Another week down, two more to go until vacation. I have started my Nairobi shopping list and it is all food items. Mostly spices, I am tired of food without flavor. Next term I was to start a small herb garden next to my house. My neighbors have one, though theirs is just full of sukuma wiki. The growing season is long here, I never have to worry about winter destroying my plants. There is a danger that goats will get to them, but I can make a fence out of acacia branches. The inch long thorns will keep anything away. Hopefully, if my food is more flavorful, I won’t have to eat so much just to feel satisfied. It is amazing how my appetite has grown. I no longer fit into half my wardrobe, anything that is not a loose, flow-y skirt is now in a can’t-fit-over-my-butt pile in my spare room. I don’t really mind the weight, I don’t have a mirror and no one here will notice, but I have no place to go to replace my diminishing wardrobe. I can’t run down to walmart and pick up some new jeans. I am going to try to get in shape, and I’d like it if that shape was not a circle. You’d think that walking 6 km a day through a desert would be effective for working off the pounds, but you’d be wrong. Either I am walking too leisurely, though I think I might sweat to death if I try harder, or I am really just turning into a gigantic pig who eats everything she sees.
Last weekend, Curtis, my fellow mzungu teacher who lives in town, finally was able to come to my village for a visit. The Brothers of St. Paul who run the school next to me have a vehicle and they invited him for dinner. It was the first time he has been able to come here. I felt a silly sense of pride when showing him around. I really feel like this is my place now, it used to be just the place I was staying. But now it is home. And it is mine. My little house, my little goat neighbor, my oceanic view, my camels, my desert. Curtis was also properly awed with the distance I have to walk to school everyday, the remoteness of the open desert, and the beauty of the scrub brush dotted with thatch huts. I am looking at my tiny town and my huge desert with new appreciation and love.
The term ends in two weeks and I am planning my trip away from here. I have been aching to escape for weeks, but as the days count down, I am starting to think about leaving and I think I will really miss it. So many times in the last two months I have been unsure if I could really do this. Living here has been so hard and many times I was just holding on to the thought of vacation. There were times when I wanted to go home so badly I had to argue with myself and force myself to stay. But now, I feel stronger and more able to do this. I think I can do it. I can live here with no internet, terrible cell service, and no cheese. I have gotten used to seeing more camels than cars, and now the alternative is what seems odd. The thought of Nairobi and all the stuff that it offers is very exciting and a little scary. I am nervous about the culture shock even though I have only been here for 3 months. Marsabit town seems loud and too busy for me; I can’t imagine how Nairobi is going to freak me out. I go to town once a week and I am starting to not enjoy it. I like the unlimited internet, and the cold beer. But I do not like shopping, or walking around. Everyone is calling to me, there are too many places to buy vegetables, and too many stores to go to. I always end up forgetting something because I am too uncomfortable to bargain with the women and keep track of my grocery list. Actually, I had not even thought how much I disliked town until I wrote it down just now. This revelation kinda freaks me out. How much have I changed in the last three months? Am I really that uncomfortable? I guess when I meet my American friends for vacation, they will let me know how weird I have become.
As of March 13, I have been in Kenya for 5 months. This is so close to the 6 month milestone. Before I left America, I told myself that if I absolutely hated it, I could come home after 6 months. 6 months seemed like a decent amount of effort and an acceptable stopping point. Now that I am getting close, I am so certain I can make it through my whole service. The first 6 months is supposed to be the hardest. Once that is out of the way, the rest will go by so fast. Training in Loitokitok for 3 months seemed like it lasted an eternity. The first two months here in Marsabit seemed faster, but they still crawled by. I feel like I can remember every single day of the first two months at my site. But this last month has started to pick up the pace, the days are starting to blur together. I just know I can make it through the remaining 22 months, and I know that it will go by too fast for comfort.
Again, I start writing thinking to myself that I have nothing to say. The week has been slow and nothing interesting has happened. I sit at my computer and somehow my brain takes over and fills up the page with things I did not even know I was thinking about. I always plan on writing only a few paragraphs, and I always end up with a much longer diatribe. Anyway, I am going to make myself stop now, I can feel my brain has more to say, but I need to go write my exams and eat a gigantic, carb-full lunch. And then maybe I’ll try to sew myself a skirt that will fit me.