Thursday, November 12, 2009

Space, Comma

November 12, 2009

I dragged myself out of bed this morning to take a run. As my skin explodes in a fit of acne and my body rebels against the liters of oil I eat every week, I thought I should do something nice for myself. The weather is actually getting cooler, which made my run almost pleasant except for the fact that I am not one of those people who can find the "zone" and actually enjoy myself. At least the track was empty when I got there and I was able to be at peace... and run through the sprinklers when I was done!

The track is right next to where I get tutored, but I ran home and then rode my bike back to tutoring. My bike and I are becoming better friends. Although I disengaged the back breaks because I have no idea how to stop them from touching the tire and I can't seem to shift gears (it's really hard to peddle!), we are starting to bond and it's nice not to have 45 minute walks when it's a million degrees outside. Even though I take the same routes day in and day out a toubab with a helmet is still just about the most ridiculous site in the entire world and the cat calls and children's' shrill "toubab" follow me everywhere. Luckily, the bike affords me speed and the ability to ignore most comments.

Tutoring is good. My tutor is funny and nice and intense. He wants me to come more often and for longer periods of time. This is very generous and I will take him up on his offer because I really do want to attempt to master Wolof, but at the same time he is so high energy that he exhausts me. Today he had several friends over who were interesting characters. It was fun to talk to other people, but we weren't quite as productive as usual.

Back at home for lunch, I waited and waited for lunch. Mamy, one of my sisters, not Jeenaba was cooking which is usually a bad sign and means it's not going to be as good. I should preface this by saying that there are two types of ceebu jenn: red and white. We usually have white and I used to prefer white ceebu jenn for some unknown reason, but Mamy's red ceebu jenn was worth the wait and there was only a thin film of oil on the bottom of the bowl which is a huge improvement over most meals. I was pumped and at the same time sad that I am now ranking how much I like (not tolerate) ceebu jenn. And I called myself a foodie this summer. Sigh. Mamy cooking today wasn't the end of shared household responsibilities. All of the girls scrubbed the courtyard today. It is impressive what these women can do with some soap and a squat broom made of sticks. I attempted to help until they begged me stop and said they could do it without me. I really did try to help. Hey, I can scrub with the best of them, but I relinquished my broom for another Senegalese girl who came over. I think they at least appreciated the effort.

I spent the afternoon at my typing class, which I'm still really excited about. The women have gotten to the point where they actually type words now instead of just letter combinations and they're psyched about it. They also practice on their own which is great. This is mainly fueled by competition and the desire to get "SUPERSTAR" status at the end of a lesson. Interestingly, the program reports which letters the student has the most problems with and all of my students struggle with the space bar. I don't really get it and we had a long discussion about spaces, but they're still struggling. We also added some punctuation today, exciting!, and commas completely befuddled them. I will admit I'm terrible at commas. I usually use them incorrectly or just leave them out completely, but no one knew what a comma was so I explained it as a pause within a sentence and showed them one in the book. Since commas don't pertain to emails and Google searches the women found them largely annoying and unnecessary in their exercises. Oh well. Mme Cissa continues to impress me with her dedication and quick uptake.

And we lost power tonight for several hours so even though I had this post mostly written I couldn't post it. Since it was dark I got into bed early with my iPod and when the power magically came back on as I was drifting to sleep I chose bed over blogging. My apologies.

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