Here’s the thing…

My Grandma Fox (my mom’s mom) passed away Monday morning. It really wasn’t a surprise; she was in and out of the hospital for pneumonia several times. My mom was telling me last year that when Grandma did finally pass away it wouldn’t be as hard because my grandma hadn’t been here mentally for years now. You are sad when death takes someone away from you because you won’t get to experience their personality anymore, but because my grandma receded into herself and her dementia we lost her long ago, so death is only taking her physical being. It will still be hard to lose her, every now and then we could see her peek through and she would give us a smile or try to talk. I remember the last time I went to see her I was making faces at her to see if I could get her to smile. She stared at me for a long time and then she made a face back. She had spunk. I bet you more than anything she went out with her boots on and her sarcastic temper flaring.
I’m sad that I won’t be there to support my mom like I was with my dad when he lost his dad.

I’m a lot like my Grandma Fox. I have her personality and her looks. I was one of her favorites, probably because I got her humor. At first when you meet her you think that she’s grumpy and mean, but as you get to know her you realize that she’s SO sarcastic.

My Grandma Fox tried the best she could to be a loving mother, and considering how her childhood was she did quite a good job. It took my mom a little while to understand how her mom expressed love, but looking back on her childhood she saw that her mom really did love her, Grandma Fox just didn’t know how to express it. She raised four sarcastic and rebellious children and loved them with all her heart. The intentions of her heart were clear: Love God with all your heart, and your (children) as yourself.
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Mzungu Athlete problems

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My friend Elvis took me out to see the area a little bit. We finally got my phone working and then we sat down and had a delicious dinner together and talked for a really long time. I had a malindi chai latte and I had a hard time drinking it because the top of it just looked so pretty! We met up with some friends from school, but they weren’t ready to go back yet so we went on to hitch a ride on a bus back to the school. We also did a little shopping while we were out. Elvis was really sweet to me, even though we had a hard time understanding each other sometimes. Sometimes he didn’t pick up on my sarcasm. He was very happy that I agreed to hang out with him because it showed him that I was willing to try new things and that I didn’t see myself as high above the Africans.
I’m a little worried that he might like me. Last night he called me and asked me what I thought about him. There is another boy that I’m worried my like me too. It’s not that they both aren’t sweet and caring, it’s just I don’t want to get into a relationship right now. I’m really really really hoping that they are just being really hospitable to me. PLEASE let them just be really hospitable to me! I don’t want to go through that drama, and I don’t want to lose them as friends. Becca had this one boy that she was good friends with and he came out and told her that he liked her and when she said that she already had a boyfriend he got really upset and now he won’t talk to her.

A bus load of wzungu came in last night. I think it’s a work and witness team. I was sitting outside with my friends when the bus drove past. Most of the Africans laughed and said, “Oh look, more visitors.” It was strange watching them drive past us, all of them looking out the window at us like we were some kind of display. At that point I almost wanted to jeer like the rest of the Africans at the visitors. Who are you to come invade our land and pretend you know who we are. You don’t KNOW us.
They were in church, a big group of elderly wzungu, peering around at us. They wanted to give the kids candy after church. The children were really happy but the people almost got stampeded. Though, they did enjoy it and took pictures of each other giving the kids candy. I had to just roll my eyes. Americans.
I heard some stories from my friends about the kinds of questions that Americans ask them. How much more ignorant can we get? No, people don’t live in the trees. Yes, people have electronics here. No, they don’t have to fend off lions.
It’s kind of weird how I feel like I’m one of them. I’m sure there are a lot of people that still laugh and scoff at me because I think I can relate to them but I’m still just an American. Which is most likely very true. As much as I want to think that I can fit in with them, I never will.

My roommate wanted me to go watch the softball team play and I agreed to go along thinking that we wouldn’t be out very long. In a twist of events I went from being a spectator to a player. They were running low on people and so they asked me if I would play. I said sure, but that I hadn’t played properly for a few years. It was a little frustrating because they kept treating me like I didn’t know anything about the game even though I told them that I remembered most of the stuff, there were just a few rules that I wasn’t aware of. Some of the people on the sidelines would chuckle at me whenever something went (uh-rye)/wrong and I didn’t understand what people were shouting at me. Actually, I taught them something about the game and they taught me something about the game. I was pretty much the best player on the team. I could hit well, run fast, and catch well. I’m sorry girls but the team really stunk. They want me to play with them but I told them that I wanted to play football and practices were at the same time. So I have to choose between playing on a team where I’m the best player, or playing the sport that I love and possibly being the worst player. Frankie was telling me that I would be the best player on the football team as well because the girls stink in that game as well. Oh dear.

