You may already know about this, but I’m kind of a big deal in Monrovia’s stand-up comedy crowd. Actually I just started, but my response was warm so I’m giving it a go. I did my first night on October 2nd. I was in town with some fellow volunteers and we went out to Tides Bar. Once there, we discovered it was open mic night…and it didn’t take much peer pressure before I was added to the list.
Holly and I have folding lawn chairs now. That was our big splurge this month. They are perfect for lying under the stars at night and admiring the Milky Way. We’ve also seen quite a few moon bows. Yeah, never knew that was a real thing. But they are pretty beautiful.
I met a new good friend while waiting for my taxi home in early October. Christina is a Liberian with a bachelor’s degree who teaches science to senior high students. Can you say science-geek-talk-ensued-for-several-hours? It was pretty awesome to see a lady doing what she does.
That taxi ride home was pretty funny. It had rained a lot before and the rode was a weird mix of a roller coaster and a slip and slide. You know when the other taxi passengers are complaining about the lack of network coverage and the terrible road conditions to you (which you shrug off) that you’re adjusting quite well.
I eat more pepper than I ever thought I would now. My neighbor makes a mean peppe calla (not sure how it’s spelt) and I try not to eat too much. I also have an official Kpelle teacher at site. Winnie comes over or I visit her house and my kpelle book is getting revamped and expanded. I also have a Kissi (another local dialect) and Chinese copybook. Who would have thought I’d be learning Chinese in Liberia? O.o
On election week I did a lot of baking on the coal pot with my neighbors. Thank you mom for the cookie recipes! The sugar cookies were good and the peanut butter cookies were the biggest hit. I’ve already had to make more. Also on Election Day we hung out at the Chinese base and played strange video games and cards all day. Be warned that if you do play cards with the Chinese, there are punishments involved. And not your typical alcohol punishments… I would have taken whiskey shots…trust me. The favored punishment that night was taking a bite or raw garlic. We had heartburn and bad breath for a few nights after that. The Chinese think that eating raw garlic is good for your health…I think they just like to see how many people they can wipe when they breathe on you. They have also treated us to their Chinese food. Once again, Chinese food? In Bong Mines? I still don’t really believe it.
I also have discovered my saving grace for dry season. It’s the most amazing swimming hole I could possibly ask for. I will add a picture to facebook at some point. I also hurt my back a little and the inflammation is taking its good sweet time. So I had to give up running and switch to swimming. :) I love it. I now keep a swim bag in the reading room at school, because I’ve kind of become addicted. Naw wei is turning into a swimmer as well (he’s got to be if he wants to still be my dog) and so he joins along with some of my 10th and 12th graders.
I had palm wine two weeks ago. My 12th graders convinced me. It made for a funny morning (because I taught them the cards game ‘spoons’). I also tried ant bear soup that week…aka anteater, which is surprisingly ‘sweet’ (as my landlady Fumata said).
I made my favorite Liberian soup (eddo soup) for my principal and teachers at my house last month. That was the day our bed frames were delivered and so there was much excitement that afternoon. Holly and I are *officially* not sleeping on the floor anymore. Thank goodness. I pulled out my new bed sheets that my mom had washed back in the states. I had kept them in a vacuum bag until the night I got my bed frame. I tried not to question my own sanity when I went to bed, sniffing my sheets (cause they smelt like home) for a good hour before falling asleep.
So on the weekends, when I do wash out on the porch with the rest of my neighbors, I listen to CRI radio. Aside from the quirky random words I learn to say in Chinese, the radio station plays our favorite morning music show /ever/. The Shuffle, plays music from the 70s, 80s, 90s and last week the DJ ‘Stephanie’ played ‘shark in the water’. (This part of the story will only make sense to my gang back in Superior. Angie, this story is for you) And yes, Ang, I sang along, danced and told Holly about your shark dance (which I hope you are still doing).
I got mail from mom and dad again! Thank you for the scandals. I can’t find my size here (bothersome…). The butterfingers are being eaten as we speak and Naw wei thanks you for another ball to chew on.
I pimped the guest room this month! So you should come visit. :) I also visited Salala this week. Slowly but surely I will see all or most of Liberia.
For variation sake, I’d love for you, my friends and readers, to let me know what types of things I should talk about or include more of. Sorry for the lapse in blog entries! I have been teaching one of my twelfth graders how to use a computer and that has been taking up my battery life. :)