Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Snapshots of life

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. I suppose that is true in a sense, but a picture can't always make you feel what the thousand words can. Did you ever look back at old photos of parties and realize, "Oh, yeah. There's a picture of all of us sitting in the living room eating pizza. Also, my uncle's elbow." Without words to tell you the funny stories that happened, it might be kind of dull!

Ok, I admit it. I haven't done so great at taking photos. I do have some! I promise to do a blog post with more photos SOON! They just take a while to upload and it's not so easy to shoot off a quick post when you're tired.

Oh, ok. Here. There should be enough Happy cuteness in this picture to tide you over for a bit.

I haven't had much of a chance to slow down lately, but I'm loving it here. A few snippets of what I am blessed to call my life...

We all sit around the hugest dining room table I have ever seen as our two small groups throw a baby shower for an expecting Swiss couple in our church. Four or five different pots of soup sit on the kitchen counter and are the perfect warming dish at the end of a crisp winter day. I have a flashback to the end of my apprentice year, when we pushed all the tables together to make one large one where we could all fit. I remember being sad because my year at the Bible school was almost over and I wouldn't get to enjoy this any more. But as I sat around that huge wooden table I realized that despite being with different people on the other side of the world, the feeling has only intensified and grown...family.

Joy and I have the evening off. "HEY! WE'RE FINALLY OFF TOGETHER! LET'S MAKE THE CURTAINS!" "Yeah!" We spend the night cutting and sewing (and ripping out). Joy plays music a bit too loud on her tablet, but we're enjoying it. We finally crash into bed a bit too late.

Our house mom was expecting a little one of her own. She sits and talks to my auntie for an hour or more about labor. It was a highly informative conversation, including such gems as, "...you HAVE to scream!" They don't do epidurals here in public hospitals. I was trying to explain what one was to my auntie. "It's like pain medicine." "But if it doesn't hurt, how can you give birth???!!" Well. Anyways...

All the caregivers except auntie Patricia and I are from Zimbabwe, which means they speak Shona. Patricia, the house mom (Sihle), and I do not speak Shona, so when it's a mixed conversation, there's usually a fair amount of English thrown around, but far less than last year, when we had more caregivers from DRC/South Africa/Zambia. I'm learning Shona....ohhhhhh so slowly. I mostly just sit around and listen to the Shona conversations and try to pick up words. It's weird because they throw a lot of English in...conversations are peppered with numbers, days of the week, "all right," "serious," "baby home," "home affairs," and dozens of other English words, with no apparent rhyme or reason as to why some English words are used and why some Shona words are used. Sample conversation:

"So the word for 'phone' is runhare?"
"What's the word for 'phones?'"
"So you don't have a plural for 'phones?'"
"Never in my life have I talked about more than one phone in Shona."
"Never? Ever? But you have three phones!"
"Well, then I guess I just say 'phones.'"
*they go on to make up words in Shona that might be the plural of "phone," which presumably sound as silly as "mooses" or "childs."*

Also, from Facebook the other day:

Mama Linda is the best to drive with because nothing scares her about my driving. And I mean nothing. Even the things that should. She has a tremendous amount of misplaced confidence in my driving skills.
I'm still kind of getting used to things driving, and I've done a few ditzy things. (Let's just say I remember to check my blind spots now - hard to think of when everything is opposite.)
I was following cars around a right-hand turn, without noticing that they'd been turning on a green arrow (thought we had a green light and opposing traffic was red) which was now not there anymore. I get halfway across the intersection and notice the line of cars has started to move. They do see me, so I'm not worried about impending doom - they're all blaring their horns at me. At this point, I figure it's better to plow on through than try to back up.
Mama Linda: You have confidence. Is better.
Me: Uh, auntie, I think that's called "stupidity," not confidence...
Mama Linda: You are a good driver.
At least she believes in me. The rest of you can just pray.

I attempted to take advantage of a "buy 3 get the cheapest thing free" deal at the grocery store today. Sure way to mess with a cashier's mind: get three equally priced things. They brought various things up to the cash register that were different prices: "See, you can get two of those and get this one free!" I don't want the thing you picked out! I don't need it! I'm not even going to use it! Aahh. I finally ended up not buying ANY of it!

I think I mentioned at some point that I'm living with all Africans in the baby home. "Living" is kind of a loose term, as only four of us actually stay here, then Britt and the (mostly American) interns (when we have interns) live in the house at the back of the property, and everyone, including people who don't live here, is in and out of the baby home all the time.  But, you could say that we have a strongly African influence in this house, particularly as Britt comes up and does her office jobs and goes home ("downstairs"), and, as I mentioned, we don't even have any interns at the moment. 

I've touched on culture differences in the last blog post, but I think I've neglected to mention the Zimbabwean Sink Steal. Frequency: multiple times per day.
It works like this: You go to the sink to wash three utensils. Three. Count them. You won't even be there long enough to bother running a sink full of water, so you just get the sponge soapy and prepare to wash them off quickly.
A friend runs up next to you. "OH! I need to wash my dish! Let me steal your water!" She grabs the faucet and pulls it over to her side of the sink. While she is soaping up HER sponge, you grab it and pull it off in attempt to rinse off utensil one of three. She pulls it back to rinse hers off. You go back and forth like this all the way through utensil number two.
By the time you get to utensil number three, a second friend is breathing down your other shoulder, teacup in hand...
I have never lived in a culture where people wash dishes quite so...communally. "GUYS!! I HAD THREE DISHES!!" Then everyone cracks up laughing. And tries to grab the faucet again. Because you know. Tea can't wait. Even though we're in possession of about 50 mugs.

Off to bed! I have to work in the morning. Soon, I will do a blog post with lots of baby pictures. =)

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