I have bites all over my legs. I don’t know what from or how I got them but they are all up and down my legs and they itch. I can’t tell if they’re spider bites, ant bites, or mosquito bites.

I think my friend Joan is mad at me but I don’t really care. She’s been ignoring me and giving me the cold shoulder. In one way I want to make amends and ask her what’s wrong but in another sense I don’t want to associate with someone that’s going to pretend like I’m not even there when she’s mad at me. I’m not going down that road again.

To Narnia!!

My professor was telling me that Kenyans aren’t the most hospitable so it was a blessing to be invited over to Joy’s house for the weekend. Other areas in Africa are much more hospitable than the Kenyans.

My roommate decided to wake me up last night to tell me that she got a modem. Couldn’t it have waited until the morning? You had to yell my name at 2am and tell me that you got a modem? She can be really sweet though. She talks a lot. Like, a lot, a lot.

My friend, Elvis, has offered to take me around town some weekend. I would love to do that! He’s going into psychology so I think we could have a lot to talk about. He’s really sweet. He tries to include me into conversations when his friends go into their native language. Whenever he sees me he has a new question because he says I’m too quiet and he doesn’t know what I’m like.

I’ve been thinking a lot about how to learn Swahili. I started thinking about when I was a child and was first learning how to speak English. I didn’t know what any of the words meant. I gurgled and played with words and letters, eliminating which words were real and which ones were made up. As a child you listen to what others are saying, it may seem like babble at first but then you start picking up words. You repeat them and then figure out in what context you use that word. What would it be like to remake your childhood as you’re trying to learn a new language? I mean, you don’t spit up like babies do or any of that stuff, but how they murmur words and repeat things that they hear. If you get it wrong someone corrects you and you try to remember it the next time. I wonder if that could be a part of why every kind of animal is a “doggy” for a child. Doggy was the first word that you learned for an animal with four legs and a tail. So when a child sees an animal with four legs and a tail that doesn’t look like a dog they just say “doggy” anyway because they don’t know what else to call it. The parent corrects them with the right term for that animal, may it be a cow or a cat, and the child tries to remember the new term for that animal. Sometimes they’ll forget and call a cow a dog because they’ve forgotten the term but someone will correct them. It’s a matter of repetition. Listen, repeat, correct, repeat, listen, repeat, correct, repeat…

I’m ready for a cheeseburger. Or a taco. Pizza sounds good too. I really just want cheese. They don’t ever serve food here with cheese. I love cheese.

I was doing my laundry and I forgot to bring my key with me because Carol was in the room when I left. I didn’t think she was going to leave, but she did and I was locked out. I missed my class because ALL of my stuff was in my room: my books, notebooks, laptop, and my phone. We don’t have an RA so I couldn’t find anyone with a master key to let me in so I found Angie and she let me stay in her room while I waited for Carol to come back, but I didn’t really count on Carol to come back for a long time. I was just hoping that this wasn’t the day that she decided to disappear for a couple of days. We have a window above our door but the glass was knocked out of it a long time ago so instead there’s a board there. The board had actually fallen down a couple days ago and we just set it back into place. Remembering that, I got an idea. I grabbed a chair that was sitting out in the hallway and pulled it over to my door. I pushed the board out of the window and pulled myself up into the opening. Although, just then that was when EVERYONE and their family decided to come down the hallway. I dropped to the other side of the door and grabbed my key and unlocked my door. I saw some of the people that were passing by when I was crawling through the window. They had a good laugh at my expense. It was quite funny but I’m just glad that I got in!!

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I washed all of my shirts yesterday and hung them out on the line to dry so that I could wear a clean one the next day. Except, it started pouring the rest of the day and my shirts didn’t get dry at all. That back fired on me. So this morning I asked Carol if I could borrow one of her shirts so she picked out an outfit for me. I don’t know how to wear these hip clothes….

