Friday, November 30, 2012

(November 27, 2012)

So I didn’t kill the chicken, but I held the wings and feet. Maybe next time? Well, Thanksgiving was fun and super delicious. Well, I guess onto the holiday season.  The holiday season is always weird here because I associate Christmas as cold, snowy, and a Christmas tree. I might decorate with snowflakes.  But it will definitely not snow as it is getting really hot here. But, hopefully there will be cheer, thanksgiving, generosity, and holiday music. But, when I was on the daladala this last Sunday, I saw the Stanic Bank was decorating. I might have to go check this out tomorrow. I don’t know if this makes me unfestive or more festive. As I believe, the reason for the season is the birth of Christ. My favorite explanation is in a Charlie Brown Christmas. It gives me the chills every time I see it and trust me I have seen it many times. 

So why will I be more festive….I will be celebrating with my “family” here, no gifts except maybe cards, and great food. One thing I love is it is unnecessary to give gifts. This is not because I am cheap, but I think we often get caught up in the holiday season and forget to enjoy it and forget the real meaning.

(November 21, 2012)

So maybe I am going to not post until after Thanksgiving…I did try, hopefully I will be able to post on Saturday. So stay posted. Not that you are reading this until I post on Saturday Morning. I will hopefully post this attempt at Megan killing the first chicken?

(November 20, 2012)

So I have been back about a week and a half. I am definitely adjusting. This weekend I began to wonder if my decision to continue working at my school was the right one. Everyone from my group of two years ago is leaving, and I am remaining. That feels weird. Then, those of us who are staying, most went to work with NGOs.  As well, after Peace Corps, I am thinking I would like to work for an NGO after being in the States and having the time to think about what I want to do next year.  However, none of the NGOs were a fit for me. So I decided to stay at my school.  So here I am.  So, I am going to sit back and see where this year takes me. Hopefully, my gut instinct was right.
Also, I have finally got the inspiration to actually feel like doing some things from more time to do than think! THANKS! So what do I have planned for the upcoming year:

·         MATH MEET: I am hoping to start working on this in December, and maybe get it going in February for an O-level Competition with my school and two local schools.  If that goes well, maybe try a second O-level competition and the first A-level competition in late April. If all goes well, try a second A-level competition in beginning of November

·         RUNNING: I am going to run the Kili Half Marathon Again in February



·         LOOKING FOR A JOB?



·         ENJOY MY LIFE!!

Continued Later…So I just got back from visiting a friend, and I am now listening to “Give Me Everything Tonight”. I feel like last year I always waited for the moment in that song and forgot the everyday normal things. So many times, I feel we look forward to those nights that we forget the in between. Yeah, I enjoy those nights, but those nights are best when they are not expected. Lately, I look forward to things, and yeah they are fun, but not as much as I build them up to be. However, when I am not expecting them, they are always always the best. So, maybe I am not going to give everything to just one night.    

But, I am really excited for Thanksgiving. Although, I will not celebrate it with many of you on Thursday or with turkey, I am going to celebrate Friday with a chicken.  Also, for those vegetarians and vegans out there, just fast forward to the next sentences. I am going to kill a chicken myself and make it from scratch. Picture will be to come.  So, we are going to roast chicken, mashed potatoes, maybe some fruit, wali (rice), ugali (stiff porridge), bananas, maybe pineapple. It is going to be amazing…if you are going to be in Moshi... Karibu! 

Since, I will not be posting before Thanksgiving. I want to wish all a Happy Thanksgiving.  I am thankful for every one of the amazing people in my life! Each person is such a blessing and is an important piece in my life! So this year, I am thankful for amazing people, the opportunity to figure out where my passions truly lie, and an amazing year ending and another to start. Though don’t be mistaken, I will be thinking of all you celebrating on Thursday and wish I could be with you. Because there is nothing to be more thankful in life than love, and my family and friends are the loves of my life. HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

First Day Back (November 12, 2012)

