My weekend was eventful. Not even the cold could dampen my spirits! I have been up and about and in true Ugandan fashion, I went visiting, hiking on a forest trail and eating- a lot!
On Saturday, Patty and I braved the heavy snow and bad roads and headed out to Zumba (die-hards! As if we are on military roll-call! As if we missed a session because of a snow storm we would be punished or castigated 🙂 )! We got back from Zumba when the snow situation had gotten much worse. Thankfully, we were able to make it to Emily’s house for lunch! I met amazing people there! The food was great (the chicken salad, apple pie were my favourite!)..See how I sometimes deviate from important issues because of food! Anyway, back to the story! I felt love in that house like I had not in a very long time! This group of people have been friends for years, they have loved and supported each other and they have a wonderful story of low-points and triumphs in their lives that reminded me that sometimes in life we value the unimportant. How much money we make, what we look like, who we know, where we work e.t.c. Often, we forget the important stuff; the people that matter to us, the good things that are happening in our lives, generally all the things that we ought to be thankful for.
Just being around such incredible people gave me a new perspective on life. I need to have around me lifelong friends that will love and support me and stand with me even when I get into a rough patch. I have been doing some personal evaluation since yesterday’s luncheon and I’ve realized that there are many shallow relationships that I am clinging onto. That I have been clinging onto for so long and yet they are not adding value to my life. So this coming week, I am going to detach myself from people that don’t really add value to my life. There are some that crowd my life with so much negativity that it’s almost becoming toxic. My new resolve therefore is “to remove the clutter from my life”..
I talked to Amanda and Tina today. That made me homesick a bit. I usually go over to Amanda’s house in Kampala and we’ll chat and laugh and laugh till it gets dark and then I have to catch a matatu(taxi) from Luzira to Kireka where I live. Also, today was my uncle’s keny (Acholi traditional wedding) in Kitgum. I was sad to miss that! I miss my brother Jordan’s loud laughter and my sister Miriam’s rib-cracking jokes, I miss the random get-togethers with my girlfriends Annet, Sandra, Susie, Janice, Dorah, Midi, Sarah, Tina. I miss my musaale who I watch Penguins of Madagascar with. I miss Mayi, Bubu and Alison. I miss the loud trucks advertising shows in my neighbourhood in Kireka, I miss the sunshine, I miss dressing up in cute summer dresses with African necklaces, beaded sandals and my hair held up in elaborate hair-dos! I miss plucking avocado and mangoes off the trees in Mukono. I miss watching the sun set over the hills in Kawuga. I miss my random visits with Beatu, Ekina, Gerry, Ray, Jessy. They make me laugh so much! Amanda gave me a nugget of wisdom by telling me in a very simple statement “to become emotionally self-reliant!” As much as I miss home, there is a greater purpose to why I am here. Opportunities like this don’t come everyday. So I am going to suck it up and become emotionally self-reliant. And to do my best to excel at work. After all, I won’t always be home. I can never predict where life will take me! And I will need to know how to cope!
As much as I missed home today, I must say I have quite enjoyed America! Before I got here, I thought the place was a huge industrial mess with no trees. So, I’ve been pleasantly surprised to see lots of trees, creeks, streams, rivers and forests. It’s more beautiful than I envisioned it to be. Also, the snow glistens when the sun comes out. It looks so magical! The roads are not bumpy and pot-holed like in Kampala. The internet is always on and it’s pretty fast. Also, there’s an apple tree right outside my window(what could beat that?). I also like that a lot of the food in the grocery stores is pre-cooked. It makes life easier to just microwave it and have it ready in a few minutes. At home, I would have to light a sigiri( charcoal-stove), or gas stove, peel the matooke (plaintain), steam it and then make sauce( normally groundnut paste) or mingle posho (maize or corn flour). This can take you upto 3 or 4hours. So I definitely prefer 5minute meals to 3hour cooking sessions. Also, I love the hot-chocolate at Harvest Moon Cafe. The people I’ve met the few days I’ve been here have been absolutely incredible(in a good way!). They have been so nice and accommodating. One thing that has baffled me is; people take drinks with ice cubes when it is freezing cold! We Ugandans love our chai (hot tea) especially when it is rainy. So it is rather strange for me to take an iced-drink in freezing temperatures. Why not just put the drink in the snow then and save the ice-cubes? Just wondering out loud!
My culture shock aside, the hike on Chestnut Ridge today was fun! I saw deer and the view was to die-for! And Mike and Patty taught me how to make snow-angels! I may go down in the Guinness World Book of Records as the first Ugandan to make a snow-angel! Though honestly, it looked like a bump made in the snow by a tree stump!I couldn’t quite get it right! The angels in heaven must be shuddering in absolute horror at this gross misrepresentation! Melanie says I should go sledding. I told her I would freeze to death and break into brittle pieces like Mexican chips!
Edison (the dog) and I are bonding pretty well right now. My fear of animals is slowly disappearing..(If only Lucy the cat hadn’t scared me the other night). I am going to have to work on my relationship with Lucy this week. Also, I have not yet sent Francesco the email. Maybe it’s not such a good idea. What would I say to him? I only met him for a few hours at the airport and on the plane. What does a village girl from Kitgum say to an Italian chap(Ugandan speak for guy)? “Uuuuummm, I like pasta?”…That sounds too lame! I am even laughing at myself! Ah well, I guess I’ll just have to forget I even met him. Keeping in tandem with my new resolution; “Only invest time in the people who matter!”..