Saturday, June 23, 2018

"Sounds American!"

Tonight I called my mom and told her what my day looked like:
7am-8:30am training with Bible study teachers
9:00am eat pancakes for breakfast
9:30am load pictures to send to Walgreens for Grandma
10am play frisbee
12:pm heat soup for pot luck
12:30pm mow lawn
1:10pm go to potluck
5:30pm return home
6pm reheat soup
7pm watch Llama Llama on netflix
7:30pm help Mariama go to bed
8:30pm continue loading pictures
9:30pm check facebook
10:00pm write this blog

"Sounds like a normal American day!" my mom said.
"Yes, it does...let me expand a bit." I replied.

7am-8:30am Training with Bible study teachers.  I woke up at 6:10am to get ready to ride my bike with Daso down to the church.  We start out on a paved road, then drive down a dirt road that quickly turns into an unbikable path that leads us to the church where two teachers were already waiting on long backless benches inside a room with cement floor and colorfully painted walls.
9:00am Eat pancakes for breakfast.  I return home to Zach who is making pancakes with the sour milk I bought fresh yesterday but didn't have room for in my mini refrigerator overnight.
9:30am Load pictures to send to Walgreens for Grandma.  Our internet is flaky so this takes about 5 hours over 3 days.  So great, though, that my Grandma in New York can get pictures of my family in Nigeria at her local drugstore! 
10am Play frisbee. I haven't played frisbee since before I got pregnant with Lydia due to back aches, pregnancy, and overbusiness. This Saturday, though, I had stayed up until 12:30am preparing everything I needed so I could make frisbee happen for the whole family. When we reached the international school where we play, the 6 guards on duty told us that it wouldn't be possible today.  With a baby on my hip, a walker in my right hand, and snacks in the other, I explained to them that I really needed to play today.  They apologetically stated that there were exams and that the students would be distracted (As a huge truck roared past blaring it's horn followed by a train of cars doing the same thing because that's what cars do...all the declare they're on the road, they are about to overtake you or to find out if you need a ride. "No one's telling them they can't drive past the compound!" I thought to myself)  Continuing in Hausa, we came to an agreement that we could play if we were quiet. I gave 3 Nigerian guy friends the "serious mom look", and said, "no problem for me, I don't know about them."  They laughed heartily...because that was funny given the person glaring at them.
12pm Heat soup for pot luck.  This was a lovely invitation extended to me by an American couple. Soup is not a "thing" in Nigeria. I don't make soup.  Daso and Mariama don't eat it, and I don't find it all that fun or challenging.  Why I still like the challenge of cooking when I spend hours doing it every day says something scary about my personality, I'm not sure what.  So, I made a soup, and it was way more soup than I ever wanted to eat, but I was excited that I had made one.  I also reheated meat pies.
12:30pm Mow lawn.  I LOVE mowing. It was my job as a kid in upstate New York.  The smells and sounds of grass being cut fill me with happy, safe feelings (nothing like a big sharp blade to make me feel safe).  Today, however, this was quite a feat for someone who hasn't owned a lawn mower as an adult until now!  The grass had needed a cutting for about a month. We are now the proud owners of a gasoline lawnmower that is supposed to use a bag to catch the grass, but was sold second hand without it.  This means that the grass, pebbles, sticks, toads (just kidding) kick out at your feet because of the gaping hole I propped open with Mariama's former walking stick. (It's a very nicely painted propper.) The grass was up to my knees, so I had to let my mower sputter and cough regularly in a wheely position.
1:10pm Go to potluck.  We were late, so no one at my soup or meat pies...well, we did for the next few days, as did our guards and community cat.
5:30pm Return home.  This is more fun than ever because we now have a car that we are borrowing!  What a thrilling thought when I realize I can put the kids in the car and go somewhere, like a potluck.  Oh, and we can drive other single missionaries and carless people around too!  I often stop and drive someone who's walking along the road to their next stop because I remember pleading passing cars in my head to stop and pick me up when I was out walking with a baby on my back and a toddler at my side.  Home is also an interesting mix of cultures.  We live in a guarded, gated compound, with trees and landscaped plants all around.  We have a baobab, guava, 5 varieties of mango, orange, pomelo, grapefruit, lemon, frangipani, flame, palm, and other flowering trees in our compound. We also have 2-4 guards on duty who open the gate for us to drive in and greet us happily in Hausa. We have 2 full time gardeners on the compound as well who keep it looking lovely.  Home sounds so simple, and it is. Interesting how when I say "home," what comes to your head and what comes to mine will be very different, almost unimaginable for either of us. (So I'll include some pictures which cannot encompass the feelings, smells, sounds, or personalities that make home what it is, but it's something!)  

6pm Reheat soup.
7pm Watch Llama Llama on Netflix. To have internet we can stream on is amazingly fun! We can watch all kinds of exhilarating shows like Llama Llama, Barney, and Sid the Science kid.  We have not had internet that would bring all our email messages in at once, let alone Skype or stream movies. Yeah for progress!
7:30pm Help Mariama go to bed.  This probably looks exactly like it would in the US, besides the mosquito nets, mattress on the floor, and and generator humming outside so we can have light.
8:30pm Continue loading pictures...almost there now!
9:30pm Check Facebook.  Now that I've lived in five states and five countries and work in an international organization for 12 years, my Facebook is an incredible journey around the world! Reading facebook takes me to exotic places where friends I love live, and nostalgia often catches me with a tear either of laughter or missing
 10:00pm Write this blog, which I love to do, but rarely get enough time to do well.

Hope my "American Saturday" finds you well!

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