So I have been back in Tanzania for 2 full days. I really enjoyed my time home. And I was so glad to see all of you loved ones! I was so glad to have been able to share in one of my best friend’s wedding.  I had so much fun and loved spending every minute with all of you! However, after 4 weeks, I was ready to come back, because I love my job, right now this is just where the roads have brought me, and I missed my Tanzanian home. 
My flight from Amsterdam was late coming in and customs took longer than I hoped. But, to greet me at the airport with a smile was one of my good friends from school. After a long journey, a familiar smiling face at the airport is always a great reminder that you are home.  The downside to Saturday was I had arrived a day to late to fully enjoy some friends before they left. 
So, according to my father traveling from west to east is easier on jet lag than east to west, I don’t know that I totally agree. Getting to bed at 12:30 am on Saturday and waking up at 4:30 am and not able to go back to sleep is example one. Today, 11:00 pm to 4:30ish am is example two. Today was not as productive as I would have hoped.  Though, naps definitely make today that much better. But I have my fingers crossed for tonight!
But, what is it truly like being back? After not being home for more than two years, I definitely appreciate the nice amenities of the US – hot water at your fingertips, fast internet, WASHING MACHINES, water all the time from a faucet. But, I knew what I was expecting when I got back. I just have to readjust to the old way of doing things. But all of this is minor.  The best welcome home gift was a scenic sunrise this morning during my run. Imagine being at a raised level looking down on a flat land with random hills sprouting and low clouds with the peaks of those hills peaking though adding the gorgeous colors of a sunrise. It was a great run.  So now, it’s time to get back in the swing of things.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Two years past, One yet to come

So, as my posts show, I am not very good at this posting thing. I think my last post was almost more than a year ago. Fortunately, I still have one more year left. So the first two years will definitely be different from this upcoming year. It's really interesting how my experience in Tanzania has changed over the two year. My first year was definitely a learning curve, figuring out how I, Megan, fit into the Tanzania culture, making the transition from student to teacher, and learning how to make it. The second year was mastering or getting better at what I had learned the previous year and expanding the life I built the first year. I finally feel I have a handle on so many things and feel apart of my community. So many times, I walk down the street and I can greet a person and stop to have a quick conversation. I think this is one of my greatest joys. As many of my fellow peace corp volunteers are headed home and summing up the amazing times they have had, I decided to take a quick opportunity to do a quick remembrance as well.

I remember my first day at site like it was yesterday and wonder where all the time has gone. The first year was definitely one of the greatest challenges of my life. I have to learn all these new ways of doing things. People think you can't do anything. My school wouldn't let me go to the market alone because they were afraid I would get cheated on prices, and I always had to go with someone. You feel a certain way but don't know why. You feel like no one understands you. You get so frustrated all you want to do is scream. II remember so many days I came home, blasted music singing along because I was so frustrated. People don't understand what you are trying to say because you have the language skills of a 3 year old.  Overall, it tests your ability to adapt, be flexible, learning to be patient, and you have to pick and choose your battles. I met some amazing people who have kept me sane and I don't know what I would have done without them. Some of them were fellow volunteers and many were Tanzanians. These Tanzanians are my family away from my family. I know I can go and ask for advice, get cultural understanding, and just have someone to visit when being by myself was enough.

I think some of my favorite memories from the first year was making pizza with my Tanzanian Family, joining the local choir and becoming a more apart of the community, visiting Dodoma for Easter and "helping" cook, taking my students on a trip to the national parks even though I couldn't go in and had to come back early, and so many other things. It was really the little moments that make this experience amazing. This year I learned a lot about me and what challenges I can face but also my limits.

Into the second year, I think is more like reaching a slight peak in the mountain. I mean I can't say that I ever really feel that my mountain ever stops but you definitely get better at trekking though the small things and feel more confident going through the difficult. You definitely still stress out. I felt more confident in my role as a teacher and as resident of Tanzania. My school has become my home. The neighbors know me, and I know a lot of them. My students know me and give me the same respects as the other teacher. I learned how things are run better at my school and how to get things done better. I feel like I am similar to other Tanzanian teachers. I finally feel established in my community.

Some of my favorite memories from my second year include the Kili Half marathon, dancing the night away at Glaciers with friends, getting to show the wonderful country and its people to my sister and two of my best friends, traveling to more places, my daily interactions with my students, the weekend visits with the Mwadumas (who are like family), seeing my first true class of students graduate and talk to them about their dreams and futures, and getting new friends.

