Sunday, November 15, 2009

still here...

Alright, I’ll attempt to catch you guys up. Summer came and went… really fast. I was mostly busy with Elliott’s visit (1 month) the new training (those guys have already been sworn in as volunteers for almost 3 months now) and GRE studying (eesh). Elliott did a great job detailing his visit. And that actually wasn’t the first time I’ve “broken” a water valve and had to deal with water gushing everywhere. I’m thrilled that I had the chance to share my experience with him. It was a bit odd… that feeling of two worlds colliding… but it was great, nonetheless. We spent a night at the Hilton in Yaounde. It was the closest I’ve been to America in year… I took a hot bath! I drank Heineken and slept on a spring mattress. We had pina coladas and real cheeseburgers. It was absolutely amazing. I felt sorry for the taxi driver who drove me from the airport after I left Elliott there for his return flight. Saying “goodbye” this time was even harder than the first time. Why? I guess because when we were parting ways on that what-now-seems-like-forever-ago day, there was the excitement of my life as a Peace Corps volunteer ahead. All was going to be new and unknown. But this time, I had to take a bus back to my house that now feels well broken into and still had reminders that Elliott had been here. There was his sock on my bedroom trunk and the bottle of wine we didn’t open and even remnants of the mud he tracked all over the floor (heh).
My computer broke in August. Cameroon is not kind to electronics. But now I have a refurbished Inspiron mini. I think these things are perfect for volunteers. They’re affordable and very lightweight yet durable. If you buy one refurbished ($250 and if it breaks, it won’t be such a tragedy like when a relatively new $800 inspiron breaks). I’ve got a portable disc drive (almost bigger than the computer) for when I want to watch DVDs.
School began in September and I was given a schedule similar to last year. I get to teach one of the same classes I taught last year (6em2 which is now 5em2). I wanted to be able to have at least one of the classes for a second year. However, that might have not been such a good idea. Last year, they had time to “figure me out” and they know what they can get away with. I was feeling my way around and they were sort of my guinea pigs. This year, with my other classes, I knew how to begin the year. So far I’ve been in school for two months and I’ve had to discipline NO ONE in the other classes… but the disciplining in 5em2 is on a daily basis. *sigh* But these are the kids (a group of 62) I’ve come to know by name and who’ve come to know me. They hold a special place in my frazzled heart.
My host mom’s sister gave me a new kitten. That’s him you see in the picture. His name’s Gumbo and he chases his own tail. He also eats my electricity bills and farts a lot. But sometimes he can be really cute.
December will be a crazy month since I’ll lose my 2 post-mates. :( Their time in Cameroon is up and now they’re onto bigger and better things (like learning Arabic). They were only a 5 minute walk away and honestly, having Americans nearby, really helped to keep me sane. There were always movie and dinner nights where I could vent in American English and they understood exactly how I was feeling. I love my Cameroonian colleagues but some things just don’t cross that great cultural divide. The good news is that one of my post mates will be replaced with a new: she’s a Tulane student and a registered nurse! I had the chance to meet her and I know we’ll get along great (even if it’s only for 6 months). That’s right, by the time my new post-mate settles in at post in a few weeks, I’ll be three quarters of the way through my service… and I’ll also be leaving for a one month vacation. I get to spend Christmas and New Years at home! (thanks to Elliott )
So, hopefully, I’ll be seeing some of you soon!