Monday, July 23, 2012

Photographic Memory

As I wrap up my 6 months in Uganda, I am becoming increasingly hyperaware of my surroundings; I am trying to soak up as much of my daily life as possible. This could also be partially due to my eager anticipation of my boyfriend’s arrival—a thought I have a hard time suppressing—which has made me look at my surroundings and wonder what he will think. Will it be odd to him that rubbish is burned in little piles everywhere? What will his reaction be when we have to pause on our walk to allow the cow or goat to cross the road? When we cook dinner/wash dishes/take our baths, will he feel—as I often do—like we are camping? I can’t wait to see his face the first time a swarm of kids runs up to touch him while shouting Mzungu! Mzungu!

These are things I let slip by me on a day-to-day basis. It was normal the other night while I had guests over for dinner (and a viewing of When Harry Met Sally on my laptop) the power went out, I fumbled for a candle in the dark, lit a match, and we ate the rest of our dinner by candlelight. The power returned in about an hour, I blew out the candle, and none of us even questioned the fluidity of our reactions to the power-outage.

Every night before I bathe, I put a few drops of antiseptic liquid into my basin. I fill my solar bag with water so I can use the nozzle to rinse my hair. I am in the habit of boiling a full kettle of water every few days, letting it cool, and pouring it into an empty water container to drink it later. Each Sunday, I renew the blisters on my knuckles from scrubbing my clothes by hand. By Wednesday of each week, they heal again.

So many things about my life here are completely different from home. However, it is strange to think that I might actually miss these routines…these foreign habits have become my new norm.

I am only just now allowing myself the luxury of fantasizing about an Oreo DQ Blizzard, a Burgerville Tillamook Cheeseburger, and micro-beer on tap in Portland/Bellingham. Amidst those fantasies, I can’t even let myself picture standing in line at the Woods Coffee/Starbucks (what can I possibly order first!?), drinking water out of the tap, or blending into a crowd of people—free from the children running up to me.

As eager as I am to see my friends and family (and obviously from my priority list written above, I also rank eating food equally as high), I hope the next couple of weeks will not go by so fast that I lose the opportunity to permanently imprint each memory to my brain.     

On a separate note, I was able to retrieve some pictures from the Teachers’ Day/dance party from my friend Alison. Below is a photo of me dancing with the Member of Parliament. That particular memory does not require a photo for permanent imprinting….  

With love,

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