As these two years come to an end, my fellow volunteers move on and I remain, some may wonder why I remain and why I remain at my same location. I know it seems silly or illogical, but it just feels right and my time at this school is not done. So as the two years comes to an end and my last year begins, I look into the future with excitement as my Form 6 take their exams in February and another class hopefully go on to fulfill their dreams and change their country, my Form 5 turn into Form 6, and I get a new incoming class of Form 5. I don't know if I have made a difference (I like to think so even if it was one person), but I know these people have definitely changed my life. So moving into the next year, I think I might try a new post each week but with pictures to help show my life in Tanzania. I saw the People of New York which shows the people of New York through portraits. I think it might be interesting to do the same. Well, I think I will leave it at this, because this is a rather long post.  

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Hey Jude, Don't be afraid.... Lyrics in my head today!

Hi Everyone,

So I know that it has been a really long time since I have posted, and yes I hate excuses, but really, I have been busy. Technically now I should be going to bed but I really just wanted to send a shout out. After training in Morogoro at the end of March, I started teaching A-level Math only instead of chemistry and Basic Applied Mathematics. Well, I am getting a run for my money. All those things in college I never thought I would use again... Guess what.... I have to relearn them. But don't worry, my worries of forgetting math while I am in TZ is no longer a worry. In fact, I am learning some new things, like sets and logic. So now I will be able to make a sound argument. Anyway, my weeks have been a bit rough. So I haven't had much time to post or write letters. But I hope to send some letter this weekend. It is my first weekend to myself...well kind of. I tell you, when you think you are finally free, your weekend fills up so fast that next thing you know, it's Monday and you start it all over again.

I am beginning to wonder if I am working harder here than last year! I know you may laugh Laina, Michele, and Maureen, because we worked our butts off last year, but this is pretty demanding. Anyway, I hope everyone had a good Easter. I went with a fellow teacher to visit Dodoma. It was very pleasent. I got to see the biggest University in TZ. UDom. It is really nice, a lot of it is being built new right now. Also, i got to see the Dodoma region while it is green because it is rainy season right now. And boy, was it gorgeous! Well, sorry to be so short. More later, but dishes are calling before I go to bed so I don't find them attacked by ants in the morning (may be slight exageration).


Saturday, March 5, 2011

March Already?

Hey Everyone,

So I am officially able to travel. I have been a volunteer now for 3 months! What am I going to do. I don't know yet. But will definitely keep you updated. So last week was my birthday and I baked cookies as a birthday gift to myself. I even got to use real American chocolate chips, and they were Toll house too! THANKS MOM AND DAD! I even shared them with the some of my fellow teachers. But don't worry I ate my fair share too. I think they were part of my dinner that night. I have made cookies before but I didn't have vanilla and boy does that make a difference. Some of you may be thinking. Baking cookies how can that be. Did you know that you can make your own oven using a small stove of wood, kerosene, charcoal, maybe even electricity a big pot, three rocks, a smaller pot, a lid, and a damp towel. I have even made banana bread this way.

Also for my birthday I was able to have ICE CREAM. It was pretty amazing is all I have to say. I with fellow Tanzanian friend, and they asked if it tasted like ice cream from the states. I said I had forgotten and that all I knew was it tasted good. I tell you it is the little things that can sometimes make your day - sometimes it is hearing that one song on the radio.

This past week I was able to see some other volunteers that were in town. It is nice to see other people that share the other experiences with you. And to speak English fast. If you have ever lived in a foreign country where all you here is another language, and you are trying to comprehend what is said. Sometimes you get tired and space out. Let's just say that this can happen a lot. For me, this happens especially in church. First, it is in another language. Second, there are really now books. Third, it is in another language. Though, I have to say, I went to a local church this last weekend and I actually understood the main points. Let me tell you how good that made me feel.

Let's see, I am still figuring out this teaching thing. It is definitely a little harder than I thought it would be- at least for the chemistry. But slowly, I am getting it. Hopefully in the next 6 months I will get it down. So another week will continue, though it will definitely be a bit slower that A-level is on break. I don't have to go in as much because I am only teaching the 6 classes a week. I wish you all a great week! Until next time Kwa heri!