Thursday, February 5, 2009
Tongue-Tied and Exhausted
It has been exhausting. I still do not have my bag, but am going back yet again to the airport tonight. I feel like going to the airport every night makes me miss a lot of the getting to know people time. I also come back late and exhausted and disappointed every time. I met my homestay father yesterday. It was very strange and awkward but he seemed nice and has a lot of kids, older than me, and some with children. I think that most live with him. I move in tomorrow. I feel that the only thing I can say properly is "oui." Today was our first day in downtown Dakar. It was so overwhelming. I have had very little experience in big cities, and this seemed pretty big to me. It was also my second taxi ride ever. We had to kind out a lot of information about the area we were in and also ask a bunch of other questions. We were in groups of three. We mostly talked to security guards and they were all very helpful and nice to us and our Wolof greetings impressed them. If we stood still for one moment we were swarmed with street sellers and begging children, called Talibe. Some people would follow us for blocks. It gets really annoying, and you just have to walk swiftly and with a purpose. We ate at a small restaurant and it was nice to get away from the street for awhile. I am still not sure what I am going to do about this eating situation. All they had at the restaurant was meat with rice. I just ate leftover rice from other people's meals. I could not read the menu either, so that did not help either. I just need to remember to ask for du riz naturel (without meat). I am also afraid of not getting any vegetables. Vegetables are not popular here. Tomorrow we have our first french class and an introduction the the different arts and music that we have the option of studying. I am excited to get started. I think that once I move in with my homestay, I will have more of a chance to practice speaking and then I will be more comfortable speaking in class as well. Tonight, people might be going dancing or getting together to do something, but I will be at the airport. Hopefully, all will go well and I will be able to change my clothes and wash my hair before leaving the hotel and going to my homestay where there may not be hot water and things that I may be used to. Though, it is not that big a deal for me not to have regular American comforts. I find it rather exciting. I'll be so glad to start getting integrated into my family and starting classes. No pictures yet, but tomorrow I will definitely get out my camera for the artists and musicians.