How not to return to Africa- survival tips part 1


It was during the period that I was flourishing in indifference and stagnation that I made that trip.  I saw the first sign of winter and naturally, as and escapist, I faked out. This trip, unlike others was not one marked by a desire to find a self, or discover a city or reach for an inner peace. This time, I neither wept when I landed in Ethiopia, nor gasped when I saw the proverbial large ass that would signify that I had landed in this hemisphere. Well, not excessively.

I was onward, sentiment-free, from the fussy Ebola screening port, onto my own adventure of human observation; uninformed by wanderlust. I packed the first couple weeks heavily with activity so that I could exhaust my experiences before I would predictably become disinterested. And in those weeks, I would come to make the following observations about these following things. This is how not to return to Mama.

As one with good Timing
I knew that I knew that I knew that the ‘minute’ segment in time readings would lack relevance here. However, I continued to betray myself in making appointments. It was cyclic. I would set for 1:30,  receive the ‘I’m running late’ text at 3:00 (from the courteous ones), and often wait until 4, conceal my anger at the lack of apology and do it all over again.  I came to learn that time brackets would be more culturally relevant. That ‘between 3 and 6’ obviously meant 6:30. And that the upper limit of the time bracket was often the most accurate. Time was negotiable. I learned to be tactful and delicate about my own arrival.

As one with people expectations
Time effs with connections. It’s difficult to return to people. Many coffee dates came to be characterized by inspections for new cellulite deposits,  courtesy laughs, a mutual puzzling over, and an overall, almost tangible disconnect. This discomfort naturally eliminated a satisfying number of people, and contact organically waned. But of course there were connections that proved not to have faded one bit.

With a weight-watching incentive
Everyone itched to cook for me. All social gatherings involved gratuitous amounts of food where everything tasted so damn good and everyone prodded ‘Eat!’. I reclined to the reality that obesity and diabetes wait for me on the other side. Bowel irregularity and involuntary protein spills maybe showed up in addition.

With the intent to save money

Somehow, we are led to believe that equivalent items are cheaper in this side of the world. But if that’s the case, how did I manage to blow so much in such a short time? I will just leave that there, as I puzzle over my own spending and delusions.

Overall, I noted that the weather was nicer here, the food was heavenlier, and the people were better, when they did arrive. There is so much more to be said, but then again there’s part 2. 🙂


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