The Road to Acclimation (3 days late)

(Warning: unless you have a personal interest in my life, you probably won’t want to read this.)

I decided from here on out, every blog post will start with a song that loosely relates to the week I’ve had, or just one that I’ve listened to on repeat for hours for some reason, because this blog wouldn’t feel like mine if there wasn’t music on it.

The above song falls into the second category. To be honest, this past week is rough. I’m hoping it sufficed as my culture shock for this trip, because it included physical ailment, lots of crying, and generally feeling listless and homesick.

The biggest two developments of this week is (1) classes started  (2) we moved from the Kundayo apartments to our host families (2 ½) it felt like the longest week of my life. If I were to choose a word for the week, it would be overwhelming.

Our host mama doesn’t speak English very well, and the Swahili skills of my roommate and I are laughable at best. And when two parties are living together and only speaking minimally, it makes for a whole lot of awkward.

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our room

 

Classes have been ok, except that there is so much homework assigned every day that not even the best of us has finished a single night’s homework on time. Oh yeah, I also have come to the realization that I really should not be a political science major…on a political science study abroad trip. Oops.

To top it off, I have not been feeling the best physically and have been going through homesickness like I’ve never experienced before, and I’m questioning down to the core of who I am.

BUT!! It gets better. (disclaimer: this is not sarcastic)

Yesterday (Thursday), I was sent several very sweet, comforting messages by various friends, reassuring me of the woman they know me to be. In the afternoon, I had a bit of a spiritual refocusing. I came to the full realization that I am, in fact, going to be very changed by this trip, but that it is my choice how positive that change will be. I remembered that real growth that stays always has to go down to the core of who you are before it can do anything to make you better. And I was reminded that I am strong. Even if I don’t feel like it, that is one character trait I have developed over time and trial.

Ok. Keep breathing, Kristin. Inhale, exhale, it’s going to be ok. Let’s do this. (Inner dialogue is a thing for me.)

That evening, I went back to my host house, and my roommate and I decided to do homework out in the living room to try and be social, with the promise that we would indulge in watching Pitch Perfect after the inevitable evening of silence and tension and cultural differences. SPOILER: it actually wasn’t inevitable.

Our host mama sat across from us in silence for a while, and then she noticed a ring on my roommate’s hand and asked if it was an engagement ring. It wasn’t, but thank the Lord, it started a conversation that lasted for a solid 2 ½ hours. We mostly talked about mating rituals (for lack of a better word) in both America and Tanzania, (and I got to tell her about Adam, which put me in a good mood), food, and our family. Most importantly, the thought of returning to our host home for the weekend doesn’t give me heart palpitations any more.

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homework on a rainy day

Today, it rained. Something you should know about Kristin: rain is basically my favorite thing in the world. Several people and I spent the first part of the afternoon playing cards, and then the rain started to fall and we booked it out into the open in order to enjoy the rain. We danced, ran around, spun in circles, took pictures, and a velocaraptor fight definitely took place. 

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velocaraptor fight

I’m at a place where I’m taking it one day at a time, which is probably what I should be doing anyways. Yesterday was a good day. Today is a good day. Next week should be better.

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