A weekend without Santa Clause

I lost my camera a couple of days ago. Most of my friends told me to forget about it because someone stole it. But what I have come to figure out already is that American’s are very determined, not like most Africans. An African would have shrugged and said, “Well, my camera’s gone. Oh well.” An American says, “My camera is gone! I WILL find it!” I did eventually find it a couple days later. Someone had picked it up gave it to a friend who gave it to a friend who gave it to a professor who then gave it to the Dunningtons and the Dunningtons gave it to me. All because I wouldn’t give up on trying to find my camera. Me and God and a little talk during those 3 days while my camera was lost. I asked God to help me find my camera and I reassured him that I give credit to where credit is due. He asked me if I would still believe in his power if my camera didn’t show up. At first I was hurt. I admitted to him that I’d be hurt and a little angry but I knew that eventually I’d get over it. I had a little sense of peace over the next couple of days and then my camera was brought back to me. God and I don’t always see eye to eye but I have to admit that God is faithful. I’ve figured that out. He may not give you what you want/need but he’ll be there for you any way.

One of my professors offered to take me home to meet his wife and 2 year old son next weekend. He’s really impressed with my knowledge of psychology.

I keep having these crazy weird dreams.

Well, the third week has come and gone and I haven’t experienced culture shock yet. Am I doing something wrong? Do I adapt really well? Maybe it will come next week?

I accidentally broke the handle on my window. I really didn’t mean to, but I guess that work out is making me strong! I’m waiting for my abs to come in but all I see is a paunch. Why is my abs sore if I don’t even have any yet?!?

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I went over to Joy’s house for the weekend. It was really nice.
When we left the school we also traveled with Joy’s friend Steven. We rode on two busses into the middle of downtown Nairobi and then Steven had to split his own way to get home. Me and Joy got onto a Mtatu to the end of her rode then walked the rest of the way to her house.
Oh. My. Gosh. Best. Pizza. Ever!! We went to Pizza Inn and it was fantastic! I wanted a whole pizza to myself!
We went to one of Joy’s relative’s wedding thing. It wasn’t really a wedding, it was negotiations. We would gather, eat together, the groom and the bride’s family would leave and talk about the dowry and then they would come back (3 hours later) and we all celebrated. The groom’s side of the family would sit separately from the bride’s side of the family and then at the end we would all mingle.
Joy’s cousin came over to spend the night and she was fun to have over.
The power went out one of the nights and they have some glow-in-the-dark dinosaurs. That was the only light in the room so I picked one of them up and started playing with it, making it attack Joy’s cousin, and then Joy’s brother had to come in an ruin the game but turning on the emergency lights.
I found my favorite banana! I really don’t like bananas but at Joy’s house they had these small little bananas for breakfast. I thought I might as well take one and try it. There wasn’t much to eat anyway. I really liked them!! They’re called sweet bananas. If we don’t have those kinds of bananas at home I’m going to throw out my clothes here and pack my suitcase full of sweet bananas.

Africa can be very pretty but they aren’t very good at taking care of trash. Trash is usually strewn about the streets. There was one part of town where there was trash just piled up all along the side of the road for miles.

If that didn’t prove to people that I’m strange I don’t think anything will.

Yesterday I went to go find Roxanne to see if she could help me figure out where I’m supposed to go for the football field. I found her in bed, just having woken up from a nap. I asked her about football practice today and she just looked at me and said, “You’re really dedicated aren’t you? Most African girls are more excited about getting dressed up and looking nice than they are playing football.”
I finally figured out where I’m supposed to go for football but I don’t really want to go out there being as unfit as I am. But I’m just so excited!

I might be going into Rongai with Judy and Becca sometime this week to pick up a few things that I’m running low on.

I found a gecko today and I picked it up and all the girls squealed and ran away. Sowa. I’ve definitely been marked as a weirdo with that stunt.

I had a roach crawl out of my backpack while I was getting my notebook out. Eww!

In my Doctrine of Holiness class we talked about what we wanted to do after we graduated from the University. I told them a little bit about what I wanted to go on to do after graduation. I said that I wanted to get my license in counseling and be a pastoral counselor. Then have a counseling job on the side for abused women and single mothers, and to maybe work in Social work. After the class one of the other students came up to me and said, “Can you please stay here? We could use you so much! You have such a good idea!” She proceeded to tell me that she was a single mother and that she wants to pastor a church or create her own church somewhere in Africa. The lecturers assistant came over to my desk and picked up a book that I was rereading called, “The boy who was raised as a dog.” I described a little bit about what’s in it and she said she wanted to borrow it sometime. Psychology, here I come.

