Saturday, June 25, 2011

Back in the USA!

Hello All!
Thanks to no internet for the past month I haven't been able to update, but aside from finally making quality friends (thanks to frisbee), lots of work (concerts galore!) and trying to spend as much time at Maku to learn as many African dances as possible including making a Bukoba drum (16 hours later!) and realizing I still haven't done souvenir shopping, that would be a summary of the last month. Not to mention the goodbyes where I received metres of fabric! I had a fashion show with my housemate Nina as we tried on dresses, skirts, and other clothing made especially for us :) I will miss everyone immensely and saying goodbye is always hard for me to do, but adding that many don't have email and I don't know if I will ever see them again made it especially sad not to mention the goodbye to my now considered nephew 4 yr old Colin.

It's so weird to be home. When I got off the airplane in Amsterdam, I literally stared at the Svarinsky crystal store close to 5 mins realizing this store alone is more than the whole of GDP in Tanzania! And then there was the airport library equipped with 1 euro massage/spa, bubble chairs, fake fireplace, books and iPads about Amsterdam history and culture, and a grand piano that is the nicest piano I have played all year just sitting idly in the airport (I think you can guess how I passed the next hour or so :) Thank you Blue Heron music not fitting in my checked bag.
NBI baggage people were complete assholes and insisting I could onyl have 1 carry-on. Explain to me that I can travel across the US with 2 carryons but intercontinental is only 1 and they tried to have a blanket count as my carry-on, bull shit. The guy who was weighing bags was really nice and helpful and suggested I repack my roller board so it is under the 12 kg limit for hte plane but the air guy wasn't having it so I took everything out and made one bag overweight...I think I got tricked into having to pay for a 3rd carryon because I somehow repacked this and the whole flight home kept realizing things I could have taken out: contact solution, books, strapping more shoes to my backpack, wearing more clothes, ah well shoulda coulda woulda. 200 dollars later I was on the plane with a 2 hr delay and ended up eating dinner at 1:30 AM and then crashing kabisa for the next 5 hrs.The second flight was much longer, but both uneventful.

Nairobi was a great last day in Africa with an excellent host and a great place, and i had a wonderful day in NBI meeting up with a CS from Kenya, a guy she was showing around from Denver, and a girl I met on the bus from Princeton who was an avid bird watcher. We saw the elephants at an elephant orphanage called the Sheldrick Wildlife Foundation (you can even adopt an elephant!) and I even got to pet them. I couldn't believe how fast they guzzled the bottles of milk, 45 seconds later and Abrakadabra-gone. Did you know elephants have a memory of 25-3o years? They also entertained themselves with a good ol' fashioned game of football (soccer).
This followed by a no picture trip to the Uhuru Gardens (uhuru means freedom) and a taxi breakdown followed by one last mbuzi (goat) nyama choma, ugali, and tomato salad lunch for the price of $1.50, was my first kiss...with a giraffe! Basically described as a dog slobbering on your face except with a pellet of giraffe pipi (candy) in between my lips.

The Nairobi National museum was also fascinating! I had no idea Kenya was the discovery of so many early humans like Nutcracker boy, etc! And they had the skeleton of an elephant that was the only wild elephant that the government supported to protect.

A bit of heart rate acceleration with 40 min. traffic and a need to be at the airport in 2 hours, but all went well. Taxis are SO much more expensive in Nairobi but she made a point, everything is more expensive in Nairobi. The Kenyan shilling is 90 to the dollar compared to approx. 1500 in Tanzania!

Arrival in MN

You'll never guess the first thing I did after greeting my mom. Starbucks for a vanilla frappucino and an Asiago cheese bagel :) Just standing waiting for my mom was such culture shock seeing all these posh, very shiny (I didn't realize the difference of material they use on the cars here vs TZ), and tried to get in the car on the left side. Coming home, everything seemed so huge considering our whole house was the size of our family room! Had a lovely dinner of seafood spaghetti on the screened-in porch and admittedly took a nap to keep the jet lag at least a bit manageable. Minus being up at 5 AM jet lag is so far okay.

Not looking forward to unpacking and ECSTATIC to see friends I suppose this is my last blog until whatever the next adventure life brings me,
Kwa heri

PS A good friend of mine who is still in TZ who writes extremely well is if you can't enough of TZ stories.

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