And just in case this isn't already evident: 'the views expressed in this blog are not representative of the United States Government or the U.S. Peace Corps but are my personal expressions and experiences" :)

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Past-due posts!!


I know I know I know. I've neglected my fan base here, my deepest and most sincere apologies world wide web for leaving you bereft ;)

I don't even remember when the last time I wrote here was... oof!

In my defense I THOUGHT about writing blog posts here and there. Maybe I'll write mini posts now in honor of all the ideas that never flowered into real-life blogs... yes. That's what shall be done.

Sometime back in November 2012

I'd started a mini running group with a Mozambican friend and the other foreigner in my town. Granted it didn't survive past the year but at least for a few exuberant (albeit short-lived) weeks I was running regularly with running buddies! My greatest triumph was that I'd finally penetrated the jungle that is the residential part of town (or in other words, everywhere that isn't the main road.) There are no road names, no roads really, just a huge tangled web of dirt paths that weave their way from here to there and then back again. It's impossible to know how to get from one place to another unless you're with someone who can lead you through the maze (or have a compass). I'd always itched to lose myself in the labyrinth but was a little apprehensive about where I'd turn up so had never gotten around to exploring.... however with two people somehow any and all fears usually just melt away. So me and my running buddy would run and sprint and leap through the maze in the morning hours until we'd tumble out into a road we recognized – and then would dive back in head first :) Although our running group has fallen apart I have faith that we'll start up again soon (I'm quite persistent about finding workout buddies, inherited my nagging from my mama :)

During the December holidays

Mozambique loves the December holidays, so much so that they basically close down all organizations and jobs and work in any shape or form for the entire month of December. No joke. In light of our additional free time (as if we didn't have enough of it to begin with) one of my Peace Corps friends and I decided to travel around a little bit during the holiday season. I think I'd mentioned once before how the public transportation system here is a little lacking, in the sense that it doesn't exactly exist. There are private enterprises though - never fear! We'd pile into minivans and buses with double the amount of people than they should be capable of holding, along with goats (either tied to the roof or stuffed under luggage in the aisle), chickens (either loose or in boxes), and bags and boxes and crates and cases.... I learned some very valuable travel lessons during that month:
  • never ever expect to get to your destination in the time frame you expected. Take the amount of hours it should take to arrive, double it and then cross your fingers and hope you're lucky enough to arrive at all
  • always have plan B's – aka the phone numbers of other volunteers en route to where you're trying to go
  • There is no shame in calling down another ride that appears to be going faster whilst currently on a ride. I thought for sure the driver would take offense the first time I did that, but he just shrugged and pulled over to let me out while the other vehicle waited for me to transfer.
  • Cars and vans and buses and trucks BREAK DOWN. All the time. So bring a book, lots of sun screen and an endless supply of patience.
  • The drivers of cars and vans and buses and trucks LIE. Not in malicious way, just an inconvenient one. Beware: when they say they're going to destination C but they may only get as far as destination A and change their mind because they no longer feel like driving any further. Or they get to B and all of a sudden decide they feel like going to Destination 5 instead, no matter that it may be in the complete wrong direction.
Some of my favorite moments from our travels that month included lying on an empty highway with no cars in site. There were so many blue butterflies around us it reminded me of autumn when my father would blow up the leaves in our yard with his leaf blower thingy. The sky was the perfect blue, the way a sky should always look. And there were little puffy cumulus nimbus clouds drifting by that I watched while lying on the road waiting and waiting and waiting for another car to pass us by.

Or another time when we sat on the back of a pick-up truck; the sun had just gone down and as the first stars began to peek out I called out in excitement that I saw a shooting star! And then another, and another and.... oh wait. When the truck had slowed down for a speed bump we realized that they weren't shooting stars at all, but fire flies. And my goodness, I have never in my life seen so many fire flies as I did that evening. It seemed like clouds of them and they never dispersed after dusk as the fire flies of my childhood had always done. They stayed for what felt like hours and twinkled in the trees and hills just like the stars above.

I spent Christmas proper on a beautiful beach with some good friends (fellow volunteers), a cold beer and my toes digging in the sand :)

This first month of 2013

Not much has happened this month. My birthday came and went – I'd spent the day fighting with corrupt officials and paying unjust fines up the wazoo for some packages I'd received from beloved friends and family back in the states (please please please never write the total value of any package as $50 or above!) Corruption sometimes can't be avoided in some parts of the world, it was a shame that the first time I encountered it in the beautiful country happened to fall on my birthday but what are you going to do :P

We got rain and rain and a little more rain this month. I had tin cans and tupperware containers all over my house to catch the stead streams but it didn't stop half of my worldly possessions from growing a nice lovely fur cat of mold. All this rain is also bringing out the big scary bugs, and my adoring kitty has developed a new habit of catching these huge scary monsters and carrying them inside my house whilst still alive to play with them inside. He must have not gotten the memo of his job description.

Speaking of, I discovered last week that Charlotte is a boy (!!) so little kitty is going to need a new name. I think he'll just stick with his original name – Pip. Even though he no longer cries like a pin prick, he still loves the sound of his own voice (much to my dismay at 3am at night) so Pip will still suffice. He's also been mastering the art of climbing. I made the mistake of letting him through the window the other day and the next evening I followed the sound of muffled meows to find him stuffed and stuck between the grate and screen of a window (he didn't realize that this one wouldn't swing open when he pushed until too late). He hasn't tried any more windows since... Now instead of crawling under the reed walls of my bathroom to take baths with me he takes the more dignified route of climbing up the wall and waiting for me sprawled out on the door frame. The irst few times he did this he couldn't get down though so I had to climb up in my towel and carry him down. Kitty is still as little as ever, still likes to sit on my shoulders when I wash dishes outside, and is currently dozing on my lap while I write (actually with all this twitching and jumping he must be dreaming of catching another monster insect).

Well that's all I got folks. I hope it will suffice! Tomorrow morning I'm going to try for the Nth time to have cement put inside my walls (every time I'm about to do it the carpenter doesn't show up, or the heavens open and pour buckets of water down from the sky). If I wait any longer though the cement bags I bought will dry up so hopefully I'll have wet cement in my house by February! That also means though that I have to move all of my kitchen items int my bedroom tonight sooooo.... ate o proximo!

Big hugs and kisses (and a few extra to those who remembered me during the holidays and my birthday – it means the world to me & I'll be sending my thank you letters soon enough :)


ps: also found out that the big banging on my roof is actually from an avocado tree! And better yet, they're finally ripe!!! Needless to say, I've been eating a lot of guacamole since this new discovery

pps: have delved into the Game of Thrones book series this month – am just starting the 5th and really enjoyed the series so far (the books are huge but easy to read and even easier to fall into if you're in need of a diversion.) I warn you though that the last 2 books are yet to be written/ released so if you're like me and are not a fan of waiting years for sequels don't tempt yourself.

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