Sometime after we moved to Dar I had an email from one of my closest friends from college, who was reflecting on how my life has changed a lot in these last five years; she wrote that I went from "Brooklyn singly lady" to "Real Housewives Nairobi" (thanks, Gina!). And I think about her saying this ALL THE TIME because sometimes, I will admit, I do feel like my daily life could be a TV show: Real Housewives East Africa (although I have never actually seen the real Real Housewives shows in the US. Maybe I should start getting DVDs to do market research?).
On a weekly basis the show could highlight daily challenges of living here such as having to buy luku (electricity) or diesel for the generator, find grocery items at various different places, negotiating with and managing staff, weekly visits from fundis (repairmen) who are believed in Dar to fix one thing but slightly break another thing so you are guaranteed to have to call them again, and dealing with mosquitos, geckos, ants, etc. It could also higlight the perks of living here, like our Happy Friday Playgroup - where the parents are mostly socializing over beer and wine while the nannies are all watching the kids - and not getting stopped at police checkpoints because of our diplomatic license plates. I think Kenya's Nakumatt would get at least a few episodes devoted to it alone...don't you think the time I threatened to give birth in the store because they wouldn't let me use store credit for anything other than a specific brand of water bottle would make for very entertaining TV?!
If Real Housewives East Africa was a show, then today's episode would be about driving. The little car I drive, a Rav4, needed to go into Kristoffer's office because it needs a new registration sticker for the car. One of the reasons we bought a second car was for days like today, so that I am not stranded at home or having to walk all over the place in crazy heat with two kids. But that means that today, little old me had to drive our big bad monster Landcruiser to take the kids to/from school and to do my daily shopping.
Never having driven the Landcruiser before, I was pretty nervous and went for a test-drive yesterday with Kristoffer to the store and back (because I wanted to practice parking at the store). I was mostly nervous because my depth perception, particularly on my left side (remember: steering wheel is on the right here), is not stellar and I was really afraid of mowing down some pedestrians or bikers. The test-drive went well yesterday and as I piled the kids into the car this morning Grace told me, "I really hope you can drive this car, Mama!" Thinking to myself: from your mouth to God's ears!
Then as I turned on the engine, the key broke off in the ignition. Right. The plastic part with the alarm that the key is attached has been loose and completely broke. Kristoffer warned me to hold it very tight, but I failed. So there was make-shift masking tape scene before we went on our way to school.
And I only went to one store, instead of my usual 2-3 stops to make one meal. I decided that if I couldn't find it in one place today than I didn't really need it anyway. But actually, the more I drove the more confident I became, and I didn't hit anyone, which is a good thing because I have to drive it again tomorrow.
Anyway...our life is mostly just very normal, day-to-day routines like everyone else we know at home...they are just sprinkled with "reality tv" moments now and then. As long as this show is on air, I hope you'll keep "watching."