Yup, I'm actually doing it. I'm taking the plunge. Starting August 12th I will be in Senegal working as a Small Enterprise Development Volunteer with the Peace Corps.
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
America The Beautiful
People say that the United States of America is the greatest place on Earth and that's because it is...even though it's full of delicious indulgences that make you fat when you eat everything in sight. I had the most wonderful vacation back at home with my family and friends. Thank you to everyone I saw back at home for making my vacation so great. Eating, hanging out, eating, shopping, eating, taking hot showers, eating, visiting all of my friends, shopping, eating, and more eating were all involved. I handled the cold better than expected even though it was frigid, had no stomach issues from the mass amounts of dairy that I ate, and I think I got to see everyone I wanted to see, and I got to shopping! That being said, after almost two weeks in lovely Michigan and a quick New Years Eve trip to Chicago to see my Michigan roomies, I'm back in Senegal.
The shock going both ways wasn't nearly as shocking as I expected it to be. Not surprisingly, I had no transition period back to my life of luxury in the US of A. The only thing that surprised me was landing in Washington DC and being slapped across the face with Christmas. I had totally forgotten that it was going to be Christmas in the US. The change of seasons is so strong in Michigan that it's very easy for me to completely block out holidays here in Senegal. Coming back to Senegal (although I did briefly contemplate living in a bathroom stall in Dulles airport) wasn't as bad as I thought either, I've also only been back a few days and have been asleep most of the time. The US and Senegal are two completely different worlds that seem completely separate from one another and oddly I seem to fit into both of them although, one is cleaner and has vastly better and more varied food options (in my personal opinion). I definitely cried like a little baby leaving home, it was actually harder to physically leave Dulles airport aka the United States of America than my house, but at least this time I knew what I was getting myself into and coming back to friends and big plans of shenanigans to come.
Just as my American family turned up in droves to meet me at the airport in Michigan, my Senegalese family were all in the courtyard when I arrived. This meant mayhem broke lose. My mom started clapping and singing, Ahmed could barely keep him hands off my bags imagining all of his presents inside, and everyone had to come hug me and tell me that I looked tired and yell at me for cutting my hair and then not bringing it back for them to make a weave. With only a few hours of sleep under my belt I immediately fell asleep, awoke to find most everyone had gone out to some party, was given some dinner, and then fell asleep again for the night before the majority of my family returned from the party. You can only imagine what this meant when Ahmed came home today. It meant constant harassment until he got his present.
Since last winter when my mom sent pictures of our house covered in snow, Ahmed has been OBSESSED with snow boots. I have no idea why he latched onto this idea, but he has and until today he has thought that practically anything can substitute for a snow boot. Teva sandals, of course those can be snow boots. High heels, no problem. No amount of explanation or showing him pictures could convince him otherwise. Today he learned better because my mom is a good person and forced me to drag little boys, fireman rain boots approximately 4000 miles. He's in love. I think his snow boots have replaced me in his heart. He pretty much hasn't taken them off, which is hilarious because they are far too big and he keeps tripping. The boots also caused a fight because he refused to take them off for his bath claiming that if they could go in snow they could go in water. I applaud him for his logic, but my mom still tore them off him. The compromise was keeping the shower door open with the boots just outside. Everyone else really loved their presents and the Gaye household really hasn't changed since I left. I can tell all the girls are happy I'm back because I've been on baby duty almost every minute that I've been awake.
I haven't visited any of my work partners, but that's on the docket for later this week. Thanks again to everyone back at home who made my trip back to the homeland so great!
PCV Alyssa Titche Corps de la Paix B.P. 957 Thiès, Senegal West Africa
* Make sure it's "Par Avion" by Air and that there's a sticker * Please put insurance on packages and even letters because customs officers will rip open both looking for goods and cash * If you are amazing and sending me a package write "Religious Materials" or "Personal Products" on the outside to further deter customs officials, also it is best to buy a flat rate box to reduce the custom fees I have to pay on my end! * Number your letters so I know if I'm missing one as mail will probably take 2-3 weeks to get from you to me
I also have Skype so make me one of your contacts. My Skype name is: alyssatitche
Cell Phone! Call me on Skype! 221-77-330-48-40
Wish List: Goodies, Treats... and Necessities
100 Calorie Packs
Jiff Extra Crunchy Peanut Butter
Mixed CDs (Leigh and Alex sent one and it was AMAZING)