Tuesday, August 14, 2012

New Definitions of Normal

My new definitions of normal… just to name a few. I'm sure I'll continue adding to the list as time goes by, but I want you to hear all about these now now.

  • Holding hands while talking
Gender doesn't matter. Neither does age. Just hold hands! Men hold hands, women hold hands, men & women hold hands…. It's just what you do. Don't lace your fingers though, that's just weird. And uncomfortable for everyone involved. But don't be rude! Hold hands when you are having important conversations with people or you want to show them your support. I've grown to love this!

  • Interrogative words at the END of a sentence
It's truly a strange phenomenon here in Kang. I'm not sure I completely understand it, but I do know that I catch myself phrasing questions in my head the same way now. And just to clarify, these statements are said in English… I'm not translating from Setswana or Sekgalagadi.

"You are going where?"
"You were at the post office to send what?"
"Your siblings are how many?"
"The report was given to who?"
"Our meeting will begin when?"

  • Sand = Dr. Scholl's
Kang is in the middle of the Kgalagadi Desert, so of course, sand has become a familiar friend of mine. I used to take the time to dump the sand piles out of my shoes as I was walking, but I've quickly discovered that if I DON'T dump the sand out, the sand will begin to accumulate beneath the arches of my feet. No thanks Dr. Scholl's, I'm doing just fine here in the desert AND I'm saving money.

  • Saving water to flush
Water outages are becoming more and more common here in Kang, so I have learned to take advantage of water while it is flowing. I save water to drink when the water goes out & more importantly, I save enough water to fill the toilet to flush. Trust me, this is an critical lesson to learn as a Peace Corps Volunteer!

  • The Spider Stomp/Smack
As many of you know from a recent blog post, I have encountered some pretty gross looking spiders (p.s. NO ONE in this community claims to know what kind of spider I killed after they saw the picture… but it sure did make me feel better when they said they would have killed it too!).  There are some spiders here that Peace Corps Volunteers like to call "flatsies" because, well, they are really flat. They're BIG, but they're flat. And they kill bugs. Ok, fine, they can stay. But I still don't enjoy seeing them.

SO, I've learned that whenever I open cupboard drawers or move something from where it used to be sitting, I do the spider stomp/smack. It's really quite  self explainable, but it's become like second nature to me.

  • Overemphasizing statements
After a while, I've learned about how much the Batswana like to emphasize things they say. "It's cold cold" or "that's far far". Silly, perhaps, but I've learned to do the same. The most common one I've heard is "now now", but really, chose any word to repeat & people will be pleased. 

  • Knocking off
When I am leaving work, I'm knocking off. It's what everyone says. Strange and yet, so normal.

And just to bring everything full circle…
"You knock off at what time?"

  • Name games
Imagine someone calling your name whenever they see you; when they walk past your desk, when they see you across the street, when you're running, etc. Sometimes people want to have a full conversation, other times they might look at you like you're crazy for coming to talk to them. Often they are just acknowledging your presence... It's a game. They call your name at all times throughout the day - and it's a up to you to try to figure out whether or not to try to engage in conversation. Great fun!

  • Nice is the only adjective in the world
There is simply no other adjective in the world that compares to the word "nice." It's just the nicest word there is.

"How's the day?" You have two options here… 1)"it's nice" 2) "it's just ok"
--> p.s. they both mean your day is going well, it's not like what you would say to your boyfriend/husband when they screw up
"The food is nice."
"Oh it's very very nice!"
"The movie was nice."

You get the idea.

It's nice not to waste space in my brain with all these big, fancy words I learned at university. ---> Ha. I just made myself laugh. I didn't even do that on purpose.

  • Pens are powerful
If I have a pen, people want to be my friend. Because they lost theirs. Or don't care to find it. Either way, I gain a lot of new "friends", but after a short time, I've figured out that those friendships are one sided. The pens often don't return… they end up in the Botswana Black Hole for pens. And soon enough, I have to go make new friends of my own because when I'm pen-less, I have no power in making friends. 

That's all for now now! I'm procrastinating writing my report that's due next week :o) Love to each & every one of you!

Love & Light,

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