Did I tell you guys that I really like tea time? Cuz I really really do.

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What’s a licky bug?

I went to aerobics today. Oh. My. Gosh. I think his soul purpose was the murder us all in one hour. It was so hard! I haven’t worked out in years. I’m going to be hurting in the morning.
Tomorrow Roxanne said that she’d take me to get a soccer ball and my jersey. Since we don’t have a couch for the girls team we’ll we practicing with the boys. I’m sure it could make us better but at the same time it will be really rough.

I got to Skype with my parents today. Oh what a relief!! It was really nice to hear from them finally. Dad didn’t want me to put this on Facebook. So I put it on my blog instead. He thought there was such a thing as a “Licky bug”, when in actuality I had said, “Lady Bug”. Love you daddy. These are for all of the years that you embarrassed me.Image

There really isn’t much to say today. It was a normal day basically. I’ll probably have to start posting every other day unless there was something really good to talk about on that day.

My assignment for the week is to find out if African’s have hairy legs. Rumor is going around that they don’t.

It means prostitute

Today in church there were all of these little kids trying to cram as many as they could into one seat. There were these two little girls that would keep sneaking glances at me. So I decided to make faces at them whenever they would glance at me. They would giggle and whirl back around in their seats. They were called out to go to their class and the two girls waved at me. At the same time there were these little kids that were sitting behind me and at one point I felt two little hands tug on my curls.

We were in line to get lunch and I wanted to tell the server that I just wanted a little bit of rice and the only word that was coming to mind was poco, which in Spanish means “little”. I turned to my friends and said, “What does poco mean?” They started laughing and were telling the other that they should tell me. Finally someone told me what it meant. Poco in Swahili means Prostitute.

Roxanne said that on Monday that she’d find me and help me find the football field and to get a jersey. I’m so excited!! I can’t wait!!

Joan was really surprised that I could sing.
I told Joan a little bit of my story this morning and she just looked at me with wide eyes and didn’t say anything for a long time. After a couple of minutes she finally said, “Sorry.” That’s all she could say for the longest of times.
Joan saw a picture of me when I graduated and she said, “You’re fat in that picture.” I’m hoping she didn’t mean that so brutally.

I’m thinking about making no-bake cookies for my friends here. They’ve never had them and I want to see if they’ll like them.
I want chocolate.

We were watching a football match against Manchester United and Tottenham. Apparently everyone was rooting for Manchester because when they made their first goal, which was a beautiful goal I might add, everyone was in uproar; cheering and shouting. I’ve never seen the TV room packed as tightly as it was when they watched the football game.

Can you feel the love tonight? The peace the evening brings. The world, for once, in perfect harmony with all it’s living things.

I’m not really sure what happened to my roommate. She was gone all night but all of her stuff is here. I was actually fine that she wasn’t here last night; I actually got some peaceful rest.

Breakfast is starting to become my favorite meal of the day because there is no rice associated with it. I’m getting quite tired of rice. Oh, and that’s the only time of the day that I can get my chai fix.

Last night I was telling my two friends, Joan and Dianna, about the night the power went off and I ran into a wooden box. They laughed so hard! Joan said, “Raye! I didn’t know that you could be this funny!”
I would make more jokes but I already have a hard time understanding other people and they have a hard time understanding me that I didn’t know if they would miss the humor I was trying to present. I’ve been testing the waters and trying some different things to see if they would get it. I also didn’t know if my jokes are more Americanized and that the humor would be lost because they don’t experience the same things. But I think that they are starting to pick up that I’m a joker.

I still haven’t figured out where I’m supposed to go to for football practice.

My friend Dianna was told yesterday by one of her guy friends that he’s in love with her. She seems to really like him too. Whenever she gets on the phone with him her voice changes to this timid, sweet voice and she gets all shy.
Frankie and Cyborg are ALWAYS together, I’m really serious that they are totally into each other but Frankie denies it.
I’m definitely not marrying an African. We were talking in one of our classes about what marriages are like here and they said that they are quite interested in the money and the dowry. They were also saying that in some households the women have to kneel down before their husband. Uh-uh. I’m not kneeling to anyone, I’m my own person and I’m not going to lower my status for some man. I’m sure that not all African’s are that way but I’m not taking my chances.

