties parties parties.... and fortunately the crowd we'll have in dc will be used to talking malaria, intestinal infections and rebel movements. though we don't HAVE to talk shop the whole time.

11:58 PM  
Anonymous Jeff R. Allen said...

Hey, I'm one of the random strangers who stumbled on your blog. I am in the process of applying to MSF and searched out a number of blogs like yours to keep an eye on.

Allow me to help out with the Spanish:

Voy a viajar a esatos unidos para un mes. (I am going to travel to the US for one month.)

Voy a regresar en enero. (I am going to return in January.)

¡No necisito un fiesta horita, pero quiero un fiesta grande cuando yo regreso! (I don't need a party now, but I want a BIG party when I return!)

You can translate more stuff here: http://www.nella.org/jra/geek/tlate/?L1=en&L2=es

It is just a little wrapper for Babelfish that makes it easier to go both ways, and cuts out the ads.

11:29 PM  
Blogger Sahara Sarah said...

¿Puedo conducir su tanque? (Can I drive your tank?) This could be fun.

6:12 PM  
Blogger Mom said...

Su madre dice, "Viene a casa!" (Your mother says, "Come home!")

3:54 AM  
Anonymous Damyanti said...

I came her through a link on Sara Bowers' blog.
Impressive Haiku on the other post..and fascinating insights into life in Congo.
Damyanti

4:21 AM  

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