Saturday, October 24, 2009

Run Obama Run

Today was my first day off since being installed and it was a lot less boring than I thought it would be. I got up and lounged in my bed and read a little bit and then decided to take a run. I really want to get into good shape/ exercising is a good goal unrelated to PC (aka something I have complete control over), but I've been nervous to get out there because riding my bike brought so much unwanted attention. Surprisingly, running was a lot less awkward although people obviously still thought I was insane. I ran from my house to a track/ soccer stadium near the PC Center. It's interesting going into the quartier where the PC Center is because then people will guess I'm American instead of French. Therefore I got things shouted at me such as "Run, Obama, Run." I kid you not. A group of boys approximately my age shouted this at me.

Successfully and sweatily back at my house I did laundry. I hate doing laundry. It is miserable. I was hoping that my sisters would see how terrible I am at it and then help me do it, but they just laughed and told me how terrible I was at it. They were really excited that I was even trying to do it myself. Boo. I want to pay someone to do it! One of my sisters' male friends was also over and proceeded to tell me how poor my laundry skills were and to berate me that I can't cook ceebu jeen. Interactions like these take all of my mental strength because all I want to do it jump up and punch the guy. He can't go laundry or cook and it's not because he's a foreigner like me, but because he's a lazy boy. He also went on to tell me that I need to learn how to cook ceebu jeen so I can take it back to the US. I told him that we have our own special foods in the US, but he didn't buy that any of them are as good as ceebu jeen. What I've been noticing is a weird duality of opinion about the US. Everyone wants to go to the States and know everything about it and speak English and they always say it's better than Senegal, but at the same time people don't understand why I would ever want to cook for myself when I could have ceebu jeen. It's very aggravating. To make matters worse as I was doing my laundry I saw one of my sisters cutting up A TON of okra and knew that my fate for an absolutely disgusting lunch was sealed.

Soupukanya is absolutely revolting and the only thing here that I have difficult putting in my mouth. Soupukanya is mashed up okra until it has the consistency of snot. Yes, mucus. It's then stewed into an even snottier consistency and mixed with palm oil. Palm oil is my arch nemesis here. I hate it. Therefore, my lunch was white rice covered in gelatinous okra with palm oil on top. Most PCVs also vehemently dislike this dish and I had no qualms telling my family it's bad. I tried to explain that in the US we have more than just 10 meals that we rotate through and that when they make soupukanya I would just rather make something for myself. I feel ill after I eat it and each spoonful coming towards my mouth makes me cringe. Ahhh. I'm getting nauseated just thinking about it.

After lunch I sat making tea with a couple of my brothers and their friends, which was fun, but this friend wasn't really interested in me or speaking slowly enough for me to understand so it wasn't as fun as it usually is and after my second cup of tea I retreated to my room to do some reading and have an epically long Skype call with my mom and Ma. I'm so happy that I have internet in my room. I keep saying that, but it makes me feel a lot better that I can stay connected with my loved ones in the states and just makes me a lot less lonely. Whenever people are out and about in my house I definitely sit with everyone, but this afternoon everyone was in their rooms with their doors closed so it was nice to see some familiar faces on Skype.

I just had a conversation with my brother Petit, who is my favorite because he really wants to help me learn Wolof and wants me to teach him English so he's really patient and helpful. Anyway, it sounds like we're going to hit up one of Thies' discotheques. Ah! I'm a little nervous because I've never gone out with a group of Senegalese people, but my brothers assured me we could come home whenever I wanted (please remember horrible hair weave/ goat killing night)and Petit doesn't drink so that's a plus. Let me digress about drinking for a minute. My brother Muhammad definitely drinks, and my brother Ziabata smokes, both of which are outlawed in Islam, but it appears that Petit and the girls don't do either. Further reconnaissance is obviously needed. Regardless, I'm happy first time out will be sober.

We are having chicken again for dinner so I better go eat before going out!

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