- People mix up ours (Alyssa's and my) names. Constantly. Maybe it's the fact we're both Americans, or because they both start with A. The end result: We're called Abbalyssa. Constantly. I find it amusing, considering we have very different personalities. Alyssa prefers to retain her individuality.... ;)
- Americans are stereotyped here as eating a lot of cheese. Hm, well, I guess it's true (especially when you eat it so much that your roommate walks by when you are cooking and hisses, "American!!") But, we aren't the only ones! Bulgaria had a lot of cheese too...maybe more than America!
- Ranch dressing. I'm grieving the lack of proper Ranch dressing.
- Pierogies. No one knows what they are (even the Americans). Poor people.
- I never realized communication could be so difficult. A. I talk too fast. B. I have an American accent. C. There are like a gazillion different accents here, all hard to understand and D. I make up words. Like "hangry" and "lupper..." To quote Joy: "Abbie, if I learn English from you...."
- I'm learning to not be afraid of things. I don't have room in my head to be afraid of the laundry list I could be afraid of here: spiders, cockroaches and mice; (ok, I'm still afraid of those three...), leopards, cobras, people who jump our tall, barb-wire-topped fence to steal things, the fact that we have a taser in our room and on the changing table, rapists, muggers, crime in general, people's opinions, the knowledge that someone was shot outside of Bible study once (not a Bible study member, you can breathe easier) (maybe), etc, etc, etc...and the list goes on. I've decided I don't have the mental space or energy to worry about all of them. I'll stick to cockroaches.
- There are eleven official languages here, plus the multiple languages of the refugees/immigrants from places like the Congo, Zimbabwe, etc. Basically, learning the native language is pretty much hopeless. I can say "dankie" (that's Afrikaans for thank you) and "dumela" (that means hello in...some tribal language. I forget. My friend Lerato speaks it, anyways...). That's about as far as I've gotten. At one point I knew the Afrikaans for "dragonfly." Yes, I'm learning really practical, useful words as you can see.
- South African English is different enough, at any rate, but I'm thankful it's easier than learning a whole new language. A dummy is a pacifier, a nappy is a diaper, a crib is a cot, a plastic bag is referred to as a plastic. So far, my confusion over the word "theatre" (operating room) was the most amusing...
- People here (at least some people) are rather confused as to why Americans don't have a staple food, like pap (kind of like solid grits, made from maize meal) or rice. "But what do you eat every day?" I need to start answering, "Cheese!" Then maybe they'd at least believe me.
- On the topic of cheese: Tacos. I made them tonight. With the amount of work involved, I think this won't happen very often. But, it was worth it to have a taste of home.
Tortillas = work. Or, money if you want to buy them ready made. It's about $5 for 8 tortillas. Yeah, I'll spend the extra time...
- Personal space is a luxury. For a week, we had nine people in our little house, and ten more (plus rotating caregivers) living up at the baby home, all nineteen of us on about half an acre. The Drews are moving out to a house nearby, and Newton, Vanessa and Aya will be leaving soon, moving in with the Drews temporarily, then off to plant a church in Malawi. Also, Megan left. The place feels empty and I'm kind of thinking that while personal space is a luxury, friends are a necessity. (Refrigerator space, however, can't be underestimated... =P )
If you have any questions, feel free to ask! I would be happy to answer them. =)