Monthly Archives: December 2007

Overdose: December 2007

Crate & Barrel.  Or, more specifically, this serving bowl.  It’s beautiful and simple and I cannot wait to serve pasta out of it, accompanied by my carved wooden serving spoons from Tanzania.

Australian singer/songwriter Missy Higgins.  I have been listening to her music for free on her web site for almost a year because she wasn’t available on iTunes.  But now, joy of joys, she is.  And, joy of joys, I got a few iTunes gift cards in my stocking.  So I’m going to buy, listen and enjoy me some Missy Higgins with the carefree abandon of someone who has discretionary income and can buy things willy-nilly on the internet.  Even though that person is not me because…

…I have a new car!  And I guess it counts as an OD because I drive it every day. Regardless, the 2008 Honda CR-V is fabulous.  It’s shiny, sleek, environmentally friendly, and it powers through the ridiculous Denver snow like a BAMF, which was really my primary concern in choosing a new car.

Me: Car dealer man, will this CR-V power through the snow like a BAMF?

Car Dealer Man: Yes.  Yes, it will.

Me: Awesome! That’s all I ever wanted in a car!  Just show me where to sign my life away!

Car Dealer Man: Just go right into this tiny room with this large and intimidating, different car dealer man.  Enjoy the free coffee!

I don’t recommend the coffee, but I do recommend the vehicle.  And that’s really all you ever wanted in a blog post, right?

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Not the Martha Stewart way

“Cousin Hilary, is it time for sprinkles now?”

“No, first we have to bake the cookies.”

Baking of the cookies ensues.

“Now sprinkles???”

“Now we take them out of the oven.”

Removing of the cookies ensues.

“Sprinkles now?!?”

“No, now we make the frosting!”

The making of the frosting ensues.

“Sprinkles, sprinkles, now please now…?”

“Now we dye the frosting.”

Dyeing of the frosting ensues (messily, I might add.)

“SPRINKLES PLEEZE NOW?!?!”

“Now we frost the cookies…”

Frosting of ONE cookie ensues.

Angry glare from 3-year old cousin

“NOW we use the sprinkles!  Aren’t you excited?”

3-year old does not sprinkle cookies, but rather shove handfuls of sprinkles in her mouth and lick them off the counter instead.

“You don’t even care about these cookies!  You just want to eat the sprinkles don’t you!”

“Yes.”

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How you know: shoes

“Hey you guys, check out my new shoes!” Woman minces about the office while female coworkers ooh and ahh.“I’m SO not telling my husband how much they cost!”Female coworkers emphatically agree, profusely nodding and mmm-hmmming.“And really, these were my only viable option.  I tried the $50 pair, then the $75 pair, the $100 pair, but none of them fit right, I didn’t like how they looked, and they just weren’t comfortable.”I sit in my office across the way, profusely nodding and mmm-hmming.  After all, you can’t wear an ill-fitting, ridiculous looking, uncomfortable pair of heels to work every day.“So I bought the $300 pair and now I’m happy and so are my feet, which is the whole point.”As the coworker minces my way, I look down at her $300 pair of shoes.  They aren’t Manolos, but Merrils.  Re: really awesome hiking boots.And when a woman not only pays $300 for a pair of hiking boots, but also shows them off at the office, AND the rest of the women are jealous of said hiking boots?That’s how you know you live in Colorado.

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Rock + Hard Place = Tanzanian blog posts

So, you’ve noticed.  You’ve noticed that I haven’t really written a lot about my time in Tanzania.  You’ve noticed, you’ve mentioned, and okay I get it already!

Just kidding.

 But I think I’m experiencing what many other travels have experienced before me, which is namely, the struggle to explain what I saw/felt/heard/experienced while in Eastern Africa.  And what is even more difficult to define is how I feel now, and the way I see/fee/hear and experience life in my own country, having visited another culture that is so vastly different.  What have I taken away?  And how can I convey that to others?  It’s certainly not impossible, but I find that I can’t talk about Dar without mentioning daladalas or bajajis, then I have to define them.  Or I have to explain what mix is (though I don’t exactly know), explain just how fully awesome Fanta tastes on a hot day (even though you’ll never really know unless you go), and what it’s like to make the choice between extreme sweating or 28 mosquito bites in the night (rock + hard place = that night in Dar es Salaam). 

And all of this, not to mention the countless funny stories that come from these tiny tidbits, are no easier in the telling than in the writing.  I am different for having been there, but how? How have I changed?

When I figure it out, I’ll let you know.

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Entry

When you arrive in Dar es Salaam, the first thing you notice is the noise. Tanzania is not a quiet country, and it doesn’t masquerade as one – what you hear is absolutely what you get.   

The Dar airport is all high ceilings and cement floors.  New, unfamiliar sounds bounce off the plexiglass windows in the customs department.  The stamping of passports ricochets like friendly fire: welcome.to.our.country.don’t.screw.up.bam.bam.bam.  The stamping keeps time to the sound of your beating heart: I.made.it.I.made.it.I.made.it.I’m.here.

Successfully arriving to the other side of the world is the best feeling.

They will shove your passport back to you, someone else will shove you out of the way, and you bump along over to the baggage claim carousel to shove your luggage onto the floor because it’s too heavy to lift. 

The next thing you will notice is the heat.  It covers you like the lightest sheet.  Light and immovable.  There is no relief, no breeze – just heavy air.  The sound of bats and insects humming outside becomes the sound of heat. Both the feeling and the noise envelope you as surely as the lightless African night will cover you for the first time when you leave the confines of the airport.   

And before you know it, you’re out in front, with your bags, looking for a friend, a little piece of home.   

If you’re lucky, home is staring right back at you.  

And it’s the best feeling.

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