There are swarms of ants everywhere! I hate ants!!! They’re one of the two bugs that I’m terrified of. The other bug is the lady bug. Spiders I’m fine with, but ants and lady bugs I hate hate hate.

Maybe I should talk to my friends and make sure that they are fine with me talking about them. I could hand out little papers of discretion.

I miss having fruit. I haven’t been very hungry today and the one thing that I would like to eat would be fruit. They don’t serve fruit here so I’d have to go buy some but I don’t have a way to get to the market and I can’t go alone anyway and most of my friends have left for the weekend.

Today I got to hold the little baby, Angel, again. She’s so cute! She fell asleep in my arms and this guy came up and videotaped us. After he was done he patted me on the shoulder and said, “You’re going to make a great mother someday.”
Yesterday when I was waiting to see someone there was this little boy that was playing on the stairs. I smiled at him and he said something to me. I apologized to him and said that I could understand him. He gave a small smile and went back to playing.

I really haven’t made any friends that are Nazarenes; I’m really surprised at how many people here are not Nazarene.

I learned that here public schools are more prestigious than private schools. Public schools call you for how well you’ve done in school.Image

What would someone that’s not me do?

Last night I barely got any sleep and this morning I woke up with a headache. You want to know why? Because my roommate was watching “Gossip Girl” until 5am with the volume cranked up. Then she got up and washed her clothes in our room until 6. Which then she crawled back into bed and turned “Gossip Girl” back on.

I have no classes today and I was trying to decide if I just wanted to sleep my day away (especially since I didn’t get much sleep last night), but I decided against it. I have a few things to read for classes, I thought I might as well be a good student.

Last night Judy and I watched a movie together. We were cuddled up under some thick blankets eating cookies and drinking strawberry juice stuff. It was a lot of fun.

My tummy still isn’t feeling well. It’s like this mixture of hunger and nausea.

I’m not really craving it but I miss having cheese. And peanut butter. I’m starting to get a little tired of rice.

I’m pretty sure that most of the people here realize that I’m just weird and that I’m not acting like this because it’s a new stimulating environment. I found a salamander while I was walking back to the hostile. I really wanted to pick it up but I didn’t know if it had toxic skin glands or something. And then I thought: “What would someone that’s not me do?” So I walked on.

That cat that I took a picture of earlier in the week, he’s my baby. Whenever he sees me he comes trotting over to me and I sit there and pet him. Sometimes he nibbles on my knuckles but it doesn’t really hurt it just tickles. I love cats. I should name him something. Like Droid.

Some of my friends really want me to dress up in a dress soon. the only dress that I have here is a spaghetti strap and we’re not allowed to show our shoulders. My friend Dianna said that she’d go out shopping with me for girl clothes.

Sunday is calling!

Several people have told me that I need to come back to ANU and finish my schooling out here. I’m kind of tempted but I don’t know.

So there have been a couple of emails that I’ve received telling me that I shouldn’t venture out to places where there are big crowds alone. They are having elections for President here in Kenya and they’ve had several violent outbreaks. They have several different tribes here and two of the tribes have people running for president. Each tribe is worried that if their person isn’t picked that they will be neglected. It’s been like this each year that they have elections. On top of all the political violence there has been threat of terrorism.
The other American that is staying here went off of campus by herself and they had to escort her back to campus because they worried about her safety.

I was a little surprised at how many Catholics we have here on campus.

I might be tutoring my friend Frankie in math. I told him that I like math and he asked me if I could do algebraic equations and I said that was my favorite kind of math. We’ll see if I can help him. It’s been awhile since I’ve done math. My friends were trying to CLEP out of Math and they took an exam last week. They brought out their papers after the test and I borrowed them to play around with and figure out the math problems. I think I did well even though I really hate word problems.

The weather has been kind of crummy that past couple of days, but today the sun actually came out.

Yesterday I was walking to dinner when I heard my name called. It was getting dark so I couldn’t really see anything so I looked around and then I looked up at the sky. It was Sunday calling me! No, really. It was Sunday. He’s from South Sudan and he’s a really sweet guy. Bahahaha! I’m so funny!!