It's the Halloween Season at home. What a weird time of year to be missing... the costumes, candy, haunted houses, pumpkins and parties!! Here in Benin it is not getting colder... there is no noticeable difference in day light.. and palm trees are definitely not turning red and orange. I don't think children here would be allowed to celebrate Halloween like we do... even if (especially if) they knew what is was. This time of the year.. life is definitely way more interesting back at home. I can't wait to hear about everyone's holiday adventures! We better start planning Halloween 2014.. I'm going to have a lot of Halloween-ing to make up for :D
I have been watching Halloween movies all week... and I'm going to go buy myself some candy to eat on Wednesday!! WOOOO PARTAY!! I tried to find some pumpkins to have a pumpkin carving party... unfortunately I didn't find any in Porto Novo (they do have them in Cotonou though so maybe next year!)
Speaking of back home (and subjects I can actually relate to). My East Coastness is going to be the death of me in this country. I will be the first to admit that I have an East Coast personality.. generally speaking I am high stress.. overly organized... fast paced.. I live on a schedule. I have never viewed this as a bad thing... I walk a little faster talk a little faster and get things done a little faster. I had my first palm pilot when I was in Junior High (my dad let me take his old one when he got a new one).. and I am definitely addicted to schedules and making lists. I love office supply stores.. and I may or may not have a serious love affair with post-it notes. (I usually jump up and down like a 5 year old when I see the bulk packs in Costco). That being said.. I don't see me putting down the planner anytime soon... but what I plan to work on is just accepting that my perception of what makes a successful day.. and what I should actually be considering a successful day.. is something I have to take a serious *soul-searching* style look at. I learned the term “soul-searching” at Drew U.. not by choice... Hey ADMIN I'm using your vocab!!
This week I made a very packed schedule for myself. Monday went as planned.. Tuesday tumbled... Wednesday didn't happen... Thursday might possibly have moved backwards.. and so on and so forth. There are to many variables.. like rain, does the other person understand the point of the meeting.. or rain.. or lack of communication.. or rain.
On Thursday I changed my schedule for Friday to “Harass People” hoping maybe to light a fire on some things (like finding me a language tutor so I don't have to be reliant on others).. however it was raining and also some sort of holiday... OH WELL. Luckily for me, I live in a country where socializing and wandering around the marche is considered acceptable form of work by most onlookers.. So I spent a lot of time talking to people. I met a teacher and talked to him for a bit, I am going to start with my school part of my community study next week (something that I have been wholeheartedly avoiding). I got really lucky and caught my bread lady walking around the marche.. so I was able to ask her about some different products I saw. Lots of red bananas being sold this week.. a normal thing for Porto but I have never seen them around here.. maybe they are seasonal? There is something weird about bananas being red.
In the Peace Corps world this is a fairly successful week.. I should be thankful.. must stop beating myself up... I had the realization that I am stressing myself out. it really doesn't matter how much work I feel like I did this week. There is no way for me, someone who grew up right out side of Philly.. to have any real grasp on how much work I did or didn't do this week by anyone's local standards... right now my standards are irrelevant. This story will probably be strange to you in a you probably needed to be there sort of way... but it is what made me realize this:
Yesterday evening, my landlords son knocked on the door to find out if the water was out. We went through the normal greetings Bon Soir... Cava Bien... Tu fais un peu? (Did you do a little?).. To which you always reply Oui, Un Peu. (Yes a little). It is considered impolite to imply that you did more than a little... and as far as doing “a little” is concerned, getting out of bed in the morning.. and breathing... both count. At which point he asked me if I ate an orange today.. which is a slightly bizarre question.. I think he could tell I was confused by it and then added something along the lines of “If you ate an orange today that's good.” I'm still not sure if he was concerned about my health.. or if he was implying that eating an orange is hard work. Either way, his concern wasn't over the amount of work I did do.. or I felt that I did.. or it looked like I did... his concern was that I ate an Orange. For some reason that made me feel a little better about things. It is funny how someone saying something so little and unrelated can just make things click.
Enough with the differences.. This week there is one thing I can say is the same as at home.
I am getting a lot of rain.. and judging by the weather reports my friends on the East Coast are about to get lots of rain too! I hope everyone at home is being smart and preparing for the storm that is coming that way :( Hopefully it isn't as bad as they are saying. However, the best thing to do is to be ready!
Cory posted this link on his twitter with tips for preparing. Be Prepared for Hurricane Related Weather!
Everybody Have A Happy AND Safe Halloween <3