Thinking back, there were a couple letters I sent out that I wasn't sure if they had arrived, so I decided to put a list of some that I haven't heard back from. Also, after the first few that I wrote I started making photocopies - sooo, if it actually didn't arrive, I can send along another copy upon request:
Nicole, I sent you a letter back May in response to the frisbees and stuff (which I greatly appreciated), but Jason seemed to think that you never got it.
G'ma & G'pa, Pug & Jug, sent a little aerogram back in about Aug/Sept. It had a nice graph of my emotional state :)
Aunt Tracy, Thanks a lot for sending Ender's Game. It's already gone through the hands of a number of the volunteers. I sent you a brief letter of thanks in August with a lot of questions in it about what's going on.
James, sent something in July with many footnotes and a couple doodles.
Now a few of you may be wondering if I ever got things from you, and hopefully I'll get off my butt soon and write back:
Patty Finally got the duct tape and candy - what more do you need in life?
Sara, just got the amazing package of kid's books. Can't wait to put them in the resource room and start sharing them with the neighbor kids when they get back after the holidays. There's also quite a few that I haven't read yet - soon to be remedied. You Rock, you!!!
Michelle & Brandi, Will write soon. Awesome pictures, etc received and appreciated. You are missed.
Collete, see above.
Matt, have read most of the poetry and will be writing some responses soon.
Let me know if I missed anyone there.
The Whirlwind Tour of Uganda
So, as most of you probably know, Biff-Dad and Jason-Bro came to visit for 15 days at the end of Nov & beginning of Dec. Which was awesome! It was really great to see some faces from home and also to get a fresher perspective on Uganda. The joke (reality?) around here is that as long-term volunteers, many of us get very "jaded." For a good while near the beginning in training and a little beyond everything is new and exciting, and it's just so much fun to be in a new place so different from home. After a while things start to drag. The constant barrage of "Muzungu" from the local kids, the staring, your co-workers forever being 1+ hours late to everything or not telling you about this meeting or that, and how everything breakable seems to break and everything going wrong always does -- it starts to wear on you. And eventually, you kind of start to hate the world. To hate Uganda. And the worst part of it is that it becomes reflex. Now, you are jaded. In fact, I often will say that Uganda has taught me how to be angry. Anyway, to get back on subject, it was especially awesome that Dad and Jason were able to indirectly show me how much of a rut I was in, how much that reflexive anger was just unproductively bringing me down and isolating me . Both Dad and Jason were having a grand old time just hanging out with people (esp. kids) in my village. I remember Jason teaching Jason-Fu to Kenneth as well as learning the local card game, "Matatu"@. All the kids thought Dad was a riot, with his weird noises and by village standards absolutely alien looks -- I don't think we could count on both hands how many times a kid would see Dad and just burst out crying : ). We had some pretty good times in the village, and even got some good work done on my resource center and house as well.
Each day was a new adventure for us, and as Dad said, it's not really possible to sit down and tell the story of everything that happened. There's so much to tell. So, I'm not really going to try. Suffice it to say, we had an awesome time, and maybe if we're lucky Dad and/or Jason will write a little something that I'll post here as a guest portion of the blog. Also, as soon as I get a workable operating system on my laptop, I'll put together a post with some pictures so you can see what it was all about.
Christmas & New Year's
I remember seeing a news story a few years ago showing footage of a shirtless Santa paddling to the shore of one of the Hawaiian islands. In reaction I just shrugged and said "that's weird" thinking nothing of it. Well, I had no idea how weird it actually is -- frickin' weird. I've remarked before on the strangeness brought about by days having the exact same length$, everyday, a Groundhog-Day-effect of sorts. Along with the lengthening of the day to signal oncoming summer, the shortening of the day was always the precursor to the holiday season. But as the same day comes, 80 85 90o F, even though Christmas music is playing, it still feels more like it's about 4th of July. It was especially strange because the major PCV get together in Kampala was a barbeque. Also, I've gotten pretty used to the go-home-to-Spokane, catch-up-with-friends-you-haven't-seen-in-a-while, laze-around-and-do-jack-nothing-at-the-p's-house routine. Which was nice. Comfortable, even. Instead there's a training right up to a few days before Christmas#, I get to hang out with familiar friends, and actually had a nice Christmas Eve dinner of salad and pumpkin soup%. It was cool, it was fun, it was pretty alright. But, it wasn't really Christmas.
Actually, it was a lot closer to Christmas when Dad & Jason came. Really, it was like six Christmases rolled into one with all of the stuff they brought for me&, and of course just to see them was a lot closer to a Christmas feel than I felt on the 25th. Near the Eve many of the PCV conversations turned to "what does your family do on Christmas?" and we all wistfully shared our stories. Mine were about decorating the tree, twice-baked potatoes, getting a little tipsy off rum & coke (just the one time), and the plastic-toy-gun wars on Christmas morning among others. It was kind of cool to hear how everyone's family celebrated differently. It was also kind of sad. Ooh, that's kind of a bad place to end this blurb. Oh, well*.
Maybe it's just be easier to say
that Christmas gave me a rain-check this year.
But, I want you all to know
that I miss you much, loves you dear.
Hope Christmas was Merry~,
and have a Happy New Year.
! As Dad & Jason brought my laptop, I now have the ability to take more time to compose blog posts while I'm sitting around with nothing to do in the village. This is the first. Sadly I don't exactly have an operating system and I can't include pictures from my camera. You can be the judge of whether quality has improved, although I must say I do enjoy footnotes (who was it that sent The Mezzanine, Amy N.? P.S. I love you.).
@ As Kenneth doesn't speak much English, Jason had to pretty much learn this card game with hand gestures and Kenneth saying, "I win" to signal that Jason had come out poorly. This was especially hilarious as Jason kept losing and began to suspect that Kenneth was just making up rules to win : ).
$ Plus or minus ~7 minutes. Someday when I'm bored I might figure out exactly what the time difference is at this latitude. All I need is the radius of the Earth, the declination of the Earth's axis, and my latitude (handily got from GPS), and to assume the Earth is a sphere. I remember doing it once riding with Lee & Nancy on the way back to Spokane. Man I'm a nerd.
# Which was made infinitely better by the hotel we stayed at having a pool. For swimming. And volleyball. And general awesome enjoyitude.
% Unorthodox? -- Yes. Delicious? -- Quite. It's amazing how refreshing and mouth-wateringly good a salad can taste. It's also amazing how silly somewhat-deprived PCV's can get over simple things.
& Much of which was brought from a variety of sources, which all deserve a huge "THANK YOU SO MUCH! LOVES YOU LOTS!" -- you know who you are.
* I actually didn't mean to make a little poem here, I just noticed that the last few lines had some rhymes and couldn't help myself.
~ And in the case of Arya and Larry-Dad, I hope you both had a really good birthday.