My life has change drastically, but it is my new normal. I measure each day by the little successes. If I accomplish one thing each day, I consider that to be a good day. I am also realizing that some days, just aren’t my days, so it is better to throw in the towel and go back to my house and watch a movie. I don't think my life is that interesting, but I realize that it is so different than what it was back home, it warranted further explanation.
Chapter 1: The Morning Routine. I generally wake up to the sound of my neighbor sweeping her floors at 6:30 am. Every once in a while I don’t get the memo that there is going to be a concert next door at 5 am. Understandably I am not too happy about that. After I get up, I fill up my bucket that I use to shower. I have running water at my house but 85 or 90 percent of the time it is not working, so when I do have running water I fill 3 large trash cans up so I am rarely ever short on water. When I have electricity, I heat my shower water with this water heater contraption, but when I don’t I boil water on my gas stove (the stoves that you use for camping). While my water is heating up for my shower, I generally get started on my breakfast. I will boil water for my coffee or oatmeal. Generally I eat oatmeal or eggs. But when I feeling liking being fancy I will make a spaghetti omelet, which is just how it sounds: spaghetti mixed in with an omelet. I put all of my dirty dishes in a bucket and I clean them at the end of the week or when I don’t have enough plates.
Chapter 2: The Market. When things go bad here, they liquefy. And they go bad much quicker than they do back in the states. So that means you buy the veggies that you will use that day. But the most disgusting thing about the market is the meat section. The carcass is laid out on a table. You tell the vender how much you want (and it is generally sold in kilo increments) then you point at the section that you want. There are flies everywhere, it smells and you see a ton of carcasses. I have bought meat once and I don’t intend on buying anymore for a while. It was a scaring experience.
Chapter 3: The Restaurant Situation. Grilled meat is amazing. You tell the meat man how much you want and they take the meat right off the grill and serve it up for you. Generally I get the meat to go, but you can sit down and eat. Well the past 2 times I have decided that I wanted to enjoy my meal at the little restaurant which resembles more of a dilapidated shed. The first time, I sit down and look to my right and I see the cow that I am eating staring right back at me. I have seen goat legs or chicken feet near the meat vendor, but never before the head. The 2nd time I decided to eat my meal at the restaurant, I look to my left and see a skinned goat just hanging out waiting to be cooked. It was fully intact with its tail and everything! I haven’t decided yet if I am going to just take my food to go now on.
Chapter 4: Life goes on even when there is no electricity. This is shocking, I know! But there is still life with no power. I stock up on candles, so when this does happen (which is often) I can have light. The only 2 down falls I can see about not having electricity for a while is that when power cuts out so does my water. But like I said before, I have running water, but I really don’t. And the second problem with power out for an extended period of time is that the beers at the bar get cold. When electricity turns back on, you hear an eruption of cheering by all of the neighborhood kids!
When I walk around I am hearing more people yelling my name versus Nascara. This could be partly due to the fact that I will correct people and introduce myself. My French is getting better every day. I have a cat now named Makala, which means doughnut in English. (I was craving one when I got my cat) I am getting more traditional outfits made. I am starting to dive into work and planning out my projects. Life is good. Yes there are days when I wonder, ‘how am I going to handle this for 2 year?’ or ‘what the heck am I even doing here?’ but then generally when you are having those days something happens that you just smile. A group of kids run up to you just wanting to shake your hand, then once they do they check their palm to see if they changed color. Or you set your cat food outside and a little boy decides that it needs to be his lunch and eats the sardines. My life now just seems normal.