This past Tuesday, we had our monthly Fun Day as a staff. We went bowling at this huge mall, Garden City. I was nicely reminded how poor my bowling skills are. Despite my skills, or lack thereof, it was a blast! We all had fun together! For some, it was their first time to bowl. I’ll insert here something I’ve referenced before. The most random music from America makes its way over here. Much of it, I want to apologize to Africa for. They deserve better American music than this. In the midst of our bowling, “Barbie Girl” came on. That took me back to high school where I remember never wanting to hear that song again. Hope it now gets in your head all day as it was in mine. "I’m a Barbie giiiirrl…in a Barbie wooorld."
Anyway, back to happy thoughts. Catharine started not to feel well during our bowling time and thus asked Kate to drive her car back. With us taking everyone different places, that meant that I was taking a Prado full of people to various locations. With my comfort ability higher in driving these days, I was only slightly nervous. This was mainly due to the part of town we were in (traffic!), the time of day it was (traffic!) and the fact that any error on my part would hurt not only me and the Prado but everyone else that was stuffed into the Prado. Details like that. It all ended up being fine. At one point, I remembered that Kate and I had talked about our need to pick up things from the grocery store. Tuesday is the one day that we go into work and leave together so it’s most convenient to grab things on those days. I called her at one of the stops (because it is SO illegal to talk on the phone when driving here and I have no urge to meet with the traffic police again) to ask what we needed and told her I’d pick it up on my way home. When I parked in the ShopRite parking lot, a memory came to mind.
My first two weeks in Uganda were busy due to that I had come at the same time as a team from the States. They were from Holly’s church. Holly had been here for a year last year and came back for over a month this summer. One day, while we were in the midst of getting something done, Holly left to drive to the grocery store to get things needed for dinner. I remember thinking, “I can’t wait until I’m adjusted enough to do that.” Adjusted enough to know where I was going to even get to a grocery store. Knowing which grocery store is best to go to. Knowing which one has what and which one does not. Not to mention the biggie; feeling comfortable enough to drive there all by myself. Those details seemed unfathomable.
I smiled as I parked the Prado thinking, I did it! I’ve at last gotten to the point in living here that I can get around, do things that I need to do and…LIVE. I am LIVING in Kampala. When people ask what I’ve learned here, I constantly say how much different it is to live in a country than it is to just visit one. The differences are to numerous to count but perhaps the above story sheds light on that.
On another Sarah is LIVING in Africa note, I got an African dress made! I bought the material a few weeks ago and took it to this tailor in the Nakawa market, one of the closest markets to our home (is that right? I actually think there might be another....somewhere…closer?). It was definitely an adventure trying to tell the tailor what I wanted when she spoke only Swahili and French with very little English. I had been to the Nakawa market a few times but definitely didn’t know my way around. Since I’ve had to go back for different revisions to the dress these past couple weeks, I’ve really gotten to know the market better. There’s so many stalls and twists and turns that confused me before. Now, I feel like I got the layout somewhat down. Down enough that I feel like I could go and buy whatever I need. I feel comfortable enough to negotiate for vegetables. I mean, people, I have an AFRICAN DRESS now. I can do anything! (you can laugh at that) I’ll try to get pictures of the dress up here at some point.
Home…what and where is home? Kampala is becoming more like home. The insanity that was once intimidating now has a sense of normalcy to it. I often wonder how it’ll be to be back in America for Christmas. Will I have a hard time adjusting back to my own culture? Will I remember to drive on the right side of the road instead of the left? Will I die once the frigid air hits my tropical climate adjusted skin? Will I gain 20lbs by eating all the Mexican food I can get my hands on? You know, important things like that.
So, where is home exactly? Help me figure that one out…