Wednesday, April 4, 2012

April 4, 2012 - Don't Know Much

I snuck away this morning to a restaurant that has amazingly wonderful internet.  Yippee!  Internet at our house is not great these days, and I got sucked into reading three books in three days which also hogged my online time.  But now I'm back.  

Today is the one-month-anniversary of my arrival in Dar.  Remember that Kristoffer came one month ahead of us, so he has been here for two months.  It has been a productive month in many ways.  Things at our house are good (still some work being done here and there, and we still are on the hunt for affordable curtains), I am comfortably driving around and Grace is somewhat "settled" in her school (off for the week after being out last week sick...but hopefully next week will be the start of a good long stretch there).  The best news is that we are not sick and haven't visited the clinic in a whole week.  Go us!  There is still a lot of "settling in" to be done, but in ways that take more time.  

For example, this week I miss my friends.  Friends in the US.  Friends in Nairobi.  Friends in Denmark.  Just friends!  People who know and like me already.  It is hard starting over in a place and having to figure out who you are comfortable/compatible with and then trying to convince those people that you are friendworthy and all that.  I would like to zip through this phase and just have some people I can talk to aside from Kristoffer, Grace, Noah and Rose (no offense to them).  Luckily we have a play date tomorrow with a girl from Grace's class who happens to have a brother named Noah only 2 weeks younger than our Noah.  Fingers crossed their mom likes me!

Another example of still getting settled is that I feel I don't really know anything about Tanzania yet.  When we moved to Nairobi, we were instantly thrown into the upcoming election and learning all about Kenyan history and politics and its tribes, etc.  And then I got a job and learned a lot about the country when I was working at UNICEF.  We also didn't have kids so we probably had a lot more energy for exploring and discovering things (and we didn't have little people's nap schedules or feeding times or temperature preferences to be considering).  

Fast forward to now.  I have not read a Tanzanian paper since we got here (embarrassing, but true) and I am doing very little exploring.  I know that the government-owned electric company is broke and so we are using our generator A LOT because there is not a lot of power...and I know that regular Tanzanians are pretty pissed about the situation.  But I don't know much else.  I am sure with time I will learn more about the country, but we really live in so much of a self-contained bubble of expatriats that I could very well be living in ANY African country it seems.  Also the person I spend most of my time with is Kenyan (Rose) so I'm not learning anything new there.  The country seems to move slower than Kenya, but because we have such awesome landlords I haven't really felt anything at home to happen too slowly.  There are two things I find to be a bit annoying:

1. Flies.  They are everywhere and we can't kill them fast enough.  I hate them.  So they are beyond an annoyance, really.  I feel that they are my enemy.  The flies! AH!

2. There are quite a few good stores for grocery/fruit/veg shopping...but you will never find one store that has everything you need at the same time.  So when I go shopping to buy dinner, I have to go to 3 different stores on average to get everything I need.  And I am not cooking anything complicated, trust me.   That is annoying - especially since I have to shop every day or other day because our fridge doesn't stay that cold and things go bad in the heat.  I am still getting used to this.

Otherwise, we're doing fine.  Rose will be in Kenya for the next two weeks so I will be a crazy woman doing both of our jobs.  Not so thrilled about that, but I will of course survive.  And after that, I will try a lot harder to get to know a bit more about this place we call home.  I will look into a Kiswahili tutor at that time and hope more regular interaction with a Tanzanian will help me learn more about Tanzanian culture as well.

Kristoffer has a 4-day weekend for Easter and I look forward to that.  Feeling very happy that I brought Easter baskets with us for the kids.  I did some research and picked out the church that I want to go to here, so we'll go there for the first time on Easter as well.  Hope it can be a really nice holiday for us.  


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